Ghosts: Real or Nah?


Produced by Julia Gomez

Written by PantherNow Staff and Contributing Writers

Halloween is the time when bumps in the night are a bit too loud and whistling winds send chills down your spine. Halloween’s the time when ghosts and ghouls are free to roam. Stories of vampires, zombies and other creepy critters are told.

We blame the shadows we see out of the corner of our eyes and the whispers we hear in the middle of the night on our imaginations, but is that really true? Hopefully, Panther Now’s opinion writers will have an answer for you.

Photo by Steinar Engeland on Unsplash

Bump in the night

By Fernando Fernández

It all started on a calm and normal day in Puerto Rico, back in 2012. I was arguing with my mom when, all of a sudden, the handle to the door leading to the balcony moved and opened by itself. 

The day wasn’t particularly windy. Like, at all. And I know that I wasn’t hallucinating. My mom saw the very same thing that I did. Right after, we both looked each other in the eyes, stunned by what just happened.

In the days that followed, more strange things began to happen. For starters, I suddenly woke up at midnight by my bedroom door slamming open, only to find a strange man with what appeared to be a navy blue military uniform standing right there. 

Oh, and he had pale, black eyes. I don’t know what that means, but such was the case. I remember it clearly. Strangely, I wasn’t scared when I saw this. It felt like I knew the figure. 

It was a very, very, very strange experience, to say the least. But, once the figure closed the door, I immediately fell asleep again. 

At first, I thought I dreamt it. Until the next morning, when my parents asked me if I stayed up late since they heard a noise during the night. That’s when I actually felt scared.

 Then, a tutor who came to my house to help my little brother asked us about the man who stood in front of our house earlier. 

“Which man?” We asked.

 Would you believe me when I tell you that her description matched the man I saw at midnight a few days earlier? *Shivers.*

 After that, strange things continued to happen, like electronics randomly turning on and off. Until it suddenly all stopped for some reason. 

To this day, my family and I still can’t explain what took place during that one-and-a-half-week span. 

Photo by petr sidorov on Unsplash

I Ain’t Scared of no Ghost

By Nathan Nayor

Growing up, my mom and aunt swore up and down that ghosts were real.  From their terrifying experiences with a ouija board to haunted closets, and I thought it was all hogwash.

 I was a big skeptic as a child, but in the summer before eighth grade, I had received my first Tarot reading. After seeing the accuracy, I was no longer so skeptical of the metaphysical. I began learning how to read Tarot, Lenormand and Sibilla cards in high school.  In my spiritual studies, I learned how flexible these cards can be and how they can be useful outside of generic fortune telling. 

While visiting family in Cuba, we were staying at a vacation home in Varadero. I’ve never been one for beaches, so I retreated to my room to read, and I felt a thick, cold presence in my typically warm room. I could feel its annoyance, a nearly tangible touch on my arm. 

Typically, in a show, you start throwing salt and yelling Latin incantations at this point. But aren’t these spirits of the dead human too? I took out my tarot cards and shuffled. “You, who are you? What do you want?” If the ghost was going to be giving attitude, I saw no reason to avoid being curt. 

I pulled The Hermit. As the name implies, the ghost was looking for solitude, and I was intruding on it. I could feel the apparition hovering near my bed, and I looked in its direction. 

“You know this is a rental, right? You’re not going to be alone here. There’s an abandoned house a block away you could stay in, though. You’d probably like it, it’s got enough space for… whatever you were doing.”

The presence lingered for a moment, then disappeared. I sighed, “You’re welcome,” and lied down. I thought about what had just happened, and realized I just got rid of my first ghost, and it didn’t even take much more than a conversation.  

I haven’t had any other experiences with ghosts, but I like to believe that they are probably quite reasonable people, probably more reasonable than the living. If they are stuck in our plane of existence, I could understand why the hermit ghost would want to be left alone. Perhaps it didn’t want more reminders of what life was like, or the changes that have happened out of its control. Either way, I can sympathize with their plight. 

Photo by Paige Cody on Unsplash

Book Store Haunts

By Julia Gomez

I began working at a bookstore a month before. I loved it. I put up with rude customers and long hours, but I got to speak about books all day long. I truly loved it!

When I started, my coworkers told me about the two ghosts that spent their time haunting the store. I laughed. A friendly ghost resided at every job I worked. So, it didn’t surprise me much to hear them say it.

  I never noticed anything out of the usual when I started. After closing, when the managers turned off the music playing from the loudspeakers, the store became eerily quiet. But it wasn’t anything headphones couldn’t fix.

When I went to the storage room, it always felt like someone sat there, watching me. I shrugged it off and decided I’m far too paranoid for my own good.

It wasn’t until Halloween, 2019 when I actually got to meet the trickster ghost.

I love Halloween! It’s my favorite time of the year. So, I dressed to the nines. I wore a black, 1950s-style cocktail dress with a fluffy petticoat; a yellow, knitted cardigan; and a pointy witch hat with black autumn leaves glued to it.

My shift seemed normal. Thankfully, I worked the morning shift and counted down the minutes before I could drive off and head to whatever party my boyfriend and I planned to go to that night. Customers loved my outfit, and I even spent my shift running the section where the store displayed all the tarot cards and spellbooks.

I danced around the selling floor, organizing shelves and making sure everything looked nice. 

As I rang up one of the last customers of my shift, I felt like someone kept standing behind me. I checked over my shoulder but I stood alone behind the counter.

The customer, an older lady, and I spoke about our plans for the night. She mentioned something about taking her grandkids trick-or-treating as I started putting all her books in her bag.

