Spirits of Christmas

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CHRISTMAS DEFINITELY HAS a paranormal connection. From the miracles told of the Christmas story to the ghosts of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol to the cheerful fantasies of Santa, flying reindeer, and elves, the season is full of magic and wonder.

Readers like you have reported their own remarkable and unexplained experiences that occurred over the holiday season. Enjoy these true stories of Christmas Spirits.

MRS. AND MR. SMITH

Kaylee was a nurse working in a Chicago hospital when she and a few of her coworkers had an experience they will never forget.

“It was during the 2010 holidays,” Kaylee says, “about two weeks before Christmas. An elderly woman, I'll call her Mrs. Smith, was admitted to the hospital after she fell on some ice. She'd hit her head in the fall and was in a medically induced coma when she was admitted (to help her internal head injuries recover better).

“Despite this, her husband insisted on coming in every day. He was short, thin, and maybe looked a little gaunt, but otherwise he looked well. He was quiet, too, but always acknowledged us if we greeted him. He always arrived for the last hour of visiting time and would come dressed quite formally, obviously coming straight from work. He would just sit by his wife or chat to her. It was very sweet, but also sad. I felt for him as he was clearly quite lonely without her.”

A few days before Christmas, Kaylee decided to talk to the man and asked, “How are you, Mr. Smith?” He smiled, looking a little surprised, but said he was well and thanked her. She then asked if he was looking forward to the holidays and he said he was. Then, for some reason Kaylee cannot explain, she asked if he was looking forward to taking his wife home.

She could feel the eyes of her co-workers hitting her back for the inappropriate question.

“Oh, it's not that time yet,” he replied. Kaylee was a little puzzled by the answer. Maybe he knew his wife would need time to recover? Either way, Kaylee felt so embarrassed by her question, she just dropped it and got on with her paperwork.

The following day, Mrs. Smith awoke. The doctor said she was recovering well, had minimal trauma, and after a few days of close observation over the weekend would be good to go home. “I didn't work that weekend,” Kaylee remembers, “but when I came in on Monday, I heard Mrs. Smith was awake and was going to be discharged. As she was leaving, I asked her how she felt and said her husband must be glad she was going home.”

Kaylee got an unexpected answer. The woman just laughed and said, “My husband died eight years ago.”

Before Kaylee had time to think, the woman had gone. “I knew some of the other girls had seen Mr. Smith,” she says, “so I told them what Mrs. Smith said. They were as stunned as I was. One of the girls remarked that Mr. Smith hadn't been in all weekend – the whole time Mrs. Smith had been awake!”

Trying to be rational, the nurses convinced themselves that “Mr.

Smith” was a fraud, visiting old patients as a kind of sick fun. So they described him to the hospital's security and they searched the previous week’s security camera footage. When they got back to the nurses an hour or so later with their findings, they said there was nobody on the footage – at least no one matching the description they gave.

“We saw the footage for ourselves,” Kaylee says, “and sure enough, there was nobody there.”

Next page: Dad's Christmas Visit

DAD’S CHRISTMAS VISIT

Kathy and her husband Jack experienced a series of strange events that began back in 2009, but continued on and off up until January, 2013.

“I've never believed in the paranormal or anything like that,” Kathy says. “In fact, I was practically raised atheist. My husband Jack was Irish, and though raised a strict Catholic, never believed any of it. All that started to change after my husband was diagnosed with lung cancer in late 2009.”

One night, a few week after learning the bad news, Kathy was struggling to sleep. As she lay there, she became aware of her husband talking, but more like mumbling. He usually slept like a log and she wondered who he would be talking to at 1:30 a.m. Puzzled, she turned to see Jack sitting upright in bed talking away. In that moment, the conversation ended. But it was how it ended that creeped her out.

"Okay. ’Night, pa," he said. Jack's father had died 15 years earlier. When Kathy asked Jack about the incident in the morning, he said he had no recollection of it. “If I knew then what I would know later,” Kathy says, “I probably would've died of shock. I put it down to one of those waking dreams and tried to forget about it.”

The months and Jack's illness went on. In October, 2010, they were told that Jack's illness was now terminal. They made the decision to relocate to Ireland to be closer to Jack's family.

For Jack's comfort, Kathy slept in another room with their daughter.

“One night just before Christmas, Jack's mother Mary and I were both struggling to sleep,” says Kathy. “Suddenly, we heard Jack talking again. I told her about what happened that other time and she decided we should go look. We crept upstairs and Mary walked into my husband's room – and screamed!

