Your Roommate Is a Ghost. You’re Not Alone.
A recent story about haunted houses prompted existential debates and ghost story sharing in the comments section.
Days before Halloween, the real estate section of The New York Times published my story, “How to Live With a Ghost.” The piece featured voices of people who believed their houses were haunted and who, after some trial and error, figured out how to live with those ghosts. A recent study had found that nearly half of 1,000 surveyed homeowners believed in ghosts. People I interviewed told me about strange sightings and unexplained sounds, even a ghost that one homeowner thought could be homophobic.
Hundreds of readers flooded the comments section with stories about why they believed (or staunchly refused to believe) in ghosts, their own paranormal encounters and some hilariously snarky remarks. Here is a roundup of some of our favorite comments, edited for length and clarity. While commenters gave the Times permission to republish their comments here, many of them were still afraid to reveal their identities and asked to remain anonymous.
Nonbelievers Who Changed Their Minds
“I didn’t believe in this kind of thing until I ran into it myself. My best advice is to try to take it in stride, if and when it happens to you.” — Brad Ferguson of Walkersville, Maryland
“I used to laugh at the idea that folks believed in ghosts. And then I had a series of completely unexplainable events in my home that creeped me out. I called a friend that was a believer and followed her directions even though they felt hokey.
The strange events stopped. I’m now on the fence as to what I do/don’t believe. I’m a science nerd and so the fact that I just might believe really bugs me, but I cannot discount the unexplainable experience I had.” — Anonymous
“I didn’t believe in ghosts. Then I had a ghost. There was no mistaking it — even the sounds it made had an electromagnetic quality to them.
It used to wake me up in the middle of the night when I was dead asleep, and my heart would race so fast that I had a hard time getting back to sleep.
At first, I didn’t have the nerve to speak to it, so I wrote it a note and tacked it to my bedroom door. In the note, I told the spirit it was welcome to be there but to please stop waking me in the middle of the night because I needed my rest.
It complied for the most part, but we still had incidents. By then, I was less afraid and more capable of asking it to stop if it woke me up.
That ghost eventually moved on. Then my neighbor died and she moved in for a few months, then moved on. I considered it a compliment by then that ghosts found me welcoming.
I renovated the house and haven’t had a ghost since. I’m fine with that too.” — Anonymous
Questions for the Spirits
“Can someone please ask them why they can walk through walls but still have to take the stairs? I’m dying to know.” — Anonymous
“It’s funny that these places that are ‘haunted’ are always creaky old houses built in the 1800s. Why aren’t there downtown apartments haunted by people who died in 2019? You never hear about those.” — Jeff Shindler of Portland, Ore.
“Who needs the paranormal? Humans are scary enough!” — Anonymous
More Haunted Happenings
“I have seen things in our house — our dog running down the stairs months after she died, the linen-clad shoulder of a tall man passing the bathroom door as I brush my teeth — but I never felt afraid. I find it comforting.
I heard a fragment of a song from a 1950s playlist I was making in the stairwell half an hour after I had closed Spotify and shut off my Bluetooth speaker. I checked that everything was indeed turned off, and then I heard it again as I went back downstairs. It was like walking through a tight band of sound, an 18” wave of music.
The visions are always during the day and are glimpsed obliquely, out of the corner of my eye when I am busy doing things.
The house is from the 1820s, and these things happened in the second floor landing and stairwell, within 6 or 8 feet of each other, and never anywhere else.
I think they are hallucinations, a visual/auditory malfunction, or a time shift.” — Anonymous