Suddenly, someone grabbed the brim of my witch hat and pull me back hard. I freaked out and spun around to yell at whoever did it. I thought someone snuck behind the counter while I wasn’t paying attention. The worst thoughts ran through my head.

But, I stood there, all alone. I stared at nothing but the shelves behind me.

I turned back towards the lady, blushing. Stunned, and constantly checking over my shoulder, I just nodded at everything she said. 

Once she left, I looked all around to make sure my hat didn’t get caught on something. I genuinely hoped I imagined it.

I spent the rest of my shift feeling like someone kept following me around. When I told my manager, she just shrugged.

“Yeah, they’ll do that sometimes,” she said and went back to doing work on her computer.

I never felt the same working there again. 

Photo by Josh Marshall on Unsplash

Shrooms and Spirits

By Carlos Pino

Disclaimer: Panthernow does not condone the use or possession of illegal substances, and the purpose of this article is to entertain and educate about the use of psychedelic substances. 

Ghosts and spirits roam amongst us. Their energy is undeniable. 

Long ago, an experience with magic mushrooms, or more commonly known as shrooms, cemented my belief in spirits 

I spent the summer after my high school graduation lounging in Miami. Despite being 18-years-old, I experienced psychedelic mushrooms once before. 

One night, at my dad’s place, I infused the shrooms in a tea, and I drank it in my room. I decided to put on a movie called Yellow Submarine. 

The Blue Meanies, the main antagonists, were erratic to my slowly dissociating brain. John, Paul, George and Ringo kept me laughing so hard that I couldn’t tell if I was able to hear anymore. 

Midway through my trip, the spirits arrived. I lay on my bed, mind in a daze. All sorts of thoughts ran through my head. Thoughts of life and death, misery and joy. 

While my body lay on the bed, I felt my soul get gently pulled from within my chest. It felt like something important left my body through my mouth. Simultaneously, I look up at my ceiling and see a gaseous cloud colored a deep red. My eyes fixated on the cloud and the pull from my chest became stronger.

Hallucinations are often a common side-effect of psychedelic mushrooms. 

My body went limp and tense at the same time. I thrashed about on my bed, grunting animalistically as I saw a blue cloud emerge from my mouth. When it met the red cloud, the two converged into this colorful indigo. I immediately felt a surge of happiness.

Without a single word, this purple cloud taught me that I am in love. I didn’t know what body I was in love with, what their name was gonna be, but that spirit seduced my spirit. My energy, my personality and my sense of confidence completely changed. 

Afterward, the blue tinges of the clouds left, returning to my body with a thud, and the red tinges blushed as it left the ceiling of my room. 

I sat with a heavy breath, the four corners of my room felt smaller. The room sighed with a life of its own. A single beam of an idea ran across my mind.  

  “Are you ready to go further, or are you comfortable where you are?” asked a voiceless thought.

I didn’t have a chance to answer.

 The room reverted to its original dimensions. I finally understood what it felt like to be in love. I searched all over for the red cloud, and after a few years, I finally found it in the soul of my spouse. 

Spirits exist. They guide you, read you, show you who you are. Death can reflect our greatest fears and desires, but spirits are beyond death. They show you those fears and desires while your heart still beats. 

Photo by Jisun Han on Unsplash

Late Night Scares

By Mariantonia Meji

My house can’t have been built any further back than the 1920s. It was this fact, and this fact alone that comforted me on nights where I swore I heard the door open or the floor creak. There was no way we could’ve been built on a grave of any kind. There was only a slim chance someone had been murdered in the house before, and my parents were almost always home, so I thought myself to be safe. Looking back at these times, I marvel at how naive and unafraid I was, gleefully believing I wasn’t in danger from all the things that go bump in the night.

              It was a dark and stormy night (no, like actually), and I was watching “Megamind” on the 40″ tube TV in our library when there was a loud cracking sound followed by thunder that shook the earth. Immediately, the television in front of me went completely static, and “Megamind” turned to what looked like ants crawling over a white screen. I was frustrated, but my parents had taught me not to turn on electronics during a storm because it was more likely to attract lightning, so I dutifully turned off the TV and flopped back on the couch. It was then that I heard what can only be described as blood-curdling laughter. Something so maniacal and evil I was sure it could only have come from something otherworldly. I stepped cautiously into the doorway of the library, its lack of a door never having bothered me before, its absence being very noticeable now. My mother stood at the end of the hall, crouching in a stance completely unnatural; I wasn’t even sure if her legs could bend that way. I looked into her eyes, but I didn’t receive much recognition, just a cold, empty stare. She was laughing, that same laugh from before, echoing throughout the hall this time.

My mother has always loved pranks, to this day, pretending to be dead sometimes when I try to get her to wake up, but this was different. I laughed nervously but quickly realized that this was not a joke. After what seemed like an eternity but was probably five minutes, I stumbled back into the library and fell on my couch, my memory seems to go black from there.

               From my extensive research consisting of BuzzFeed Unsolved and nothing else, I’ve learned that ghosts cannot possess humans, but demons do. While there is probably contradicting evidence to this, one has got to decide what school of thought they’re a part of, and this is mine. 

I am fairly certain that my mother was possessed by a demon that day, the main reason being that she did not remember a second of this encounter. I know my mother to be a very sane and put-together woman. While it could be that she’s been playing a prank for years, it seems unlikely to me.

             I don’t know if what resides in my house is a demon or a spirit, and if it is a spirit, whether or not it has good intentions. What I do know is that I have lived here for 15 years and never once been harmed by this entity, which gives me some faith in its nature.

Make of that what you will, but always be careful. You never know what’s out there or even in your own home.


The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community

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