I have been a lurker to this site since the beginning of November, 2008. Only now do I feel comfortable enough to post here. I consider myself to be a skeptical believer in spirits. I believe that they do exist (both good & bad), but I need concrete proof that they are in contact with me. For example, if I feel a cold spot, I check to make sure that it's not the AC, or a draft from a window or door.
When I was growing up in Montreal (located in the province of Quebec, Canada) I firmly believed that I had the ability to sense spirits. Closest thing I could describe it is like a "Spidy sense", like how the super hero Spider-man is able to sense evil before it happens. But for me, I was able to sense if the spirit was good, evil, male or female, and if there was one or more in a room. I could never see or hear them, just sense them. I was always jealous (in a good way naturally!) with the ones that claimed that they could see or hear them. But I always did take what they said with a pinch of salt, since it's too easy to say "yes, I see them" when in fact they don't.
Bad news is that, there was no one else either in my family or friends that could help me develop it. So by the time I was in my early 20's I lost my ability. I second guessed myself too much (thought I was imagining it, going crazy, or wishful thinking) and I think I "turned off" my ability (if that makes any sense?).
I grew up as a Roman Catholic so my faith and strength lie with Jesus and God. At the same time though, my family taught me to be accepting of other religions, since it's their beliefs (and mine as well now), that all religions are the same, we just have different ways of showing our love to the Creator (whom ever he/she/they may be).
Now, fast forward a few decades. I now live in Ontario with my hubby. I have always been interested in spirits and my hubby fully supports me. We have had many wonderful discussions about the afterlife. I just never trusted myself enough to know if I was in company with other spirits. I suspected that I was, but I just didn't know at the time how to get proof.
I have heard about the Haunted Walks of Ottawa. They give guided tours of various locations that are rumoured to be haunted. Two famous places in Ottawa are Chateau Laurier & Carleton County Jail (now the HI - Ottawa Jail Hostel).
I brought my best friend with me to go the jail. We had a fun time. I took it in good humour. I believed in the stories on how the prisoners were treated and died / murdered there and that not all the prisoners were criminals. There were no mental hospitals in that time, so people (both men and women) who had various stages and forms of dementia stayed there as well. Children would stay there along with their incarcerated mother or father and if there was no family member to take care of them. (The women were separated from the men and they were housed in another level of the jail the children would stay with the mothers). I don't know what happened with the daughters who only had their father that was incarcerated. I just hope that the young girls stayed with the women. But that is a question that I will be asking next time I go back.
But as to the haunted stories, well, I took everything with a pinch of salt, simply because this is a "tourist trap". They do this, not only to help preserve the past, but it's also to make money so that they can pay their bills. So the more ghost stories they told the better.
So at one point of the tour, they allowed us to enter the incredibly tiny cells. These cells were only large enough to have a bed and enough space to be able to turn around. There were no toilets (the toilets at that time were just buckets in the hall). Our tourist guide allowed us to enter the cells if we so desired.
My friend stayed outside in the hall, but my curiosity got the better of me.
I entered one cell, and closed the door after me. I sat down the bed and I immediately felt uncomfortable. Now, weather it's because there was a spirit with me, or my own nerves, being in a cell, and having a bad case of claustrophobia (I am not claustrophobic, BTW) because of the incredibly tiny cell. I had an overwhelming urge to pace back and forth. I felt great sadness and anxiety. I also heard heavy breathing. But again, I have no clue if it was my over active imagination, or a spirit letting me know that I was not alone, or some hidden sound system with a recording (or a live person using a microphone with hidden speakers) of someone breathing.
Being an extreme amateur, I looked a little bit for any signs of wiring, speakers, hollow walls, etc. I found nothing. Mind you, with that being said, I could have easily passed over the speakers, wires, etc and just not recognized it for what it is, or just didn't look hard enough (I didn't look through the cot).
To this day I am still undecided if I met something in that cell or not. I would also greatly appreciate any advice you can give me to help me "reawaken" my ability (if I ever had one) or to be more sensitive to the spirit world.