The pandemic is less traumatic than people think, especially if they believe they are locked up with spectral roommates.
Adrian Gomez lives in Los Angeles with his partner. Their first few days of sheltering from the coronavirus pandemic were uneventful. They worked remotely, baked, walked two miles each morning, and finished their porcelain kitchen sink. One night, the doorknob started to rattle so loudly that he could hear it from across his apartment. But no one was there.
Mid-April saw Mr. Gomez lying in bed and a nearby shade of his window started shaking so strongly against the frame. Even though the window was shut, another shade was open, the cats were all safe, and there was no other creature or bug trapped there. Mr. Gomez believed it was an earthquake.
He said that he had “very seriously hid under the comforter” because it truly did freak him out.
Although he and his partner never noticed any unusual activity at home, they can now “distinctly” hear footsteps above their heads. They are the only ones who live above them.
26-year-old Mr. Gomez said, “I’m a pretty rational person,” and that he works in I.T. support. “I try to think about what reasonable, tangible causes this. But when I don’t have the answers, I think that there might be something else going on.”
They are not the only ones who have this problem – they may be involved in many more.
People who believe they are possessed by a ghost can experience self-isolation through Zoom meetings and homeschooling. They are also greeted by shadowy figures, disembodied voices, misbehaving electronics, invisible felines cuddling up on couches, caresses that aren’t there, and in some cases — to use the technical term of Ghostbusters — full-torso, free-floating, vaporous apparitions.
Of course, some of these people are scared. Some people say they appreciate the company.
The existence of ghosts is not supported by scientific evidence. This fact has little to do with our enthusiasm for them. A 2019 YouGov survey showed that 45 percent of Americans believe in ghosts. In 2009, the Pew Research Center reported that only 18 percent believed they had seen one.
Patrick Hinds, 42 years old, and his wife, Lisa, traveled to Massachusetts with their daughter, Tova, to spend six weeks in an “adorable” cottage that they rented through Airbnb.
Mr. Hinds was thirsty after waking up at 3 AM one night. He claimed that he saw a white man in his 50s sitting at the kitchen table wearing a worn, World War II-era military cap and uniform.
It seemed perfectly normal for a split second, and then I realized, Wait! What’s the matter? He was gone, and I looked up to see him,” explained Mr. Hinds who hosts the podcast “True Crime Obsessed.” It didn’t feel intimidating at all. It almost took me forever to tell my husband that I had done it the next day.
If you accept the idea that ghosts exist, it is only natural that tension will develop when their flesh-and-blood roommates spend more time together at home.
John E.L. Tenney is a paranormal researcher who was once a host of “Ghost Stalkers” and estimates that he received between two to five reports each month of a haunted house in Ohio in 2019. It’s been happening more often than five to ten per week lately.
Mr. Tenney had seen something similar before. In 1999, just before Y2K was released, Tenney witnessed an increase in reports of ghost and poltergeist activity as well as U.F.O. According to Tenney, sightings are on the rise at the moment. He said that it did seem to be related to our hypervigilance and heightened anxiety.
Tenney is certain that most of the cases in his inbox can be explained by nature. He said that when the sun rises and the house warms up, they are usually working — they don’t get used to the sound of bricks popping and wood expanding. It wasn’t that the house didn’t make those sounds. They just didn’t have the time to notice it.”
Or were they? Janie Cowan believes that she has been haunted ever since college. Mrs. Cowan, 26, explained that Matthew, the ghost she calls Matthew, was chosen as a “good, Biblical name” in hopes of keeping him on his best behavior. He has made his presence known in Nashville through the sounds of someone running up and going down the stairs at night.
Will Cowan, Will Cowan’s 31-year old husband, said that the noises were not like a house moving or a cat moving around. It’s trying to attract attention.
The couple started to self-isolate around March. Mr. Cowan began using their guest bathroom to allow his wife, a nurse at home, to sleep in her bed.
Matthew, whose spouses both agree that he prefers Mrs. Cowan to him, hasn’t seemed to be able to appreciate the changes. Three times, Mr. Cowan was unexpectedly blasted with cold water while he was showering in the guest bathroom. It wasn’t a problem with the plumbing. He said that he reached out to check if the hot-water nozzle was turned off.
