I've always been fascinated by the idea of ghosts. They represent both the morbid certainty of death and the optimistic uncertainty of life after death. For those of us with adventurous souls, ghosts are not so much a source of fear, but rather a proof of something beyond this world. In this way, I am comforted by the presence of ghosts.
For this reason, I was not particularly frightened the first time I saw a ghost, which happened to be last night.
Of course, there are a lot of people who talk about seeing ghosts, and although I have always believed in their existence, I had never actually seen one before. Furthermore, I am of the mind that many, if not most, people who claim to have seen a ghost are either mistaken, or engaging in a bit of "wishful thinking," to put it mildly.
Here is my account of the encounter, as I recorded it immediately following the incident:
At 12:38AM, 2 May 2007, I opened my eyes. I had just gone to bed around midnight, and had not even begun to sleep deeply. This happens often with me, as I am one of those people who do not sleep for very long periods at a time.
I was actually quite calm when I saw a figure standing near my bed. The apparition was not really "standing," per se, as it had no discernible figure below the torso. It looked like an older woman, reminding me somewhat of the actress Maggie Smith. She was wearing a sleeveless shift, that clung to her "body" as if the figure were wearing nothing beneath. Her hair was either pulled or tied back. There was some sort of item on her head. I spent quite some time later trying to decide what it was. It kind of reminded me of a colonial mob hat, but it was not quite the same. I have no idea what it was.
When I awoke and saw the figure, I immediately went to "alert mode." Having been in the Army, I have learned to go straight from sleep to a "ready to fight" mentality. At first, the figure looked so real, that I assumed that someone had broken into my condo. I tried not to move very quickly, as I began to slide out of bed and search for a weapon.
About halfway out of bed, I realized that the figure was not human, at least not anymore. I saw that the woman's legs appeared to "fade out" just below her waist.
I know that many people will scoff at this, but strangely enough, finding that there was a ghost in my home comforted me. I had been expecting to have to defend my family from a flesh-and-bone assailant, so a ghost didn't particularly frighten me.
In fact, I looked right at it, then checked the clock for the time. I began to mentally note as many details as possible, so that I would remember them later. At no point did I ever feel any kind of fear. If anything, I was exhilarated!
I noticed something peculiar about the ghost. It wasn't really looking at me. It was looking over my bed, as if transfixed on something on the wall. However, there isn't anything on the wall in that room. I remember thinking that maybe it doesn't really matter what a ghost's eyes are pointing at, as they no longer function as they did in normal life.
After about 30 seconds, the ghost raised slightly, and then rotated approximately 90 degrees counterclockwise and floated down the corridor that separates my bedroom from the rest of the dwelling. It is interesting to note that the ghost did not move like a human would. It did not move its hands or head or anything as it performed this feat. In fact, it looked almost like it was stiff, and unable to move any of its "parts." It moved nothing like a ghost in a movie would move.
As soon as it had left, I rushed from the bed to follow it, but could find no trace of the apparition. I'm sure that you are now thinking I'm completely "full of it" right now, as you probably are thinking that if you were in a similar situation, you would be too scared to do something like that. I would have agreed with you until last night.
After I went back to bed, I sat awake for hours. I was so excited about seeing a real live ghost, that I even briefly entertained waking my wife to tell her the news. Fortunately, reason prevailed, and I did not wake her up to tell her something that would have assuredly kept her up all night!
In the end, I've changed my views on ghosts. Prior to this experience, I believed that the "full torso apparition" was the proverbial white whale of paranormal investigation. I thought it unlikely that I would ever see such a thing. At least now I know how to properly describe such an encounter when I am writing my horror stories.