Ghosts Are People Too

By Susan Keats, Contributor &  Seize-the-Day Propagandist

OK, I have a confession. I’m putting myself out on a ledge here and some of you will think I’m crazy, but I’m not. I know I’m not because over a lifetime of inquiry on the topic, I know many of you have your own stories to tell and I know you’re not all crazy either. So here it goes…in time for Halloween…deep breath…

I hear dead people.

Not all the time mind you, and I can’t make it happen. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve had an experience that I would consider to be other-worldly, but each time was powerful, meaningful and…and freaky.

One of my favorite things to do is to ask people for their own stories. To me, this topic is far more interesting than anything to do with that ol' popular standby SEX, and far less discussed in the popular media, except of course at Halloween. There’s so much hoopla going around about how menopause is finally coming out of the closet, but I think it’s time for people to remove this particular skeleton and stop thinking that others will believe you are nuts. Just about everyone has a favorite ghostly “it happened to me” story.

Here’s one of mine just to get us warmed up:

I was backpacking around Europe with a friend. She and I had a falling out of some sort and I found myself planning the next leg of my journey all alone. I sat on my bed in a youth hostel with my travel book in hand, and nervously looked for train stations and stops to get me through France and into Spain within the week. All by myself. Alone. I was scared.

So as I sat there on my bed, biting my nails and worrying about myself and what time I needed to get up in the morning, I heard a voice so clear it was like someone was sitting next to me on the bed.

“Whatever you do, you’ll be ok.”

It was my great grandmother’s voice. We call her Little Grandma. There was no mistaking her sweet tone and Russian accent. She also was no longer alive. I dropped my book and my heart leapt into my throat, pounding.  WHAT????

The sound of her voice resonated in my head. “WHAT THE…..say it again!” I begged. “Say it again!”  but she didn’t. That was it. The one crystal clear moment.

The rest of my trip was charmed. I felt watched over and taken care of. A variety of disasters were somehow averted.  Pickpockets who were surrounding me in Barcelona, trying to remove my backpack, were scared off by a stranger who stepped in to help. A young German couple saved me from a man who started stalking me at the youth hostel where we were staying. I was finally ushered into the arms of a great group of Australians who took me in as one of their own and we continued our journey around the world together. I was safe. I was protected. In spite of all the things that happened or could have happened, I was indeed ok. 

I still believe that my great grandmother keeps an eye out for me, though I have never heard her voice again. I wish I would. I’d really like to hear it.

That doesn’t sound so crazy, does it? No. I’ll bet you have a similar tale to tell. I’m hoping you do, I want to hear it.

Well, now that we’re all warmed up, here is another:

In 2009 I went to a conference in San Diego with a friend who was my boss at the time. She had booked us into a beautifully renovated old hotel that had previously been a transient hotel.

Our room was a suite. She had the bedroom at one end of the suite and I had a sofa bed in the sitting area at the other end.

We dropped our stuff and went out to explore San Diego. We had a great dinner and headed back to the room to sleep.  We had an early morning ahead of us.

At some point in the middle of the night, while I slept on my side, I was awakened because someone sat on my bed. The next thing I knew, that someone had snuggled up behind me and had put her face on top of mine.

I panicked. I was afraid to move. All I could think was that my boss had come in to my room and was doing this…why was she doing this? This was so entirely out of character for a woman who does not even like to be hugged. This made no sense. This was CRAZY!

My head was spinning and I decided that all I could do was be funny, so without missing a beat I said “Is this my wakeup call?”

The woman laughed. It was definitely a woman. “Go back to sleep” she said and I didn’t feel her any more. I was afraid to move. My heart was pounding. I lay awake for a long long time wondering why my boss had done that and how would I ask her about it in the morning?

Finally I fell back to sleep and in the morning I spoke up: “um….er…did you…uh, sit on my bed in the middle of the night?”

“What?  NO!” She said emphatically. “Why would I do something like that?”

And the thing was, I knew she would never do something like that. I asked the fellow at the front desk if the hotel was known to have any ghosts?

“You bet it does!” He agreed with a wink, but he never filled me in on any details.

My husband, a doctor of all things brainy has suggested to me that this was a hypnogogic hallucination. I suppose it could have been. All I can say though is that I never had anything similar happen to me before and I’ve never had anything like it happen since.

Now that it’s Halloween, I can think of no better opportunity for all of you NOT crazy people to join me here on this ledge and come clean. Tell me the story that you have kept to yourself all these years. No namby pamby boyscout RAP RAP Wrapping paper tales. OK? I want real stories. TRUE stories. Let’s hear 'em. Little Grandma and I will know if you’re telling the truth.