Madison Hill, 24, is battling the pandemic together with her boyfriend in Florence, Italy. Ms. Hill is a Charlotte-native writer and teacher who has always been suspicious of her home, especially the bathroom. It was as if someone was watching her, with doors opening and closing, and towels laying on the floor.
After a few weeks of quarantine, she woke to discover something that didn’t belong on her nightstand. It was a camera lens that she had brought with her from the United States, but she lost it when she moved into her new home. It was a camera lens that she had brought from the United States but lost when she moved in. She had given up hope of ever finding it again. It was there.
Other small objects, such as keys and keys, have been moving around her apartment in strange places since then. She found the appearance of the camera lens to be a playful, mischievous gesture that she considered a playful suggestion.
Kerry Dunlap lives in Queens Ridgewood with Alexandra Cohl, a one-bedroom apartment. Mr. Dunlap, who is a teacher, rapper, and concert promoter at the age of 31, believes that he first met their ghost last summer.
He saw her in the toilet in the middle of the evening, wearing green scrubs and standing just an arm’s distance from him. She seemed glowing. When he turned on his light, the woman vanished. Mr. Dunlap was aware that one of their friends had seen a ghost in the apartment. Both men agreed that they had seen a small-sized Asian woman.
Ms. Cohl was a 27-year old writer and editor who used to get into a late-night tug-of-war over the small comforter that they shared. A few weeks back, Mr. Dunlap awoke to feel Ms. Cohl adjust the blanket at his feet so that it spread evenly across the bed. He called his girlfriend after the movement stopped but he did not feel his girlfriend get into bed with him. She did not answer.
She then returned from the bathroom.
“It was so strange, dude,” Mr. Dunlap stated. It was very strange. But, he and Ms. Cohl left the incident with a lasting positive impression. They felt like whatever it was trying to make them feel more at ease or mediate any potential conflict.
Kurt Gray is an associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He studies how humans perceive and treat other entities’ minds, such as machines or animals. He said that times of extreme unease or malaise can lead to perceived hauntings. Not to mention the fact that diseases have certain psychological parallels to a “malevolent spirit”, creeping invisibly on its victims.
This could be an effect of modern loneliness. “In quarantine, you are both physically and psychologically restricted. Your world shrinks,” Mr. Gray stated. “You feel trapped at home and you need human contact. It’s comforting to believe that there is a supernatural agent with you.”
Danielle, a 39-year-old lawyer, believes isolation existed before the pandemic. To protect her professional reputation, The Times agreed not to use her last name. Since she was diagnosed with an unrelated, serious illness, she has been recuperating at her Richmond, British Columbia home.
In February, she experienced unusual activity for the first time. She said she was walking into her guest room to find a lamp on. However, she didn’t remember leaving it that way. She kept going back to the same spot until she finally said out loud, “Don’t turn it back on.”
Danielle stated, “It was gone.” “Like, in 20 seconds, gone. I checked the garbage can, but nothing. I checked the recycling and found nothing. Nothing in my fabric stash. These two pieces of fabric were the reason I had to tear down my house in search of them. They have never returned.”
Danielle describes herself to be a social person. Her friends and family were worried about her safety if she was left alone. She said that it felt like someone was there to cheer me up, keep tabs on me, or just make sure I don’t feel alone.
Mr. Gray stated that if the paranormal identity can give someone “a little bit more social sustenance” to help them cope with their loneliness, then it’s great. He said that as long as the ghost doesn’t advise its hauntees not to “go into emergency departments without a mask or French kiss everyone,” then it is okay.
Do you feel disturbed by strange sounds in the middle of the night? Are you experiencing dread or panic in your attic or basement? Mr. Tenney, the host of “Ghost Stalkers”, said that it is normal to feel this way. Keep a record of what you see. It is possible to find a rational explanation for what you are seeing. What if the strange sound at 2:50 every weekday was just the UPS truck clattering past?
Mr. Tenney offers another suggestion: One could argue that the ghost in your kitchen isn’t just there, she’s been there since forever. Perhaps you are what has changed. Maybe you are just listening more carefully in the greater silence around you. He said, “Perhaps the world is just beginning to be a bit more bizarre than we thought.”