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Ghosts of Christmas

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True stories of ghosts, hauntings, and other paranormal phenomena on or around the Christmas holiday

WHAT WOULD CHRISTMAS be without a few good ghost stories? Next to Halloween, thanks to Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, it might be the holiday most associated with ghosts and the paranormal. So it might be no surprise that every year we can present stories from readers who have had ghostly encounters and other paranormal experiences on or around the holiday season. Consider these true tales of truly haunted Christmases.

GREAT-GREAT AUNT'S CHRISTMAS HAUNTING

These events occurred in Toronto, Ontario in December, 2009. I had just started seeing a new girl and she invited me over for dinner a few days before Christmas. It was my first time visiting her apartment, which she shared with a roommate who had already left to go home for the holidays.

After dinner, we went out to her covered porch for a smoke. As soon as I went into the room, I was drawn to a curious, faded portrait hanging on the wall. The portrait showed a woman in her late 20s or early 30s, and she seemed have a strange sentience in her stare. I asked the girl about it, and she said it was a picture of her great-great-aunt, taken in 1907. She took the picture off the wall and showed me the date scrawled on the back of the frame.

Later, we were in her room watching television and I took a bathroom break. The bathroom was adjacent to her room, and it had old plumbing - her sink had dual faucets for hot and cold water. I washed my hands in cold water when I was finished. I am 100 percent certain of it, and I cannot explain what happened next.

After I rejoined the girl, we were talking when all of a sudden, the sound of running water rose from the adjacent bathroom. She looked at me and said, "You left the water running."

"No, I didn't," I told her. "I'm sure I turned if off." And I was. I washed my hands in cold water and I certainly wouldn't leave someone's bathroom without turning off the faucet.

When I got up to check the bathroom, sure enough, the water was running. Thinking I somehow must have left the water running, I went to turn off the cold water tap on the dual faucets... but it was already locked in place! It wasn't turned on! The hot water was running. I didn't touch the hot water tap when I was in there not two minutes earlier. I am 100 percent certain of it.

Suddenly, I felt an extremely cold chill. The hairs on the back of my neck were standing up, but it's probably just because I got so suddenly spooked knowing some unseen force had turned the tap on. The girl and I talked about it afterward, and it all came back to the strange picture of her great-great-aunt hanging in the covered porch. She said she had the picture since she was very young, and it had always transfixed her.

She said this wasn't the first time strange things like that had happened - the lights turned themselves on and off, and the television did, too - and that it always seemed to be triggered by a male presence in the house. I asked why. She said she'd see what she could find out about her great-great-aunt.

It turns out her great-great-aunt had committed suicide when her husband left her for another woman. All I know is that the hot water tap turned itself on. - Jim T.

Next page: Christmas Hellhound; Phantom Christmas Lights

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