I am the author of three middle-grade children's books, and I blog on the side. My favorite topics are movies, writing, and pop culture.
Believing in ghosts
I’ve never seen a ghost...at least not yet. I’ve seen movements out of the corner of my eye. I’ve been afraid in a dark room. I’ve heard noises, but I haven’t seen any definitive proof.
Still, I am a believer in ghosts. I do not believe every ghost story that I hear, but I don't think that every paranormal experience that has ever been told was made up or was a figment of the storyteller's imagination. Below are my ghost stories.
Me surrounded by orbs on Halloween
One Halloween, I was out roaming the neighborhood as usual. I brought along my camera to take pictures as my sisters and I walked our suburban streets. One of my sisters snapped a picture of my back turned as I stood in a zombie pose. When the image showed up on the screen, there were several orbs floating around me.
I’ve taken pictures of that same street at night and never had orbs show up. It only makes sense that they would appear on All Hallows Eve.
Orbs are fairly common in pictures, but there is no rhyme or reason as to why they appear and when. I've seen them show up in the daytime, nighttime, inside, outside and in any kind of lighting. They also appear in different areas of the photo.
Orbs haven't been proven to be evidence of spirit activity, but paranormal believers like to link them as evidence of a ghostly energy radiating through an area. I've yet to capture a mist or outline of a human being, but I still get excited when an orb pops up in a picture, especially at a time or place when ghosts may be lurking about.
Light pole accident
Witnessing a death
One year while I was on spring break from college, there was a deadly accident on my parents' usually quiet street. A garbage truck was turning onto the alley at the end of the road when the top of the truck snagged some low hanging wires of a street light. This brought the entire utility pole crashing to the ground.
The garbage man hanging off the back of the truck was struck and pummeled into the ground by the pole. He was killed instantly.
The accident happened mid-morning. That night, there was a bad windstorm. No rain or thunder, just wind. The street was dark without the street light shining on the corner, and there was a terrible screeching noise outside.
I was alone in my parents' living room watching TV, and I couldn’t help but think that I was being watched. It was as if any minute I would see the face of that poor garbage man through the window or in the doorway. Haunted by the events of the day and freaked out by the storm, I turned off the TV and went to bed.
Some say that spirits stay behind because they don't realize that they're dead. That pole had come down on the man so fast, I wondered if he knew what had happened. I've never seen any strange activity on that corner or felt that ghostly presence in that room since. Hopefully, that means the garbage man knew what hit him, and his spirit didn't linger behind.
Me and my grandfather in 1986
When a close relative dies
My grandfather died from complications following hip surgery and advanced Alzheimer's when I was 19. It was a slow, drawn out death starting with the broken hip and ending in a short hospice stay in a nursing home. My family and I visited him often in his last days, and whenever we were home, we expected to get a call saying that he had passed.
One night, I had just dozed off to sleep when, for no reason at all, I woke up and sat straight up in bed. It’s not unusual for me to wake up one or more times during the night, but sitting up in bed like I had been startled was different. I waited a few seconds and listened for any noise or movement coming from the other bedrooms, but all was quiet. So, I tried to go back to sleep.
Five minutes later, the phone actually did ring. I opened my eyes wide and saw my mom switch on the hall light and run downstairs to answer the phone call that we had been waiting for. It was a sad relief. Waking up to hear the call was comforting too, but I wondered why I had done that.
Had I woke up at the exact moment that he died? Had his soul passed by me as I slept and awakened me? I don’t know. Again, I saw nothing. I just felt something.
After the call, I stayed up for a few hours before going back to bed. As my head hit the pillow, a wind storm began. Just like the night of the garbage man's death, there was no rain or lightning or anything but wind blowing. Wind storms have occurred several times after a death ever since. Is this just a coincidence, or is it some kind of a sign?
Ghost tour - October 2013
Ghost tour - 2013
I once look a ghost tour through my aunt’s town. A group of ghost hunters walked from building to building, listening to stories of townspeople's personal paranormal experiences. There were tales of voices, noises, orbs, and apparitions. Most of them were harmless or even friendly.
We didn't go into any of the homes. So, we didn't get a chance to see them in their natural habitat. However, we were encouraged to take pictures of the exteriors of the homes to see what we captured.
In one backyard, an evil spirit was said to haunt the grounds of a home that had since been demolished. Our tour guide said that people occasionally felt a tug as they exited the yard. That was not the kind of spirit that I wanted to encounter. Luckily, I have felt more uncomfortable in non-haunted places, and we didn't see anything or capture any creepy photos in that yard.
I did snap several pictures that night. Many orbs were present in my pictures. One building had dozens of orbs floating around it (see above).
At one of the first homes we visited, our guide told us that the ghost of an old man's face could sometimes be seen in the front window. I took a picture of the front of the house. No orbs or mists appeared, but after I took the picture, the camera drew a box around that window and asked, “Did someone blink?” The image gave me the chills, but because it was just a setting on the camera popping up, the proof was gone as soon as it had appeared.
Gettysburg ghost tour photos
Gettysburg ghost tour - 2014
Gettysburg is said to be one of the most haunted places on Earth. It’s not hard to believe considering that tens of thousands of men died there.
Gettysburg offers your pick of several ghost tours. The "Sleepy Hollow of Gettysburg” tour is one where you’re given paranormal instruments to track down spirits.
For two hours, the tour guide takes you through the woods and along the edge of the battlegrounds to try to communicate with spirits. Certain group members are given pendulums that you can use to ask questions and find out details about the spirits. They also hand out EMF meters to pick up on electromagnetic fields, a radio to listen for messages in between the white noise, dowsing rods to ask spirits yes or no questions, and EVP meters to search for spirit voices in the area. I was hoping that the tools would give me the proof I needed to say that I’ve had a definitive paranormal experience.
Throughout our time in the search area, I feel like the guide tried to make more out of moments than they were. He could make his pendulum swing at will while the rest of us struggled to get ours to spin whenever we felt that a spirit was nearby. The radio waves did answer our questions, but the answers were so abrupt that they could have just been passing words between stations, saying things like “hi” and “git”.
The EVP meters would spit out sounds like "run" and "hide," but they didn't come in clear. The EMF meters would flash from green to orange to red, but we were warned that sometimes a regular electric current, such as power lines, could set it off.
I took dozens of photos hoping to see a mist or outline and ended up with a few measly orbs. I was more afraid of tripping over tree roots than of encountering a ghost. It may be because of the large group that was with me, keeping me from feeling isolated and spooked.
Still, I don't feel like the experience was totally wasted. It was interesting to hear stories about the battle and understand the horrific mental and physical conditions that the soldiers endured. If there were any spirits out there, they probably feel like animals in a zoo after nightly ghost walks where the living shout out the same questions over and over and take pictures like paparazzi.
Buy this Ghosts of Gettysburg books here!
Ultimately, I'm still searching for definitive spirit activity, hoping to add some undeniable proof to my collection of experiences. Hopefully with more ghost hunts, I’ll get the confirmation that I need that there is an afterlife waiting for us when when we die.
Until then, it's important to remember that life is limited, and one day, we'll all know what happens when our life ends. This evidence just provides comfort that there is another plane of existence to enter when our lives are over.
Do you have any ghost stories? Leave them in the comments below.
William Leverne Smith from Hollister, MO on August 15, 2014:
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. People love to read them! ;-)
Geekdom on August 15, 2014:
I love hearing supernatural experiences.