I See Dead People

Image from the film Sixth Sense

Hello my Hauntings!  Welcome to the first of Wicked Wednesday’s Ghost Story series.  Every wednesday I’ll share a personal story about my encounters with the paranormal, and I plan for them to get progressively creepier as the month goes on.

So today, we’re doing a bit of a montage.  I’ll share with you some of the spooky moments of my past, and if you’re comfortable, and open-minded, I’d love your thoughts and stories as well.  Let’s get started!

Most of you are familiar with the 1999 film by M. Night Shyamalan, The Sixth Sense.  A brief summary is a young boy is able to see spirits who don’t know they’ve died, and by helping them, he is able to help a downtrodden childhood psychologist.  The very telling scene of the film is when Cole, the boy, admits to Dr. Malcolm that “I see dead people.”  Chilling and honest at the same time, if you ask me.

My stories are nothing so dramatic.  For one, I can’t pay people (let alone professionals) to listen to my problems, though I’m sure I’d benefit from it.  And second, I don’t see dead people consistently.  I just see them sometimes.  The following is a composite list of the some of the strange, unexplainable, and honest situations I’ve experienced.

The Painted Pebble:  This story isn’t scary, so much as unexplainable.  My grandmother passed away when I was five years old.  I don’t think I understood what death meant for many years later.  Because I have so few memories of her living, most of my connection to her came from sleeping with the stuffed animal lamb that was in her hospital room when she passed, visiting her grave with my mother, and leaving a painted pebble on her tombstone that I painted with her favorite colors, pink and purple.  I was probably between 6-8 years old, and friendship pebbles were all the rage at school.  I made this one for my grandmother and left it atop the gravestone.  For over a year, that pebble never left my grandma’s burial site.  No matter when my mom and I went, that pebble was still painted and sitting on her tombstone.  Now, science isn’t my strongest subject, but I’m wise enough to know that between Wisconsin thunderstorms, tornadoes, and oh gosh, I don’t know WINTER, that pebble should’ve lasted all of week or two at most before the paint washed off or a lawn mower pitched the thing several yards away.  I believe it was a token of love and friendship that my grandma kept to let me know she still thought of me.

The Feeling of Not Being Alone: Twice I can recall being in my family home, up in my room and stopping whatever I was doing at the time because I “just knew” I wasn’t alone. The first time I experienced this phenomenon, I was reading on my bed, when I felt the weight at the end of the bed sink down, like someone had just sat next to me. It was so physical that I looked up, expecting to see someone. I stared at the space at the foot of my bed for a few moments before saying aloud, “I know you’re there.” I then felt a finger run up my big toe. A few weeks later, I was again reading in my room. Same thing. I strongly felt I was not alone in the room. This time I asked the spirit if they intended harm or good to me. At that moment I felt the most reassuring hug around me, warm and comforting. I’m sure many of you are reading this and thinking I’m plain batty for believing. But I have done some research on the subject. Most paranormal investigators can agree that a person’s openness to experience is key in what they will or won’t perceive. But take a smaller, more common example like deja vu’ or coincidences. A lot of us have either experienced or know someone else who has where you could finish a person’s sentence, hear the phone ring and know who is on the other line, have a dream and foresee an accident or a new baby. We don’t usually discredit those little signs that present themselves, but when a person starts talking out loud to an invisible person in their room, they’re crazy. Somehow, the line between acceptable and possible paranormal activity is quite gray to me, meaning I believe anyone has the potential to experience things like I described, but not everyone is willing.

The Old Man and His Dog: A tedious and yet annual event in my town is college moving day, and the landlords around here have conveniently scheduled move in day to be 2 weeks after move out day. So for 14 days or so, college kids around the city find storage bins, garages, and trailers to stuff their belongings into and crash on couches until their new leases begin. I was staying at my boyfriend’s house during this time, while he was away visiting family. I had heard from his roommates that the house was haunted, but never before seen or heard anything. During my stay, I woke up early one morning with the heightened sense I was not alone. When I looked down at the foot of the bed I saw an old man with a plaid flannel shirt standing up with a black dog beside him. I knew he didn’t intend any harm, but it was a little freaky. I did have to get up and turn the lights on.

These are just a few of my paranormal experiences. If you ‘re craving more, check out my post on Paradise Road, a real Wisconsin Urban Legend. I list my many ghost sightings there.

