What experience made you believe in ghosts

"Message from the beyond!" - What actually happens when the glasses are back?

Can secret powers predict the future? Our author Stefanie Hellge tried it and received two visits from a ghost

When I was 15, I met several ghosts. I had a phase at the time when I met my friends for necromancy. With candlelight and the back of the glasses, very intense. In my memory, the glass flew from letter to letter and knew such scary things as the date of my great aunt's death. Our ghost called itself Ivan several times, and at night in the dark I imagined the transparent figure of the dead Russian scurrying through my room.

Today I'm more pragmatic than I was before, and I don't really believe in ghosts anymore. Still, I want to see if I can get Ivan to return. Maybe he knows something about my future. Or my children's. My cautious inquiry to a few friends is answered with enthusiasm. Obviously there are several people who spent their teenage years in part in the realm of the inexplicable.

Saturday evening, the moon is actually full outside, so the best conditions. My guests come in black, it has to be like that, otherwise it won't work. There are a few rules to be observed - and, to be honest, the rules are half the fun: It has to be a wooden table, preferably without nails - mine has some, but it will work. The only lighting allowed: candlelight. All letters of the alphabet are arranged in a circle on small pieces of paper, plus the numbers from 0 to 9 and the words YES and NO. That's almost all, the spirit can come.

"Ghost, are you there?"

To lure him, we all put our index finger lightly on an upturned glass and shout “Ghost, are you there?” Into the darkness of my living room. Do that. Say words together with several voices in the dark. It's really, really scary. And then it happens: nothing at first. It takes a full ten minutes and repeated shouts until the glass suddenly moves very tentatively. It slowly slides towards the card with YES. Don't stir now. We'll move on quickly. "Ghost, what's your name?" The glass moves slowly across the table. First to the B, then to the O. Then it stops. Our spirit is called Bo. Doesn't sound particularly Russian. But it's still scary. Hendrik asks: "Are there any other ghosts in the room?", Although I actually prefer not to know exactly. Nevertheless, Bo clearly replies "YES". And I quickly ask: “Bo, what are they doing here?” The puzzling answer is: “M-Y-H-P-D.” And then nothing moves for a long time. "Uh, ghost, are you still there?" And Bo replies: "W-I-S-O." Why? Really now? Can you laugh when ghosts are present?

I have been warned several times about this evening. The terms “séance” or “necromancy” alone trigger fears in colleagues and friends. One shouldn't get involved with the bad side, I get to hear. And almost all of them have some nasty but totally true anecdote ready that supposedly happened to some friend after such an evening with glasses. I also know a few. Allegedly the ghost glass that was used shattered by itself the following night, or the ghost never left and now roams the hallway every night - you can hear it on the creaking floorboards. I love stories like that.

I once had a neighbor who ordered an old mother to come home, who then smoked her apartment with herbs because a ghost allegedly haunted her and moved furniture. This “cleaning ceremony” was a hallway conversation in the house for weeks because the very Christian lady from the apartment across the street felt personally attacked by the “witchcraft”. I found it all very entertaining at the time, it didn't scare me. The believing lady has moved out in the meantime, and I think that's a good thing. The house is really noisy, I bet you can hear our “ghost, are you there?” Two floors below.

At the moment the neighbors hear hysterical laughter. Bo just let us know that the biggest challenge in 2018 will be traffic regulations. Well, he wrote: S-T-V-O, but Bo is obviously rather taciturn. Bo also claims that he wants to tell me something personally because he knows me through my P-A-P-A. Unfortunately, he doesn't say anything afterwards. And that for a full hour. It's not that nothing is moving, the glass is happily moving around on the table. The result is nothing more than a salad of letters. We'll still manage to get Bo that the Jamaica coalition will probably never come about - then we'll give up. It is quite tiresome to decipher meaningless gibberish in the dark. We're all a bit disappointed that we couldn't get around.

We should be happy that it worked out at all. And there is even some kind of scientific explanation for it that you can find after patiently clicking through all the web pages that deal with paranormal phenomena in the most strange ways.

Subconscious swarm intelligence

The scientists say: Every emotion triggers minimal muscle contractions. So little that you don't even notice it. If several people then concentrate emotionally on a common cause, the minimal movements combine in such a way that a glass of them can start moving. The rest is shift. Inadvertently, of course. Kind of unconscious swarm intelligence. I find it much more exciting to imagine that real ghosts are at work.

Our floorboards creak during the night, but the glasses stay intact. And in the freshness of the next morning, I boldly decide to present a few pure souls to the spirits. Maybe things will work better then.

The pure souls are my children. At 12 and almost 15, they are old enough to be passed as 'pure' - but not have nightmares. We pragmatically move the séance to the kitchen table, the plastic screw cap of the pepper jar serves as the glass. It just slides better. And then he does. Immediately and without a warm-up phase, and it's not even night. Bo is back! He just wants to talk to us in V-E-R-BE-N, but then lets out that the fat car my son will own as an adult will be a G-O-L-F. Very disappointing. On our next vacation we are supposedly going to F-U-TE-V-E-N-T-U-E, which we generously interpret as Fuerteventura, and I say: I only drive to this boring volcanic island over my corpse. But the best thing is that Bo becomes political again in the end. We ask, “What is Donald Trump tweeting next?” The ghost writes crystal clear: F-U-C-K.