My story took place in August 1961 when I wore a younger man's clothes. I was home on leave visiting my mother after basic training in Ft. Knox, Ky. During a sweltering, humidity filled summer night in central Michigan. Mom had recently moved into an old Victorian style home and I was trying without success to catch up on some sleep after a long bus ride back home. I was alone in an upstairs bed room and without an air conditioner sleep was all but impossible. During my third trip to the bathroom I made the trek down the hall without turning on the lights as a bright harvest moon lit up the place as though it was daytime.
Suddenly I saw a woman in a full satin formal dress scaling the stairs slowly, one step after another. I could hear the fabric of her dress swishing as it rubbed against itself with each step she took. I was spell bound. I knew it wasn't my mother, in fact in addition to the 18th century style dress the woman had no resemblance whatsoever to my mom who was taller and more slim. I wasn't afraid because I was immersed in curiosity about what I was seeing in HD living color. It helped that the woman seemed just as curious as to who I was. This is where things got really strange. You know when living people first encounter each other it is almost reflexive to engage each other's eyes. I looked into her eyes and saw only white orbs. She never looked into my eyes rather she stared toward my chest. Not in English, or any other language I could feel that she was scanning my inner self. A few minutes went by and after deducing that we had never met before I could feel her deciding to move on. She began to walk down the stair but disappeared into the wall about half way down.
The next morning my mother turned ashen when I related my encounter. She related that she had been listening to a woman's footsteps on the stair for a few weeks but my sister refused to believe her. She made immediate arrangements to leave the place and as far as I know we never encountered the woman again.
I have often thought about my ghost encounter and as I grow older and nearer to my own spirit destiny I am quite keen to hear of other encounters with spirits. I can usually detect false stories, the ones that sensationalize and attempt only to generate fear and delusion for what purpose I cannot understand. All of mankind is already quite susceptible to existential anxiety why make it worse by attempting to scare others as well as themselves? We will all die someday anyway so keep it real.
I was nearly an agnostic before my ghost encounter. I always tried to explain reports of seeing a ghost by others as a result of some quirk in physics but having seen my very own ghost I am a lot more open minded than before. There is a book called "The Tibetan book of the dead" written by a sacred monk named Padma Sambhava back in the 8th century A.D. According to the Tibetan Buddhists the intermediate, or in between state between dying and death can indeed be quite frightening. So much so that some dying souls separating from their physical bodies become too frightened to leave the bardos (places of transitory psychological states) so they wander, lost in a vast wasteland the Tibetans call "The Great Samsara."
A few years went by until I was wounded in Vietnam and had an NDE (Near Death Experience). All of this proves to my own satisfaction that a conscious stream of awareness goes on after physical death. Without a body, physical pain becomes impossible but the psychological condition is vulnerable to either blissful happiness, or immense psychological suffering. I will save my NDE for another time. Peace and good fortune to all. The Buddhists believe that life itself is one enormous illusion. Like a wave that appears to exist as an individual phenomenon then crests and vanishes back into the vast ocean from which it came we belong to a much larger entity that waxes in life and wanes in death, we were never really separate at all.