I have never seen a “true” ghost. I am referring to the stereotypical, fully human looking ghost, such as the one Patrick Swayze portrayed in the 1990 blockbuster film of the same name, Ghost. I say stereotypical, as ghosts are rarely human looking, suave, chiseled, romantic, or as good-looking as Swayze. Ok, I admit it. I was crushing on him at the time.
Rather, most appear in the following forms:
· Orbs, or moving, often glowing balls of light in various sizes and colors. Although they are most often captured by photographs, they may be seen by the naked eye.
· Mists, which may appear as cigarette smoke, either drifting in the air, or hovering nearby.
· A translucent white human form. In other words, they are “see through.”
· Solid form, which is extremely rare. These entities appear as solid as you and I (and perhaps, Patrick Swayze)!
Entities may also appear as shadow people. Wikipedia defines a shadow person as:
A shadow person (also known as a shadow figure, shadow being or black mass) is the perception of a patch of shadow as a living, humanoid figure, and interpreted as the presence of a spirit or other entity by believers in the paranormal or supernatural.
Although I have not had the pleasure of meeting a "Swayze ghost," I have seen a shadow person. Shadow people tend to get bad raps. One theory proposes that they are demonic in nature, causing feelings of intense dread and enormous fear in the observer. They have been described in a myriad of ways: as blob-like clusters, thin or skeletal, tall figures wearing a hat, and/or having no discernable facial features such as mouths, noses, or eyes. Sounds pretty gruesome and plain terrifying, right?
However, my encounter with a shadow person was unlike anything described above. He (and it definitely was a male figure) was benign and completely uninterested in me-just a lost, earth-bound soul.
The following day, I described this encounter in a journal entry.
July 14, 2011, 2:30 AM
I woke up in the middle of the night (2:30am) to go to the bathroom and get a glass of water. I went back to bed, but was still fully awake. Suddenly I saw “him,” an inky black silhouette of a man, so intensely black, that he was clearly visible in the darkness of my bedroom. He was wearing a jippi-jappa -exactly the type of hat I had seen in photographs of male plantation slaves. Jippi-jappa hats were broad-rimmed hats male slaves wore for sun-protection. He was a tall, lanky, African American male. I knew, without a doubt, my shadow person was, or perhaps I should say, had once been, a runaway plantation slave. How did I know this? I just did.
The figure glided, rather than walked. He “entered” my bedroom from the furthest corner of the room. Yes, that’s correct, he appeared through the wall. He continued to glide from the far corner of the room, past my bed, and disappeared through my adjacent bathroom window. He had no wish or need to communicate with me. I sensed he had a job to do-return to the Underground Railroad tunnel that long ago, ran through our property. He was unaware that it, and he, had long ceased to exist.
Was I afraid of him? Absolutely not. He was a completely benign presence. A lost soul. I sensed the emotional weight he carried. His sorrow, his fear, his desperate need to escape to a life of freedom. I felt so sorry for him. He obviously was unable (or unwilling), to cross over.
I lay in bed watching him, mesmerized, yet utterly calm. The shadow man dissipated through my window. I turned over and immediately fell back asleep.
I awoke the next morning with the realization that my shadow man was a residual haunting. Residual hauntings/activity occur in locations where a traumatic event(s) occurred. The residual negative energy from that entire event is embedded or imprinted into the ground and/or atmosphere of that area. Thus, shadow ghosts/spirits represent human spirits lost on this plane, seemingly unaware they are deceased. They are merely “replaying” their part in the past traumatic event, over and over again.
When we initially purchased our house, I was completely oblivious to the events which had occurred nearly 150 years earlier. Or the fact that its negative, traumatic energy was embedded in our property. Or the fact that our town was a ‘hotspot’ in the Connecticut Underground Railroad movement. In fact, several homes that once provided safe shelter to runaway slaves (en route to Canada) still stand today-registered as historic sites.
Years later, our local paper published an excerpt from the book, Two Centuries of New Milford, Connecticut: An Account of the Bi-centennial Celebration of the Founding of the Town Held June 15, 16, 17, and 18, 1907 (partial excerpt below):
In the later days of slavery in the South there were several stations of the Underground Railroad in this vicinity. Mr. Charles Sabin’s house in Lanesville was one, and the house of Mr. Augustine Thayer on Grove Street in this village was another. Mr. Thayer and his good wife devoted their lives to the Abolition cause. They helped many poor slaves on their way, rising from their beds in the night to feed and minister to them, and secreting them till they could be taken under cover of darkness to Deacon Gerardus Roberts’ house on Second Hill, from there to Mr. Daniel Platt’s in Washington, and so on, by short stages, all the way until the Canadian border was reached.
A slave travelling from Deacon Roberts house to Daniel Platt’s home would pass very close to, if not right across our property. Yet, would merely walking across our land leave an energetic imprint? Most likely not.
However, travelling the Underground Railroad was long, exhausting, and extremely perilous. Slaves often travelled with little food, constantly worried about starvation, severe weather conditions, fending off wild animals, illness, or capture. Slave owners posted “capture and return” rewards. In 1850 the Fugitive Slave Law was passed-allowing the capture of fugitive slaves, as they were viewed as property, rather than abused, enslaved human beings. I can only imagine the horrors awaiting a captured slave when he was returned to his owner.
I will never know if any slave perished on or near our property. Yet, I do know that the energetic imprint of this harrowing event, involving great fear and suffering, is forever embedded in our land and very atmosphere. I certainly hope that my shadow ghost has finally found his way home-to the other side. He hasn't visited me since.