I See Dead People

Certainly a very memorable line from the movie The Sixth Sense. Movies, television shows, countless books and magazine articles have covered the topic of ghosts and our ability to see or communicate with those who have passed over. Have you ever seen a ghost or spirit? I know that on several occasions I have seen or heard something that was not of this physical plane.

Perhaps the earliest such occasion was when my Grandmother passed away. I and the rest of the family returned home to attend her funeral. I had grown up in the house in Colorado where Granny had lived most of her life and finally died. It was a bittersweet homecoming as the house was just not the same without Granny there. The evening before Granny’s funeral, I was getting ready for bed and helping my little brother Jeff do the same. He and I were sleeping in the bedroom area of the basement, something we both had done on many an occasion. We were heading towards the bed where Jeff was going to be sleeping when a form began to appear in front of the bed. Both Jeff and I stopped in our tracks and stared at the apparition which was taking form. It became obvious in a brief time that the form was our Granny in a shimmering, transparent form. No words passed, but a sense of peace enveloped us for a brief moment of time, and then Granny disappeared. To this day I believe that this was my Granny’s way of letting us know that she was okay. I don’t know if my brother remembers this event, as he was very young, but I will always remember and treasure my Granny’s brief goodbye.

The most entertaining instances of ghostly visitors were courtesy of our three cats, who seemed quite content to stay on in the house, for awhile, after they had passed over. Several nights after Toby, the oldest of the three, had departed this life, I was just drifting off to sleep when I felt a familiar nudge by my lower back, and then heard the even more familiar rumble of Toby’s low throated purr. At first I thought I was dreaming, or that one of the other cats had taken over Toby’s former spot. I finally found the courage to open my eyes only to discover Candy and Tiger, our other two resident cats, cuddled near the pillow, right before my eyes. Okay, so much for that thought. The purring continued, as did the sensation of a hefty cat curled against my spine, which I must admit was now tingling. So what does one do when a ghost cat comes to bed, was the thought crossing my mind as I continued to listen to an obviously content cat. Being a practical person, I decided to enjoy the visit and drifted back to sleep, sending kind thoughts to Toby. The visits continued for several months, off and on, and finally ceased.

When Candy and Tiger passed over, they, too, came back to visit and could be heard frolicking in the hallway as they had in life. My entire family admitted to hearing the antics that went on in the hallway at night. Again, after a brief time, these visits ceased.

On two other occasions, I have encountered spirits I did not know. The first was a lovely lady dressed in an old fashioned white dress, rather like one would imagine a farm wife of the late 1800s would wear to church on Sunday. The Lady would drift up and down the aisles of the craft store that I managed in the suburbs of Chicago. I never felt threatened by the Lady’s presence; in fact, it was just the opposite, and I looked forward to her  presence as I started my day. The Lady seemed to enjoy the wonderful merchandise throughout the store and appeared to stop and admire various items.

The Lady did appear to one of the women of my staff at the store, and after some hesitation on her part, she admitted that she had seen our visitor. Occasionally, our Lady apparently didn’t like how we arranged the craft items, and we would return to work to find various things had been moved. Upon checking with the staff, it always turned out that no one had anything to do with the new arrangements. I have often wondered what the Lady’s reason was for remaining earthbound and what her fascination was with crafts.

Another visitor I encountered more recently was, again, in a store setting. More than once while I was working in my office, for no obvious reason I felt a cold draft of air. The drafts continued for several weeks with no obvious source. One morning while preparing the cash drawers, I happened to glance up at the security monitors and, to my surprise, there was a man, standing by the safe closet door. I turned around immediately, fully expecting to find an intruder, but there was no one in the room. After chiding myself for seeing things, I went back to the work of counting out the cash drawers.

Later in the day, while talking with another store manager who had helped in the opening of my store, I jokingly mentioned that I thought I had a ghost in the back room. My comment was met with a moment of silence and then the manager asked if I had seen someone by the safe closet. At that point I had to laugh and admit that, yes, that was exactly the spot. As we talked, the manager admitted that she, too, had felt a presence when she was alone in the store and had also seen our visitor on the security camera monitor. Neither one of us felt threatened, just startled the first time we spotted our visitor on the monitor. As with my Lady experience, I was never able to figure out why the man was in the store.

When someone who is still dear to you makes an appearance, we of course think it is an acknowledgment of that relationship. When a spirit whom we don’t know shows itself, no easy answer as to why is available. We can imagine, but our experience, at least consciously, does not include their perspective. Perhaps we cannot know until we are on the same side as they, looking back on those we have left behind.

— Kathy Loftus

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