Ghost Stories Beyond the Light

I answer questions on Quora now and then, and one of the most common is "Do you believe in ghosts?"

Per LaChaise Cemetery in Paris

I asked that question to my father as a toddler and his reply still holds up; "Ghosts don't exist."

Which I agree.  Ghosts, per se, do not exist.  Because they aren't "ghosts." They're just folks who are no longer on the planet.  They're people. They're still here.  Get over it.

I've seen ghosts most of my life - but didn't concern myself about it. Honestly.  It wasn't until they started to bug me that I actually thought about who or what they might be.

Like the fellow who used to live in my apartment in Santa Monica. I used to see him sitting on the edge of my bed.  "Who are you?" I got the impression he'd lived there before. Then I woke up to find him lying next to me on the bed. Naked. I jumped out of it (he disappeared).  I said "Dude. I don't mind you hanging out in your hold apt, but do not wake me up with your naked ass!"

He stopped. Then one day a new tenant ran in from next door.  Apt had been empty for years.  She screamed. "I was brushing my teeth and I looked up and a guy was standing behind me in the mirror!"  I said "Oh, was he about 5'10, sandy hair?" She said "Yes!"  I said "Oh, he's just the fellow who used to live here.  If you just tell him to stop doing that, he will."

Years later, I was in the post office standing next to a guy writing his return address on an envelope and recognized the address. (What are the odds?) I said "Dude, you live with a ghost."  He said "What?"  I told him the story... he didn't like hearing the story.  Too bad.  He lives with a ghost. Get over it.

I was in Sydney visiting the home of a friend who'd just sold his house. (Phillip Noyce and Jan Sharp in Darlinghurst) It was empty save for a bed which they left behind so I could camp out for a couple of fun filled weeks.  

One morning I awoke to see a man in a painter's outfit hanging from the rafters.  When he saw me react, he reacted - and said in an Aussie accent; "Terribly sorry mate, it's just something I feel the need to do." Then a ladder appeared, and he pulled the rope from his rafter and CLIMBED DOWN THE LADDER.  I blinked... and it was gone.

Not his ladder

I spoke to Jan Sharp later that day "What's up with the ghost?" She asked what I was talking about. I told her.  She said "Well our painter did hang himself but he did so in his own home."  I said "Well, he must like your home better because he's still hanging around."

I originally thought he was Mohawk
but research tells me he was Iroquois.
I was teaching in Maine - I woke to find a native american in full battle gear standing over me with an axe and a knife.  His arms were dripping something - looked like blood - could have been paint.  He was SCREAMING BLOODY MURDER in my face.  Like "Get out!" but in Mohawk or Iroquois. I jumped up and he disappeared.  I said "Look, I'm only teaching here in Maine for a week - I'll be gone then, okay?"  And for that entire week slept with every light on, tv on, radio on. He didn't bug me again.

Like I say - just didn't bother with them. If they don't bother me, why bother them?

Can you hear me now?
Until I was staying at a friend's place in Connecticut.  And my wife and I heard "knocking" "tapping" outside the wall - where no one could knock. And then the lights going on and off - and a groan... whenever it rained.  

One night I had a vivid dream where I met this "angry presence" - which I saw covered in blood, in a british uniform - old, tattered, beard... angry fellow showed me the horrors of his situation.  Dead bodies all around - moaning and general horror.

I did some research, found the home was built on a British garrison from 1812. I think I was being shown the hospital - or the dungeon - I don't know.  It was pretty nasty.  

But the next time this fellow appeared - sensing his presence "enter the room" in a cloud of anger. I said "Hi. Look. I know you're upset that we're staying in your home.  I apologize. However, if you look around you'll see a light, and beyond that light is everyone you've ever loved. Just go into that light and you'll see what I'm talking about."  I was guessing this to be the case - I had just started this research, and it seemed like the most logical, compassionate thing to say.
Typical 1812 uniform

He didn't bother us again that trip... and I thought, "wow, cool, it worked." (We'd tried sage and any other number of suggestions... never told our hosts about it. Why tell them "There's a scary ghost in your guest house?")  

