How Ghosts Influence Us

How Ghosts Influence Us
How Ghosts Influence Us 

The following is a very interesting case, which brings vividly before us the fact that ghosts often draw power from those who witness their manifestations—just as they draw vitality from a materializing “medium,” during a seance. As cases of this character are rare, the following is of considerable value: “It was an afternoon, last autumn, about six o’clock. I had returned from a stroll and was sitting in my own apartment on Central Park West, reading Vanity Fair. While turning over its pages I became suddenly aware of a novel and indescribable sensation.



My chest and breathing became inwardly oppressed by some ponderous weight, while I became conscious of some ‘presence’ behind me, exerting a powerful influence on the forces within. On trying to turn my head to see what it could be, I was powerless to do so; neither could I lift a hand, nor move in any way. I was not a little alarmed and began immediately to reason. My mind was alive, though physically I was unable to move a muscle. It was as if the current of nerve force within seemed forcibly drawn together and focussed on a spot in front of me. “I gazed motionless, as though with something intenser than ordinary eyesight, on what was no longer vacant space. There an oval, misty light was forming—elongation, widening, yes, actually developing into a human face and form. Was this hallucination, or some vision of the unseen, coming in so unexpected a fashion? Before I had arisen a remarkable figure, never seen before in a picture or life—dark-skinned, aged, with a white beard, the expression intensely earnest, the features small, the bald head finely molded, lofty over the forehead, the whole demeanor instinct with solemn grace.

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“He was speaking to me in deep tones, as if in urgent entreaty. What would I not give to hear words from such a figure! But no effort availed me to distinguish one particular sound. I tried to speak, but could not. With a desperate effort, I shook out the words, ‘Speak louder.’ The face grew more intent, the voice louder and more emphatic. Was there something amiss with my own hearing, then, that I could distinguish no word amid these deeply emphasized tones? Slowly and deliberately the figure vanished— through the same stages of indistinctness, back to the globular lamplike whiteness, till it faded to nothingness. Before it had quite faded away, the face only of a woman arose, indistinct and dim. The same emphatic hum, though in a subdued note; the same paralysis of voice and muscle, the same strange force, as it was overshadowing me. With the disappearance of this second and far less interesting figure, I recovered my power of movement and arose.


“My first impulse was to look around for the origin of this strange force; my second to rush to the looking-glass to make sure of myself. There could be no illusion. There I was, paler than usual, the forehead bathed in perspiration. I threw open the window. It was no dream. There were the passing trolley cars below, clanging up and down, while a crowd of noisy youngsters was playing in the park across the way. I sponged my face, and, greatly agitated, walked hurriedly to and fro. If this is real, I thought, it may recur. I would sit in the same position, try to be calm, read a book, remain as still and passive as I could, and see the result.

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“To my intense interest, and almost at once, the strange sense of some power operating on the nerve forces within, followed by the same loss of muscular power, the same wide-awakeness of the reason, the same drawing out and concentrating of the energies on that spot in front, repeated itself—this time more deliberately, leaving me freer to take mental notes of what was happening. Again arose the noble, earnest figure, gazing at me, the hands moving in solemn accompaniment to the deep tones of voice. The same effort, painful on my part, to hear, with no result. The vision passed. Again the woman’s face, insignificant and meaningless, succeeded it as before. She spoke but in less emphatic tones. It flashed upon me that I would hear. After a frantic effort, I caught two words—‘Land,’ ‘America’—with positively no clue as to their meaning. “I was wide awake when the first apparition appeared, and in a highly excited state of mind on its re-appearance.” 

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