More than once, I'd witnessed events that I could only describe as paranormal. As a child, I had a visitor that would appear at the foot of my bed, during the night. She appeared to be in her mid-teens and wearing the stereotypical white nightgown. I was never frightened by her, often just rolling over and going back to sleep. So unperturbed by her appearances, it never even occurred to question whether she was really real or not, until one morning, at breakfast.
"Did you sleep well?" my mother asked me.
"Yes." I said. "I only woke up when you came in to check on us."
"I didn't check on you, last night," my mother said.
"Yes, you did!" I told her, laughing. "I saw you standing at the foot of my bed!"
"You must have seen your dad."
"No, no!" I insisted. "It was you! You were wearing your white nightgown!"
"I didn't wear my white nightgown. I wore this one. See?" Mom opened her robe to show me a short, dark blue housedress.
I was speechless.
Throughout my life, I've continued to have such encounters, whether witnessed with my eyes (like the girl in white), with my nose (like smelling perfumes known to have been worn a home's previous mistress), or with my ears (hearing footsteps in empty rooms, in a motel where I lived and worked). It's the ones I hear that actually scare me the most!
The internet is filled with sites for the armchair ghost hunter. Photos, videos and audio recordings are available for the user to experience for him- or herself what others have encountered. Viewing the photos and videos, while giving me a small thrill and making me call out to my son, "What is it?!" don't have the same effect as those static-filled recordings that claim to be voices from beyond.
On one particular evening, a friend and I decided to "go ghost hunting"&online. We sat in our respective houses and set up voice chat, on our computers, so we could "ooo" and "ahh" while still being within earshot of our children. I had collected links to sites offering photos and videos. Once we'd looked at several of those, she suggested we listen to some E.V.P.'s.
The Electrical Voice Phenomena were the ghost recordings.
With my teenage son in the room with me and my friend in real-time chat, I acted much braver than I was feeling. I was tense and shaky, as we listened to recordings that said or seemed to say a number of things, from names and unrelated phrases, to "Leave this place" and "Come right here."
I knew that each recording I listened to was being stored in my computer, in an audio player. While we searched and listened, I sorted all of my sound files, making sure my music files weren't mixed in with downloaded voice recordings. They weren't.
My friend and I took a break (which I daresay I was much in need of) to feed our families. While I was away from the computer, I closed voice chat and opened my music player. After eating, I minimized my audio player, on my computer screen, its list of my favorite artists disappearing into the task bar.
My friend and I returned to looking at photos. She would often chat with her children, in the background, and I'd make my son look at a particularly interesting photo or two. It was while my friend was talking to her kids, and my son wasn't paying attention that I heard, from my computer speakers: "Hello? Hello?"
"Did you hear that?" I asked my son.
"Hear what?" he said.
I asked my friend, "Is your boyfriend home?"
"No. Why?" she said.
"Did you hear someone say 'Hello? Hello?' through your speakers?"
"I was just talking to my son."
I told her what I'd heard and that my son hadn't heard it either.
My mind was trying to concoct any number of explanations&and none of them made sense. Passing vehicles with mobile phones or C.B. radios couldn't interfere with computers, could they?
Still trying to understand where the voice could have come from, I heard, "GET OUT!"
I screamed. I jumped up from my seat and still yelling, in case there was more to be heard that I did not want to hear, I started shutting down my computer.
"Did you hear that?!" I asked my son.
"I heard something," he said. "What was it?"
"It said 'Get out!' It came from my computer! Please, help me log off!"
I was shaking from head to toe, my heart was pounding and I was breathing as if I were gasping my last breath. I'd moved away from the computer&and through my bedroom door, distancing myself from my desk. I stood watching helplessly as my son disconnected my computer from the server.
"You okay, Mom?"
"Yeah. I think so." I tried to laugh. "Do me a favor? I'm still too shakey. Open my audio player."
My son maximized my audio player. On the screen was a list of music.
"Open the file with the E.V.P.'s," I told him.
He double-clicked the file name, and a list of voice recordings appeared. Among the one hundred and twenty one titles listed there were one called "Hello? Hello?" and another one called "Get out."
They were nowhere near each other, in the list.
I still don't know how those files were accessed or what caused them to play when they did.
I do know I no longer save E.V.P.'s to my hard drive.