My First Ghostly Encounter

High contrast image of a scary ghost in a creepy hotel corridor

Over the years I have been a guest on many paranormal shows, and I absolutely love doing them. It’s always enjoyable to hang out with like-minded people and have fun conversation. Whenever I go on a show three questions are inevitably asked: 

  1. What are your thoughts on demons? (Not really my area of expertise)
  2. Who are you influences? (Definitely not an overdramatic former wedding DJ from Las Vegas)
  3. What sparked your interest in the paranormal? 

Well, that’s the one I thought I would share today. This is taken from my second book, Behold! Shocking True Tales Of Terror…And Some Other Spooky Stuff. It details how this old ghost hunter became the man I am today.

In the early summer of 1982, I was an eight-year-old kid with a front row seat to his parent’s bitter divorce. When all was said and done, my sister and I moved to the suburbs of northern Illinois and my dad stayed in the city. He moved back in with parents and it was in their house that I witnessed and interacted with my first ghost.

It was late on a Saturday night and my cousin and I witnessed our beloved Cubbies get their asses handed to them, which they often do. Yes, we know they’re terrible but us north siders love them regardless. As I lay on the couch wide awake playing with my Star Wars action figures, I suddenly felt the overwhelming urge to take a pee. So, I jumped up and made my way to the bathroom.

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When us kids spent the night, grandma would always leave the light in the bathroom on. The long hallway that connected the back of the house to the front room didn’t have a light, and as one might imagine the hall could be frighteningly dark.

When I approached the bathroom, the unthinkable occurred, the light suddenly went out, plunging me and the hall in darkness. The only light came through a window in the kitchen. Fear gripped me until a woman stepped out of the bathroom. At first, I thought it was my grandma, I was about to say something but then realized this woman was much taller. Whoever this person was, they most certainly was not my grandma.

As I stood there staring up at this stranger, she turned, looked down at me and a smile crossed her heavily lined face. She then said with a thick Irish accent, “My, what a fine young lad.” The fear that I previously felt was replaced by peace. I watched as the kindly old woman turned and vanished in front of my young eyes.

The next morning as we sat eating breakfast, my grandma could tell something was bothering me. When she asked if I was ok, I responded that I saw a strange woman in the hall last night. While my cousin greedily downed his cereal my grandma smiled and said, “That was just Mrs. McNett; she won’t hurt you.”

Many years later after that experience, I learned that Mrs. McNett was the wife of the owner of my grandparent’s house, and she died ten years earlier. I also learned I wasn’t the only person who had seen the kindly old ghost. My uncle saw her on two different occasions. She also stopped a cousin from burning herself on the stove.

In life, Mrs. McNett loved children and that love and urge to protect transcended the grave. Ten years ago, that house was torn down to make room for a more modern building and needless to say, I was heartbroken. I credit that house and Mrs. McNett for sparking an interest that has lasted a lifetime. When I become that which I seek, I hope I’ll get the opportunity to thank her.

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About Rick Hale 99 Articles
Rick Hale became interested in anomalous phenomenon at an early age after encountering an apparition in his grandparent's home. Rick is the author of "The Geek's Guide To The Strange and Unusual: Poltergeists, Ghost and Demons," and "Behold! Shocking True Tales Off Terror...And Some Other Spooky Stuff." Rick has been published in Haunted Times Magazine, Paranormal Underground Magazine, The Supernatural Magazine, and Legends Magazine. Rick appeared in Ghost Tapes 2 and Ghost Tapes: The Series found at

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