I was in Scotland the first time I saw a proper ghost.
This was about ten years ago, I guess. Christopher and I took a train from London to Edinburgh to celebrate our engagement. We stayed with his brother’s family in a very cool house I think used to be servant’s quarters to the mansion next door but I digress.
My future sister-in-law, Lynette, had recently lost her dad. I never got to meet Alan but by all accounts he was a wonderful man absolutely adored by his wife, children, and grandchildren….particularly one, William. From what I understand, William took his grandfather’s death the hardest. He was only little when Alan passed and how can anyone ‘make it feel better’ when they’re that young? Say, Granddad’s in a better place now? That he’s watching you all the time and doesn’t want you to cry anymore?
This particular night, Christopher and I shared a room with young cousins William and James, who shared a twin bed across from us.
I’m not sure when my eyes opened, or why, but it was definitely the wee hours. The room was still and grey, a silent mix of dark and moonlight. I saw a man in the room with us.
I lifted my head and squinted. Yes. An older man. Sitting next to William.
He was very tall, with kind eyes and big hands that rested on his knees a few inches from William’s sleeping face. There was something so calm about him, so serene. It was very clear to me that whoever it was, he was there for William and not some random ghost taking a short rest between rooms.
I instinctively reached for Christopher. I wasn’t scared even though I knew this person wasn’t alive. He wasn’t flesh, not like you and me. But I wouldn’t have called him “see through” either. I jiggled Christopher’s arm, eyes firmly across the room. He was almost watercolor, like barely there tones of another place and time.
“Christopher!” I whispered urgently, turning my head this time. I shook his chest til he mumbled, “Whass wrong?”
“Someone’s in here!” I said, turning back around. “Look!”
The chair was empty.
Christopher sat up on his elbow.
But the man was gone.
Chris plopped back into his pillow, asleep again in seconds. I stared at the empty chair, twisting my new ring to everyone’s gentle exhales. It was a long while before I fell asleep again.
I decided to tell Lynette about it the next morning because I thought she’d like to know her house was haunted. But as I described the man, a framed photo stood out behind her. I walked to the shelf and picked up her family picture. A man stood among them. Tall. Gentle eyes. The man next to William.
“Oh my God! That’s him!”
“Who Dad?” she kinda smiled, kinda shrugged, “I see him all the time.”
A few things I need to point out here: the only thing I knew about Alan prior to this incident is that he’d died. I’d never seen Alan, met Alan, and had no clue what he looked like. I only found out about his close relationship with William after sharing this story. What strikes me about it now is how he allowed me to observe him. I must have watched him a good 20 seconds before attempting to wake Christopher. And the moment I involved someone else he was gone. I was also amazed that Lynette not only listened to my story with complete objectivity but admitted she had these experiences all the time. Any skeptic would point out that the bereaved will “see ghosts” of their loved ones because they want to. But what did I stand to gain from any of this? To-date, that is the clearest (and longest) I’ve ever seen a ghost (in that form).
Lynette and I later shared another ghost story in Texas. This time in my house but definitely not her Dad. I’ll tell that story later.
As to our loved ones watching from The Other Side, well….they do.
I have little choice but to swear my life to it. Cheers, Alan!