Stories

Ghostly Encounters

Michael-Walsh_488391

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When five successful British writers revealed their belief in ghosts they based their stories on personal experience. Did they open themselves to ridicule? Apparently not. Studies reveal that 48% of Americans believe in ghosts. Given that Britain is more ghost-friendly than the US I would expect Britain’s percentage of believers to be higher.

I never had a problem coming to terms with apparitions or the supernatural. As a child, mother would say, “it is the living, not the dead who harm you.”

An Ordinary Seaman on the freighter Grecian I recall a night time passage approaching Gibraltar. Entering the tool room far below the waterline two engineers chanced upon an Arab sitting cross-legged on an oil drum. Presuming the youngster to be a stowaway the pair approached the character. It was then they realized that the figure was an apparition. Horrified, both men fled to the upper deck. I can testify to their extreme shock. Only when the ship reached London did the captain reveal that the specter was evident during earlier voyages. The ghostly figure was that of a youngster who, on stowing away in Tripoli, was fatally sealed in a hold.

A ship’s lookout will ring the bell that situated on the bow of a ship if a vessel is seen to starboard; it is rung twice if another ship is to port and three times if there is danger ahead. Through the stormy night the bell constantly tolled accurately as our ship approached the English Channel. As dawn broke it was realized the lookout was nowhere near the bell but was on the upper bridge. Sent to tie the maverick bell the lookout returned to say that the bell had been disabled the previous night. Who or what then had been tolling the warnings?

Before retiring to Spain I lived in an old manse. The apparition in that old house made no secret of her presence. We accepted each other and I christened her Casperette. Rarely did I mention her to visitors but many guests were startled by her unexpected presence. One night, a lady colleague stayed overnight and would use the spare bedroom. Just as we settled down for our night’s slumbers we were shocked by an atrocious banging on both our bedroom doors. Running to the landing we found it to be empty. Neither of us made a big deal of it. However, I am convinced that Casperette was consumed by jealousy at the presence of my female guest.

On several occasions I stayed at Widdecombe Manor in Chagford, Devon. The R. D Blackmore’s classic, Lorna Doone, was based on the manor’s 17th Century romantic tragedy. My experiences whilst a guest would make your hair stand on end as they did mine. I have never questioned life on a spiritual plane. Some are attuned to it, some are not. As the great scientist Nikola Tesla revealed: “My brain is only a receiver. I have not penetrated into the secrets of this core, but I know it exists.”

The author, Michael Walsh, before retirement, was voted ‘Writer of the Year’ by the editorial board of Euro Weekly News. This English language weekly is read by 550,000 readers each week. A broadcaster and author of over thirty titles he is a regular contributor to U.S online media.

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