Scorpio’s season: a genuine sceptic encounters a genuine ghost …

The word ‘sceptic’ has in recent years taken on the  unfortunately narrow meaning of someone who dismisses out of hand all phenomena which lie outwith the scope of the five material senses. Anyone who reads my work for any length of time will, I hope, understand that I am indeed a sceptic: but in the original sense of the word ie being of a questioning turn of mind, not easily convinced by anything – but open to proof. 

Jupiter’s entry into Scorpio, heading shortly for his return to my natal third house Jupiter, has seen me delve once more into matters paranormal. Here are some of my musings about ghosts, including my very own ghost story. I’d be interested in your views, and of course your tales…

Definition of a ghost : “the soul of a dead person which supposedly manifests itself to the living visibly (as a shadowy apparition), audibly etc.” (p 356, The Oxford English Reference Dictionary, Oxford University Press 1996)

An imaginative child, I found going upstairs to bed scary most nights, having probably heard too many ghost stories as I grew up in the storm-tossed Outer Hebrides – home to many a Celtic tale of the otherworld of the supernatural.

There was the woman wrapped in plaid who jostled my maternal grandfather in the winter dark as he traversed the remote, eerie Uig Glen. There was my maternal great-grandmother’s hearing the wheels of lorries rumbling through her remote village toward a deserted headland – many years before they actually came, bearing the materials to build an RAF station there.

There was at least one ghost car. There were the shades of the dead appearing to those few in possession of the Sight – sure harbingers of imminent family death. There were ghostly lights luring sailors to their deaths in stormy seas. More has been forgotten than I could ever now recall.

Fortunately for me, vivid imagination has always sat in tandem with a strongly empirical streak. So I was a true sceptic –inclined to disbelieve in the absence of proof – until the day I  saw a ghost for myself….

Perthshire, Scotland, Autumn 1977

It was the autumn of 1977. My twenties had been turbulent. Restless wandering – from one career to another, one city to another, one set of friendships to another, and one dwelling place to another – characterised the whole decade. Now, I was in a mood to settle. Time to face my dissatisfactions, rather than running away when novelty wore off and disillusion set in.

Resolution thus colouring my mood, I left Dundee in September 1977 to do my social work training at Glasgow University. Having been such a hippie in my twenties, all I owned could be fitted into several boxes and stowed in the back of my old blue Morris Traveller. Laughing to myself, I recalled the occasion when, in my role as unqualified social worker, I had called by my flat in a poor area of Dundee to collect something I had forgotten. Accompanying me was the hard bitten female client I was accompanying on a visit to Dundee’s Family Planning Centre. “For f—s sake!” she remarked, quickly scanning my accommodation whilst I hunted for the forgotten item. “Your standard of living’s even worse than mine!”

Thus in transition, I set off to spend a night or two, en route to my new abode in Glasgow, with my boyfriend at the time who lived in the scenic market town of Perth, half way between Dundee and Glasgow. The Dundee to Perth road was mostly dual carriageway, and a distance of about twenty five miles. I drove happily through the area known as the Carse of Gowrie, which grew the best raspberries in Britain. “Pity I’m in a hurry”, I thought. “A few raspberries for supper would be nice.”

It was a clear evening, around seven pm, growing dusk. There was very little traffic on the road. A few miles outside Perth, my headlights picked out a male cyclist on a racing bike, a little way ahead of me. I pulled into the overtaking lane to pass him – and he vanished.

I arrived at Peter’s flat somewhat shaken by this experience. “I can’t believe I imagined it. What I saw was definitely a cyclist. He was as substantial on that road as you are, standing right now in your kitchen !” 

Peter was quiet for a few moments. He looked thoughtful, as if trying to decide whether to say something or not. At last he told me that a young male cyclist had been killed on that stretch of road a year or so previously. This was something of which I had no knowledge. Why should his ghost appear to me?

“Firstly, because you’re so sensitive anyway. Cast your mind back to some other odd happenings which have occurred  since we’ve been together. Secondly, your life is in transition. I think at those times, normal consciousness is more porous, as it were. Impressions from other layers of ‘reality’ find it easier to seep through….”

I remember feeling quite relieved that I wouldn’t be travelling on that stretch of road for the foreseeable future….

( extracted from Wisps from the Dazzling Darkness 2015)


900 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2017
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page


13 responses to “Scorpio’s season: a genuine sceptic encounters a genuine ghost …

