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Are Ghosts Real?

Updated on July 6, 2012

Have you seen a ghost?

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Published in CountryLife magazine in 1936, this is said to be the Brown Lady ghost of Raynham Hall.
Published in CountryLife magazine in 1936, this is said to be the Brown Lady ghost of Raynham Hall. | Source

"All of a sudden I noticed something on the wall. There was something filmy white, it looked like an apparition of some kind, I got so excited I couldn't restrain myself! I flipped on the light and nothing was there but a portrait of Anna Whaley, the long-dead mistress of the house."

-Regis Philbin on his encounter with a ghost at the Whaley House

What Goes Bump in the Night

I lived at the El Canto house until I was five. A young age, but still I recall nights spent awake, watching the same black shadow pass my window or hearing the wood floors just outside my door creek beneath invisible feet. I would later learn that my parents were “weirded out” by the house too and that my father had conveniently forgotten to tell my mom the previous owners had committed suicide in the bedroom my oldest sister called home. “Well that explains the lady I saw!” She had exclaimed, detailing the womanly figure that floated with no legs, the one she sometimes saw hovering in her doorway.

Weather you believe in ghosts or not, they are a part of our popular culture.

Millions of dollars are spent trying to prove and disprove the very existence of spirits, just take a look at some popularly rated shows such as, Ghost Adventures, or My Ghost Story! Regardless of how much ‘proof’ is published, many will remain skeptical while others can’t afford the luxury of not believing.

Take Brandon* for example, a man with a high-power job and a large, masculine frame. It’s unexpected to learn he’s spent a lifetime trying not to see ghosts. Preferring to keep quiet about his abilities, he rarely speaks with friends or family about it. He tells me that the less he talks about it, the less often the ghosts come knocking.

Mean Ghosts

No one is terrified of Casper, it's the ‘evil spirits’ we fear. Brandon has encountered spirits of all demeanors. One night, Brandon was asleep in his bed when he suddenly awoke to the sensation someone was watching him. To his surprise, there was! He describes her as a beautiful woman, her face very close to his own. In a sleepy haze he reached out to touch her when suddenly all of her features morphed into a hideous mess. The woman screamed out before vanishing into thin air.

Brandon admits that no matter how many times something like this happens to you, your heart never stops racing. Even when by age five, he’d already seen something with long black fingers living in his closet. This same creature, which he refers to as one of the evil spirits, would regularly open his closet so the toys would spill out, getting Brandon in trouble.

Brandon tells me that ghosts are everywhere; sometimes he can’t tell the living from the dead. Routinely traveling for work, Brandon has noticed some states are more 'haunted' than others. He also tells me that he doesn't like driving alone at night, "you see someone up ahead in the road..." He chuckles a little, "sounds crazy, but for me... I'm thinking, real or spirit?"

I ask him if the house he shares with his adorable pit-bull is haunted, a modern two bedroom with all the 'man-cave' emanates: large TV, surfboard stashed in a corner, large comfy couch. He laughs, telling me he was careful not to buy a place with bad energy, although you’re never 100% safe because spirits travel, passing through all areas at some point.

The Whaley House

Known as the most haunted building in America, The Whaley House sits in Old Town San Diego. Growing up in San Diego, I have heard stories all my life about the house- the whoosh of air people feel going up the steps or the sounds of a long-dead dog barking. Every time I go, there are too many people to feel much of anything other than hot, cramped, and "oops, excuse me." Although those that have worked at the house turned museum for many years claim spooky things do happen- just usually after hours, when all the living have gone home.

"Yankee Jim"

The Whaley's are not the only ghosts said to live in the house. "Yankee Jim" was hung from the back of a wagon in 1852, for larceny and possible murder, on the same grounds the Whaley House would soon stand. Some say it's his boots they hear, still marching up and down the hallways. Lilly Whaley, the youngest daughter, is said to have mentioned "Yankee Jim" haunting the house when she lived here too.

Who Built the Most Haunted House in America?

In 1857 the Whaley family finally moved into the grand home they had spent years building, the home they were prepared to spend a lifetime in. Yet by the end of 1858, they were already moving out. Leaving behind what would become known as the most haunted house in America.

An extremely wealthy business man, Thomas Whaley was a shop owner, business man. and often the envy of town- that is until tragedy struck in 1858. Five months apart, both his son, Thomas, and daughter, Anna, died. Only two months after Anna's death, a fire damaged a whole part of the house. Ravaged by tragedy, he and his wife moved away.

Around town, Mr. Whaley was known to be a rough man. Many were indebted to him, unable to pay him back and therefore regularly under his harass. This made him very unpopular in certain times of his life.

Whaley House in 1800's


Whaley House Today

Today the Whaley House operates as a museum in Old Town, San Diego.
Today the Whaley House operates as a museum in Old Town, San Diego. | Source

Curtains Come Alive

Also in San Diego, only twenty minutes away from Old Town, lives Stephanie.

At the same time her stepmother was dying of cancer, Stephanie was tossing and turning in her bed, hardly able to sleep. Curled up on one side, she opened her eyes expecting to see the curtains stiff against the wall. Instead, they were blowing up in waves, the silhouette of a woman who looked very much like her stepmother in the midst of the fabric.

This isn’t the only experience Stephanie has had with ghostly-encounters, although she rarely sees any entities. Instead she claims to feel them. “They don’t have bodies anymore.” She tells me, “they are energy and it’s their energy I can feel. Sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s bad.” She advises me not to let her calm demeanor overshadow her fear; no one is exempt from fearing the unknown. Just as Brandon warned me, no matter how many times you see or feel something, the fright-factor doesn’t dissipate.