I looked in and Jack was looking straight at us! I nearly jumped out of my skin, too!

“I asked him if we was okay and he said he was, just very tired and thirsty. This is where it gets really creepy. As Mary got him some water, I asked him why he was talking to himself. He said he wasn't. He said his dad was there talking to him and left as we came in.”

Kathy was a shaken, but thought that her husband was just being delirious. “What did your dad say?” she asked.

“To help me,” Jack said.

Every hair Kathy’s body stood up on end, but again she dismissed it as Jack's mind going. She gave him his water, then she and Mary went downstairs. Downstairs, Mary revealed that it wasn't the sight of Jack that made her jump. There was a shadow sitting on the bed that rose and walked toward them at the door.

“My husband died a month later in January, 2011,” Kathy says. “When I returned to the U.S. with my daughter and my husband's ashes, we noticed things started happening in the house. My daughter, her son, and I would see black shadows move out of the corner of our eyes. My grandson even said he saw his grandpa on the stairs!

“Tomorrow will be the second anniversary of my husband's death and the strange activity is happening more frequently than ever.

I firmly believe Jack's still here. I never used to believe in anything like the paranormal, but over the last two years the evidence for it is undeniable. Maybe I'm just grief-stricken, but it certainly seems to me there’s more than meets the eye.”

Next page: The Ghosts at 4 A.M.

THE GHOSTS AT 4 A.M.

Mrs. Miller and her husband decided to go away over the Christmas holidays in 2012, staying at a quaint little hotel known to them in the Northwest of Scotland. Upon arrival, they were mildly shocked to discover they were the only guests in the hotel for the first six nights of their week-long stay. The hotel, or at least the building, was quite old and slightly run down, yet the couple looked forward to the solace.

Tired from the long journey they had that day, Mrs. and Mr. Miller went to bed around 11 p.m. “At exactly 4 a.m. (I distinctly remember looking at the clock), I awoke feeling violently ill,” Mrs. Miller recalls. “Above our door, there was a glass panel and I noticed the light in the hall was on, but was more concerned about how sick I felt to think anything of it. By this stage, I felt absolutely awful. I can honestly say I don't think I've ever felt so ill before.”

She went into the bathroom to splash water on her face, while trying not to wake her husband. The bathroom door was very close to the door of the hotel room, and while in the bathroom she could clearly hear footsteps marching back and forth, up and down the hallway outside. They were very loud footsteps, not walking particularly fast or slow, they were just very loud.

“I was more annoyed than concerned,” Mrs. Miller says. “After all, we knew the manager lived on the floor above us in the hotel, so it must have been him.

But at 4 a.m., why was he wandering around the hotel and making such noise? It sounded like someone was deliberately exaggerating their footsteps to create as much of an audible racket as possible.”

Then the light outside the hallway began to turn on and off... on and off... and with each on and off there was a very distinct cracking noise to accompany it.

By now the footsteps were not merely walking up and down the hall, they were stopping every so often directly outside the Millers’ room.

“I was certain someone was outside the door,” she says. “I could feel it so strongly. I still assumed it was the manager. Maybe I had been making a lot of noise, I thought, and he was listening in to check that I was okay perhaps? I expected him to knock, but there was nothing... until the footsteps retreated back into the main corridor and began stomping again.”

This happened several more times with the footsteps stopping outside the door. By this time, Mr. Miller woke up as his wife was coming out of the bathroom, he too hearing the noises. She crawled back into bed, still feeling as sick as ever... when suddenly the footsteps stopped. The couple listened for a while, but everything was quiet.

“As soon as the footsteps stopped, I felt immediately better,” Mrs. Miller says. “It was as if I had never been ill! Had I thought about it, I may have felt unnerved, but the relief was immense. We quickly fell back to sleep.”

The next day, the Millers spoke to the manager, explaining what they experienced the previous night. They jokingly inquiring as to why he had been bounding about in the corridor.

He laughed and explained that he had not been in the hallway, certainly not at that time. Rather, he had been watching television in bed until the small hours in his room on the floor above on the other side of the hotel. He assured them that there was no one else in the hotel that night.

Later that day, the Millers spoke to the receptionist. Mr. Miller decided to push the subject and flippantly asked her, “So, which one is the haunted room?”