Susan-KeatsSusan Keats ~ In 2010 Susan received life-changing news after a routine mammogram. She had breast cancer. After plenty of tears, anxiety and soul searching, she finished treatments and is now entering a year of renewal, growth, and recovery. Susan hopes that those who are just stepping into the experience of illnesses or crises will find the same comfort and inspiration that she felt when others shared their experiences and wisdom with her. She is looking forward to rediscovering parts of herself that she had allowed to fall away. This is going to be a great year!

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23 Responses to Ghosts Are People Too

  1. Susan says:

    Lisa, that is a great gift and I think you are correct that we all have different ones. I find it so interesting that we all have had these experiences but few people want to discuss them.

  2. Audrey says:

    I have many stories about being ‘touched’ by loved ones who have died. The most poignant example is the day of my father’s funeral. It had been fives months the last time I had seen him and I was devastated that I did not say goodbye before his unexpected death. I was in line at Tim Horton’s getting a coffee and a little girl, who could not have been more than 3, was in front of me with her mom. She suddenly starting humming ‘Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee’ in such a beautiful innocent tone. Her mother asked what she was humming and the little girl said she did not know. She continued to sing as tears where streaming down my face. This was one of my father’s favorite hymns and it was going to be sang at his funeral later on that day. I knew at the moment my father was there with me.

  3. Lori Jo Vest says:

    My favorite ghost experience is from a Victorian Home we like to stay in when we visit Cripple Creek, CO. Until she got used to me, the house mistress didn’t care for me, I’m guessing, since she tried to push me down the stairs. When we stay there we hear lots of strange noises and even a sneeze. She’s warmed up to us a bit, so there haven’t been any more pushing and shoving.

  4. Susan says:

    Audrey. Make me cry. That was beautiful. What a great story.

  5. I was found lifeless as a newborn infant and had to be revived.(My lungs had collapsed and a Nurse found me not breathing in my incubator.) As a result, I have been psychic my whole life.

    The most amazing connection I ever had with a deceased person was on (what would have been ) my parent’s 50th Anniversary. I was sitting at the kitchen counter and I felt a hand take mine and I started writing in a notebook that was lying on the counter. I closed my eyes and let the writing flow. When I finished writing, I opened my eyes and it was a poem written by my Mother to my Father. Through me she was letting let him know that she would be there for him…always.

  6. Susan says:

    Debi I have goose bumps. That’s amazing! I love these stories! LOVE!!!

  7. I have a couple of my own. I have had premonition dreaming visualizing tragic events before they take place. Does not happen frequently only twice in my lifetime. First, had a dream about the tragic Eastern Airline crash in the Everglades the evening before the crash. I saw the fumes, the name EASTERN airlines in the dream. I was living with my sister during the time, on the Tamiami Trail, close to the site. The second dream took involved the collapse of the New Jersey suspended bridge, also days before the event. This time, I told a nun at the high school I was attending about the dream. Unbeknownst to me, she came running up to me with the newspaper picture of the exact bridge I had dreamt about. Very scary.

    I am a sensitive and feel things as well, see this story about my own haunted house experience

  8. DarleneMAM says:

    I have connected with the dead, from my Pekinese dog to my Dad. Here’s one:

  9. I must admit reading this like a voyeur..pretty freaky but very interesting.

  10. Janie Emaus says:

    I jsut blogged about the spirit of my brother-in-law, who came to his memorial golf tournament. Other than that, nothing much else comes to mind. Except once a very long time ago, I’m sure my cousin came to visit me in the middle of the night. He stood at the foot of my bed, smiling.

  11. Susan says:

    Great stories! More! Send more!!

  12. I have always believed in such connections. I believe that the problem is us. We don’t have the sensitivity to their attempted communications. We have to open ourselves to the unknown… keep it up my dear friend.
    This was wonderfully written.

  13. Carol April says:

    They say that there are “signs” from deceased loved ones all around us if we are open to the possibility.
    I for one, am usually clueless, but can recall on a few occasions, my dad, in particular, “guiding me” to find something that I had misplaced…
    I’ve had enough freak near misses to think that I must be fortunate enough to have someone or ones watching over me!
    Thanks for sharing your experiences, Audrey — and for creating an opportunity for others to share theirs.

    • Audrey says:

      Anne-Marie and I are thrilled that people enjoy perusing the pages of The Succulent Wife and are so happy when our readers are moved enough to leave a comment. We so appreciate all the feedback and kind words!

  14. Janie Emaus says:

    Hi Susan
    Here’s the link to my story

    I had it on FB, so you may have already seen it.


