'It is wonderful that five thousand years have now elapsed since the creation of the world and still it is undecided whether or not there has ever been an instance of the spirit of any person appearing after death. All argument is against it; but all belief is for it.'
What follows is a true account of an event that happened to me fifteen years ago...
On July 18 1993 - on my own birthday - I gave birth to the daughter I had always yearned for. A plump pink screaming bundle of happiness that weighed in at 7lbs 12ozs. I was overjoyed - as was my hubby - we both had two sons from previous relationships: a girl made our family complete. That day we looked at each other with smiles on our lips, joy in our hearts, and tears streaming down our faces.
My new daughter was my pride and joy; I couldn't put her down.
Of course she slept in our room, her cream painted cot pulled close to my side of the bed, all I need do in the night to check she was okay was reach out my hand and grasp her plump little fist in my own. I could hear her breath, quiet as an angel's, next to me. Hear every tiny whimper and moan.
One night when my daughter was almost three months old I awoke in the early hours. Pale wintery moonlight flooded the bedroom, casting strange shadows on the walls. Beside me I could hear the regular breathing of my husband, feel his body warm and solid next to my own. My daughter was asleep. She'd wriggled onto her tummy and was noisily sucking her thumb, her small head turned my way. I smiled with a contented sigh, was about to close my eyes and surrender to sleep once more, when I became aware of a presence.
Standing at the foot of the cot, his dark shadow falling across the blankets, was a man; a tall dark figure staring down at my daughter. He was dressed in an old-style long coat; somehow I knew this was a dusty faded brown, although the moonlight had bleached the world of colour, and on his head he wore a battered felt hat, a bit like a top hat but not quite. He didn't move, or speak, or look at me in anyway. Just stood there silent and still.
I tried to move but found myself pinned down as if under a great weight. I could not move my head, or blink my eyes. Beside me I could still feel the solid warmth of my husband, hear his breathing.
But I was not afraid.
Somehow I knew this stranger held no threat, meant no harm. After a while I must have drifted off to sleep, for the next thing I knew my daughter was crying for her morning feed.
Even now, many years later, I can recall every single detail of that night with clarity. I know it was not a dream.
Three years ago my mother came across some old sepia photographs of her mother's; my grandma's. One of them was 'my stranger'. He was wearing the identical clothes that he had been wearing on the night he came to our bedroom, and was standing infront of a wooden veranda before a log cabin. All my mother knows of this man is that he is some distant relative that emigrated to America after World War II.
So?...do you believe in ghosts?....