My Ghostly Encounter and the Science That Explains It
As Halloween approaches, we will soon be inundated with ghostly images and supernatural stories. Personally, I am not a believer in ghosts. I would love to see one, but I am certain that will never happen.
There was, however, an event that happened to me when I was 16 that made me question my disbelief in ghosts walking the earth. A truly terrifying experience that I have never talked or written about until now.
First off, let me set the scene. My family had purchased an old, three-story house in Harrogate, Tenn. The house had a large, detached brick garage, which we remodeled into a living space. The plan was to occupy this house and rent the main house since we had no need for five bedrooms.
Our first tenants were an anesthesiologist and his two young daughters, both of whom were under 10 years of age. Shortly after they moved in, they each started describing odd occurrences within the house. The man claimed that he kept seeing a light appear through the keyhole of his bedroom door. The light would be interrupted by shadows as if someone was walking around just outside his bedroom. This couldn't be the case since the hardwood floors were old and creaky. No one could move silently in that house. He solved this problem by stuffing toilet paper into the skeleton keyhole.
The toilet paper in the keyhole might have been enough to let him ignore the mystery of the light, but his daughters had stories of their own. They each claimed to have seen a woman "floating up the stairs." The children described an older woman, wearing a white blouse and long black skirt. Her hair was pulled up into a bun. They also told their father that she was friendly and not to be afraid. "She's always smiling," they said. Days later, he prematurely ended his lease and moved out of the house.
After several other tenants, the decision was made that we would occupy the main house and rent the garage house out to another family. Of course, I had considered the possibility that the original tenants weren't crazy; that I might, in fact, encounter the specter the girls had described, but that never happened. What did happen, was much, much worse.
I had taken one of the two rooms on the third floor as my bedroom and was thrilled with it. For a 16-year-old, having your own floor was like having your own apartment. I didn't have to worry about my mom hearing me on the phone at 2 a.m. and I certainly didn't worry about ghosts.
One night, I was suddenly awakened by the sound of my door creaking open. My back was to the door, but for some reason I didn't turn to see who it was. My mom wasn't the type to barge in without knocking, so it couldn't be her. As I was going through all of this reasoning in my mind, I realized that I couldn't move. I was frozen in fear and could feel someone staring at the back of my head. I knew I had to force myself to turn and see who or what was in the room, so I was trying to get my muscles to cooperate. At that point, whoever was in the room sat down on the corner of my bed and for a moment I thought I heard a faint, under the breath, sinister laugh. That did it for me. I silently counted to three and used every ounce of my strength to turn and sit upright.
What I saw was inexplicable. A figure whose outline I could see only by the fact that it seemed darker than the darkness of the room. The face, however was very clear. I suppose the best word I have to describe it is demonic. A reddish tinge to the flesh, an evil grin and eyes which appeared to be black, empty sockets.
I got up and ran. I ran right through the image of this thing I had seen and down all of the stairs to the main floor. I laid on the couch in the living room playing back what had happened to me in my mind. After about an hour of staring at the ceiling, I decided to go back upstairs. I knew that if I didn't go back in that room that night, I may never sleep in there again.
After a thorough inspection, I found nothing out of the ordinary and eventually went back to sleep.
Years later, I learned about something that completely explained what happened to me. I had never heard of "Sleep Paralysis" at the time, or I would have instantly been able to dismiss my experience as opposed to wondering what the hell had happened to me. If you're not familiar with the term, but have had an experience similar to mine, then you should definitely watch the video above and see if there is in fact a rational explanation for your experience. I am convinced this is what I was suffering from during my ghost encounter.
As for the anesthesiologist and my explanation for his experiences, that one is easy, too. He wanted to break his lease so he made it all up.