As humans we are constantly searching for answers, who are we? Where do we come from? Where do we go when this is over? While the Bible and science help us to understand a lot, there are still empty holes. As we scurry to find our answers, ghosts remain a mysterious and highly scrutinized entity.

Perhaps we are never meant to know...

*Name changed changed to protect privacy.


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    • Becky Bruce profile image

      Becky Bruce 5 years ago from San Diego, CA

      Olde Cashmere, I notice you are from Michigan- I have family there! What a beautiful state. Anyways, thank you for the kind comments :)

    • profile image

      Olde Cashmere 5 years ago

      I thoroughly enjoyed this hub, spooky and fascinating writing. Thanks for sharing Becky Bruce. Voted up, awesome, and interesting :)

    • gail641 profile image

      Gail Louise Stevenson 5 years ago from Mason City

      Your welcome. Thanks, too.

    • Becky Bruce profile image

      Becky Bruce 5 years ago from San Diego, CA

      Hello Gail and thank you! The Whaley House is a very interesting place, if you're ever in San Diego you should check it out. Warning though, they do charge some silly fee to get in, like $10 a person.

    • gail641 profile image

      Gail Louise Stevenson 5 years ago from Mason City

      The Whaley House sounds very interesting. I think that its a good possiblilty that ghosts and spirits do exist. There must be an afterlife for sure. I voted up.

    • Becky Bruce profile image

      Becky Bruce 5 years ago from San Diego, CA

      OldWitchcraft, thanks for the visit! I love what you say about someone not being able to hear it... even if they believe you! You are one of the lucky ones, able to see and hear things the rest of us can not.

    • OldWitchcraft profile image

      OldWitchcraft 5 years ago from The Atmosphere

      I see and hear all kinds of things that seem to be outside other people's range of perception. There's no way to convince somebody who can't see or hear them that you can, although, I think that some of the equipment like heat-sensitive cameras and EMF detectors combined with photography is helping to show people that there is something behind these experiences. But, it's like trying to tell somebody who can't hear that you heard a loud noise in the next room - they can't hear it and even if they believe you, they can't hear it...

      Fun article! Accolades!

    • Becky Bruce profile image

      Becky Bruce 5 years ago from San Diego, CA

      Thomas you just have so many good ghost stories!!! I would be freaking out if any of that happened to me! See I meet all these people that have these great experiences and as for me, pretty much nothing except at that first house I discuss in this hub.

    • crazyhorsesghost profile image

      Thomas Byers 5 years ago from East Coast , United States

      Becky your very right. One of my aunts on my fathers side of the family went for 72 years saying there was no such thing as a ghost until she spent a night at my Mom's after my Mom's husband had passed away. By morning she believed in ghosts and other paranormal activity but it really scared her. Leonard my step father was a very controlling type personality in life and he really let it be known that he was around when he passed away.

      He would throw things around his and my moms former bedroom and he would pull open his former dresser drawers and slam the bathroom door. The night my aunt spent the night there she saw it all. And it made a believer out of her.

      My Mom likes to scare people like a friend of me and my girlfriend. The girls name is Mandy and my mom scared the living hell out of the girl in my girlfriends van. She touched Mandy on the arm and she opened a sliding door and closed it before Mandy could get out. You should have heard Mandy. All she wanted was out of that van.

    • Becky Bruce profile image

      Becky Bruce 5 years ago from San Diego, CA

      crazyhorsesghost- wow, you have so much wonderful insight to contribute to this hub! I'm glad that you mention that while some people might find it bothersome or scary, others- like yourself- enjoy seeing into another world! It's hard talking about your experiences with people who don't believe because they just call it "crazy." But I know a few people who have gone all their lives not believing and then they see something that changes their mind.

    • HLKeeley profile image

      HL Keeley 5 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      Oh thank you! I just write whatever I think of. lol

    • Becky Bruce profile image

      Becky Bruce 5 years ago from San Diego, CA

      HLKeeley, thanks so much for reading! I'm glad you enjoyed. I've been meaning to make my way back over to your hub... I see you've been busy posting a lot of good ones lately!

    • crazyhorsesghost profile image

      Thomas Byers 5 years ago from East Coast , United States

      A very entertaining hub. Voted up across the board. I've seen ghosts all my life. (Age 62 ) I remember seeing my first ghost which was an old lady sweeping on a empty houses front porch when I was about five.

      For some reason people in my family especially on my Mom's side of the family have always been able to see ghosts and other paranormal activity. My late mother had a very intense experience with a ghost when she was 12 years old and I have a hub page with the videos of her talking about it that can be found on my profile page.

      Since my Mom passed away on January 6th 2010 she has visited me many times and we had a code to let me know for sure it was her and she has done it many times to let me know its her.

      I currently explore the paranormal and I hope to some day prove that ghosts do exist. I myself already know that ghosts are real but there are a lot of people who do not. And I really believe that there are some people who can see ghosts and some people who can not.

      Thanks for a great well written hub. I hope you continue to explore the paranormal.

      I also wanted to tell you that though I do feel the hair stand up on my arms or neck sometimes that I've never been scared. I consider it an adventure.

    • HLKeeley profile image

      HL Keeley 5 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      This was so entertaining to read! I really am interested in haunted houses and graveyards. I also LOVE that you included interviews with people who have encounters with ghosts. It makes it more real. Rated Up!