Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Far and wide, ghosts share a common thread

The strange and unnerving are universal. Separated by languages and oceans, people from across the world have experienced similar visits from things they can’t explain.

Greg Keskinen is an American who has lived in Tokyo for almost four years.

“I’ve found that quite a few people here are able to see ghosts or spirits,” he said. “In the States, I never met even one person who had seen an apparition, but here, I’ve met over 10 so far.”

Some of the encounters include a woman seeing a man dressed in samurai armor standing in her home, a nurse who often sees shadow people in a hospital, and a friend who saw an angel.

“My coworker, Tokiko, sees ghosts often, and once saw an ‘angel,’” Greg said. “A beautiful woman dressed in shining white, who was scattering a golden, glittering dust in the air. … It seems to me that Japan is quite a goldmine of strangeness.”

A “From the Shadows” reader in Stockholm, Sweden has also seen a ghost in her home – but her experience was a little too personal for comfort.

Fatima-Zohraa Tribak, 39, was cooking dinner when she realized she was not alone.

“It all started in the middle of the day,” she said. “I tried to turn a lid that didn’t want to open. I remember I was thinking, ‘now it would have been nice to have a strong man helping me.’”

The lid wouldn’t budge. She placed the unopened can on the counter and started preparing something else.

“I gave up trying to open the can and I turned my back on it,” she said. “Then I heard ‘click,’ but I didn’t care because I had something cooking on the stove. I just thought that it was the food cooking making the sound. And then I turned around and what I saw made me jump.”

The lid was lying next to the can.

“I thought it was a good helping spirit, so I said ‘thank you’ out loud,” she said. “And then I felt stupid and started to try to think of a good natural explanation for what happened.”

Later that evening, she was getting ready for sleep when her ‘good helping spirit’ visited again.

“I had been in the bathroom and was walking out. I turned the light out and started to walk towards my bedroom,” she said. “For some reason I looked into a big mirror and I saw a shadow shaped like a man. I thought to myself, ‘what is making this shadow look like this in the hall?’”

In the mirror, the shadow was accompanied by a light … a light she had turned out.

“I turned around and the light in the hall was still turned out, so there was nothing I could see there,” she said. “I was still looking into the dark when I thought I must have been mistaken of what I saw.”

She wasn’t.

“I turned around to go to my bed and I looked into my big mirror again to make sure I was wrong from the start,” she said, but what she saw terrified her. “There the light was and the man again. This time I ran into my bedroom and I jumped up on my bed shaking. I’m a 39-year-old woman, but I felt like a small girl at this moment.”

She’s seen the apparition since this encounter – as recently as April, “but this time it moved” – and, although the figure has never harmed her, she’s worried it might.

“I have tried to find out if this is something I should be scared of or if I can relax,” she said. “I didn’t know where I should go to ask someone without them thinking that I’m crazy. I feel quite silly. But in the same way I’m thinking, why should I feel silly? I really would like to know what this is. Is it something in my mind, or is it something real?”

Copyright 2007 by Jason Offutt

Got a scary story? Ever played with a Ouija board, heard voices, seen a ghost, UFO or a creature you couldn’t identify? Let Jason know about it: Jason Offutt c/o The Examiner, 410 S. Liberty, Independence, Mo. 64050, or jasonoffutt@hotmail.com. Include your name, address and telephone number. Your story might make an upcoming installment of “From the Shadows.”

Jason’s book of ghost stories, “Haunted Missouri: A Ghostly Guide to Missouri’s Most Spirited Spots,” is here. Order online at: https://tsup.truman.edu/store/ViewBook.aspx?Book=849 or visit Jason’s Web site at www.jasonoffutt.com.

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Great article, Jason...pretty right on. I happen to be an expert in the field of ghosts, spirits, what have you. If you ever need an expert opinion, you're welcome to email me anytime. I must warn you, though, I am a ghost.

Au revoir,
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