31 Days of Halloween with Slay, Day 30: What do you believe?

On my grand calendar, today is supposed to be a post about Lily Dale, and the spiritualist community in New York. But as I sit here on my couch with a hurricane roaring up upon us and the grey skies barely visible past the rain, I think that the day deserves something a little more atmospheric. In the background I have on a haunted house movie (Secrets in the Walls, if you have LMN) and next to me I have a book called Ghost Hunters, so I think that we’re going to talk about the supernatural.

Old photograph of a man being grabbed by a ghostly robed figure with a skull Are you a believer? Some people believe in ghosts but may not believe in mediums. Or they believe in ESP but not possessions. Or they’re religious but don’t think there are things like guardian angels or divine intervention. To me all these things fall under the big banner of “supernatural.” And I’m not sure how I answer that question.

Given that I just spent this past month writing about all things spooky and creepy and weird, it might seem strange that I’m admitting to being an open minded skeptic. I’ve consumed stories about the odd and unusual for as long as I can remember. As a child, I regularly checked out all the non-fiction books about ghosts and spirits from the library. My favorites were by a gentleman named David Cohen who seemed to have made a career out of writing juvenile non-fiction about ghosts and goblins and vampires for the budding young goth like me. Want to know anything about the Bell Witch? Borley Rectory? That time those two women claimed to have experienced a time slip in the gardens of Versailles? I’m your gal. I’ve followed the careers (and publications) of the Warrens and got to see them speak on occasion. I don’t think Amityville was a real haunting, but I won’t tempt fate by playing with a Ouija board. Maybe I’m just a real life Mulder; I want to believe but I can’t decide if I do.

My mother in law, who is a lovely, rational woman and a pastor, which I feel lends her some kind of credibility in these cases, believes that she’s been moved by the Lord on occasion. I suppose that many religious people feel like they can feel the presence of their god in their life in a tangible way. She will also readily tell you that one of the manses she lived in was absolutely, without a doubt, haunted and that she could feel a ghostly presence in the house on a regular basis. Bryn talked about her experience in a haunted apartment. I can not share anything like that because I have never in my life felt or seen anything ghostly, at least nothing that couldn’t be rationally explained away a day or two later.

However, since I was a child, I’ve had dreams that seem to come true. All mundane things, nothing exciting, except that they happen and I’m over come with a strong sense of deja vu, because I had a dream about it. When I was in elementary school, my principal once called my parents because she came in to speak to my teacher one morning and I shot my hand up and told the entire class that I had dreamed this was going to happen, and what the conversation was going to be about. I didn’t think this was a weird occurrence but in Catholic schools, this isn’t exactly the kind of stories they like to encourage. Since that day, I have literally never spoken about these dreams to anyone until I decided to write them down here. I’m actually looking at this paragraph and wondering if I should delete it. Maybe it’s a strange thing to admit, that you’re not sure you believe in ghosts, but you’re pretty damn sure you have uneventful prophetic dreams.

I can say this, in terms of what I believe: I think that there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. What those things are? Well, that’s for better minds than mine to discover.

So now I ask you ““ what do you believe, P-maggers? What unexplainable things have happened to you?

By [E] Slay Belle

Slay Belle is an editor and the new writer mentor here at Persephone Magazine, where she writes about pop culture, Buffy, and her extreme love of Lifetime movies. She is also the editor of You can follow her on Twitter, @SlayBelle or email her at

She is awfully fond of unicorns and zombies, and will usually respond to any conversational volley that includes those topics.

6 replies on “31 Days of Halloween with Slay, Day 30: What do you believe?”

I grew up believing that demons (and angels) were totally real, and that any stories about ghosts or monsters or beings involved one of the two. If it was scary, mean, or “lured someone away from Jesus”, it was a demon; if it “helped” or led someone TO Jesus, it was an angel (and that never, ever happened).

I kind of, sort of, jokingly believe in the possibility of ghosts, but they’re kind of something you have to “experience” to really believe. And I haven’t. So.

I’m a believer but I also believe in being rational and not jumping at shadows. I believe spirits have power and can choose to make contact if they have enough need. I also had to take the batteries out of our doorbell because with no button hooked up to it SOMETHING was making it ring in the middle of the night. (believer: dead mom spirit. Skeptic: neighbor’s garage door opener on the same frequency)

When I was a little girl, I used to hear voices coming from my grandparents rec room every night and would wake up my grandfather to have him check the room. It was always empty. My grandmother ended up passing away in the house when I was 11 but before that, as far as I know, no one had died there. About 4 years ago, I was living there for a bit and tons of weird shit happened–explained noises, electronics going on/off, cabinets being open when I was the only one home and knew I hadn’t opened them. In my current apartment, sometimes I feel like I’m not alone and my cats will either freak the fuck out and run around like maniacs or watch a fixed point.

I’ve had weird (brief) out of body experiences/astral projection episodes.

More recently (as in, the past few months), I’ve also started having dreams that end up coming true. I’ve had ‘feelings’ that something was about to happen (without any other information that would make me come to an informed conclusion) and it does. I also have been having insane synchronicity (I call someone and they say they were literally just thinking of me/vice versa, I think of someone and a minute later they email me, etc). So yeah, some weird shit has been going down.

That said, I’m a strident atheist. I don’t think all these weird things are acts of god or the devil or demons or angels or what have you. I think that every thing that we think of as ‘supernatural’ has a perfectly scientifically sound explanation. We just don’t have the technology/knowledge to understand it yet.

I believe in supernatural forces–good AND evil–and I’ve felt both in my life. Yeah, I’m a Christian, so I guess my credibility in believing in things might be a little suspect to a lot of people, and that’s fair. All I know is that I’ve felt God (well, the Trinity, if you will), and I’ve felt some dark…things.

In Bryn’s post, I mentioned in the comments feeling a particularly ominous/dark/predatory presence along a certain area of a footpath that wound from the main campus up to the student apartments. I also used to work at a hotel that was built on the same ground as a former city morgue. At first, I just sort of poo-pooed the idea of haunting/ghosts, and I never had any poltergeist types of experiences, but there were certainly areas that were prone to feeling spiritually dark, if that makes ANY sense whatsoever.

There are a few others in my life who have experienced supernatural occurrences that I believe are rational, non-psychotic types. When we lived in Ghana, we were in an area that still practiced traditional religions (from whence many of the roots of Voodoo came). One night, my parents woke up and saw a man floating over their bed. My father rebuked the man and he disappeared. I have two other friends who have seen both demons and angels, and they are both intelligent and level-headed.

So…yeah, I believe that there are spiritual/supernatural beings out there that can affect us. Do I believe that they can harm us? I think it depends on a few different factors.

This is something I’ve been struggling to find my voice on – twice I’ve had things happen, voices spoke to me when there was literally no one around to do so. Both times the voices told me something that ended up changing my life dramatically (the last time is the reason I have a five year old).

I’ve done everything I know to talk myself out of believing and I just can’t. Disbelief takes more work than belief, so yeah, I believe. In what, I’m not sure, but I have faith just the same.

I don’t believe in ghosts. Nothing between heaven and earth, no apparitions, and so on.
1. some part of me would like to believe, because it gives space to the idea of there being something after dying.
2. Two people close to me told me two different stories (one about reincarnation, the other about all the women of her family seeing a little girl when they turn sixteen) which makes me doubt my disbelief. Because of the source, of course. You’re not going to call your always sane friends delusional because they experienced something you didn’t.

So I don’t believe, but I don’t know what happens with people who do.

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