|Source: Wikimedia Commons|
The possibility of the existence of ghosts is something that has always fascinated me. I've always loved ghost stories and I enjoy reading about haunted places and the strange tales that go along with them. But my interest in the possibility of spirits and ghosts went into overdrive after my experience working for hospice in the 1990s.
When working for hospice, the reality of death is obviously unavoidable. I was prepared for that, or at least I thought I was, but what I was totally unprepared for was the unexplained phenomena that sometimes accompany a death.
The majority of our patients were loving people who had lived full lives surrounded by family and friends. While their deaths were sad, they were also peaceful. I was fascinated by the frequency with which these patients told us about long-dead loved ones who came to visit them in their final days. It was as if these deceased family members were coming to comfort our patients and perhaps accompany them to some other plane.
Of course, the rational explanation was that these patients were having hallucinations which brought them comfort and peace.
By contrast, I remember one patient who was a bitter and hate-filled man and, for reasons unknown to me, his family wanted nothing to do with him. I visited him one day not long before he died and it was an experience I have never forgotten.
When I walked to the patient's bed, I found him anxious and downright terrified. He kept pointing at things I couldn't see and insisting that his bed was surrounded. He screamed in fright and grabbed my hand to keep me from leaving when I told him I needed to get back to the hospice office. He kept asking me the same thing over and over again. "Can't you see them?"
I couldn't see anything, but I can't deny that I could feel something. And what I felt made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end.
I was certain I had gone completely insane, but one of the hospice nurses told me she had heard of this type of experience many times in her years working for the agency. And a chaplain friend of mine later reported a very similar encounter.
What was it that the man I visited could see but I could not? Again, the obvious answer is that he was simply experiencing a terrifying hallucination. But after being there, I will always believe it was something more, just as I felt certain that the patients who reported friendly visitors were experiencing something more than hallucinations.
I believe there are things that simply can't be explained, and it's not inconceivable to me that there is a spiritual plane that sometimes crosses over into our world. I don't know how or why, but I can't discount the possibilities.
Have you ever had any encounters with ghosts or spirits? Do you believe in the possibility of their existence?
I'm starting a new series on my blog with stories of ghosts, hauntings, and mysterious happenings. Click here to read about the Martha's Vineyard Ghost Ship, which was found in 1804 on the shores of Aquinnah.