First off I would love to say I am very grateful to have found this wonderful site. I had many unexplained experiences through out my life and have always been a seeker to explain what I've seen personally and heard from others. The only time I have experienced a ghost/apparition when I was fully awake (others happened when I was in bed - dreaming or not? - I will share those ones looking for answers later) and in a public place was...
When I was around 11 years old, the summer of 1982. My dad was in the Canadian Arms Forces at the time so we moved around a lot (every 2 years for about 12 years of my young life) which I hated with a passion. My mom wanted my sisters and me to still keep a close connection with my extended family so every summer I went to my grandparents (my mom's parents) place in central Alberta... A farming community.
My grandparents who lived in a small town are devout Catholics and went to church almost everyday. The church they went to was about 3 minutes walking distance away. Because I loved my grandparents so much I went with them even though I sometimes hated sitting through the long ceremony.
My grandma always wanted to be there early so she can sit right up front but on this particular day we were late. My grandparents were able to sit up front but I had to sit in the balcony area which is narrow and a tight squeeze to get to a seat.
I sat near the window that over looks the courtyard and an old wing of the church which at the time was not used anymore. As I was listening to the ceremony I would glance out this window out of sheer boredom (sorry to say but I was 11 and wanted to be outside playing).
Anyway as I was looking at the old wing of the church I noticed this face looking out of the window. I don't know why but it gave me chills right away yet I could not look away. As I stared the hair on my arms stood up and got the shakes. Not sure how long it lasted but as soon as the face looked at me I looked away. When I looked back it was gone.
When the ceremony was done I went back down to meet my grandparents who were speaking to the priest. I went to my grandpa and grabbed his hand and asked if we could go home. My grandma wasn't happy with me for being rude for interrupting their conversation; however, when she looked at me she asked if I was OK because as she put it I was white as a ghost (ha-ha sorry for the pun). I said I was Ok but I knew I wasn't. As we were leaving the priest came to me and told me to feel better and to come to see him if anything was troubling me. All I can say I was very glad to have left the church and to be out in the open.
For next week I refused to go to church which really upset my grandma but concerned my grandpa more. I hardly ate or slept and was very jumpy. Finally my grandpa sat me down and told me to tell him what was bothering me. I wasn't sure if I should tell him because I thought, would he believe me and call me a liar and in the end send me back home? After some gentle coaxing I finally opened up about what I saw at the church. The only question my grandpa asked was for me to describe the man's face which came as a surprise because of my pervious thought.
The man's face was very pale and shallow. You can see the cheek bones and jaw lines and he had very dark circles under his eyes. His eyes were also bloodshot red and had very pale thin lips. Also he had very dark but balding hair. What I found strange was he had no body just a head. I told my grandpa he looked sick but when he (the face in the window) stared at me I got scared and looked away. My grandpa looked at me rather strangely. I almost laughed out of nervousness when he finally spoke. What he told me creeped me out even more and still does to this day.
During the years of 1918 to about 1920 the influenza epidemic hit the area and surrounding farming communities. My grandpa remembers that during the winter months it was extremely hard for people to get the help they desperately needed. The winters in Canada can become brutal and during this time it spared no exceptions. Temperatures dropped to around -44 to -50 C (-47.2 to -58 F) with snow piling up making it hard for people to get around.
The hospital was filling up fast and so they used the wing of the church to help relieve some of the stress. Also there were far too many patients for the few doctors and nurses to keep up with and had to rely on the few volunteers who offered to help. The epidemic lasted a year or so taking many lives.
The wing of the church was closed off, not due to the epidemic, but over time it wore down and became a safety hazard. Grandpa remembered he heard stories from other people - including the priest - about strange events happening in the wing of the church. Unexplained noises/voices (i.e. Crying, screams and moaning), footsteps and shadows moving about. The face I saw, as my grandpa and I believe, was a poor soul who died during the influenza epidemic.
For the rest of my visit and others that followed I would not sit up in the balcony. My grandpa was very sweet to say that he would make sure I would sit up front with him and grandma so I wasn't alone. Bless his heart because he kept that promise until he passed away 8 years later.
Unfortunately the church is no longer standing there. Why I say that is because my parents were married there on October 3, 1966 and holds many memories for them. In 1992 it was torn down and a new church was built about 1/2 mile away. Houses now stand there and now I am curious if any unexplained things happen in or around the area.
I have never told anyone else (except my grandpa of course) about this experience until now. Not sure why though? I'm not looking for answers but if there are other explanations for this please tell me. I just finally felt ready to share this experience with all of you. Feel free to comment I would love to hear what other members have to say.