But a year later we were back, and this time I had a dream where this young handsome guy came to visit - he was wearing 19th century clothes, three piece suit - trimmed beard. He came up to me and said in the most proper English; "I just wanted to come back and thank you for sending me home."

Mind you - I ASSUMED this was make believe - wishful thinking.  But I also allowed it might not be.  I may have mentioned this in my books - but maybe not. I'm writing this down, because I tried this technique a few weeks ago.

George Noory of "Coast to Coast" fame.

I was in Boulder shooting "Beyond Belief" with George Noory.  The episode hasn't aired yet, but will soon. I was in the makeup room with the very talented makeup artist, and we were catching up since my last appearance.  

A producer came in and said "Tell him about the ghost!"  She said "Oh yeah, there's a ghost in the studio."  I asked about him. She said she saw him one day - walking in to a locked set - hiding behind some lights.  She said the crew all knew "someone" was moving lights around, breaking them, doing stuff in a locked room - but she also "saw him."

George Noory and Jennifer Shaffer

I asked if she'd seen ghosts before. "When I was younger."  I said, "Let's try an experiment, shall we?" Who is this guy?  She said "No idea."  I said, "Let's ask.  Try to remember what you saw. Can you freeze what you saw as a photograph? or a hologram?" 

She said "Ok."  "Move closer to him, what does he look like?" She described a young man in his 20's, sandy hair, eyes, etc.  I said "Let's ask him. Who are you?" She "heard" a name - told it to me, and we "asked him" what he was doing there. She said her first impression was that he died nearby in a fire in the 1950's. 

She said "he's very angry." I said "What about?" She said... "Oh my god! About our show! He's angry because he says the people who come on the show are not telling the truth about what it's like over there!"  

She laughed - the producer was still in the room, and they both laughed at that idea; a critic from the flipside.  I said "What is it they're getting wrong?"  She said "He says "Everything."

I said, "Look around you my friend. There's a light. And beyond that light is everyone you've ever loved and who ever loved you. Do you want to go and see it?" She said "No, he's too angry."  

I thought okay, try another tack.  I said "Well, can you see the light?" "Yes." "Can you go closer to it?" "Okay." "Describe what you feel."  He said "It feels warmer."  I said "Okay, step through the light."  He said "No, I don't want to let go of my anger."  

I said, "It's okay. Your anger will stay here.  You can always come back and retrieve it.  Just put your hand through the light, how does that feel?"  "Warmer."  I said "Now stand in the light, what's that feel like?" She/he said "I feel less angry."  I said "Okay, step on the other side of the light - you can always come back here, this sound stage isn't going anywhere."  (If I were filming this, this is the moment I would have shoved the fellow "through the door." But I didn't. I just asked him to check out the other side.)

He said "Okay." I said "Describe what you're seeing."  He said "I'm seeing everything differently..." I said "Look around. Do you see your family?"  He said "I hate my family. I wouldn't go to them if I saw them."  

I pressed him; "But look carefully. See anyone?" He said "I see my uncle. He's the only person who loved me."  I said "Can we ask your uncle to come over here?" He said "okay."  

I said "Take his hand. What does that feel like?"  He said he felt love, comfort, safety.  I asked if the uncle would show him around a bit?" The uncle said, "Sure." (She said, "He's saying "sure.")

I said "Look, you can always come back - do you want to come back?" And he said "No, I want to stay here with my uncle for awhile."

With George in the makeup room.

George popped his head in and off I went to do the show.  After the show, I went back to get my bag and the make-up artist said "He came back!" 

I thought... "Oh no, it didn't work. Their ghost had returned."  I said "It didn't work?"  She said "No, he just came back to thank me for helping him."  

It did work.

So in answer to the question "What would you say to a ghost now that you know the architecture of the flipside?" that's what I'd say. "Everyone who ever loved you, or whom you loved, is on the other side of that light."  

We don't need to push them out the door - it's up to them to take it. But that's one method of how to do it.

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