There are two types of people in this world: those that believe in ghosts and those who have yet to experience them. For the longest time, I fell into the latter category. I used to make excuses for the weird and uncomfortable moments I encountered growing up but I can no longer be silent. Here are six personal ghost stories that’ll make you believe we’re not alone:
1. When my family moved into our home in 1995, all of us were weirded out. The vibe in the house was off and certain rooms, like my parents’ bedroom felt uncomfortable. It was like the air in that room was heavy. My dad, who never believed in ghosts, didn’t even want to sleep in there. As the years went on, I never felt like I was alone in the house, but the room that scared me the most was our attic. As I got older, we redid the attic and it became like a second floor apartment. The attic was broken into three areas: the front room was mostly storage, the second part was where I slept and the third room was a walk-in-closet. The third room always gave me the creeps. It had windows that overlooked the driveway and main road, and every time I parked my car, I would avoid looking up at the window because I had this sinking feeling that I’d meet someone’s gaze. At night, I’d wake up at 2:00am for weeks on end for no reason. I’d always have this feeling like someone was watching me from the third room, their body barely peeking out from behind the wooden doorframe. I just knew it was a man. I could just feel it.
I kept all my experiences to myself. After about a year of living up there, I found myself in a weird conversation with my mom. My mom had always been open about her ability to see ghosts ever since she was a child. She wasn’t scared of them but she believed in them more than the average person. One night, as we sat on her bed, she looked at me and asked, “Do you ever see the man upstairs?” I met her gaze and asked, “What man?” She smiled and said, “the guy who lives in the attic. I see him every time I pull into the driveway.”
2. I was usually the only one in my family who ever visited my grandparents at the cemetery. It was usually my tradition to place calla lilies – my grandmother’s favorite flowers – on her and my pop pop’s joint cemetery plot every Easter. About seven years ago, I was babysitting my nephew a few days after Easter. While we were out, I stopped off at the gas station to purchase some discounted flowers to place on my grandparents’ grave. I hadn’t been able to stop by on the actual holiday. When I pulled into the cemetery, I was one of maybe two or three people who were there. The cemetery is set up in multiple sections, with two other cars parked all the way in the back, away from where I was. My grandparents’ plot was relatively close to the main road and where I parked my car. I grabbed the flowers and my nephew and walked over, having a few minute conversation with them both and introducing them to my nephew who was about a year and a half old at the time. The cemetery was silent. After realizing my nephew had a wet diaper, I scooped him up off my knee and began heading back to the car. While I was carrying him, my nephew started bursting out in laughter. I mean, he was hysterical. I turned my head to see him waving at the gravesite by folding his fingers over, almost as if he was getting ready to make a fist. I paused, because that’s exactly how my pop pop used to wave to us as children.
3. It was summer vacation and I was about 14 years old at the time when this ghostly encounter happened. My father worked from home but had to run a couple of errands and after begging him, he left me home since he wouldn’t be out for longer than an hour. We lived in a very safe neighborhood and all the doors and windows were locked. While he was gone, I jumped in the shower and had my music up really loud. It wasn’t unusual for my dad to knock on the bathroom door if the music was getting too loud or if he had to use the bathroom and needed me to finish up. As I was finishing up, I heard fists banging loudly against the bathroom door. “Almost done!” I yelled back, singing the rest of the song that was playing. I hopped out, dried off and put a robe on and opened the bathroom door, telling my father that I was out and the bathroom was all his. No answer. I looked in the kitchen and his office. Not there. I peeked my head through the window to see his car wasn’t in the driveway. When he got home, I asked him if he stopped by for a few minutes in between his errands and he hadn’t.
Ten years later, my husband and I were at my parents’ house while my dad was in the hospital to straighten up. I was outside talking to a neighbor when my husband heard banging on the bathroom door. He had apparently yelled out that he was almost finished. I wasn’t even in the house.
4. It’s not really a ghost story as much as it is the lack of a ghostly presence. For the twenty plus years I lived in my childhood home, I had never once felt comfortable. Every time I had my back to the stairs leading up to the attic, I felt this impenetrable gaze looking down at me. Every time I walked into my parents’ bedroom, I felt like the closet door would swing open like a ridiculous scene out of the Poltergeist. Every room felt thick, unbearable. I never felt like I was alone, even when I was alone. It always felt unsafe. It always felt crowded. That is until my mother died in the house. On the morning of her death, after her body had been cleared, it was the first time the house felt open. It was like the house had taken a new breath. To this day, I don’t know if my mom’s spirit demanded that those in the house leave or if she was the reason the ghosts were there in the first place.
5. My mom died about a month and a half before what would have been my parents’ 39th wedding anniversary. At the time, my dad refused to sleep in their bed, opting instead for a recliner he had in their bedroom. He was sleeping with a very thick and heavy floral comforter, one that was way too cumbersome for even a human to hold for too long. At about 6:00am, he woke up because he was cold. The comforter was nowhere to be found in the bedroom. His two dogs were asleep at his feet. He got up and walked into the dining room to find the comforter folded up. It had a huge indent in it like someone was sleeping in it. While it could be explained that the dog curled up on it in the middle of the night, what can’t be explained is how it got there, even more so, why it was in the exact spot my mother died in?
6. My husband and I were packing to take a vacation on the one year anniversary of my mother’s funeral. We wanted to be somewhere different. About two weeks prior, we had gone out to dinner for Valentine’s Day. After we were finished eating, the restaurant gave me a heart-shaped balloon to take home with us. The balloon hung out in our living room, full of air and confined to one corner. The circulation in our apartment isn’t great and there are only four or so vents spread out across the apartment. Our ceilings are high and the doorframe to our bedroom is low, so any piece of furniture we take in and out has to duck from that particular area of the house. My husband and I were in the bedroom, planning out outfits to bring with us on our trip when the balloon was suddenly at the entranceway. For two weeks, the balloon hadn’t drifted from the living room and now suddenly it was standing at the doorway, as if someone was holding it. We both just stopped and stared as the balloon lowered itself to enter the room and floated to a spot that was caddy corner to our bed frame. “Touch it,” I said, to which my freaked out husband replied, “You touch it!” The balloon didn’t float back up to the ceiling, it stayed in the center, as if still being held onto.
“What if it’s my mom?” I asked. My husband looked over at the balloon and said, “Margaret, if that’s you, bring the balloon to us.” The balloon moved instantaneously, floating right to my head. I even have photo evidence to prove it.
About fifteen minutes later, after we were focused again on packing, I looked over at the balloon. It was perched on my nightstand next to a photo frame. “I like what you did with the balloon,” I told my husband. He looked at me and said, “I didn’t touch it.”
It was just sitting there on display, still full of life and full of air.