What are Ghosts?
…and are they real or a fantasy?
This section is about real ghosts gathered from stories and sightings sent to me at my newspaper columns. I have tried in each instance to identify whether the ghosts seen have a reality or simply a fantasy. Today we so much nonsense on the television, press and at the cinema. The world is stuffed full of wannabe Harry Potters! In these extracts I examine the evidence and put forward some of the popular theories about the reality – or otherwise – of ghosts.
TAKE THE GHOST TRAIN
The strangest experience of my life happened when my wife and I were staying in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The Tamil Tiger terrorists were active at the time and we were advised by our hotelier not to go out after curfew and avoid the beach in particular. But one night we had a problem getting back and in order to avoid the beach we had to take a route along the railway line.
The old steam trains normally made quite a racket- you could hear them hissing and clanking from miles away. I noticed a bright light behind us. Assuming that a train was coming I quickly pulled my wife away from the rails as a large train brushed by, almost touching us.
Even though it was an old steam train it was totally silent- not quiet, it was totally silent. The steam, the wheels, the carriages made not a single sound. We were so close that we could also see that the train had no driver, no passengers and no guard.
I’m a sceptical man- I was trained in the navy and have worked as a councillor- so I went next morning to ask the stationmaster about the incident. He insisted that no trains passed that way at the times I said. And he added that the track where we had walked had been the site of a number of fatal train disasters!
Did we see a ghost train? My wife thinks that if we had stayed put it would have passed right through us. What do you think? John & Elsie S
You certainty wouldn’t be the first to see a ghost train. One of the most famous has been seen by hundreds of people at Illinois in America. When president Abraham Lincoln, who openly held seances in the White House, died in 1856 his body was transported for burial on a special funeral train. Now every year on the anniversary his ghost train is seen slowly driving down the tracks. It is said to be manned by skeletons with an entourage of blue-coated men walking behind.
SPIRIT IN THE SOFA
When I was in my twenties I shared a local flat with a student. Although the place was comfortable and well decorated it was the weirdest place I have ever lived in. It all started when a large oval mirror began moving by itself. Whenever I was relax or let my mind drift a loud crackling sound would be heard and sometimes the sound of rustling papers. If we moved towards the noise it would stop immediately. The disturbances became so frequent that it was difficult to sleep at night!
Early one evening we were relaxing in the lounge. The student was laying on the floor writing an essay. Suddenly I was aware that someone else was with us. I saw the white figure of a woman stood in the corner of the room. My eyes must have been like saucers but I felt no fear. To this day I vividly remember what she was wearing and how she seemed to shine. But the strangest thing of all was that where she stood was an armchair. She was standing right through it! – Linda H
You are very psychic. The occurrences appear to happen whenever you are in a state of deep relaxation. You may have experienced a light trance state of mind and your psychic energies were engaged to build a bridge between the worlds. I am aware that you also have premonitions that come true and that on one occasion your life was saved because of a guiding voice. Train your gifts properly and you could become an excellent medium.
I SAW A FACELESS AIRMAN
I’m sure that the old, oak beamed house that I used to rent rooms at is haunted. One night I saw, stood in front of me, the ghostly figure of man dressed in an airman’s uniform from the Second World War. It was so clear: he wore a short brown bomber jacket, a flat cap, light trousers but his collar was turned up so that I couldn’t see his face. I screamed out in terror.
The landlady knew the greal host. It was her husband who had died 18 months before. He had been an airman and continued to wear a brown bomber jacket throughout his life. At the end he suffered from leukaemia. This made him feet the cold so he would always wear his collar turned up. It obscured much of his face. – Michelle S.
Although the ghost frightened you, your experience must have brought comfort to your landlady. The detail of his visual communication provides enough proof to indicate to her that her loved one survived bodily death- which, of course, we all do. Your terror was her comfort.
BEWARE OF THE HAUNTED FLATS
When I was a postman I had to deliver to a new block of flats that had been built for the elderly. I had been doing this for about four years without any problems. One morning I was delivering as usual when on the third fight of stairs I had a very strong feeling that someone was behind me. I turned around but nobody was there. The feeling got worse as I approached the flat door. I’m a level headed bloke, but I was beginning to get very scared. Suddenly I felt something cold touch my neck. I hastily delivered the letters and was nearly running as I left the premises.
