Each month for more than fifty years, FATE Magazine has featured true stories from readers of ghosts and the afterlife in a section titled "My Proof of Survival." For the past seven years, I have been the FATE editor responsible for this department, and I have had the opportunity to review hundreds of ghost stories. I am more and more convinced that strange and unexplainable experiences are not so uncommon.
My wife Megan, for instance, has one of the most amazing ghost stories I have heard. When we first met three and a half years ago, Megan lived in an artists' co-op in St. Paul, Minnesota. The building, a former warehouse, dated to the early twentieth century and was home to more than one hundred painters, sculptors, filmmakers, and other creative people.
Megan had lived in the building for about eleven years. A couple years after she first moved in, she and her then-roommate Edel switched apartments with some other residents. Their new apartment had one large, open room on the second floor of the building, with bedrooms up a steep flight of stairs on the third floor.
Just after they moved in, Edel left town on a trip with her boyfriend and Megan spent the weekend unpacking and redecorating. As she kept busy, repainting the walls and setting up her studio, Megan had the strangest feeling that she wasn't alone. Shadows seemed to be moving around the apartment just outside the range of her vision, and she had the strong feeling that she was being watched.
On Monday morning, Megan ran into Gretchen, one of the former residents of the apartment, who asked her, "Have you met Fred?"
Megan was taken aback. "Who's Fred?"
Gretchen explained that "Fred" was the name she and her husband had given to the ghostly presence they had always sensed in the apartment. Megan found this interesting in light of her own recent experiences, but she wasn't quite ready to believe that her new home was, in fact, haunted.
Later, however, it became harder to deny that something quite uncanny was going on. Megan and Edel frequently heard strange noises above them when they were in the lower floor of the apartment. It sounded like someone was running around in the bedroom above them. They started finding their front door unlocked almost every morning. They were both quite certain that they had locked it the night before.
One night, Megan was in bed and just about asleep when she heard Edel screaming bloody murder. Megan jumped and ran into her friend's room to see what was wrong. Shaking with terror, Edel told her that a dark, human-like shadow had just flown over her bed.
The most dramatic manifestation took place one night when Megan was home alone in the apartment. She was lying in bed and heard what sounded like someone jiggling the handle of her bedroom door, which was shut. This startled her, but as she listened and heard nothing else unusual, she convinced herself that she had imagined the sound and started to settle back to sleep. Then, suddenly, the door swung open, slamming into the opposite wall with a loud BANG! Megan pulled the covers over her head. "I was so scared," she says. "I was convinced that if I looked I would see a ghost hanging right over my bed!"
After this incident, the ghostly occurrences seemed to die down. Later, one of the other residents of the building did some research and learned that Megan's apartment had been the home of the building's caretaker decades earlier. This man was apparently a strange character, a recluse who collected old bicycles. Apparently, he killed himself in the building.
You will find many more chilling tales like this one in True Tales of Ghostly Encounters, a collection of reader submissions originally published in FATE. Along with stories of hauntings, this book features accounts of visits and messages from departed loved ones, and firsthand reports of near-death experiences and past-life memories.