Ghost (page 2)
All the ancient peoples have recorded their experiences with ghosts and hauntings. No matter what religion and science have to say, people continue to have paranormal experiences today.
Many ghosts have the reputation of appearing again and again in the same environment for example, houses in which their living counterparts have died. In such cases they usually seem to haunt one room, typically the one in which they were murdered; but sometimes they will move from room to room. Ghosts are often clothed in period costume. Most apparitions appear for a specific reason, such as to deliver a warning, or to offer comfort for grieving relatives, or to impart essential information.
We usually speak of "seeing" a ghost, yet there have been reliable reports of people merely sensing a presence in the room with them, and of having been able to describe it without actually observing it. Perhaps the best-known example is of a woman who awoke one night in a room at the Chateau de Prangins, near Nyon in Switzerland, and was convinced that a man was sitting writing at a desk in the room, dressed in a long, flowered dressing-gown. She described him vividly to her husband; but when she was persuaded to look directly at the desk, could see no-one there. Next morning she was told she had described the figure of Voltaire, who often used the room during his lifetime and was regularly seen there.
Some people, of course, go out of their way to seek out ghosts. However, to most people they appear unannounced and unexpected, often "out of thin air." They simply look up and there is the apparition standing before them. Most ghosts seem to disappear right under the eye of the beholder, sometimes gradually fading away, sometimes simply vanishing if the observer makes a sudden movement, switches on a light, tries to touch the ghost or speak to it. It is a cliché that ghosts have the ability to walk through walls or closed doors, but there are many reports of those who seem to have done so.
The transparent ghost is another cliché; but most ghosts appear solid enough to cast shadows, although very occasionally transparent apparitions are reported to have been seen, or ghosts have gradually seemed to become transparent as they disappear. The idea of the headless ghost is not well supported, although sometimes only a head, or a pair of hands, has been seen, apparently suspended in mid-air. Among the strangest of ghosts is the 'doppelgänger,' or ghost of oneself, whose appearance is thought always to precede death.
It is a mistake to suppose that all ghosts are of people. There is a well-known case of a ghostly bus which was said to run on a London route (see Phantom Bus). The ghost of a bombed house has been seen, standing on the site it once occupied. Ghostly clothing, letters, money, even machinery has appeared. Ghostly animals have sometimes been seen or heard, without any human apparitions. Interestingly, ghost cats seem almost always to appear alone, while ghost dogs more usually appear in ghostly human company (a reflection of living canine and feline characteristics, perhaps).
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