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WWII Shipyard Worker?


For ten years I rented a tiny home in a neighborhood built to house workers of industrial shipyards. These houses pretty much all look alike. From my living room a double window looks out exactly over the cement porch steps. At some point I became aware, in certain afternoon light, of someone "coming home" up to the steps. It was like catching a couple frames out of place when you screen a reel of film, and the out-of-place frames showed "someone" coming up, or up to, the empty daylight steps. With no sound to draw my gaze, I would look up to the window just in time to see the slight passing profile of someone arriving. At first, I would hop up to go look, but I did not after a while. I saw this a few times a year. My dogs never reacted even a blink or snork to these "sightings" of mine. What I saw was not frightening to me, just confusing.

I did ask my landlady if she had seen anything like that. She said no, but did not discount my question, or have any further explanation. My landlady's father had inherited her the house, she lived there when attending college. My few housemates were mostly too emotionally unstable to ask about this type of thing, as I did not want to scare them and their rent away. Maybe that is how the landlady felt about me-HA!

Even if I was staring straight out the window, whenever I saw this "person" arrive it was like seeing peripherally. Like a slant of light in a reflection, but with form and purpose. That sounds a bit odd. Oh well, I am just trying to best describe what I saw. I "saw" this head/shoulders in fleeting profile, as a brief glimpse, from different angles and distances. Usually when sitting, most often in summer. I felt it was someone "coming home" because their posture had that feeling of routine labour. When I'd look up, it almost felt like I was expecting them. I cannot say that I saw anyone or anything specific, but after a while I knew it seemed masculine and maybe wore a hat of some sort. None of the dogs ever once alerted to what I saw, or acted as if a person were there at all. This may have been the strangest part of what happened, and why I was quick to search for whoever had managed to sneak up, at first.

I believe YGS is the best place to mention this experience, as you readers are so helpful to compare and analyze even mundane occurrences such as this. My questions about these events are for those who have "seen" a spirit before, and of the actual optical function of their sighting: was the spirit A) present before their eyes or B) seen in their mind but "projected" in the space? Does it ever look like a reflection or angle of light, but where none can be? Could "seeing" one spirit happen different ways, differently in seasonal light changes? I felt, more than saw, that it was a man coming home after work, but I know I saw somebody coming up when no one was "really there" to physically see.

I get why people lose their minds trying to reason this stuff out. How can one find explanations for something so difficult to describe? Why did my brain notice these repeated incidents? I do not feel that I can say I have seen a ghost, because it was more like seeing a reflection or feeling- repeatedly triggered by catching a certain movement in my field of sight. Maybe my curiosity also sounds odd.

Prior to the WWII era development, that land and woods had been taken as property by an Officer (Harney?) from nearby Fort Vancouver. I am unsure where any of that officer's buildings stood. A massive white Oak in the backyard adjoining mine would have been eighty or so at the time. The house and lot where I lived got sold to the bank, so who knows if any of it still stands.

I lived alone mostly. My two big dogs kept me safe. Boxers have a deep serious tone to their bark which let's me know immediately if there is a stranger. They would jump up with their front paws on that front window sill, and make great sport of those cheeky enough to visit our quiet street. If anyone stopped by, the neighbors' poodle would help with the game, yipping from behind a fence while my dogs waited until the person was right outside. Boxers live for games like this, and never missed an opportunity to bark and claw at a visitor's head through the window.

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, BettinaMarie, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will participate in the discussion and I need help with what I have experienced.

BettinaMarie (14 stories) (80 posts)
6 years ago (2018-08-17)
Tremendous thanks for everyone's insight and sharing in the responses here. I had to take a minute and sort of apply the new thoughts. Since I would much rather not see spirits per se, the other options put out are especially interesting.

RCRuskin-I agree that time slips are possible and probable. I would prefer this to actually "seeing" a ghost. Does it seems that these slips depend on some understanding, craft or luck? Any of those three, if needed, I don't feel in possession of.

Forgive me if this sounds naive, but in my amateur mind I always thought a person needed A) local ancestry or B) a direct attachment (like Forgetmenot's) or C) controlled conditions (weather/time) or D) tools (eyelashes/mirror) to access such slips. I am not trying to argue, I just have questions becuase this is such a big topic and I trust your ideas and thoughtfulness.

