Haunted…for Real?

Thanks to all who attended our Book Bogglers presentation, Haunted for Real: In Search of the Verifiable Ghost Story.  It was a pleasure to share my dilemma as a writer to create narrative “nonfiction(!)” spooky books for my publisher Bearport’s series for young readers. Faced with the question of how to verify a ghost story, I soon figured out that the emphasis was not on ghost in ghost story, but on story–and that the great fun in writing Dark Underground Deserted Cities was discovering the history– so often weirder and more oddly coincidental than the sightings of spirits, attached to these events.

Special thanks to Prof. Brooke Stowe, Library Director at ASA College, for sharing his expertise not only in research, but also on Fala, the phantom dog said to haunt the long abandoned station below Grand Central Station, Track 61. (Google it!)

After presenting Haunted for Real, I was delighted by the many stranger-than-life stories many of you shared.

So delighted, that I’d like to start cooking up a kind of Paranormal Soup for the Soul series, recounting our own unexplainable events. If you’ve witnessed, survived or been told by a reliable source of a paranormal event, please click comment and tell your story!


  • Eileen

    My story goes back to my graduate school days at Brooklyn College. I was living in Flatbush, home on a Friday night, reading an Indian folk tale about a fish in a basket. I had spoken to my dad on the phone earlier in the evening to say that a hurricane was blowing into NYC that weekend, so I’d cancel my bus ride to Pennsylvania to visit. He sounded disappointed, but I reassured him I’d be coming up soon.
    For some reason, I didn’t understand the fable, and found myself writing over and over in my notebook: I’ve come to the end of the earth. Tears began streaming from my eyes.
    Confused by my own behavior, I went to bed and fell into a deep sleep. I dreamed of a boy walking with a man past a cornfield, and then they were passing a cemetery. I was awoken by the phone ringing. It was my mom to tell me that my father had died.
    Pop had been in and out of the hospital since I was four years old with heart problems, but recently having moved to the PA with my mom, I believed he was fine. That night he had suffered a heart attack, and was taken by ambulance over those country roads to a hospital in Scranton.
    Within a few days, the arrangements were made, and I was on the bus for Hamlin, PA. Even in my grief, and still to this day, I felt good that I had been with my dad on his last journey (?) on earth. later I wrote a one act play which was part of my MFA thesis entitled “Laughing Fish” recounting those days…
    Love you, Pop, still and always!

  • Linaber Garcia

    When I was 1o years old I had a dream that I was at a cemetery waiting for a casket to be lowered. As it was going down the lid flips open and my dad sits up in the casket. He looks my way and says “Oh, now you want to cry for me” and then lays back down and the pulls down the lid. I woke up and remember feeling scared as this was just such a horrible dream. Fast forward 2 years after that my dad becomes ill with brain cancer and it is terminal. The night before he passed I remember crying uncontrollably while saying my goodbyes for the night. When I fell asleep I had the same exact dream I had 2 years prior…,”Oh, now you want to cry for me”. This time around it really hurt because of his condition. The next morning he passed.

    Was having this dream before and after his death a premonition? Do we have a sixth sense of when things might happen? Was this dream a wake up call so I could show him that I really really loved him and that maybe I had to show it more since our time was now limited? It is something I’ve always wondered…

    • emerwin77

      I appreciate you sharing this profound experience. Clearly you are a deeply sensitive person, and as I have found in my own life, we can continue to love (and forgive) those who have passed before us.

      I believe the way some people are born gifted musicians who develop their talent, others (like yourself) have a special perception, equally a gift.

      Thanks for sharing yours!

  • Glenn Cox

    This is a story my father told me when I was a kid. At the time he was about 27-28 years old, living in Okala Florida in the 1920’s. At that time he and three other friends were working on a farm together. Evidently one friend whose name was Jimmy took ill and passed away. They weren’t around at the time and were told by the other farmworkers that he died. Two or three days later my father and the two other friends were walking home by Jimmy’s shack in the woods on there way home from work. When they saw his light on in the kitchen, they figured a family member might have been in there to get his things. Th whenen they got closer, they saw Jimmy. Certain it was him, they hurried to the shack and called out to him. When they got to the screen door, they saw it was Jimmy, but only half of him–there was nothing there from the waist down. They turned and ran. After that story went around town, people started gathering around, looking in, and it became know as the haunted shack.