Want to know more about coincidences? I recently read The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield and did a book review about his theory of humankind becoming more in tune with our coincidences.

Please share with me your thoughts and stories about the spirit world. Has anything like this happened to you?

As always, Happy Halloween! See you Friday for another guest post blog hop with the Life List Club, costumes not necessary…yet.

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35 responses

  1. I just watched M. Knight Shyamalan’s The Village this past week. Always an interesting twist in his movies.

    As for encountering the spiritual realm, I read dozens of books on exorcisms, spiritual mediums, demons, and such. I grew up believing all of it to be factual and proven through evidence.

    My missionary great-grandfather even claimed that God gave him the ability to walk on hot coals (like the witchdoctors – without getting burned) to prove that his God was just as strong as theirs. Unfortunately, the validity of that explanation has been debunked by Derren Brown’s examination.

    Always enjoy your posts!

    1. Oooh love your perspective Mindi. I have a crazy uncle who claims he’s assisted with exorcisms. I’m not sure I believe him. But the topic definitely fascinates me.

  2. I love the story about the pebble at Grandma’s grave!

    1. I wish I knew her better. I love to hear stories about her. Side topic, do you remember how Grandpa used to always serve us kids Old English cheese spread? Every time I see it in the grocery store I think of staying at Grandpa’s house and eating that on crackers with chocolate milk. LOL

  3. Love the story about the painted pebble at your grandmother’s grave. My Papaw died in 1984. I was his favorite grandchild–probably because I lived right next door to him. Papaw my champion. When I’m feeling down and out, I often smell his Kool cigarettes and Old Spice cologne. It probably helps that I talk to him often. I have an odd lack of fear of dying. I know Papaw will be coming to help me cross over to the next thing and that it won’t be so bad.

    As for other paranormal experiences, I have them often. We live in a mostly new development, and see very little here. However, if we go to an old place, I can feel the charge in the air.

    Fun post. 😀

    1. Let’s plan our road trip and rest stop tour soon!!!

      Thank you for sharing the story about your Papaw. I’ve heard lots of people say they sense smells that remind them of loved ones. I think it’s more common than we know.

  4. I love stories about the paranormal, which is why I frequent your and Catie’s blogs! My daughter and I watch “The Haunting” all the time and she always asks me if I believe in what I’m seeing. I do. I don’t think that all of those individuals are lying and making up their experiences. Just because it hasn’t happened to me (yet) doesn’t make it untrue. I’ve always found ghosts and spirits fascinating.
    Patti

    1. Another thing we have in common! I totally watch that show too when I can. Some of them creep me out. I believe the stories, but I always find it funny because the re-enactors are so much more put together and better looking than the real families. I find that part kind of gimmicky. LOL

    2. So true, Jess, about the re-enactors. They’re all pretty and good-looking and the real people aren’t – total television hype.
      Patti

  5. I never tire of these types of stories. I look forward to next Wednesday, Jess. So glad you are sharing these experiences with us.

    1. Thank you for your comment and support. Many would not be so believing, but these are moments that have impacted me. I’m happy to share them and hope they open up people’s minds to other experiences.

  6. Creepy, Jess. It doesn’t scare you? My Grandma died when I was 11. I felt very close to her and missed her a lot. Many times over several years after she died, I would be just about alseep when i’d feel her presence. I’d turn and she’d be sitting on my bed talking to me. Don’t know what she was trying to say, but it must have been good because i always had a sense of peace when she was there.
    Looking forward to more of your experiences!

    1. Marcia that is a beautiful memory you have of your grandmother. Reminds me of guardian angel moments. I’m sure she is VERY proud of you and how you make memories with your own grandkidlets.

      In answer to your question, it did scare me at times. I think one of the big reasons I haven’t experienced anything recently is that I’ve shut myself off a bit. I’ve had some scary experiences where I wondered if it was worth it to be so open to spirits. I firmly believe that opening your heart and mind to these occurrences, can open the door to spirits who just crave attention/energy too. I’m not sure I’ll blog about that yet. We’ll see…food for thought.

  7. First, The Sixth Sense was a great movie. If a movie can surprise me at the end, it’s a winner in my book. I do believe in ghosts and spirits, but I don’t have any stories to share. 😦 I did thoroughly enjoy reading yours though, Jess!

    1. Thanks Tiffany! I’m looking for a friend to stay up all Halloween watching scary movies with, you in?

  8. I look forward to reading your posts this month!

    Here is an account I gave of a ghost story my great-grandmother told: http://wp.me/pYql4-3q

    What is interesting is that she, and later my mother, would tell it every Halloween while growing up. Later I found essentially the same tale described in an issue of American Heritage that I read once but have never been able to find again.

    It happened in your part of the country – in Michigan, after my great-grandmother’s family moved there from Ohio in a covered wagon. She was seven at the time.

    1. Thank you for sharing! I look forward to reading her account. And I love the idea of it being a traditional story.

  9. Hi Jess, Thanks for stopping by my blog. We will get a chance to interact via the LLC and learn about each other’s writing projects. I’m looking forward to it. I enjoyed all three of your anecdotes and I believe many of us have very similar experiences. I know I have. They can seem so real when they’re happening, but we also tend to hold back and not want to share them. Sometimes we fear that we won’t be taken seriously. Other times times it’s hard to explain exactly what we experienced. But you did a good job with all three!

    1. Hi Gary! Thanks for stopping by! I hope someday you share with me some your experiences.

  10. Ooooh! *rubs hands with glee* I love the paranormal. 😀

    1. You down for a twitter party Halloween night? Scary movie marathon! Thinking of adding The House of the Devil after reading Catie’s post.

  11. You know of my interest in the paranormal, and some of the experiences I’ve had (i.e. http://markmywordssite.com/2011/07/24/disembodied-voices-cold-spots-channeled-spirits-just-another-night-in-the-ghost-hunting-business/).

    Right around the time my grandmother died, all the heavy cement pavers in the backyard next to the garden were mysteriously moved around. I didn’t make any sort of paranormal connection to this until I watched a video of my grandmother a few weeks later. She had come to visit us the previous summer, and was running around the backyard, chasing my toddler son…right past those cement pavers.

    Hmm…?

    1. Hmm indeed! Thanks for sharing Mark, I really like that story. I’ve heard lots of examples about certain songs coming on the radio or coins being stacked around houses, trinkets being moved. Could be the same paranormal activity in your case.

      1. Oh, yes, that also reminds me – there was a stack of coins eleven cents high around that same time. You’ll find that the number 11 is significant if you do a little digging.

  12. So cool and creepy. About nine years ago I woke up in the middle of the night and there was a man in an air-force uniform standing over my bed, he vanished within seconds- I wasn’t dreaming about the air-force so it wasn’t that. And I had that not alone feeling. Can’t wait for next week!

    1. Oooh that is spooky. Any idea who it was?

  13. Jess,
    My grandmother passed away when I was very young. One day not too long after she passed away, my cousin was sitting in my grandpa’s living room. All of a sudden she ran out of the room crying. My aunt asked her what was wrong, and she said that she saw my grandmother sitting in one of the chairs.

    I think that the dead try to communicate with us sometimes. You’ve actually given me an idea for a post. Thank you so much!

    1. Thank you for sharing your story. And I’m happy to have inspired a new post! Yay! Be over to your blog soon then.

  14. […] Jess Witkins shares her freaky and appropriate post, I See Dead People. (Cue spooky music) […]

  15. Thank goodness it’s nothing scary! Otherwise, I won’t be able to sleep.

    1. Beware future posts on wednesdays!

  16. the old house wasn’t haunted, just co-inhabited with a spirit whose earthly vessel resided there for 30+ years. nice guy on all accounts. didn’t have a dog though, so that might be some placebo effect going on there 🙂

    1. You weren’t there, you didn’t see him. Thanks for the superstition though, hon. ;P

  17. Several times in my family we’ve lost things and searched for items, pulled apart drawers, closets, etc. looking for something. We’ve called other people in the family to help find the item, can’t find it. We put everything away and come back later hours later and the missing item is out in the open where no one can miss it. It’s happened several times in the family. We say “Grandma” found it for us. She was good at taking care of us and helping us find things.

    My grandfather also had a strange experience when he cleaned out his father’s shed. Grandpa cleared out a work bench so that it was empty then he took a break. When he came back, sitting in the middle of the work bench was a mason jar with money in it. Grandpa thinks his father put it there so that he would find it. He was alwasy hiding money in jars.

    I guess passed on loved ones in my family like to help their family find things that need to be found.

    1. I love these family stories, Melissa! Thank you for sharing them. I could use your Grandma in my house, I’m always digging for stuff. I finally cleaned this weekend.

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