Q&A of the Day – Do You Believe in Ghosts?
Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods.
iHeartRadio: Use the Talkback feature – the microphone button on our station’s page in the iHeart app.
Today’s Entry: Hi Brian enjoy the show. I’d like to propose a Halloween themed Q&A for you. My question for you is...do you believe in Ghosts? Given your fact-based approach to analysis I think it would be fun to hear what your perspective is. Happy Halloween!
Bottom Line: I’ve been asked and have answered thousands of questions for the Q&A of the day over the years, however this one is a first. In the spirit of Halloween, I’m happy to talk about spirits. And in answer to your question. Yes, I believe in ghosts, which evidentially places me in the minority as (somewhat surprisingly to me) only 36% of Americans surveyed do. You’ll be happy to know that that my belief in the supernatural is based on both experiences I can’t explain, and my accounting for those experiences is based on analytical analysis of my belief system. I’ll start with the four stories I have to share with you. One which was an uplifting and positive experience and others which still give chills when I think about them.
The first supernatural experience I can recall happened when I was ten. My grandfather who’d long suffered with emphysema, had taken a turn for the worse. My parents were notified by his doctor that this was likely the end. He was in a hospital in upstate New York while we lived in suburban Atlanta. My parents quickly scrambled to get us together and to make our way to see him as quickly as possible. We arrived just in time and my parents were able to say their goodbyes. However, after they’d visited with him, they decided based on his current condition, that it’d be best if I didn’t. He died within hours. That night we went back to my grandmother and grandfather’s house and almost immediately I went to bed. Hours later, in the middle of the night, I woke up with a sense that someone was watching me. At the foot of my bed was my grandfather but not the way I’d ever seen him – without an oxygen machine. He appeared with a bright white light around him – standing out in the dark. Rather than feeling startled by what was happening I remember a positive calming feeling coming over me. No words were exchanged, but it felt like we said our goodbyes. After what seemed like a minute or two, he went away and went back to sleep. I’ve never had a similar experience since. For years after that experience, I questioned whether it was as real as it seemed or if I possibly had dreamed it. After all it happened when I had been asleep in the middle of the night. The skepticism about what I’d experienced continued until about a decade later when I was living in Savannah.
Most of the eight years I lived in Savannah were a bit of blur. I was young, ambitious, busy and eventually engaged. At various points I was running a business I’d co-founded, going to college full-time, while also doing radio full-time. What that meant was that in order to have time for my eventual first wife, I had to make time whenever I could. That often meant dropping by later at night on the weekends. One Friday night, at about ten o’clock after having left the radio station I was in route to my girlfriend’s house which sat outside of Savannah where plantations used to be. The final few miles of the drive to her house was along a lightly traveled two-lane highway. That fateful Friday night I was driving on cruise control as I usually did, when all of the sudden, in the middle of the road, straight in front of me, was a woman. At first glance it looked like she was in distress with tattered clothing. I slammed on the brakes and pulled off the road so I that didn’t hit her. I looked in my rearview mirror when I was stopped. I saw a woman with a torn and tattered white dress with what looked like handcuffs and a chain. I pulled out my phone, dialed 911 and turned around in my seat. I saw nothing. Just about then the operator picked up and asked what my emergency was. Not knowing what else to say, I told her what I saw and that she’d probably think I was crazy. She said only about ten minutes earlier they’d received a similar call. When a nearby officer drove by, they saw nothing. I knew that there was a cemetery nearby. What I later learned was that it was known for having been the final resting place for slaves. And that led to my next experience.
Having told my girlfriend about that experience, she said that weird things were common throughout the area. As a matter of fact, she said that occasionally there were unexplained things which happened at her house. She hadn’t told me previously because she was concerned that I’d think she was crazy. She mentioned that she often didn’t feel comfortable staying in the house and knew that others had used a Ouija board to attempt to communicate with spirits. I stayed there that night. Nothing odd happened but in the morning when I was looking for my keys and my wallet which I’d placed on the nightstand next to me, they weren’t there. We began looking everywhere in the house not thinking much of it at first. After over half an hour, I began to get desperate because I had to get to work so I started moving pieces of furniture. It was in the living room, under the middle section of a three-section couch which was against a wall, that my keys and my wallet were together, just as I usually kept them.
After that experience we began to hatch a plan for her to move. In the meantime, I started searching around the house for anything that might seem odd. Sure enough in the back of an old closet just a few nights later I found a Ouija board. I immediately took it to my car and drove it to a dumpster about a half mile away where I threw it out and set out to go home. Across the street from the dumpster just a little further down the road was a long since abandoned plantation house that some locals said was haunted. The property in was poor condition with many windows cracked or having completely fallen out and with a wooden picket fence around the property. The gravel driveway had weeds and vegetation that had grown into it however it was still possible to drive into it. Extremely curious from my two recent experiences in the area, but still at least a little bit skeptical about the whole thing, the plan was to drive around the circular driveway looking into the windows, which is where people said they’d seen things, and to leave. As it turned out I didn’t make it around the driveway. As soon I drove onto the property every window in it brightly lit up. I stopped in my tracks. There were no lights in the windows, for that matter there wasn’t even electricity running to the house. Just empty windows. Some with cracked panes, some without any at all, glowing brightly. I backed out of there and never went back. I’ve never experienced anything like what happened in Savannah since. As for my analytical accounting of these oddities...
I’m Catholic and most of my related views on life are consistent with the faith’s teachings. Purgatory is among them. For those who may not be familiar Purgatory is defined as: Purgatory (Lat., "purgare", to make clean, to purify) in accordance with Catholic teaching is a place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God's grace, are, not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions. I believe that purgatory holds the potential to explain ghosts. The state of purgatory, being of neither heaven or hell, is a place to repent for sins for the purpose of joining God in heaven. I believe it’s possible that ghosts are in purgatory. And that it’s possible that while in the state of purgatory there may still be competition for potentially lost souls which could account for malevolent spirits. As I’m inclined to say there are two sides to stories and one side to facts. This one isn’t so clear. So, there’s my theory. I’ve reported, and you can decide. Happy Halloween!