We live across the fence from a retirement village for war veterans. A lot of old guys there, we get friendly with some of them across the fence, and sadly, from time to time they die. There was one old guy we were on quite good terms with: nice old bloke, his room was directly over from us, and we’d often see him pottering about in the garden, and would have a chat. Then one morning his family were around, and we found out that he’d died late the previous evening. Quite sad, really.
It was miserable weather, and, in rather a pensive mood that evening, I glanced out the kitchen window across to the old guy’s room - and froze. There was a light on his room - and there he was, sitting in the chair by his window we often saw him in. He’d died last night, his family had cleared out his stuff, but I could see him sitting there in his favourite place. My mind dropped its jaw: I was an avowed sceptic, but this was the supernatural, this what people talked about when they saw ghosts. I could feel the hairs rising on the back of my neck.
After some gape-mouthed staring, my mind slowly began to reassert itself. It was a rainy night, our window was a little dirty, and his room was a good 50 feet away. Look again, harder this time. Yep, still the old guy in his chair: I even recognised the old jacket he used to wear. Try again, from another vantage point. I went outside to get a clearer view, and my glimpse of the spirit world began to resolve itself.
There was a light on in his room: his family must have left a table lamp on when they left. And they hadn’t quite finished clearing out his stuff, either: there was a pile of clothes on his chair, with the jacket draped over the back. There was also a round picture hanging on the wall behind. I went back inside to look again, and things began to make sense. From the angle I’d first seen the “ghost” at, the round picture was lined up behind the chair to make a damned convincing simulacrum of his head: from a different perspective, it was obvious what it was.
My “ghost” was nothing more than my pattern recognition software working overtime. It had worked on a thoughtful mood and a gloomy wet evening to look out of a murky window and through the rain into a dimly lit room where someone had died recently, and worked to construct a spectral figure out of a pile of clothes. And yet, for a brief moment, it had been utterly, spookily real. The irrational part of our mind is damned powerful if we give it rein.
Anyone else have any tales of the unsupernatural?