My only ghostly experience came in the fall of 1986. I had lost most of my vision from diabetes and had entered a residential rehabilitation facility in the capital city of a southern state.
Rumors had been shared among clients about odd things that occurred on this campus that encompassed an entire city block. Because many clients come to this rehabilitation facility with secondary medical complications, there had been cases of clients passing on in their dormitory rooms.
Odd things had been reported such as the elevator engaging and moving from one floor to the other when only one person, the business office manager, sat in his office in the administration building. More than once he had charged out of his office and to the elevator doors to see who was coming from the second floor but the elevator was always empty when the doors slid open. That to me could be easily explained as an electrical glitch vs something paranormal.
The same office manager was in the small first floor reception area of the training hall with two men who were hired as security guards during the week long Christmas closure. One of the guards was a regular member of maintenance and the other a part time staff member and both fully knowledgeable about the entire campus. The clients and all staff had departed except for these three men. They stood quietly chatting when they all heard a sound. It sounded like someone had dragged a heavy piece of furniture across the floor directly over their heads. They rushed to the second floor but nothing was moved or out of place. This they could not explain.
My experience took place in the hall where my room, along with three other rooms, was located. There was a fire stairway at one end of the short hall that led either upstairs to the women's second floor dorm rooms or outdoors and into the courtyard. Double swinging doors on the other end of that hall opened into the first floor women's lounge and then either led out to the courtyard or through a second set of swinging doors that led to the counseling hall.
It was a Friday night and I had just finished supper. Using my white cane, I made my way out of the cafeteria, into the training hall's reception area and down through the hall, up the short set of stairs and through the counseling hall. I passed through the first set of swinging doors and walked across the first floor women's lounge and through the second set of doors and into my hall.
My room was the first door on the left. The hall was very short and you needed to take only one step to cross the hall to the door directly across from mine.
I removed my door key and using my left hand, located the keyhole and had just begun to insert the key with my right hand when I heard five taps on the door across the hall from my own. It sounded like someone tapped with just one finger.
I straightened my position and spun on my heels, feeling somewhat foolish for not having realized there was someone in the hall with me. I said a pleasant hello but received no answer. I can only imagine the look on my face when no response came. Finally, and shrugging my shoulders, I turned back to my own door.
As I was again about to insert my key into the slot a thought struck me. Knowing that it was a habit for all diabetics to be housed on the first floor in the event of needing assistance quickly for a low blood sugar, I again turned to the door across from mine. My thought was that perhaps one of the two ladies sharing that room had knocked from the inside and was in need of help.
I took the one step necessary to reach their door. In a loose fist, I raised my hand to knock on their door but before I could, I again heard the five taps on the door but this time, there was no question that those taps came from my side of their door and that I was the only person standing in the hall.
Then I heard one of the ladies in that room say, "Yes, someone is at the door. See who it is."
Well, when they opened the door, there I was standing transfixed with my right hand still in the air as if to knock. When they asked what I might need, it took me a moment until I found my voice. I knew what had just happened and was trying to process what I knew had just happened but was finding it difficult to admit what I in my heart knew; that someone or something had tapped on that door right beside me.
I finally was able to explain what I had heard from inside the hall, the two sets of five taps on the door. They both said they had heard the taps too. We stood there puzzled when I burst out laughing. I was still not ready to face the reality of what I had known I had heard.
I said, "Oh, I know. Your guide dog was leaning against the door and scratched which caused the tapping sounds."
"But," one lady said, "neither of us has a guide dog." She replicated the tapping exactly as we had all heard it.
I know those tappings came from the hall side of their door. The sound was not a foot to my right and at eye level as I stood there. Had it been a real person, we would have been all but touching shoulders. Together we three ladies attempted to replicate the sound by going through the swinging doors, opening and closing the stairwell door and even the doors leading out onto the courtyard from the women's lounge. We could not replicate those tappings, no matter what we tried. And despite not having vision, I slept that night with all my room's lights on.
The following Monday as I walked to the administration building, I caught up with the Director of Vocational Training. I asked her if, to her knowledge, anyone had ever passed on that floor. She said that yes, years before an older woman who once occupied one of the rooms on the far side of the women's lounge had gone to lie down after a double period of orientation and mobility (instruction for using a white cane) and had expired in her sleep. When I explained what we three ladies had experienced that Friday night, she made me vow that I would never share this story with other clients so as not to frighten them.
I know what I heard. I know what we three ladies heard. I have no rational explanation except to speculate that the former, and now departed, client was visiting one of her fellow dormies in my hall.