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Tell us a ghost story

Updated: Feb 18

A Ghost Story for Valentine’s Day

Was I being watched? Was there someone lurking in the corner? Was there something out of sight, something maybe even beyond this realm?

I believe beyond the rational explanation for things, you can sometimes find only irrational answers and conclusions, and that is my own rational explanation for some of the things that spook us.

For a brief moment, I felt as if I had seen a ghost without seeing anything at all. I was spooked, a clichéd shiver ran down my spine as I finally understood the expression about someone walking on your grave. Something had seriously unnerved me.

Just around Midnight on Saturday night as I was doing some late night cleaning, I started to feel like I was being watched even though there was clearly nobody to be seen. Nobody even in the distance.

I send a WhatsApp message to my boss to ask if he was watching me on CCTV because I had a very irrational feeling if not an irrational fear that I was being watched as I did some late night outside work.

My rational mind explaining away the animal instincts to pick up on anyone preying on us, and the difficulty of creeping up on someone. Our third eye senses.

My own spidy senses now paranoid to sudden shadow movements and sounds, even minute sounds like leaves blowing in the distance and wondering if I could even detect a digital trace through a CCTV camera.

About an hour later, I turned suddenly at a bollard by a footpath and saw something, something strange, just a glimpse of something intangible but yet the feeling of something unearthly approaching. I could only describe it as a bright bluish light, the kind of special effects you might expect to see on a Star Trek teleporter or a glimpse of the scary librarian from the original Ghostbusters movie. A sudden bright bluish light appeared and disappeared as I looked around my shoulder, when something caught my eye.

Beyond the rational explanation lies irrational, unexplainable things but despite seeing something strange and unnatural in the corner of my eye, something ghostly in appearance that appeared and disappeared by a bollard in the blink of an eye, I think a reflective stripe on that bollard created a sudden bright glimpse, that I could not easily explain. The unnatural light cast from a digital display screen advertising some sort of pharmaceutical product would have been reflected briefly off the reflective strips on the bollards, creating the appearance of something bright by the bollard. Nothing unholy but definitely unnatural, a part of our digital age.

Who knows maybe we will have holographic advertisements in the future to truly scare us at night time when the ghostly image of some dead celebrity like Albert Einstein tries to convince us to buy or invest in something.

Beyond the rational explanation lies irrational answers, and I have seen enough strange happenings in my life and heard many more that I could fill a book with ghost stories, and my paranormal paranoia probably came about as I pondered the news that a friend was experiencing poltergeist activity after a mirror smashed in her house in the middled of the night. Mirrors might break and cause seven years bad luck but this was the third one to break at 3.15am and the second one to shatter violently into pieces in recent months.

My own story easily explained when I searched for the answer but in a week where the US Air-Force is shooting down UFOs every other day, and Enock Burke haunts his school, why don’t we show the same scepticism for ghost stories and the paranormal to other stories?

Let’s start with advertisements, election promises, and all the other stories we have been told. Maybe we should find out what Trickle Down Economics actually trickles down to?

Maybe we should fact check more stories that we read online, maybe journalists should uncover more and not report what they are told verbatim.

But Valentine’s Day is not the time for rational thought, it’s a time to murder flowers, and give cards to loved ones because everyone else is.

I don’t know the true story of Saint Valentine’s Day, it happened long ago but I do love the idea of a priest marrying people in secret against an emperor’s orders and being put to death for it. A man befriending his jailer's blind daughter, and leaving a flower and a note behind. I love the idea of her suddenly being able to see when she touched the flower, and then reading his letter that was signed, “From your Valentine” but I also have several questions about the rational behind leaving a blind woman a note to read, and wonder if the woman was able to read, and then lost her sight only to be able to read again when her sight returned because I imagine literacy for blind women was a problem in the past.

So many questions to be asked but on Saturday night I was happy to be able to make sense of the strange sight I had seen.

This is not a story beyond the rational explanation, those stories I will have to keep for a book about ghost stories. This is just an over reaction to something I could not easily explain without some deep soul searching while looking for a logical solution.

But as you go about your day on Saint Valentine’s Day, who will cross your mind, who will catch your eye, are they your soul mate, and have you lost all rational thought?

Are you madly in love. oh I hope so, try not to overthink it, we have instincts for that.

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UNESCO City of Literature

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