  1. As per usual, Anne, your story brought up all kinds of images as I read it. Your re-framing of the word “skeptic” is most appreciated. Over many years in the health service industry, the clients I was blessed with shared stories of their paranormal experiences. After a while it becomes easier to sift through to sort the attention-seekers from those who are truly mystified when the veils part and show them something from beyond what we consider reality. Skepticism as you define it is something I try to claim as part of my personal tool box.
    Having said all that, I cast a chart for the time frame of the following experience, which came to mind as a result of your article. What stood out in that chart is progressed Pluto & Moon in the 1st house conjunct my Ascendant and transiting Pluto squaring it all from the 4th house. Considering how many risks I took during that period, it is a wonder survival prevailed.
    The story places us on the highway in 1995, late at night during a rural Canadian Prairies blizzard. I and my rather unstable companion were on our way back north after a meeting, with approximately 90 miles ahead of us. He was prone to temper, so I was keeping my mouth shut as we continuously lost sight of the road. The snow was blinding, but was too dangerous to shut off the headlights in order to better see the road against the snow because larger vehicles would be unable to see us (and our vehicle was so tiny – a little old red tin can really).
    As the minutes stretched on each one felt like an hour and we’d only gain a little ground. Plucking up my courage, I shakily suggested we stop over in a closer town for the night. That would shave 60 miles off the trip, leaving approximately 20 by that time. The explosion of temper happened, but I think I was too scared to be upset by it except that it was rapidly deteriorating his driving ability. I’d risked it, however, because if we were to take the shorter route, a necessary right turn was needed and I didn’t want us to drive by it.
    Just as it looked like things were going to get unbearably out of control (and I was wondering if we were facing the real possibility of death), an expensive looking, long, old model car purred up along side of us. And this is where it got fantastical. The man in the car pulled up on my side. I rolled down the window so my companion could speak with him. This man looked like a handsome actor, perhaps a character from the 50’s with slicked back dark hair, leather jacket and “oh so cool” manner. Even better, he knew exactly how to address my companion because he didn’t say, “You should do this or that”. Instead, he very dispassionately said something like, “I’ve found that if I drive with only this set of lights on it cuts down the glare” – and a few other things. Then he said, “You can follow me”. My companion was enchanted (or bewitched?) and all traces of temper seemed to fall from him.
    We followed him, keeping his tire tracks and tail lights as our guide. He made the turn that would enable us to cut across country to the closer destination and wait out the storm. Now, bear in mind that we are traveling across prairies, with hardly a tree to mark the farm fields on either side – and no roads that would go right or left as there were just trails to the fields blown in with snow. All we could see was his tail lights and the tracks…..then suddenly both disappeared. We couldn’t believe it and watched out both sides of the car for any trace of him. Poof! Gone! We were a scant 2 miles from our destination at that point. The awe, grace & majesty of that experience will always be with me…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Via Facebook:
    Elaine Seefeldt:
    Very enjoyable read Anne! They say there are some roads in Scotland where deaths have occurred that are haunted! Children and dogs are very sensitive to picking up ghosts, my daughter around 8 at time came downstairs having been in bed and told her brother and l that someone was upstairs, she’d opened her eyes and seen someone on the landing heading to her brother’s room. We checked and no one upstairs, we found out later, the previous tenant ,a woman had died in house. I would love to see the ghosts of my parents, have no fear of the spiritual world.

    As for Outer Hebrides, wish l’ d had more days to see across the Hebrides, the Callanish Stones were fascinating! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing this story, Elaine. Yes, something very similar happened in our house to one of the children and her friend not long after we had moved in.And – I often used to walk round the Callanish Stones when I was growing up…they never ceased to stimulate my imagination.


  4. Via Facebook:
    Emilie Llewellyn Simons:
    Oh I love hearing other peoples encounters! so thanks for sharing yours. One of the houses I lived in when I was a child was haunted, I didn’t fully realise until one afternoon when I was about 11 I was sitting downstairs and I heard a child calling out mummy. I thought maybe my sister was home early so I checked around but she wasn’t any where, then I thought maybe outside, but there weren’t any kids around and it definitely came from inside the house. I told my mum and she said she didn’t want to tell me and my sister but she had been hearing someone walking around upstairs after my sister and I had gone to bed, she also then told me that the family that lived in the house before us had had a little boy that had died…the bedroom that was his was super creepy and was just kept as a spare room. We always heard someone walking up and down the stairs… I did also see a ghost but in a different house when I was a child. I still doubt it a bit (I’m normally skeptical) but I don’t have an imagination that runs away, I’m quite a rational thinker so I’m pretty confident it was a ghost…anyway I woke up one night at my grandparents house and there was a woman in a wedding gown holding flowers and she walked towards my bed, but I started screaming and my dad came and turned the lights on…I found out my grandmother had also seen a woman next to her bed just a couple nights before…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks so much for sharing this, Emilie! It is so interesting to me that when we start telling ghost stories, we discover how many people have really detailed specific stories such as yours to tell.

    Contemporary science tells us that the actual material world comprises 4% of the universe. 23% dark matter and 73% dark energy are as yet inexplicable. This being the case, I fail to understand how reductionists exhibit the arrogance they do, in dismissing anything that cannot be explained within that narrow 4% band… we need to tell each other our inexplicable tales a lot more than we do. Many thanks for contributing.


  6. Via Facebook:
    Emilie Llewellyn Simons:
    Exactly, it made me quite mad when at CERN scientists and (the one that annoys me the most, Brian Cox) said that they ‘disproved’ any existence of ghosts…to me this is bad science, being biased and not looking at all the angles outside of the box. Yes so I think it’s important for us to share out stories, we can’t all be mad and disillusioned, right.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have to confess I find it extremely hard to restrain myself from being rude about Brian Cox and his fellow-reductionistas, Emilie. But preserving civility in the face of insults arising from ignorance is, I feel, much preferable to and more dignified than punching people in the face!


  8. Via Facebook:
    Pat Peabody:

    Very Halloween, very Scorpio photo.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Yes, Pat, I loved it as well. Very creepy…


  10. Via Facebook:
    Karon Meakin:
    Interesting idea that we are more open to the ‘paranormal’ at times of transition. I saw my first ‘ghost’ or something at puberty. I discovered years later I also began to see chi or my own aura. The ghost scared the **** out of me and I tried very hard never to see anything again. At menopause the spirit world beckoned again but fortunately in a less nerve wracking manner. I think it may be connected with the sacral chakra.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks for this, Karon. In my book to which I’ve left the link below, I related then examined thirty-seven varied paranormal experiences I’d had intermittently over a thirty-year period, and discovered that the great majority of them had occurred in times of transition of various kinds. Your observation re chakras is most interesting. Must investigate!


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