Maybe all those conditions seem less precarious than the random option. To me, it also makes sense that maybe we live so near the past or future action that it would not create a disruptive feeling when something unfamiliar slips.

Fascinating. I wish I were better at math, so my nearest understanding of what you describe is the film scene where Matthew McCougnehy reaches out and touches his past/present/future self through "the veil" of time. Maybe this is why I "expected" someone?

Augusta-It is a warm fuzzy thought to think of someone in another time, happy to get off shift. I always wondered what the old trees had seen in that nieghborhood.

Spockie-I wonder if they ever "saw" me and wondered who the heck was coming to answer the door. Or even if I was seeing a loop of myself and that is why the dogs did not react.

LuciaJacinda- It is hard to describe how it actually looked or of I even technichally "saw" it with my eyeballs. The way Teeed exllained seeing the mismatched light in reflections is how I noticed this, too, at first. MsForgetmenot's brilliant descriptions of their visual experience is very close to how it looked, but it was always so brief, and I amtrying to be as honest as possible. I also don't know anybody who worked the shipyards.

Tweed- thank you for the details. It does seems like what I saw was not necessarily a spirit, when compared to the way you and others have described them.

Curious Dee- It did not feel like a ghost was there, if that makes sense. I have felt ghosts but never seen them. I hope.

Msforgetmenot-the shimmery, flat sort of optics and jerky movement repeating the same stride seem very close to what I "saw". If these "sightings" are time slips, I wonder what creates the "loop" where it repeats?

Thank You everyone for your insights and response. I hope you are all as well as can be. I apologise for my late replies. I wish I had more grasp of the language pf theoretical physics to expand the conversation.

In Peace-BettinaMarie
BettinaMarie (14 stories) (80 posts)
6 years ago (2018-04-19)
Thank you everyone for sharing and insights. I am trying to process all these wonderful possibilities. I have tons of questions, too. I will try and respond in order when my ducks are lined up. So much fancy information to apply...
LuciaJacinta (8 stories) (291 posts)
6 years ago (2018-04-18)
Interesting. This is the type of story I really enjoy because it makes you ponder things on many levels. I believe it's more of a residual haunting. In my personal opinion, it's not really even a spirit but rather molecules of matter in some sort of scientific phenomenon that somehow got impressed upon a plane. In my personal opinion, a true haunting type of thing tries to get your attention in some way. Even just like a " ghost" that appears full front on and then disappears, those entities appear so you can see them... But these residual hauntings just happen without any particular acknowledgement from humans. They don't necessarily need to make eye contact, or attention, they just are there existing. Not saying that it didn't truly happen once, it probably did, but we don't know why certain snips of time replay. It seems it's purpose is to replay until it's energy runs out perhaps.

But hey, what do I know, I could be totally wrong 😁 I'm just guessing. I do find it very thought provoking though.
AugustaM (7 stories) (996 posts)
6 years ago (2018-04-18)
I was born in a housing development much like you describe - in fact, it was the first such federal work housing project built not for WWII but WWI. ( My mother was born there and grew up there (with her brothers and sister) too. I know what living in such an environment feels like - as if the walls were aware of their past. Even now walking the cracked and crooked sidewalks past the house that was once my grandparents' home (for some reason, I remember its interior better than the house next door where I lived with my parents) - the neighborhood still exudes a quiet homeliness. I have heard ghosts there - children laughing and what I swear was the faintly heard notes of a long ago ice cream truck (or the world's oldest and only midnight running ice cream truck lol).
Spockie (8 stories) (203 posts)
6 years ago (2018-04-17)
I believe this was a residual haunting, where an event from the past is replayed over and over in a loop. It is like a brief glimpse back into the past that happens again and again. Sometimes events become imprinted on the atmosphere of a certain place, like a piece of movie film played over and over... And it doesn't have to be some traumatic event either. Many times it is just a common, ordinary event like somebody coming up to a door. The spirit involved does not interact with the person seeing the event and may not even have awareness at all, just an image on the ether.
msforgetmenott (17 stories) (316 posts)
6 years ago (2018-04-17)
You remind me of something, that happened so long ago I had forgotten about it. I had to do a repeated job as a child, not that I wanted to but had to do.
As I nightly took the same path, it happened about every couple of weeks, then not for a while. Eventually I would catch a glimpse of it again.
In black and white, a tall man was taking a long stride, carrying a fishing pole in his left and a pail in his other hand. His clothes leaned towards what a woodsman of farmer would where. It was shiny and distorted, but always at the very same spot. Lighter than all around it. He would move in a jerky sort of way.
Over time I looked for this distorted spot, and on a day that I would see it, I would compare it to other times as some detail could change or become noticeable. A brief vision of one to two seconds, then gone.
I always thought it might be a younger version of my Grandfather, whom had passed before I was born. Fishing after his work being done was something he enjoyed.
Thank you so much for reminding me of this, I had not thought of it in years.
CuriousDee (8 stories) (631 posts)
6 years ago (2018-04-17)
Both RCRuskin and Tweed have caught my interest regarding a time slip. It sounds pretty fascinating and makes sense when you think about it. If everything is energy, including us, and we can cause a 'recording' of our actions, why couldn't this be a replay or 'future replay' (if that makes sense)? I've read about time not existing the way we think it is, so the future actions of a person being witnessed in the here and now fit the puzzle. I'm sure it happens more than we realize.


