Nearly everyone I've spoken with over the years has wanted, once they discovered I research the paranormal, to tell me their own personal account of an unexplained encounter from their past. In fact most people have a ghost story to tell but keep it quiet not wanting to be ridiculed by others. Whenever I've given a talk at a library or anywhere else I tend to stay at least an hour after just to field the additional questions and outpouring of tales held within for a very long time. A sympathetic ear can make a huge difference.
One other blogger mentioned many months ago about his own personal experience with ghosts and that he would have to tell me the story some time. Life can get busy for all of us so it kept getting postponed. But Ken (the other blogger) did finally have a chance to share his tale on his own blog, Adventures in Gay Dating. Though it happened 15 years ago, the experience still lives with him.
At the time Ken was living in North Carolina with a new boyfriend named Scott who hailed from California. He was a staunch skeptic of anything supernatural and hardly someone willing to look at ghost stories, UFO sightings, or other strange happenings with anything other than complete disbelief. His boyfriend was a recovering meth addict who had lived a turbulent existence and wasn't very forthcoming about his past. Slowly as the trust developed, he would divulge small windows into his horror story of a life. He has once been involved with (and nearly married) a female, a witch by her own admission, and practiced the occult arts himself though he refused to discuss the matter any further. Ken would soon discover why.
On what seemed to be a normal night, Ken awoke suddenly at 2:20 AM. Before rolling back over to sleep, he caught a glimpse of something dark at the foot of the bed. It was the shadowy form of a man, so black it seemed to radiate the color. He found himself frozen not only by fear but a paralysis rendering him immobile and unable to wake his sleeping boyfriend. There was a choking sensation around his throat. He could feel the anger from the presence who undoubtedly was there because of Scott. He saw a vision in his mind of a hilltop cemetery surrounded by wrought iron fence. The male spirit led him to a gravestone beneath a tree and pointed at it.
Ken struggled to break from the immobilization, murmuring a religious instruction summoned from his Baptist upbringing. “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ Of Nazareth, go!” His eyes followed his outstretched finger toward the window. “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ Of Nazereth, leave through this window now!” He began to recover his movement and looked forward to find the room once again empty. Waking Scott he attempted to explain what had happened in excited gibberish but Scott was too tired and wrapped an arm around him before fading back to sleep.
The following morning, Ken told his boyfriend about his frightening encounter.
"Oh," Scott said nonchalantly, "that's just Steve." Ken was shocked.
“Do you believe a person can be haunted, Ken?”
He was fraught with surprise and bewilderment. “I… I don’t know. Why?”
“I’m haunted, Ken," Scott said in a serious tone. "Just like a house can be haunted a person can be haunted. Trust me on this one, I know.”
Steve's parents were friends of Scott's parents so the two had been occasional friends in Placerville, California before graduation. While Scott was living with the witchy woman in Los Angeles his father called to tell him that Steve had been killed in a car accident the night before. His father sent him the money for a bus ticket to come to the funeral. He was gathered with some old friends on the steps of the funeral home, playing with a deck of tarot cards to show off his psychic abilities when he happened to glance up. There was Steve, plain as day. Horrified, he quickly put away the cards. Steve's specter reappeared that night in his bedroom at his parent's place to terrify him once again. The following morning at the cemetery as they lowered Steve's body six feet under, Scott saw several other ghosts watching him from around the bone yard.
Scott asked Ken to describe in detail exactly what Steve had shown him. He mentioned the cemetery, the fence, the colored marble headstone beneath a tree. Scott clapped his hands with glee and explained that every single detail of where Steve was buried was dead-on.
"Why did he appear to you as himself but I got the whole spooky-figure-cloaked-in-black treatment?"
"He was trying to scare you off," Scott replied.
"So, he 'liked' you?"
"I think he did."
The whole experienced seemed to awaken something inside Ken. Six months after the terrifying night, he saw a little boy in the shop where he worked when he was completely alone. He vanished right before Ken's eyes. It turns out that during construction of the building a large cement drainage pipe crushed a young boy to death at that very site. He was approached by a young, attractive man on a separate occasion several months later asking him for the time at the store. He glanced at his watch and looked back up to find he too had disappeared. But there was something else peculiar about the incident. The man carried a shopping bag for Ivey's--a department store which went out of business in 1985 and formerly occupied the same building he was working in.
Steve made a few more random appearances and seemed to be trying to scare Scott. Ken had enough of the disturbances and researched the paranormal heavily in search of ways to rid their lives of the repeat occurrences. After smudging the house with white sage (while projecting a white light in his mind and singing "Amazing Grace") all activity seemed to stop. Neither of them saw another ghost or had another freaky experience.
What happened to Ken that night is often attributed to sleep paralysis. But how do you explain the vision of a cemetery on the other side of the country? Did he really experience a ghost or was it picking up on Scott's own memories? And best of all, was Steve paying a visit to a past friend or trying to voice his disapproval that Scott was in bed with another man... and that man wasn't him? We may never know yet the thoughts are certainly intriguing.