My fascination with the macabre and paranormal began when I was around 5 years old. I was laying in bed, looking out the open door into the living room, when a shadow in the shape of a hunched over man passed down the hallway and in front of my door. It seemed to pass in front of the opening to the living room, meaning it was not flat against the wall like a normal shadow. It was like a shadow had peeled itself off the wall and was walking around. At the time I didn’t know what to think of it. I could see my parents in the living room and they didn’t seem to notice, so I thought nothing of it.
Years later, in my teens, I was watching a show about ghosts and it said that ghosts can appear as shadowy figures. Right then I remembered back to my incident, even though I hadn’t thought of it for years, and realized I had a brush with the paranormal.
For most of my life, the idea of ghosts and cryptids fascinated me. Of course, sometimes that fascination got the better of me, leaving me afraid of the dark for a while. But what I realize, looking back, is that it never seemed outside the realm of possibility to me. Sometimes it seemed far-fetched (like one story I heard about a hiker in Drumheller who heard sounds coming from the ghosts of dinosaurs), but I never really outright dismissed it. Not everything in the world, after all, has a perfectly rational explanation.
Theories about ghosts and the like are abundant. Many cultures have the notion of “lost spirits”, or restless souls that haven’t found peace in death, or outright evil entities. One theory I found interesting is that ghosts are echoes in the flow of time that somehow are crossing the streams from their time into our current one. Scientifically there’s no way to prove empirically whether or not ghosts are real, and so such things are written off as hallucinations, hoaxes or hysteria.
So imagine my surprise when I learned that Islam has a very practical and rational explanation for the existence of ghosts: