I never knew whether I really believed in ghosts until I
I had, when I was quite a bit younger, just under the age of consent,
stayed with my dear Aunt Addie in Brantford. She didn't know it but
I was planning to elope with a young man who was quite serious and
quite honourable but he was not looked on favourably by my folks.
We thought all would be well but I, foolishly, left a note explaining
my intentions before I took off. I was captured and put in a local
hoosegow jail cell until my dad came to pick me up. I was in disgrace
and the elopement didn't work out at all. This was a very agitated
and emotional time for me.
Ten to fifteen years later when I was older, if not wiser,
I was staying with my Aunt again, although she never quite forgave
me for pulling such a dirty trick on her in the past. I was staying
in the same room I had been in on the night of the failed elopement
many years ago. Well, I couldn't sleep or rest. I felt agitation.
I sensed, I never saw, but I sensed, the presence of a young girl
who was very agitated and full of excitement and full of anxiety.
She was very much there. I wasn't just reliving something that had
happened. She was there. That room was haunted and the ghost was 'me'.
My earlier self.
Time moves on. My brother was in Chatham. My mother had just moved
into an apartment and he was finishing things up at the house where
she was not going to be living any more. He was just checking to see
if anything had been forgotten and he spent the night there. He didn't
get very much sleep because he was tormented by the vision, and I
don't know if he actually saw her, of a little red-haired girl who
would not let him sleep. She was agitated. She was upset. She was
moving around. She wouldn't let him sleep.
I had red hair when I was a little girl. I may have left
some trace there, some psychic imprint. I'm wondering now how many
other places I may be haunting that I'm not aware of. It's as if a
place where something emotional has happened becomes like a photographic
negative taking an impression of highly emotional events or circumstances.
That's my guess.
My third ghost story isn't about my ghost. It's about the ghost of
a church member. I was active and ran the Sunday School at St. Stephen
in the Fields in Toronto for a time. A long time church member had
passed on just before I joined the congregation and I was aware that
she had been very dedicated to the church. I knew her husband quite
I played guitar at the Folk Mass, which was held before
the regular service at this Anglican church. They tried to get me
to sing modern made up white hymns but I claimed I didn't know how
and mostly played Southern gospel hymns, black and white, which I
coerced them into learning. Our little folk mass was quite simple
and in colloquial English.
At a certain point in the Mass you do Prayers for the Living
and then you do Prayers for the Dead. While we were having the Service
there was quite a commotion in the church. Doors were opening and
closing with loud bangs. Winds were blowing. There were rattling noises.
prayer books fell down. This was a ghostly agitation.
Somehow or other I knew - sometimes you just know things
- that this was the lady who had passed lately, who had been so dedicated
to the church. I began, because she was so active with banging and
wind blowing etc., to put her in the prayers for the living. Then,
I stopped myself, I waited and under my breath, I put her name - quietly
spoken - no one else heard me - in the prayers for the dead.
I felt and I still feel at this time, thinking of it, this
tremendous warmth. Someone came up behind me and put their arms around
me and gave me such a warm and loving hug. Of course no-one was visible
there, but all the noises stopped and everything was quiet and peaceful
from then on. I realized, then, that sometimes ghosts don't know that
they are dead. I had, almost accidentally, done this lady a great
favour by telling her that she was indeed amongst the departed and
that she could now move on in peace. She was no longer needed at the
church. Her duties were done.
These events are very subjective and personal but they are
also very real.
Do I believe in ghosts? I have to because I have been one.