  15. Steve Saunders says:

    I used to spend every cold afternoon at my kids elementary school talking with Lydia inside the warm vestibule within view of our kids playing in the snow. We’d hold court with whomever came thru and didn’t want to stand in the cold watching their kids. We’d make them talk to us quizzing them about whatever we felt like. It was either talk to us or stand outside in the snow. So they talked and often revealed tidbits they didn’t plan to. We pryed into their lives out of sport but our captives enjoyed being unexpectedly engaged and came back for more on a daily basis. After she died in July 2009 (surviving Pancreatic cancer for 8 years), the school year started and when it got cold I’d still stay inside the vestibule and talk with some but not as many people as I didn’t have the same draw that Lydia had. Some people would say “hey” to me and ask where that nice lady was. When I told them, they didn’t realize SHE was the parent they heard had passed away and naturally were saddened as she had touched their life in that little way on Tuesdays/Thursdays when their kid played outside and they were compelled to tell all.

    One cold afternoon I was standing there alone spacing out with nobody to talk to when I felt a finger poke me in the soft meat between right shouder blade and spine. It was enough to reflexively turn me around to see who was there. Nobody was there and I suddenly felt like, wait, wasn’t I just poked by a finger? Or was it just one of those random muscle twitches we all get? But, I’m not compelled to turn around everytime I get one of those little muscle twitches and there was only one. One solid assertive poke. Was it Lydia visiting me in our vestibule?

  16. Susan says:

    Steve, I sometimes think that it must take a great deal of energy for someone on “the other side” to make themselves known. Maybe this is why we get only one poke and then nothing. Maybe they can’t do it again for a while. Or, maybe it was a muscle twitch. Wish there was a way to know for sure. I was once shoved by no one and it sure felt like a shove. Lydia poking you with a finger in your back seems much nicer than whoever it was who shoved me!

  17. nancy says:

    Sue, your stories were wonderful! There actuallly has been so many documented accounts of other dimensions such as the dead talking to us and past lives accounts as in “Many Lives, Many Masters” by Dr. Weiss. Just because we can’t measure these experiences doesn’t mean they are not real. Germs existed before we had microscopes.

  18. Ellen says:

    My mom and I were very connected psychically, mentally…however you choose to look at it. The night she died, she let me know. I was 15 and spending the night w/ friends of the family so that my step-father could stay at the hospital. We knew she was dying but thought she had several days left. To help keep my mind off of things, I went to a high school basketball game with our friends’ kids. At one point, I looked up at the gym clock and saw that it was 8:30. When I looked at the clock again, thinking that it was an hour later, the clock still said 8:30. I thought, “That was the longest moment of my entire life.” It literally felt like time had stood still. When our friends picked us up after the game, they said, “We’re so very sorry to tell you this, but your mom died this evening.” Before I even asked, I knew what time she died…and the answer was 8:30…

  19. Janny Taylor says:

    Back in the day, before there were remote controls, I asked our resident ghost to change the channel for me…and she/he did! I was just too tired to get up and do it myself, but you can tell your doctor husband that I am a hypnotherapist and it wasn’t a hypnogogic hallucination!

  20. Susan says:

    Ellen, thank you for your story! I have been very interested in stories in which a loved one dies and we are somehow notified. I have heard a few of these, one in particular from a friend who I was hoping would share her story here. They are among my favorite kinds of stories. We are all connected, I believe it.

    Janny, I think I would have freaked out a little. Did you? Or did you just say thank you?

  21. Jess says:

    I have never been able to see or feel any sort of “other-wordly” apparitions, but I have experienced a few things that make me believe there is more to this life than meets the eye. One such event was when I was staying home alone dog sitting for my aunt. My cousin and I are roommates and we have jokingly attributed things being moved or hearing strange sounds to “Bart”, our in-house ghostie. He’s not scary, he’s just a nuisance and is often our way of explaining our own forgetful behaviors rather than any of his own.

    But this day I was dog sitting, the little dog would NOT move from the sofa. He was staring at the corner of the room and was growling so hard the entire sofa was vibrating (he’s a Shihtzu, btw). I would walk over to the corner of the room and the dog would stop growling and whimper, like “Don’t go over there, please!” This little pup was staring at nothing, growling at the same spot, and was visibly uncomfortable the entire 2 days I dog sat. I actually caught myself talking to the dog, trying to persuade him to relax and leave Bart alone. The dog was hemming my ghost up in the corner and wouldn’t let him leave!

    I truly believe Bart was more scared of the dog than any of us are of having a ghost in our home. I still sometimes hear Bart closing doors, the TV still pops on randomly, and our dryer will turn on in the middle of the night without any prompting…but I don’t have any fear of Bart when I know a pint-sized pup had him scared into a corner!

  22. Susan says:

    Jess, great story! My friend has a story about her daughter when she was little. She was in her crib laughing and reaching for something on the other side of the room. My friend would catch her often staring at the same spot and laughing. So do animals and children get to see things that we don’t? I think so.

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