I’ve always been conflicted when I think about whether or not ghosts exist. As an atheist, I’ve never bought into the whole ‘life after death’ or ‘wandering soul’ thing. Heaven seems like a nice idea, but it also seems kind of unlikely to me. But if I don’t believe in heaven … how can I believe in ghosts? In my mind, it’s a contradiction of uncertainty. Maybe I’m sort of like the religious science teacher that teaches evolution but also believes that the world is only a few thousand years old.
When I was in my early teens, I experienced two different ‘ghostly’ episodes that I can’t explain. Both were quick, and very well could have been dreams. But they felt like more, and I’ve never forgotten them.
The first time it happened, I woke very suddenly in the middle of the night. I sat up very quickly, much like Deanna Troi used to do every time she woke up on Star Trek: The Next Generation. My eyes were drawn to the left, where I saw a man leisurely leaning against the wall of my bedroom. He looked at me with a bored gaze. He was dressed oddly, much like a hobo, and clutched a bottle of alcohol wrapped in a brown paper bag in his hand. My heart beat quickly, and I whispered “go away, go away, go away, go away!” I blinked a few times, and he was gone.
Not too long after that, I woke again in the middle of the night again. Unlike the last time, I didn’t need to sit up like Troi. This time there was a woman leaning over my bed, dressed in a wedding dress. All the hairs on my body stood up, as I looked at her face. She appeared to be overcome with both terror and sadness. Again my heart raced, and without really thinking, I whispered “go away, go away, go away, go away!” A moment later, she was gone.
Were these experiences merely dreams? Was it some sort of night terror, or maybe some shadows playing a trick on me? I’ll never know for sure. But in the many years since they happened, nothing like that has happened since. So what do you think? Do you believe in ghosts? And have you ever ever seen one?