Sunday, 18 August 2013

Last Farewell

The room was in the darkness when he woke up and saw his friend at the end of his bed. They attended grade 2 together and they were best friends. His friend had been absent from school the last whole week.  He only knew his friend was very ill and had to stay at the hospital. Now he was there smiling at him. He smiled back and then his friend walked out of the room. He didn't follow him. He knew.1

Tales of widows seeing their late husband sitting on the foot of their bed or children encountering the manifestation of their dead sibling in their bedroom are legion, and even recently departed family pets have even been occasionally reported. Many had been written about spirits and ghosts, but this particular phenomena is usually the shortest in duration of all encounters where the spirit simply stays behind to give to a loved one, the last farewell.

The 'goodbye ghost' is a manifestation that appears—often only once—to either say goodbye to a loved one bereaved by their loss or to simply send a signal that they are well and have passed over successfully. These manifestations can be as simple as turning on lights or tuning a radio to a particular station the deceased was known to favor while alive to something as dramatic as a full-body manifestation.

However, these reports must be examined within the context of the many ways grief can manifest itself in one's imagination to produce the very fantasy a bereaved loved one 'needs' to bring closure to a tragic event. Grief hallucinations are a normal reaction to bereavement but are rarely discussed, because people fear they might be considered insane or mentally destabilized by their loss.

He woke up shivering. He looked at his wife deep asleep beside him and then the clock showing an uncomfortable 3:14 am. But then he knew there was someone else in the room. Sitting down at the foot of the bed was his father giving him a peaceful look before fading out.  He woke up his wife.I need you to see the time – he begged her pointing the clock."What? Why? "– she asked annoyed. "I need you to remember the time to prove that I am not crazy." - He explained. The next day started as a regular day. They had breakfast without saying too much before he left to his office. She got the call a couple of hours later notifying that her father in law, who had been in a long fight against a terrible disease, had died during the night at 3.14 am.1

Paranormal investigators define crisis apparition as the spirit of recently departed individual who visits a person he/she had a close emotional relationship with. Paranormal investigators as well as witnesses would say that even though such experiences are scary but they can also be comforting.

Scientific research on crisis apparitions is limited, as there were no ghost videos or ghost images taken by the witnesses, and with no other evidence but the testimony of the witness, scientists claim it is all a trick of the brain; that people in grieving subconsciously develop apparitions to console themselves after missing a loved one.

One study, by the researcher Agneta Grimby at the University of Goteborg, found that over 80 percent of elderly people experience hallucinations associated with their dead partner one month after bereavement, as if their perception had yet to catch up with the knowledge of their beloved’s passing. As a marker of how vivid such visions can seem, almost a third of the people reported that they spoke in response to their experiences. In other words, these weren’t just peripheral illusions: they could evoke the very essence of the deceased.

Despite the fact that hallucinations are one of the most common reactions to loss, they have barely been investigated and we know little about them. Post-bereavement hallucinations or illusions were very frequent and considered helpful. Half of the subjects felt the presence of the deceased (illusions); about one third reported seeing, hearing and talking to the deceased (hallucinations). Paranormal investigators and witness would affirm that these encounters would be the evidence that the bond between loved ones will not end even after death. Real spirits or tricks of the brain, the only point where skeptics and believers coincide are that these phenomena bring comfort and relief to those in grief.

1. Real stories from direct witnesses


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