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Unless you count the loud footsteps that sometimes rumble up and down my in-laws stairs (but that are probably just coming from a noisy neighbour in the other home in their duplex), I have never seen or interacted with a ghost.
With that being said, my father had a frightening and bizarre experience one night while sleeping at my grandfather’s home about thirty years ago.
This home was built by my grandfather on land that has been in our family for generations. There have been no sudden deaths, acts of violence, or any other tragedies in that house or on that land for as long as anyone in the family can recall. It’s a peaceful place, and yet the story of the black-eyed woman still happened.
Dad was sleeping in bed next to mom when he felt the bed gently shake as someone sat on it in the middle of the night. He awoke to see his wife sitting on the end of the bed staring at him.
It took him a minute to remember that mom did not have black eyes. That is to say, the eyes of the woman looking him did not have pupils, irises, or sclera. They were coal black from beginning to end. She otherwise looked exactly like his wife.
He looked over to the side and saw his actual wife sleeping quietly beside him, so he reached forward to swat the black-eyed stranger away. His hand couldn’t touch anything solid where she sat, and yet she was still there looking at him.
”Get out in the name of Jesus!” He said to the black-eyed woman. She disappeared like a mist.
He was not able to fall back asleep again that night.
Let’s add a few more pieces of information to the mystery:
1) During that time, my parents were trying to decide whether to make some life-changing career decisions that would make it much easier for them to pay the bills and even save a little bit of money for the future. Saying yes to those opportunities would also increase their stress and decrease the amount of time they had for anything other than work and finishing college (for my mom) and mean our family would need to move a few thousand miles away from where we lived at the time.
2) My father has seasonal allergies that required him to take allergy medicine before bed in order to be decongested enough to sleep. He is also known to be someone who occasionally has trouble transitioning from sleeping to being fully alert, especially if he’s interrupted during deep sleep.
3) They belonged to a denomination that worried about evil spirits and demons more than many other faiths and denominations do. Avoiding and casting out these spirits were common topics of conversation in our social circles.
So this could have been a hypnogogic hallucination. That is to say, a hallucination that took place while his brain was still in the process of waking up. These types of hallucinations can include seeing, feeling, and hearing things that are not actually there because your mind is still dreaming at that time. They are not dangerous, just a quirk of the human mind.
On the other hand, my mother has a sibling who had night terrors and incidents of sleep walking when he slept in that room as a kid. Maybe it’s a coincidence, or maybe not.
No one else has seen the black-eyed woman at my grandparents’ home to the best of my knowledge, but this is the scariest real-life (possible?) ghost story I know. I will leave it up to all of you decide if you’d rather believe it was a spirit, a mental process that can be explained by our current understanding of psychology and neurology, or something else entirely.
Happy (almost) Halloween!