Not All Ghosts are Evil
In almost all the videos and other articles available, there is an all too familiar theme: 'Ghost Attacks …'; 'Vicious Hideous Ghost …' etc. But the truth is that not all ghosts or apparitions are bad.
I would like to begin with a bit of a personal experience. This is what made me believe that not all spirits, I use the word loosely, are evil or malicious: I was working in the small town of Franschhoek, in the Eastern Cape - South Africa, and was living in a sub-divided cottage that had been originally built at the turn of the last century, between 1904 and 1910. Initially this had been one building, used as a sort of boarding house, with four bedrooms, one of which had an on-suite bathroom, and was reserved for female occupants. The other communal bathroom was at the opposite end of the passage.
The farm changed hands in 1932, and the new owners had two daughters. When the two girls were in their late teens or early twenties, in the early 1950's, their parents decided to give them some measure of self-sufficiency and privacy. To do this, they closed down the boarding house, and altered the building so that there were two single bedroomed apartments rather than one house. Each of them now had an on-suite bathroom, while the other two bedrooms were transformed into kitchenettes.
The girls both got married, and the parents fell on hard times. They were forced to sell the farm. The new owners only had one child, a son. They thus began to let out the two flats to single people, some of which were students at Stellenbosch University some fifty kilometres away.
The apartments were still available for students and visitors when I went down to Franschhoek in 1992. I was working on the farm, picking peaches of all things, during my December vacation. I was studying at art school in Johannesburg at the time, and sometimes used to do holiday jobs for a bit of extra cash. Most of the other workers with me were seasonal labourers hired from the local community, but I had a contact in the town who put in a good word for me with the owner, and landed me the job. As it happened, one of the flats were available as well.
I stayed there for six weeks before returning to Johannesburg. On about the fourth or fifth night there, I witnessed a most disturbing sight: I was still awake, and I saw this figure approaching my bed. I thought it was an intruder, so I quickly turned on the bedside light. As soon as the light came on, the figure disappeared. Something was not right. Apart from its sudden appearance and disappearance, there was something else that didn't sit well with me, but I could not think what it was.
A week or so later, I was visited again by the same figure. This time I noticed that it was female. I also realised what had bothered me the previous time: The figure had appeared from the opposite side of the room to the doorway. The kitchenette and the bedroom were one big room with a three-quarter wall dividing them, leaving a small gap between it and the left side of the bed. The door to the bathroom was on the wall on the right-hand side of the room, and the front door was on the wall in front of the bed. But the figure emerged from the same side of the room as the kitchen.
The next morning, I asked the farmer if there had ever been a door behind the kitchen cabinets, and he told me that there was on. They had bricked it over when they divided the original cottage into two units. Part of me was relieved that my so-called visitor had not come from the outside, while the other part of me still tried to deal with the fact that it had come through a solid wall, as well as the kitchen cupboards, into the room where I slept.
It was strange, but I could not help but feel a deep pity for the person who visited me. I felt no fear or loathing. In fact I sensed that this was a good person, and did not wish to do me any harm. Three weeks later, I saw my visitor for the last time. She appeared in front of me, just as she had on the previous occasions, only this time she did not just stand there for a few minutes as she had before. She pirouetted three times, her hands reaching upwards and her head lifted, and then fell to the floor. I stood up, and saw her body lying there like the 'Dying Swan' from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake. Part of me wanted to see if she was okay, but soon I realised that she wasn't physically there. Nonetheless, I turned on the light just to make certain. Sure enough, she was gone again.
In the short time that remained, I did some investigation. I was told, that during the 1920's, the room with the on-suite bathroom had been let out to an Afrikaans dancing student studying at Stellenbosch. In her third year, she fell ill, and was diagnosed with cancer. Of course in those days, there was no cure for cancer, so she dropped out of University. However, she did stay in the boarding house, having fallen in love with the Cape, and possibly a young farmer's son from the area, although that was pure conjecture. Whether she did or not, no-one will ever know.
On the morning of the twenty eighth of December 1924, one of the local cleaners went to tidy up the rooms. She found the young girl dead on the floor. Next to her bed was a bottle of brandy and a depleted container of some form of medication or other. She was dressed in her ballet costume, and by the way she had fallen, it was suspected that she lost her balance while she was dancing her last dance, probably because she was under the influence of the alcohol and pills. It appeared that she had merely fallen asleep where she lay, never to wake up again.
Other Instances of Non-Violent Ghosts
At this stage, I would like to go back to my first point: Not all ghosts are bad. In fact there are a number of instances where their intent has little or nothing to do with those around them. My personal experience, I suspect, was a series of what I call 'Re-Enactments', in which an individual may be replaying the last moments before he or she dies. This is common in road accidents or pedestrian accidents.
Using the latter as an example: A person or creature is killed by a speeding vehicle as he or she crosses the road. The negative energy released at that moment is so intense, that it could possibly leave an imprint on the surrounding area. At a certain time - perhaps on the same day of the event, or under similar conditions (for instance if the accident happened on a stormy night) - the energy is released, and the whole incident is played all over again. Passers by, upon witnessing the event, especially if it causes another accident, may be led to believe that the apparition might have intentionally appeared at that time to either harm or attack them. Whereas it may have been a simple case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Similarly, there are those ghosts that result from someone or something being killed so suddenly that they don't actually realise that they are dead. This is very often the reason why there are ghost animals on the roads. They run across the road, and as mentioned above, they get run over or hit by a car. They may stagger to the side of the road, but for all intents and purposes, they are already dead. The creature's spirit lingers because its death was so sudden, and appears in much the same way as the first instance.
Probably the most misunderstood of all non-aggressive ghosts are those who are the result of a violent and brutal death. An example of this is a case in which the guests at a hotel began complaining that they were hearing screams from one of the rooms. The management of the hotel insisted that there was no-one in the room at the time. Nonetheless, they sent one of the security officers to investigate. As soon as he arrived at the door, he could hear the screams coming from the other side of the door. Soon even the operator who had sent him could hear them as well.
When the officer entered the room, he noticed that the place had been ransacked, even to the point that the carpets had been ripped up, and that the shower had been turned on and had started to flood the bathroom. What he did not see, but was picked up by the CCTV, was a shadowy figure exiting the room as soon as the door was opened.
Although I cannot prove it, it is possible that a woman was either raped or even murdered in that room, and her spirit was trapped inside. The officer opened the door, and she was able to go free. Another explanation is that this is another re-enactment. The cause is still the same, but perhaps the crime was discovered, after the victim was dead, when someone came to the room to investigate. The only difference might be the state of the room. Normally, a re-enactment has limited impact on the surrounding area, so the room should have been untouched.
In such cases, the ghost does seem to be malicious, but the violence is not aimed at the occupants, but is a result of the manner in which the person died.
There are many other instances where ghosts are not intentionally violent or inherently evil, and perhaps I will discuss them at a later stage.