Halloween, the most ‘spooktacular’ time of the year
Are you afraid of things that go bump in the night?
Have you ever thought you saw something from the corner of your eye, only to discover there was nothing there?
Have you ever had the feeling that someone was watching you, but you are certain that you are alone?
Does the sound of your house creaking remind you of footsteps, as if someone is coming up the stairs or down the hallway, only there is no one in the house but you
Have you ever had the sensation that someone has touched you or that someone has just rushed past you, only you didn’t see anything?
Have the doors or windows in your house ever opened and closed on their own?
Has something you own ever gone missing, only to turn up in the most unusual of places?
If you’ve answered yes to even one of these questions, then it’s possible that you have encountered a ghost, specter, spirit, apparition or poltergeist. Call it whatever you want, but chances are great that in Nova Scotia, if you have experienced any of these sensations, then there may be another worldly explanation for what happened to you as ghosts are known to roam throughout the province.
I’ve seen them, felt them, experienced them and best of all, I have met many others who have had similar experiences.
Over the years, I have had the distinct pleasure of meeting many individuals who have welcomed me into their homes or invited me into their places of business to talk about their paranormal experiences. When it comes to ghostly encounters, everyone’s experience is different and there is no shortage of paranormal experiences in Nova Scotia.
There is no question that having a paranormal experience can affect you in many different ways, and every person who has witnessed such phenomena react differently because every ghostly encounter is unique in its own right.
Some people embrace and welcome the spirit, while others are reluctant believers, readily admitting that they have always been skeptical until their minds were suddenly changed by the unexpected or the inexplicable. But that’s OK because everyone reacts differently to things that can’t be easily rationalized. The important thing, however, is to keep an open mind and never judge another person’s experiences.
I never tell anyone that I don’t believe what they’ve told me, simply because there is no way I could possibly know for certain what they’ve seen, heard or experienced. The paranormal world is very unpredictable, as the spirits exist on a different plane and those who encounter a ghost or spirit are often caught off guard and are left unsure of what they’ve experienced.
For that reason, it is sometimes easy to dismiss or ridicule the witness as they relay their stories, but as a researcher and writer of ghost stories, I invite you to suspend your disbelief and to simply enjoy these tales of the paranormal. Set aside your skepticism and suspend your logic because such rationality has no place in this world.
My friend and Halifax-based author, Darryll Walsh, has been researching and writing about the paranormal for many years. Seeing as we are on the eve of Halloween or All Hallows’ Eve, I thought it would be enlightening to share some of Walsh’s thoughts on the paranormal experience.
In an essay for an anthology I edited last year called Where Evil Dwells: The Nova Scotia Anthology of Horror, Walsh posed the question: “Are ghosts extinct?”
He explained the word “ghost” was coined in the late 16th century. It comes from the ancient Germanic term “gast” and is commonly believed to be the disembodied spirit of a deceased person.
“Though some would co-opt the term for use in the recent authoritarian social justice movement or foolishly declare that society has moved away from believing in the afterlife, and instead, think ghosts are intern- ally generated hallucinations, in reality, almost everyone needs to believe they are proof of an existence beyond death,” explained Walsh.
There are three main types of manifestations that we call ghosts. The first is the aforementioned disembodied spirit of a deceased human or animal. It is self-aware and often appears at the time of death. In parapsychology, they are referred to as “apparitions.”
The second type of ghost is often referred to as the “playback” ghost. They are a replay of past events, somehow imprinted upon the environment and mani?fest themselves when certain conditions occur that we do not yet understand. Thus, Anne Boleyn, the unlucky second wife of the worst king England ever had, has been seen at various locations in the United Kingdom doing mundane actions and seemingly unaware of the presence of witnesses.
The third type is the rare ghost of sensational television and publicity-seeking ghost/demon hunters. They are loud, dangerous and destructive. They are also always unseen.
We know these spirits as poltergeists, German for “noisy spirit,” Walsh writes.
Nova Scotia has had two major poltergeist incidents and one, the Esther Cox or The Amherst Mystery, is famous worldwide and featured in many books on the paranormal, even though it pales in comparison to the Mary Ellen Spook Farm of Caledonia Mills.
In Nova Scotia, there is a rich history of the dead suddenly appearing and pleading or demanding action by the terrified witness. Often times, the required action would seem insignificant to our modern eyes.
Historically, our belief in ghosts has remained constant, yet our interpretation of them and their corresponding behaviours has changed. And that, on this All Hallows’ Eve, is the view from here.
Halloween isn’t the only time of year where things can go bump in the night.