The next morning at the same flat, with the experience fresh in my mind, I delivered some more letters. A neighbour opened her door. “I wouldn’t bother if I were you” she said “The lady in that flat died a few days ago.” Now I knew that what happened wasn’t a figment of my imagination it was a real ghost. Neil H
You experienced Clairsentience which is the mediumistic ability to sense the presence of spirits. When you ‘see’ a spirit communicator its called clairvoyance and when you ‘hear’ their voice its called clairaudience. Most mediumship is a combination of the three. I am aware that you have also seen the spirit of your father. With your psychic abilities you could one day perhaps deliver messages from people in the afterlife.
I SPOOKED THE SPOOK
When I moved into my new home, which is built on an old air base, I looked at the front room and thought “This room should be blue”. Then, one evening while quietly watching television I saw the room change in front of my eyes. Everything was suddenly blue then instantly reverted back to normality.
A few days later I walked into the same room and saw the figure of a large man stood in the middle of the room. We walked towards each other and he passed straight through me. I screamed out “I live here now! You don’t. Go away!”
I haven’t had any more strange phenomena happen. I think that we must have frightened each other so much that the ghost hasn’t dare come back. – Carol P
Sightings of real ghosts have been reported at most of the WW2 airbases. Some mediums will clear haunted places by helping the earth bound spirits to realise that they are dead and encourage then to move into the spirit world. It sounds like you instinctively did this but I pity the poor ghost who had such a sudden awakening.
A GHOST PINNED ME TO THE BED
I was asked by a friend to ‘dog sit’ over the weekend. I must admit, I have never felt at ease in her house. It was old, large and a little spooky but there was something else about it – it had an eerie feeling that I couldn’t quite ‘put my finger on’.
I went to bed with a good book and eventually drifted off to sleep. Some hours later I awoke unable to breath and choking- it was as if somebody was sitting on my chest! There was an immense weight pinning me to the bed. I thought I was dying by having the breath squeezed out of my body. Somehow I managed to throw myself out of bed and staggered downstairs gulping in air as I went.
I never slept there again. My unwelcome nocturnal visitor obviously objected to my presence. And I can take a hint!! – Di S
There’s a part of the brain at the back of the head that inhibits body movement when we sleep. If it didn’t we’d act out our dreams and thrash wildly around in bed. Many people experience ‘sleep paralysis’ when the conscious mind wakes up before this restraining function does. The result is a feeling of immobility and suffocation. Did your restlessness triggered sleep paralysis or were paranormal forces at work? We’ll never know for certain.
CRAIG & JANE GHOST HUNTING
MURDERED FREDDIE RETURNS FROM THE GRAVE
We live in a traditional farmhouse which was probably built with ancient stone from a nearby ruin. We have a pillar on each side of the sitting room fireplace. Legend has it that two brothers once lived here and jointly inherited it. They had an argument and one murdered the other.
We now occasionally have real spooky occurrences. One of the bedroom doors sometimes opens and we hear footsteps walk along the landing and down the stairs. At the end of its journey the stair door opens.
But we’re not afraid of the ghost. We say “Oh Fred we do wish you’d learn to shut the door” every time it happens.
We have 4 adult children, the two girls are now married and only one of our sons now lives at home. We have all experienced “Fred” and it is my son’s bedroom door that opens. He is not bothered by it at all. Even our 3 dogs and 3 cats do not react to friendly ‘Fred’. – Mrs Jane F
Fred would probably scare the pants off most people. But I believe that you take the right attitude. Ghosts can’t hurt you so why be frightened of them. Do any other readers have a friendly (or otherwise) resident spook?
PHANTOM GIVES ME SLEEPLESS NIGHTS
I am terrified at night as I believe that I am being menaced by a real ghost or spirit. If I awake during the night I see what would I call ‘smoke’ in my room. At first I would jump out of bed thinking that the house was on fire but now I realise it is nothing to do with this world. If I approach it, it just disappears.
One night I saw the harrowing sight of my bedclothes being slowly pulled off the bed. But the last straw was when I felt ‘it’ move to the side of the bed and poke me hard in the arm. I prayed out loud but it wouldn’t go away.
I’m frightened to go to sleep. What can I do? – Alma
Your biggest enemy is your own fear. First you have to be strong with yourself and not give in to fear. Secondly you have to be realistic and make sure that the fog is not caused by an eye problem. If you decide that you really do have a negative spirit I suggest that you say “clear off” and then just ignore it. These things prey on fear and if you refuse to be ruffled it will eventually give up pestering you. Okay, it frightens you but it cannot physically hurt you. If all else fails call your local Spiritualists who may be able to recommend a local medium to help get rid of it.
HORROR AT THE HAUNTED BOAT
When I was a crew member aboard the Bristol registered ship Castle Combe we went to a small quarrying creek on the Welsh coast. It was one of those places where the ebbing tide left the ship high and dry. My attention was drawn to a dilapidated vessel anchored a little distance out. It looked like it was ready for the breakers yard. One night I saw a faint light coming from one of the portholes so decided to walk over to it and have a look.
As I climbed aboard the deserted ship I felt unease. I opened the door to the crews cabins and was confronted by a man. He wore a mustard coloured coat with a cloth cap pulled over his eyes. But he was floating 3 feet above the ground! I dashed back to my own ship.
The next day I was worried by what I had seen. Had someone perhaps hung themselves? I had to go back and find out. I opened the same door again and in the daylight could see a large number of glass containers. Of course, that was the answer, I consoled myself. The man must have been standing on one of these which I couldn’t see in the darkness! – Jim J-
I absolutely love spooky stories about the sea. Have any more of our seafarers a strange tale to tell? Write to the address above and let us know.
It was one of those times when everything that could go wrong did go wrong. To top it all my cat died of kidney failure. I despair I sat on my settee at home, put my head in my hands and had a good cry.
I stopped when I felt a hand gently squeeze my shoulder. Looking up I saw my dead ex-husband. He was as clear as day and looked just as he did when we first met with his trilby hat cocked to one side. When I looked again he was gone.
Do you think that he was trying to reassure me in my moment of grief? – Melinda
Even though you divorced there must still have been some love between you both. Maybe when the day comes and you meet in the afterlife you will resolve the difficulties that you had in life and share love once more? I’m sure that reassurance was being given to you.
DID A SPOOK SHARE MY BED?
I am 76 years old and not subject to fantasy but one night when I was staying at a friends house a strange thing happened. As I lay in bed the figure of a woman, dressed in long mustard coloured robes, floated into my room. She floated by the side of the bed and then lay down beside me! She spoke to me but her words were indistinct I asked her to repeat the words but still couldn’t make them out. Then she just faded away. In the morning I asked my friends if anyone had entered my room that night and of course they hadn’t. Sometimes I do have very vivid dreams but throughout this experience I was fully awake. – Elizabeth D
Maybe a ghost did share your bed but there is another possible explanation. Some people , particularly those who are capable of vivid dreams, can enter a state of awareness known as lucid dreaming. The dreamer ‘wakes up’ within the dream and retains the same clarity of thinking as in normal waking consciousness. Research now reveals that these lucid dreamers can direct their dreams, much like a film director directs a film and can even alter the dreams content at will. A technique known as ‘Creative Sleep’ , based on methods used by Tibetan Yogis over 4 centuries ago, teaches the subject to solve problems and gain access to hidden stores of energy. Lucid dreaming can also open our awareness to the spirit world.
IT WON’T LEAVE US ALONE!
I arranged for a medium to visit our house because we are troubled by a ghost. While the medium was with us the rug in the living room lifted up and there was a very loud thumping on the floor as if it was being hit by a stick. The medium’s advice was to be strong and firmly tell the entity to go away. I’ve had other medium’s visit as well but the problems continue to persist.
Before the spirit activity a sweet sickly smell fills the whole house. I experience a numbness and coldness as if being touched by something. Often things will fall by themselves and on one occasion the ironing board nearly hit my young daughter. Also writing appears on my windows and no matter how hard I scrub it will not disappear. It couldn’t be my daughter doing this as she can’t write yet and I am careful to keep pens out of reach. The strange smell started again when I decided to write to you today. What should I do? – Theresa S
We’ve smelt the same sweet sickly smell that occurs when a earth bound spirit makes it’s itself known. The spirit presence is strong so your best option would be to ask your medium friends if they can work together. A group of mediums will be able to make a strong challenge. They would find out the spirits identity and convince it to go on to the spirit world. The advice given to you to be strong and firm with the entity is wise.I will contact you directly to help sort this one out.
At about 4.00 in the morning I was awoken from a deep sleep by a strong feeling that there was somebody in my bedroom. I felt that I was being watched. The room was cold. Slowly I turned my head and saw the shadowy form of a monk stood beside my bed. He was standing with his head bowed and arms folded at waist level. Inside the hood there was just darkness. As I sat up the figure faded away.
I have no idea what this was all about but am sure that I didn’t imagine any of this. Can you explain it? – Terry F
I wish that I could explain this one adequately as so many people write to say that they’ve seen the same thing. We live on a site that was once a monastery. My wife tells me that the ghost of a monk appeared in our living room in front of her sceptical brother who was pooh poohing our work. He was so scared by what he saw that he went to church every day for a week afterwards. Many mediums believe that monks and nuns continue their spiritual work in the afterlife as guardians of the living.
THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE HAUNTED BEDROOM
I could sense there was someone in the room watching me. The next thing I knew the bed sank as if someone had sat down on it. I was too scared to look at it. I have also had pictures falling off the wall for no apparent reason. Please could you tell me what all this means?
Also, I was in my bed drifting off to sleep when I felt the presence of someone sitting on the bed. The bed actually went down. I heard a voice that said told me not to be afraid as they just wanted to hold my hand and be with me. A coldness went up my arm. – Helen S-
Now you have something in common with Sarah Lancashire who plays the buxom barmaid Raquel in Coronation Street. She was also shocked to see a ghost in her bedroom. Her Manchester bedroom rattled with the ghost of a Victorian woman carrying her screaming baby. She said: “It stared into my eyes and raised a withered hand as if trying to speak to me, but then vanished. I have two young sons of my own but I have never heard sounds like that baby screaming.”
GHOST OF MINER SAVED MY FRIEND
I was always ridiculed by my friends and work mates because I believe that the dead can contact the living. Nobody would ever believe me. But they changed their tune late one night when the siren blared and news arrived from the coal pit.
My friend had been working deep in the pit when he saw the ghostly shape of another miner approach him. Shocked, my friend jumped up from where he was working and followed the phantom down the passage. As soon as he got close the figure faded away into thin air.
As he turned around to return to his workplace the ceiling of the tunnel behind him collapsed with a crash. If he hadn’t followed the spectre he would have died in the accident. The ghost had saved his life. – Mr Gordon
This is not the first report of a haunted mine. As reported in the Cambrian News on 14 November 1986 a journalist claims that at the old mine workings he saw ‘a white or pale blue shape about the size of a small man. It gave off a sort of glow, but not like a torch.’ The reporter heard later that lights had occasionally been seen emerging from the mine at night and moving off slowly into the sky.
A LITTLE TERROR
A fire killed the previous occupant of our house. He died drunk in the kitchen. We have experienced some odd happenings: pictures fall, ornaments move, there was an onion in the frying pan, a cornflake packet in the fringe, all the cutlery was in the sink and the ice cube maker was in the bin. Sometimes at night I hear sounds as if someone is gasping for breath. I have a three year old child and worry if these things may be dangerous. – Claire D
Are you sure your three year old hasn’t been up to no good? I heard breathing one night only to discover that a window was left open and the curtain was rubbing on the windowsill.
MICK JAGGER GETS THE JITTERS
I went on a residential course to Stansted Hall, the headquarters of Spiritualism, to make a study of mediumship. Stansted is a very old manor house that has been used for thousands of seances.
On the second night of my stay I felt a presence in my room. I looked towards the bay window and clearly saw the figure of a monk dressed in brown robes and a hood. I was terrified because it was so very real.
At afternoon tea the next day a lady started talking about her experience that same night. To my shock she said that she had seen, whilst strolling in the grounds, a monk staring from one of the windows. “Which window!” I exclaimed. She took me outside to show me- it was my room! – Marion L
This figure has been seen before. The late president of Spiritualism, Gordon Higginson, spoke to a monk in the Hall’s library. After the man left Gordon asked at reception who the monk was but was told that nobody had entered or left the room.
Some celebrities have had similar experiences. For example, in November 1990, singer Mick Jagger was frightened off buying a Gothic mansion by a bell ringing 18th Century Ghost. Anna-Maria Sliwinski, the housekeeper of Donnington Grove House in Newbury said of it “I have heard the ghost firsthand. I heard strange chimes on a windless night. The bells were ringing in the tower, but there was nobody else in the house.”
NEIGHBOUR PROVES THAT GHOST IS REAL
It was late at night when I saw a real ghost appear in the living room of our new house. An old lady stood with her back to me and was leaning on the mantelpiece. She had long snow white hair, was stooped badly and held a walking stick in her right hand. I heard the name Port. The lady didn’t resemble anyone I had know before but all was explained when I mentioned her to our neighbours. “A Mrs Port lived in your house years ago” she said turning white with fright “She had very long white hair and her back was bent”
Could this all be in my mind or did I really see a ghost? – D W
It sounds real to us. It’s true that some ghosts are just fantasy but you were able to prove concrete facts about your phantom friend. She won’t do you any harm. She probably still takes an interest in her old house and came to have a look at you.
