I generally tell people that I don't believe in ghosts, and honestly, I try very hard not to believe in them. What I don't tell most people is that I'm being haunted.
When I was a university student, I saw a ghost. Unlike most ghost sightings, I was not alone. My brother and a close friend and I went for a late-night walk across our university campus in South Texas. It was unseasonably cold that night, and there was a bitter wind, so we took refuge between the stone pillars of a covered walkway.
While my brother and our friend talked, I let my mind begin to drift. My mind felt numb, empty, open. Suddenly, I had the most peculiar sensation. I felt as if I was no longer sitting under the covered walkway. Instead, I was standing a hundred meters away, looking down the corridor at us. Then, it was as though I were flying down the corridor, the pillars blurring past as I raced toward the three of us.
I came back to myself, but still felt numb, dazed, far away. I remember looking down the corridor, and heard myself say 'Hey, guys, do you see something down there?'
We began to talk. We each described part of what we saw, and our three descriptions combined to completely describe the thing at the end of the corridor.
It looked like a man, only featureless and gray. It was running towards us down the corridor, waving its arms over its head. It ran only about 25 meters or so before fading away and reappearing at the starting point. We watched it for more than an hour. We weren't frightened, but there was a feeling of emptiness and longing in that thing we saw. We approached, but if we got closer than 30 meters or so, it disappeared until we backed up. After an hour, it faded away and we went back to our dorm rooms.
A few nights later I had a nightmare. I dreamed I was awake in my bed, and that the thing from the corridor came out of my closet. I was afraid, and pulled the covers closer around me so that it couldn't get to me. It lifted into the air, hovered over me, and dove under the covers behind me. I sensed it behind me, something cold, dead. It felt in my dream as though something punched me in the back, and suddenly, in a burst of light, the dream changed, and I dreamed I was in the science hall, listening to a biology lecture. I turned to my friend and said 'Hey, you want to see something really interesting?'
In my dream, I took my friend back to the corridor and showed her the running ghost. But it was different than what I thought I saw a few nights before. There was an overpowering sense of grief in that thing, a raw longing that gnawed at my spirit. The thing opened it's mouth, and I opened mine, and it's voice poured from my lips, a horrible, twisted wailing. My brother shook me awake, frightened pale by the wailing that burst forth from my sleep.
I never saw the ghost again. I thought I saw a brown shadow running once, but I couldn't be sure if I imagined it. But I have the dreams now. After that, the dreams were always different, and yet somehow the same. In my dreams, I am being chased by someone I cannot see, someone malevolent. Always I wail. The worst dreams are the dreams where I dream I am awake, and even the memory of those dreams is almost more than I can bear.
Time and great distance have lessened the dreams to only a few times a year. In the 12 years since that time, I have tried to make peace with this ghost I don't believe in, telling him that when I die, he can follow me. I don't believe it is evil, only lost. But then there are the dreams, dreams that make me afraid to sleep sometimes.