“It’s not the rooms,” the receptionist replied. “It’s the hallway.” She had a look on her face that revealed that perhaps she shouldn't have said it, in case they thought she was silly. The Millers didn't laugh. The receptionist went on to say that a Professor of Psychology had taken a photograph in the very hallway during a visit and the face of an elderly woman could clearly be seen.

Furthermore, guests had reported footsteps walking up and down the hallways at 4 a.m., glasses smashing to the floor in certain rooms at 4 a.m., and problems with the lights, again at 4 a.m.

“What my husband and I found the most interesting,” Mrs. Miller says, “were the lights switching on and off. When we pressed the light switches in the hallway the next day, they made an almighty cracking noise. Once you pushed the switch, you could not turn the light off again, but would have to wait for the light to go off by itself (as it was on a timer) or walk the approximately 18-foot-long hallway to the other end and turn off the lights by the other switch. The night before, the lights had been turning on and off in one second internals. An interesting experience for us, and quite odd on many levels, we thought!”

Next page: The Amazing Christmas Eve Ghost Box

THE AMAZING CHRISTMAS EVE GHOST BOX

Kristol had always thought there were logical explanations for what other people called “the paranormal” – that is, until her own experience on Christmas Eve of 2012. Kristol and her husband always enjoyed watching the various paranormal “reality” shows that flood the cable channels. In particular, she found all the newest ghost hunting equipment interesting.

The previous November, she had been Christmas shopping online and ran across a site that sold “ghost boxes.” The price was affordable, and on a whim she ordered one.

The box arrived within days. Her husband tore it open and turned it on immediately. All they heard was the annoying noise of the box scanning at high speed through numerous channels. Her husband scoffed and said, “So, you decided to buy a radio that has been deliberately set to malfunction or just scan channels non-stop?”

Kristol felt dumb. She turned off the ghost box and threw it on top of the refrigerator.

Over the course of a month, periodically while home alone, Kristol would turn on the box for five to 10 minutes and ask questions. Never once did she hear anything that seemed remotely relevant. She started telling herself she was a gullible idiot.

Come Christmas Eve, Kristol’s oldest daughter and her friend came to town. “She looked at the box and I explained to her that it is a radio that scans through channels and supposedly can pick up voices or messages of spirits,” Kristol says.

“My daughter and her friend kinda chuckled. She sat down at the kitchen table to eat and turned the box on. I told her to turn a voice recorder on so she could replay it after listening to the box because it’s hard to hear the words as its scanning.”

The box scanned for several minutes with nothing.

Kristol walked out of the kitchen and within a few moments her daughter yelled, “Mom, it’s saying your name!” Kristol was doubtful, but her daughter was insistent that she heard it several times.

Kristol asked the box to say her daughter’s name, and moments later to her shock it said her name three times over several channels. They let the box run for a few more minutes then turned it off. Kristol’s daughter started telling her dad what transpired. He smirked and said, “You are just hearing what you want to hear.”

Later, when it was quite, Kristol sat down with headphones and a notepad and transcribed everything that was said from the box, minute by minute. She clearly heard her name three times in three different voices along with her daughter’s name several times. Most shocking, near the end of the recording, she heard her husband’s name and then his brother’s name. There was a pause, and then she heard the name of her ex-brother-in-law, who committed a horrible crime and is now in prison.

“His name is never spoken,” Kristol says. “It’s been taboo to even bring his name up after what he did. I shut off the recorder and sat there, numb. I couldn't believe what I just heard. I closed the notepad and asked my daughter’s friend to go in a quiet room and transcribe the recording as to what she thought she was hearing.

She came out a half hour later and our transcriptions were identical. My husband listened next and he looked pale and had nothing else to say.”

That early evening, before the sun set, they drove to a nearby cemetery. With the ghost box, Kristol stood over a grave that had the names Laverne and Robert on it. She quietly asked if Laverne was with them. A moment later, she heard loud and clear, “Robert...” then a pause and their last name broken up over three channels.

“I was flabbergasted,” Kristol admits. “It’s one thing to hear stories of the paranormal or to watch someone’s account of the paranormal on TV, but it’s a whole other thing to hear it with your own ears in your own home. I am still attempting to grasp what happened that Christmas Eve. It has changed my entire belief system permanently.

What a Christmas gift! Confirmation that somehow, some way, an intelligent, disembodied voice can communicate with you. I am unsure exactly who or what it is at this moment, but it’s clearly responding.”