My Real Ghost Stories

It is Halloween again, when carved pumpkins peer out from front stoops and costumed kids can't wait to beg strangers for free candy.  It has always been a favorite holiday of mine.

In honor of Halloween, I wanted to share some of my experiences with the paranormal.  I've definitely believed in ghosts for a long time, but it wasn't until my late teens that I saw proof for myself.  I haven't shared the details of these events with many people because it is really emotional....but here we go:

The first ghost I ever saw was my dad.  It was the day I graduated high school.  He died a month earlier, a couple of days before my 18th birthday.  I was incredibly depressed because he was gone, because he couldn't see me graduate, because I had regrets about the state of our relationship when he died, because I missed him, because my own mom had no sympathy for me at that time.  I didn't have many people to talk with about it; it's not something you want to bring up in conversation on a regular basis.

All of the graduating class had to line up outside the gymnasium before entering in a single-file line.  As we walked in, we slowly made our way around the floor of the gym in a large "U" shape to get to our row of seats.  I looked for my family in the upper levels and saw my friend Sarah's family waving at me from the balcony at the end of the gym.  I was halfway down the third side of the "U" when I turned back to smile at my friend's family again.  There were about fifteen people standing under the balcony on the floor of the gym near the doors.  I just kinda glanced at them before I turned back around. 

And then I saw my dad.  He was standing near the doors with the other people at the end of the gym, smiling at me.  He was wearing grey slacks and a reddish plaid button-down shirt.  I was shocked and I remember gasping and just staring in disbelief.  I started tearing up and wanted to run over to him.  Then I remembered I was still walking around the gym at my graduation and turned really quick to make sure I wasn't about to run into anyone.  When I turned my head back around to see my dad again, he was gone.

I took my seat and remember smiling to myself, with tears in my eyes, grateful that he showed up to support me. 

The next time I saw a ghost was a couple years later.  I was taking a walk around my neighborhood on an average evening.  I was looking around as I walked and felt compelled to look back at a certain house.  When I did, I saw a person standing there that wasn't there seconds before.  I tripped over a crack in the sidewalk and looked back up and the person was gone. It was very strange.

My third experience was on a public transit bus.  It was very early on a Sunday morning.  I was on my way to work.  I had to take one bus from the town I lived in to the local mall thirty minutes away.  From there I had to catch another bus to the shopping center I worked in.  It was a couple years after my dad's death and it continued to weigh heavily on my mind.  I remember being very, very sad that morning, constantly on the verge of tears.  I was sitting in the middle of the bus thinking about how much I missed my dad when I suddenly got a strong whiff of cologne.  It grew in intensity and was all around me.  It smelled just like the cologne my dad wore to church on Sunday mornings.  I closed my eyes and felt really warm, like someone was hugging me.  I opened my eyes and smiled and said, "Thank you, dad," in my head.  I knew it was him trying to cheer me up. 

As quickly as it happened, the warmth went away and the cologne smell dissipated.  I sniffed and sniffed until I could no longer detect it at all. I was still in a public bus, with windows and doors closed, moving along to my stop.  The only other passenger was an elderly man reading the newspaper at the front of the bus.  Neither the passenger nor the driver had taken out any cologne and sprayed it in the bus.  I don't have another explanation for it.  I just knew it was my dad trying to comfort me.

Nine years later, my dad showed up again.  It was the beginning of December and I had been in a funk yet again. My stepbrother died earlier that year, so I was not only mourning the sudden loss of such a wonderful person, but it brought up a lot of issues and feelings I still harbor about my dad.   Dad's birthday was at the end of November, so I had been thinking about him a lot.  It was just a really sad time.

It was late at night and I woke with a start.  My vision was blurry and the bedroom was very dark.  There was only a bright blue light from the DVR on top of the dresser to dimly light the room.  I moved my head slowly, looking for what made a sound that could have woken me up so suddenly.  Then I saw my husband, through blurred vision, standing by his dresser.  It looked like he was facing the dresser and maybe looking in one of the top drawers.  I was about to ask him what he was doing when I heard him the bed....beside me.  I looked over to make sure it was him.  And then I wondered who in the hell was in my bedroom standing at the dresser.

I was frightened as I turned my head slowly to look back at the person standing in the corner of my dark bedroom.  My eyes were about waist level when I turned my head.  I realized the person was misty-looking, like a light grey smoke.  Even though the person was standing in front of the dresser, I could still see the handles and details of the dresser through the person.  My eyes moved up slowly until I was looking at my dad's smiling face.  Everything seemed to pause for a moment so my brain could catch up with what was happening.  And as I recognized who it was and what I was seeing, the apparition dispersed into smokey swirls and faded into black. 

I didn't breathe for what seemed like a long time.  And then I burst into tears.  In between sobs, I tried to figure out if I was just imagining things.  I almost wanted to have some explanation other than what I know I saw.  But I had no other answer.  I went over everything in my head and I knew I wasn't seeing something other than who it was.  I woke my husband from his sleep.  I just remember saying, "I saw my dad!" before sobbing more.  He hugged me for a while and tried to calm me down.

Even though I was happy to see my dad, and comforted by it, it also freaked me out.  That was two years ago and I live in a different house now, but I still cannot go to sleep without a light bright enough that I can see around the room and music playing in the background.  I think about it all the time.  Whenever I wake up in the middle of the night and the bedroom is dark, I wonder if I will see a ghost when I open my eyes and look around the room.  The experience was very jarring.

Have you had an experience you can't explain?  Have you ever seen a ghost?  Please share your experience with me.  And have a very Happy Halloween.


  1. I may have appeared to be unsympathic to you after your dad's death but my nightmares stopped when he died. He was physically and mentally abusive to me and I had a nightmare every night that he was choking me trying to kill me as he did when he was alive. You are seeing him more as the father he should have been than the father he was. You also did not mention that I and Steve were there at your graduation supporting you. Nor did you mention about who came to pick you up after 10pm at night when you were finished at your job and the busses were not running. I feel you have blocked out all the times you saw your dad abuse me and are trying to glorify him when he does not deserve it. I tried to protect you and your brother even while your dad made sure you both were involved. He was very mean. The storybook version of him that you have created is nice and the way he should have been, but it is a lie. I wish it could have been different, but I did the best I could to protect us and survive. I think I deserve some respect. Love you, Mom

  2. The problem with your comment is that this post wasn't written to be about you, nor was it written to be about everything that has ever happened in my life or your life or your relationships. It was simply a post written about my personal experiences with ghosts (which mostly happen to be my dad). This post is only about these specific events and how they made me feel.