Thanks for a thought provoking story 😊
Tweed (35 stories) (2501 posts)
6 years ago (2018-04-17)
Hi Bettina, fascinating account.

I've not seen anything like this before but I think I'm imagining what you mean. I pictured it appearing a bit like the style of a 'subliminal message'. The way one or two frames would be edited, into say an advert, and appear like a 'blip' of something during otherwise regular playback.

There was a submission here ages and ages ago by a lass who reported fluttering her eyelids fast, just larking around one day, and in doing so saw an apparition of a person, if I recall rightly. Only for a split second and it was gone. There was discussion under her post about whether or not it was a product of the mind, or if this was a neat way to potentially clock ghosts. I gave it a whirl and had no result. I've done it since, hey why not, when I think there's a ghost about, and still no result. But I think she saw something ghostly through her eyelid movement, cool huh.

The ghost sightings I've had have been a mixed bag, a couple have been just like a physical being, would never know they were ghosts kind of thing. But mostly they've been transparent and/or slowly fading. One was only visible where I looked and that was in low light conditions. She looked more colourful than she should have in the dark, hard to explain. But yeah, she sort of faded out as I looked up the length of her torso to her hair, as I did this the rest of her faded in following my gaze. Very odd.
Another one was like a dimly glowing cloud, no colour, just grey/whiteish.
What you said about seeing something in your mind projected was sort of like how I saw some 'reflections' in glass that shouldn't have been there. This was when I was quite young, but from what I remember the colours and light source from the reflections didn't necessarily match the light conditions of the moment. Like the space that was reflected wasn't lit up, but the reflection of it was. It was hard to get a handle on what those images were because they were fleeting but also unlike something solid and physical, they seemed less 'there', even though they were, or appeared to be, 'there'. Hope that makes sense.

I think where seeing the same spirit walking home there would surely be slight changes due to light/weather reflected on any given day. If this apparition was a person or animal, surely it would interact with the surroundings and absorb light and weather.
To confuse matters more I've heard of apparitions of 'events', I believe it must be quite rare! But anyway apparitions of 'events' perhaps these are more regularly termed 'time slips', (Or maybe that's technically something different? Not sure) Anyway, I'd imagine the 'event' which appears would take on the light/weather conditions of it's own date/time in history. But I don't know. Would assume a lone shipyard worker would reflect the light conditions of the present day if he was totally solid while walking home.

It's interesting the dogs never seemed to flinch an inch. Maybe they were used to his presence? Like maybe he felt so much like the home to them that he didn't meet their threat standards.😊
RCRuskin (9 stories) (820 posts)
6 years ago (2018-04-17)
Hi, Bettina. I believe what you experienced could best be described as a time slip event. The past, the present, and all possible futures simultaneously exist. Normally, we exist only in the now, but if conditions are just so, and I really don't know what that would be, a bit of the past, or of the future, can seep into our now. Visually, I think it would look exactly as you describe here.

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