Most of my ghostly experiences have been visual or physical, but every now and then, over the years, I have heard a sort of disembodied voice. I've never been sure who or what it was, but each time I felt that some ghostly presence was looking out for me.
The first - and probably the most dramatic - time I heard it was when I was a teenager, and was on a plane with my parents, flying to visit my sister. It was a smallish commuter plane, half empty, and it had been an uneventful flight right up until it was time to land. The plane had been coming in, heading for the runway, when suddenly and abruptly it nosed up again and started regaining altitude. The pilot circled around and made another failed attempt to land before announcing that the landing gear would not engage and that he would be making one more attempt before doing an emergency landing on the belly of the plane. At that point we could see emergency vehicles arriving, and emergency ground crew started spraying a sort of foam on the runway.
As we started to circle around again I began to feel very frightened and queasy, but then I heard someone speaking to me. My father was seated beside me and nobody was seated in the row behind us, but the voice I heard was distinctly female, and it spoke directly into my ear, "This will all be fine." As the plane circled again, I felt myself become extremely calm and relaxed. Then, as the pilot made his final attempt, the landing gear engaged, and the plane landed safely and without incident.
The funny thing was, my father said afterward that he too experienced an almost unnatural sense of calm, along with a feeling of certainty that things would be fine. My mother, however, did not experience this - in fact she was so terrified that she completely lost the use of her voice, and was unable to speak for more than a week!
The next time I can remember hearing the voice was about ten or twelve years later, when my soon-to-be husband and I were living in our first apartment. That morning he'd told me that he would have to stay late at the office, and I, needing to get caught up on a few things, decided to do the same.
Five o'clock came and went, and one by one the offices around me emptied out until I was the only person remaining. I was sitting at my desk, completely alone, when I clearly heard a voice, just as if someone was right beside me and had spoken in my ear, "You should go home now." I looked around, but there was nobody there. I had planned to stay for a couple of hours, but instead I found myself getting up to leave the office. The funny thing was, though, that I didn't feel frightened or uneasy at all - I just remember standing up, calmly reaching for my coat and my briefcase, and walking home without giving it much thought.
A few minutes after arriving home, I thought I smelled smoke. I walked around the apartment, checking appliances and outlets, trying to figure out where the smell was coming from. This particular apartment was very haunted (as described in my previous post from 2008) so I half expected the smell to disappear without explanation. As I searched, however, the smell of smoke grew stronger, until finally I could see a haze in the air. The source didn't seem to be in our apartment, though, so I grabbed my phone and headed out the front door. I should explain here that our apartment occupied the entire the top level of a two story house. Our downstairs neighbours occupied the main and basement levels, and we each had our own entrance on opposite sides of the house.
Anyway, I dashed outside and around the house and started banging on the downstairs front door, phoning our landlord as I did so - he lived right across the street and immediately came running over. Nobody was home but we could see thick smoke through the kitchen window, and the cat was mewling frantically against the glass. The landlord unlocked the door and burst inside, to find that the downstairs tenants (who were big stoners) had gone out and left a pan of bacon drippings on the stove over a lit burner. Miraculously it had not yet ignited, but the pan was billowing smoke. He put it in the sink and shut off the stove, and a near-crisis was averted. It was only once I was back upstairs and opening the windows in my smoky apartment that I realized that if I'd not heard that voice, nobody would have been at home and there very likely would have been a fire.
Another dramatic occasion when I heard the voice was a wintery night in January a few years later. My husband was doing ice-related research at that time and was scheduled to join a ship that was leaving port some time after midnight. A colleague was picking him up, and they planned to drive to the ship together, which was docked about an hour and a half outside the city.
I was pretty well used to his unpredictable schedule, dictated by sea conditions and berth availability, so I was not particularly surprised when, at about 9 pm that evening, he told me they would be leaving in an hour. But then a female voice, seeming to come from right beside me, said, "Tell him not to go." So I asked him to stay, and he insisted that he could not. I pleaded, saying that the conditions weren't great for highway driving, and he said not to worry, that they would be taking a 4x4. In a last ditch attempt I even told him that I'd "heard a warning", but my husband is the ultimate sceptic, and just shrugged it off as he continued packing his bag.
So, he left. As soon as he did, a sort of mildly "trance-like" feeling came over me. I was standing beside a chair, and I just sat down... And waited. For half an hour I did nothing - I didn't read, I didn't move, I don't even remember thinking about anything. I just... Waited. Finally, exactly thirty minutes after their departure, the phone rang. It was my husband - they had just been in an accident. Their truck had skidded on a patch of black ice, ramped up over the end of a guardrail, and flipped several times down an embankment. Dazed and disoriented, hanging from his seatbelt in the upside down vehicle, he had called me first instead of calling 911. In the end, though, help arrived quickly, and they were lucky - the vehicle was totalled, but my husband walked away with only minor cuts and bruises. His colleague fared worse, with a neck injury from which he gradually recovered. But given the severity of the accident, and the extensive damage to the truck, it was amazing that either of them survived.
Well, I can think of only one other time that I've heard the voice since then, and this is a weird and funny little story. About a year ago I was on my way to the office to work a weekend shift. I wanted to take a cup of coffee with me, but I couldn't find my travel mug anywhere. Finally, I grabbed my favorite "at home" coffee mug - a large, green, one-of-a-kind pottery thing - deciding that I would take it with me and make a cup once I'd arrived at work. As I stood there with the cup in my hand I heard the voice, right beside me, say in a scolding way, "If you take that cup out of this house it will never come back in again." I was surprised - nothing even the least little bit ghostly has ever happened to me in our current home - and I thought, "WHAT? That doesn't make any sense! And it's just a mug, why would I get a warning about that? I must be imagining things." And so, for the first time ever, I deliberately ignored the voice, and I put that mug in my bag and went on to work.
When I got there I worked my shift, happily sipping coffee from my favorite cup. Finally, when it was time to leave, I gathered my things and turned to pick up the mug to return it to my bag - only to accidentally knock it to the floor, where it shattered into a hundred little pieces. As I swept up the bits and put them in the trash, I ruefully remembered the voice: I had no idea why a spirit would bother to warn me about something so trivial, but it was certainly right!