Thursday, October 9, 2008

Are Ghosts for Real? Volume I

Nobody asked me, but...

With Haloween around the corner and people getting into costume as vampires, ghosts and other imaginary creatures, I'm reminded of an incident that actually changed my life:

Years ago, if I was asked about a life after death, I'd probably have laughed and told the person I was talking to that they go to church too often. When you die! Your body gets cold and either gets buried or cremated...but one way or another, that's it!

When I read about people who claim to have become one with God and/or visited with a dead spouse or parent I used to chuckle to myself and think these people were "weirdos". The whole concept of Heaven and Hell are really very recent innovations first appearing in Dante's "Divine Comedy" in the 1300s. Prior to the publication of the "Divine Comedy" there hade been talk of a Heaven during the early Roman Empire when many people were dissatisfied with having to live the life of a Serf or a Slave, and the concept was created that when you die you will go to a better place and be rewarded for your pain during your lifetime.

Heaven, Pergatory, Hell and the Devil were created in Dante's "Divine Comedy", but the idea that life does not end when we die goes way back to the Old Testament.

As a skeptic, it only makes my own experience more of a puzzlement:

About thirty years ago, I had some business in San Francisco. I knew I would be there for about six months, so rather than confine myself to a hotel room for that length of time, I rented a furnished apartment on Dolores Street. It was a small one-bedroom place in a gigantic complex catering mostly to singles...and being single, that was a "plus".

The first night I was there, I was feeling quite uncomfortable trying to get to sleep in an unfamiliar environment. I opened my eyes and looked around...and there, in the corner of the room, was girl! Not the kind I have fanatisies about, but a blond girl in her early twenties. She was wearing a tan pant-suit; she had her hair in kind of a pageboy hairdo, she was looking at me with her arms folded in front of her...and she was kind of pretty.

Not that I would normally object to finding a pretty girl in my bedroom, but I was both startled and a little scared. I asked her what is she doing there. She didn't respond, so I reached for the lamp next to my bed and turned it on. In doing so, I looked away for less than a second.

She was gone!

Climbing out of bed, I searched the apartment thoroughly...and there was no sign of anyone (but myself) having been there. I relaxed and reasoned that this was one of those cases where you seem to wake up but you're really still half asleep, and because this was a new environment for me, my mind was just playing some tricks on me. I went back to sleep.

Now let's fast-forward to about a month later: San Francisco was having one of those extremely rare days in San Francisco when the skies were clear and the temperature was in the mid-eighties. Just about everyone living in the complex was gathered about and was using the large swimming pool that was, typically, only used three or four days a year.

San Francisco being what it is, I was hit on by a "beautiful" young man. I'm not homosexual, but neither am I homophobic. I didn't know anyone else by the pool, so it was nice to have someone to talk with. I made the comment (innocently) that my "beautiful" friend had a magnificent physique. That was all the encouragement he needed. He ran to his apartment and came back with a stack of photographs of himself striking "Mr. America" type poses. As he was going through the pictures, I bolted upright and said "stop"!

In the background of one of his pitures were two girls...not wearing pant-suits, but wearing bikinis. But there was no doubt, whatsoever, in my mind that one of the girls was the girl I thought I had seen in my room my first night there. I asked my new friend if he knew her name. He said "yes", and told it to me.

Curiosity overcame me and I asked him if he knew where I could contact her.

My friend's expression grew dark. He said, "Didn't they tell you when you rented the apartment? She was murdered by her boyfriend in that apartment about a month before you moved in." what did I see? Is that what they call a "ghost"? Or did the walls and furniture somehow bear the memories of that horrible event and convey some of them to me?

That event changed my life in several respects: From someone who had little interest in the paranormal and other mysteries of life, I became an avid researcher of the subject. My research led me into things like psychic phenomina; astral projection; faith healing, religion...and even into UFOs. I became determined to find reasonable explanations where none seemed to exist. Somewhere in the vastness of our world were things and events that defied explanation. Quite often, there were "scientific" explanations that simply did not hold water.

I made it a quest to try and find some logical or sensible answers. In many cases, I did!

And that's what this blog is about. Sometimes I will be "debunking" claims of experts, sometimes I will explain the "how" and the "why" of religious beliefs...and sometimes I will be relating things that I experienced on my quest for the truth.

The paranormal is always in the news...but it's usually hidden in a small paragraph on page 23 or 24 of a newspaper. I'll invite you to share your experiences with me and see if we can't find the truth behind them. I'll continue to research items about the paranormal and see if some of them don't help us understand life's mysteries.

This blog will be your blog. My name is Stephen Ellis. You can contact me at Please do.

As I said...nobody asked me.

1 comment:

Frieda said...

Yes, I remember that you shared this story with Deb and I many years ago. I still find it fascinating, interesting and erie.