  • Fujing Xiong

    When I was a Junior High School student, I heard a strange and fantastic ideas from my a friend. That was a afternoon, after school. My friend and me were preparing for going to the parking shed to take our bicycles. There was a small slope at our school building back. The parking shed was near the small slope. Suddenly, I seemed to hear someone calling me. At that time, It was quiet around our environment because most schoolmates already left. I turned round looking at who call my nickname, but only had the leaves of bamboo at the slope were blown by the cool wind with the rustle. I was puzzled. In the first time, I guessed I misheard. However, I heard my name again from my back, from the far horizon. Now, I still seem to see me standing on the playground and looking for the sounds. Around was so wide and empty. That sound sounded weak, and also it seemed very kind and full of yearning. Later on, I told to my friend, she said it should be somebody miss you very much or maybe would leave you if you heard someone called your name from the distance. I asked how do you know. She said that was the old people in their hometown said. What a strange statement is! But in my mind, I produced a doubt that did my relatives miss me or who would be sick and leave me? A day after, my father said my grandmother was sick. I was worried about her health. I knew my grandma must miss me very much, In 2015, my grandmother passed away. At that time, I was studying in the province. I did not accompany her. My father came back to hometown to prepare her funeral. When I walked in the school basketball court, really, I seemed to hear my nickname—Jingjing. I knew this time is because I missed my grandma and I loved her. My grandma experienced many sufferings in her life. Grandma, I hope you are happy in heaven, I miss and love you forever.

    • emerwin77

      Thank you, Fujing for this truly haunting story–not haunting in the sense of scary, but haunting in the sense of strangely beautiful. Your imagery is also beautiful: “I turned round looking at who call my nickname, but only heard the leaves of bamboo… blown by the cool wind with the rustle.”

      Also, profoundly beautiful is the line of love that connects you to your grandmother. I believe that those lines of love are never severed, and that if we listen we can hear our names murmured on the wind as you heard your grandmother whisper,”Ying Ying.”

  • Iliana

    My story is about one of Brazilian tale called: The Headless Mule (in Portuguese: mula sem cabeça). My mom told this story, that she promises that is true. Because she is one of the most skeptical person I have never met. She is very rational, everything for her must be proof, otherwise she will never believe. So, heard from her that she saw the headless mule, sound that it might be true. This tale is about sinner woman, cursed by God for she had fornicated with a priest within a church. For all the woman whom had committed this kind of sin, the destiny is to turn into a fire-spewing headless mule, galloping through the countryside, moans like a crying woman.

    • emerwin77

      Hello Iliana,

      In my paranormal animal research, I have come across both legends and anecdotal accounts of spirits of animals encountered after death. It’s interesting in your account that the sighting has over the years been attributed to a “fallen” woman, when in fact, even in simply telling the tale, the angry headless mule might have been represented as a “wronged” woman–now furious at her attacker. (As long as we’re talking about paranormal pets– has your highly sensitive, superior pup Hartley shown any signs of telepathic communication. My dog May has, however, she has only one powerful thought to convey: feed me more, feed me more…)

  • yumeng hu

    I have had a cat. One day my mom was suddenly sick. We all went to the hospital leaving the cat home alone. When we went, the cat was very sad seemed it knew what happened. Few days after the cat was ill too. We were sad to lose two loved at one time. It was very strange my mom got better while our cat got worse. Finally, the cat died and my mom recovered. The old man in the family said it was the cat that raised spirituality. It came to pay a debt of gratitude. (By the way, I went to the museum, My favorite painting is Van Gogh’s portrait)

    • emerwin77

      Hello Yumeng, I have read of cases of animals responding to the illness of their loved ones–your cat must have been very devoted to your mom.
      As for the museum visit, I’m glad you found your way to the impressionist wing–so many powerful paintings to view.

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