MY HAUNTED CAR
It’s not my house that’s haunted but my car. When I’m driving alone I have the overwhelming sensation that someone is sat next to me in the passenger seat. On one occasion the seatbelt warning light stayed on even though my own belt was secured. Do you think that my car is really haunted? – Jenny R
If you put the seatbelt into the passengers clip by accident then the warning light would stay on. Try it and see. This is not the first report we’ve heard about a haunted car. Villagers of the Long district, in the Phrae province of Thailand panicked recently when two dozen elderly people died in quick succession. There were strange stories circulating about a ghostly pick-up truck that arrived without a driver. The villagers, to repel the ghost, festooned their homes with banners saying “This house does not have any old people”
PHOTO PROVES THAT GRAVE YARD GHOST
I was brought up by my grandmother from the age of 18 months and, never knew my mother or father. My father’s name was never mentioned.
It wasn’t until I was 46 years old that I discovered his name and that for all these years he lived only a half hour’s bus ride away from me! Also, I discovered I had two sisters and a half brother. From the information on the death certificate, I found out where my father was buried. I went straight to the cemetery.
I knelt down beside my father’s neglected grave and sobbed “Father. If only you’d lived long enough for me to see what you looked like”
When I looked up I saw the ghostly figure of a man dressed in a blue uniform. He was stood on the top of a grave in a position that would be impossible for a real person to climb to. I also noticed that the figure faded away from below the knee and there were no feet. He smiled at me.
In utter horror I fled from the grave yard
When I met my new found sister I explained what happened and described the man I saw. She said nothing but handed me a photograph of my father- the first picture I had ever seen of him.
It was the exact likeness of the ghost I had seen in the graveyard. – Mrs Jean C- Cumbria.
The reasons you were abandoned as a baby will remain secret and, hard as it is not knowing, you must emotionally let go of the past. You saw your fathers spirit and the photograph proved to you that the experience was real. A long time hence, when you enter the greater life, your father will explain everything that happened and erase the mystery for ever.
TERRORISED BY TELEVISION SET
At my last address my family and myself were aware that we had a ghost who would only appear between the months of November and March. We called him Amos because he seemed to be grumpy like the character in ‘Emerdale Farm’.
One night in February we had a power cut for 18 hours. My wife went with the children round to her mother’s house where it was more comfortable and I lit some candles and sat at home.
At 8.30 in the evening one of the neighbours, who had been away, called to ask why there was no power. I invited her in and she sat in the armchair by the window- the same chair that many of us had felt the ghostly presence in the past.
The woman then seemed to fall into a trance. I saw her features change and she boomed out in a loud, male, voice “I’ve got to ****** Speak! Her voice sounded horrible and the bad language that came from her mouth was appalling.
I must admit I panicked. I jumped up and pulled her from the chair which brought her immediately to her senses. She was tremendously shaken and had no idea what she’d been saying.
I spent the rest of the night alone and very, very frightened. – Tony
You mention elsewhere in your letter that sometimes when you’ve had an argument the room goes cold, plants stems have snapped and objects have flown across the room by themselves. This may indicate that you have a rare form of psychic energy that can directly influence the material world. If you could be trained you would make a first class medium. The combination of your powers and the woman’s trance abilities may have allowed the spirit to manifest. Unfortunately you tell us no more about the woman who visited- some people with psychiatric disorders will make vulgar outbursts without realising that they’ve spoken.
References and Works Cited
The above story is from my series of books about the paranormal check out these two great books:
- Real Ghost Stories – Sightings, Ouija Board Messages and Séances
- Real Angels and Spiritual Encounters
- American Society for Psychical Research
- Institute of Noetic Sciences
- Koestler Parapsychology Unit
There are various types of phenomena that people call ghosts: One is an intelligent manifestation of the conscious spirit of someone who once lived on earth. Ghosts may also be a residual energy of events from the past that can be clairvoyantly ‘seen’ by one or more people. The first is a real spirit, the second is a memory imprinted on the environment. Both may appear to the observer as an apparition or phantom image.
More Ghost Articles on this Site
- Psychic Predictions about the Middle East
- Correct Psychic Predictions
- Dreams about Sathya Sai Baba’s Immanent Return
- Haunted House Photographs – Some Bizarre Pictures
- New Ghost Photographs – Some Very Weird Photos.
- How Soon to Consult a Medium?
- Tarot Readings – how to get the best from a reading.
- How to get proper guidance from the tarot cards.
- Getting the Best from Psychic Readings
- Predictions to Know The Future
- Spiritualist Mediums and what they do.
- Clairvoyant Readings – clear seeing
CRAIG HAMILTON-PARKER is a celebrated U.K. medium who has confounded skeptics by the uncanny accuracy of his readings. Craig and his wife Jane have had their own TV shows in the UK and USA including 'The Spirit of Princess Diana'. In 2003 the BBC made a 3 part documentary about their work. Craig is the author of 15 books.