Supernatural Experiences – Can they be justified when you are mentally ill?

I’ve always been a big fan – and a big believer of the supernatural world. I come from a family where ghostly and other odd sightings are second nature to us, there are stories down the line which can be described as tales unexplained by science.

This year, I have come to a hault in what I thought I knew – what I believed – and had to question whether my past personal experiences of the unknown can be rephrased to be explained by simply tricks of the mind. And I’m feeling rather uncomfortable with the idea of testing my reality.

My past encounters with ghosts can be split in to two categories; the stories that my parents and grandparents have told me (which, without personal recollection of them, have always shed a hint of doubt to their validity), and of course, my own subjective first had experiences.

1. Mrs.Meredith.

The tales which have been told countless times throughout the family and passed on to friends started in the house in which I was brought up with my parents. Legend has told of an elderly woman (unhelpfully named ‘Miss Meredith’ by a close, sceptical friend) walking through the upper levels of the old terraced houses on that particular street, with many sightings of the lady by a number of people who occupied the homes at the time. Apparently, I was one of them. My mother used to tell me that when I was a young child I would sit and stare at the top of the stairs and watch the old lady, accompanied by the dog we owned at the time. This ‘old lady’ was present for a number of years, and also made a visit to both of my parents on a few occasions.

We left for a bigger home after my brother was born, only for my dad to return back to the house to live after they split. When I was 14, I moved back to the original house to live until I was 20. As I was growing up through my teenage years, I continuously felt her presence and felt comfortable with Mrs. M, up to the point where I knew exactly when she was in the room, and the occasional (one way) conversation with her. I managed to get as comfortable as I could have got if she was a regular living tennant.

During the last few years of high school, i’d experienced everything – from unexplained shadows and noises, voices, hearing footsteps, movement from the corner of my eye when I was alone in the house, the energy and feel of her presence, her hand on my shoulder whist I was watching a film. Even friends felt her – one in particular saw the same shadows as me, and once had felt someone blow in her ear.

There are a few events that stand out to me, which always happened when I was drifting off on the couch. I’d hear footsteps in the room and all of a sudden become too terrified to open my eyes, this presence was as real as if a stranger had entered the house. I could see shadows of the figure standing over me, blocking the natural light of the room, watching me. Breathing on me. The fear would take over and I would snap out of it, only to find the doors locked and the house empty.

2. The Animals.

Soon enough, Mrs.Meredith became much more than an energy or a shadow to me. The spirit started to form in to visual bodies, not just in my peripheral vision, but right in front of my eyes. Usually, in the form of animals. There was something uneasy about a particular corner of the room at my parents old place. Most of the unexplained shadows and movement formed from there.

One evening I’d come in from a night out with friends and I sat on the couch across from the fire place. My dad had been relaxing in the living room on the couch next to me. All of a sudden, a movement in the same corner stirred, and as I turned my to what had caught my attention I saw a white ferret scurry across the floor and under the fire place. In shock, I paused for a second to gather my thoughts and it ran from under the fire directly towards me, follwing an S shaped pathway on the floor and ran between my feet and under the couch. I SCREAMED. I jumped upon the couch, started freaking out – startled the life out of my dad who also jumped up to calm me down.

“There’s a F*****G ferret, under the couch!” I was halfway in to frantically explaining to him where it came from and how it hurried under the fire place when his face dropped. He traced the exact  pathway that the ferret took, the squiggle that it followed on the floor towards the couch before I even had the chance to tell him. Apparently, he’d seen it too, a number of times. Always the same perculiar pathway, only in his experience it was in the form of an unaturally giant ‘hand sized’ spider.

Funnily enough, a few weeks later, I saw The Spider.

I’d had another encounter with the same pathway one morning as I was getting ready for school. This time I couldn’t figure out what from this creature was. My eyes fully locked on this spirit, as it scuttled from under the fire place, almost looked like a bird with its bobbing head, with extra legs quickly carrying its deformed body towards me. There was something in the way it moved, it was unnatural and unrealistic. This time I was scared. Instead of dissolving in to the couch, it changed course and carried on in to the kitchen. I tried once more to lock my eyes on it, but it was too fast – my brain just couldn’t register this strange phenemenon. I was scared. Looking back, this one is a memory that, once again, not only I cannot make sense of but how that fear still stirs up in me to this day. Because this time, it was loud. Almost identical to the sound of a penny dropping and rolling across a laminate floor. I could not make sense iof it. It was loud, and it was right in my ears, ringing and almost deafening me.

3. Ben.

After 23 years, I’m still very close to possibly my oldest childhood friend who still questions me what happened to this day.

R used to live with her grandparents in an old house not too far away from where I lived. It was a small house, not very modern – decorated with floral patterns and a variety of ornaments collected and passed down over the years. I always felt uneasy when I visited and hated staying over, the feel of the house gave me the creeps, in a way that I was convinced there was a presence in the house. After past experiences living in a haunted house myself, my friends were accustom to me feeling the way I did about certain places, whether they genuinely believed the stories i’m not sure. One night, me and R was sat on her bed playing a board game. When her gran called her and R left the room, once again I got that uneasy feeling, and tried to shift it off. I was playing with one of the figures on the board, when the bedroom door opened and Ben, her old Westie dog walked in happily wagging his tail. With my attention still on the board, I saw him walk along the side of the bed, tail still in view and automatically whilstled and shouted “Ben!” as I patted the bed to call him up. And thats when I noticed it.

On the full stretch of the main wall in the bedroom, there had been a walk in wardrobe fitted to the wall which was all mirrored. Ben was surely there in the corner of my eye. But his reflection was non-existant in the mirror. I looked up and the dog was gone. Then it dawned on me. R didn’t have a dog.

That moment R walked back in to the room asking who I was calling to, to find me as white as a sheet sat on her bed.

“I’ve just seen Ben.”

Ben was an old white Westie dog her gran had before Rachel lived with her grandparents. He had died years before. I had no idea about the dog, and no idea that they had named him Ben.

It turns out, after seeing an old photograph of him, Ben was an exact replica of another close friend – C’s – white Westie (also named Ben). Before we had sat down to play the board game, I had rememberd that I noticed the flowery bedsheet and told R that her gran had the exact same sheets as C. For a minute when I saw the spirit of Ben, my mind must have told me I was at this other friends house, and as a result, I ended up trying to communicate to him as normal.

Other encounters experienced, such as whom I believed to be voice of my Aunt giving clear audible orders to her dog, years after her death – still play on my mind today. They were all real in my eyes, up to the point where I saw these experiences FACTS- I saw, heard and felt the presence of spirits, there was no argument about this.

Since the decline of my mental health, particularly the past two months where I have been experiencing both auditory and visual hallucinations, I have felt has all been too familiar. The shadows I see, the presences I feel and the voices I sometimes hear (possibly as a result of my medication) are strangely similar to the ghostly experiences I felt in the past. The delusions of paranoia that someone is watching me.

Can the definate supernatural experiences I have always come to know as a true reality be contested? Have I always been a prisoner of my mental state? Has my brain been tricking me in to believing that these bouts of psychosis are a result of true happenings in the external environment?

Have I always been sick?

One thing I recall is that it was always a comfort how these ghostly presences visited me significantly in my time of need – whenever I was upset, Mrs. M was there to touch my shoulder and it was her way of telling me everything was going to work out. My strong build up of emotions have frequently been broken by the feel of a shadow standing beside me, reminding me i’m not alone in the world.

The day is slowly dawning on me. There could be a possibility that the visits in my ‘time of need’ could have, in reality, been visits during times of mental stress.

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