Some will argue there is no such thing of ghosts. I understand those individuals may feel frightened by the thought of phantoms or banshees roaming our world. Or some individuals may just assume that ghosts are a bunch of silly fictional myths that our kind made up for amusing fairy-tales to be told over the past centuries. However, "seeing is believing," and if I never saw the things I've seen in my lifetime, perhaps, I too would question their existence.
My first real poltergeist experience happened when I was about five years old. It was late at night and I was awoken by a sound coming from the dining room. I heard the dinner table chairs roughly sliding against the tile floor. When I finally realized I was awake and not dreaming I became horrified. A few seconds went by the chairs suddenly stop moving. Then the ever most terrifying thing happened. I heard an unearthly woman's voice call to me. The voice sounded like it came from the kitchen adjacent to the dining room. I can't recall everything she said but I'm pretty sure she was just saying my name over and over. The hardest thing I had to do was get out of bed and run like heck to my mother's bedroom across the pitch black hall. Eventually, after the paralysis wore off, that is exactly what I did. I remember tripping on the laundry basket as sneaking over to my mom's side of the bed. I didn't want to wake her and be sent back to my room. She woke up immediately when I crawled into her arms. She told me it was just a nightmare and to go back to my room. She had to turn on my bedroom light and walk me to bed. Naturally I couldn't fall asleep for quite some time that night, even with my twin sister asleep in the room. I remember having to stare at our Dr. Seuss light fixture for comfort. Every time I glanced at the bedroom door I would quiver intensely. I did not dare go investigate the kitchen or dining room until the next morning.
Of course everyone laughed at me the next day when I explained exactly what happened. My older brother and dad even had an on-going joke about the "ghost chair" (which was the only unassigned chair when the five of us were eating at the dinner table.) They would kid and demand my mother to fix up a plate of food for the ghost. I kept thinking to myself one day they'll see.
That day wasn't too far away, at least for my brother and sister. A few years later on a stormy early evening, the three of us were left home alone. At that time our brother was old enough to baby-sit us but too immature to properly company us. He used to tease us all the time about ghosts. "Ghostbusters" had just come out in the theater so of course that was still fresh in everyone's mind. One time he even made, what he convinced us to believe, a PK meter that would indicate if ghosts were near by. The little stick on the home-made PK meter would move sporadic-like so he would tell us that this house was haunted and filled with ghosts. But during this occasion, he decided to just tell us scary stories instead. With the lightning, loud thunder, our parents gone and my brother's wickedness, we became two very scared little girls. My brother eventually came to his senses and then tried to comfort us. He kept trying to reassure us that ghosts are make-believe. Then he said these words, which I will never forget... "There is no such thing of ghosts; if there was they would show us a sign." BOOM! Instantly after those words came out of my brother's mouth, all the lights went out. They eventually came back on a couple seconds later. My brother never teased us about ghosts since.
That incident may not sound tremendously frightening, but as a child it seemed as if I were living in a horror picture. My next occurrence may very well be the most petrifying. I was about eight-teen or nine-teen years old. My sister and I went for a drive to Siesta Key in Sarasota. The sun was just about setting and we decided, before we go home for the day, we should drive around the Key's ritzy subdivision to gawk at all the pretty mansions. We came across an empty lot, which is unusual because it was fairly decent in size and located right on the canal. All the other lots in the area consist of massive homes neck and neck of each other. It was so peculiar to see such a large waste of space which had so much value. My sister wanted me to pull over on the curb so we could walk around to go exploring. She said "let's pretend we own this lot and we're going to build a big mansion here." As we were walking through the palmettos further within the lot, a sudden freezing cold chill overcame us and the sky instantly turned grey. My anxious sister said "we need to leave NOW!" She believed she was being intuitive and was shown a sign. She imagined something bad would happen to us if we stayed there. She even said "I think someone is living here like a bum or some crazy person." "No, it's okay. We're fine." I hesitantly replied; although I started to sense some uncertainty about staying in that lot. She said "well I'm going back to the car." I then quickly followed her thinking to myself I'm brave but not brave enough to be here alone.
We drove off into the subdivision to complete our little adventure in searching for a favorite mansion to drool over. It was now officially night time so we agreed to head out. As trying to find the exit of the Key we unintentionally came across our vacant lot. I stopped the car positioned head on so we could glance at it one more time. Because it was dark out we could see the lights from another home on the opposite side of the canal glaring through the trees.
My sister said "oh look! You can see through those people's windows over there." We both were staring at the same spot and then that's when it happened. A silhouette of man or creature appeared before us, maybe about twenty or thirty feet from the car. It looked like it was staring at us with evil intentions. The odd thing was that this shadow had no face. He was completely transparent. "Do you see what I see?" my sister muttered. I said "Yup." I don't think I ever pealed out of somewhere so fast than I did that day. We were frightened but it made for a good laugh on our way back home.
Up until then I never really felt threatened by a ghost; before they would just make themselves known. This one was different. He made it extremely obvious he did not want our presence on his territory. I would imagine he must have made attempts to horde off any other unwanted guests; after all it was the only empty lot in the whole neighborhood.
My only other evidential ghost encounter up to date occurred about two years ago. One late night I was sitting in my driveway trying to contact my spirit guide who I call Sunbeam. Spirit guides are thought to be predestined spirits who help guide us (subconsciously) through our lifetimes, similar to the belief of guardian angels protecting us. When I communicate with Sunbeam I don't physically see her or hear her voice. I just talk to her as if I am saying my prayers out loud. While sitting there rambling I abruptly noticed, to my left, a luminous apparition of a fair skin woman with long blond wavy hair floating down the street about three feet above the ground. She was wearing a soft blue and white renaissance-like gown and some sort of hat or veil. The instant we made eye contact she vanished before my eyes. I assumed I saw my spirit guide but I didn't have that comforting feeling I often felt when I'd communicate with her. Plus that wasn't how I envisioned her. If anything I thought she would look like just a ball of energy if she chose to appear to me. At times I believe that spirit guides do not prefer to appear to us because they have no desire to prove themselves to us. I then realized I had just seen a ghost.
My theory on ghost or lost souls is that they are deceased people who some how get stuck in a parallel dimension in between Earth and the Afterlife. I don't think everyone will become a ghost after they die. Only those who do not want to face the reality of dying or those who felt they did not want to leave here with any unresolved issues, are the ones who get trapped in this realm. The amount of time as a ghost varies for each individual. Some could be a ghost for centuries or more, some could be one for a couple weeks. It's not uncommon for someone, after they die, to linger around as a ghost for a little while before they cross over and "head towards the light." Some may be confused or in denial and need extra guidance or confirmation of their death. Once they accept their death they should be able to go Home.
If ever encountering a lost soul it is important to tell them they are dead and assure them that they will be okay if they just trust life and have faith. No matter what religion they were, or if not religious at all, they all still go to the Afterlife which is our true home. Keep in mind they cannot physically harm you. Most are just depressed and have no intention of hurting anyone.
Ghost encounters can be very overwhelming. During an encounter many people say they felt an eerie and cold presence. I suggest that feeling we get isn't because ghosts are dangerous or evil, but possibly because we sympathize with their pain.
-Lori Ann Alvarez