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When Ghosts Attack

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True stories of when ghosts attack by slapping, pushing, strangling, scratching and even beating their victims

IN HOLLYWOOD GHOST stories, the spirits are nearly always malevolent. For dramatic purposes, the vengeful ghosts are intent on causing harm to the living, either by attacking them physically or scaring them so badly that they want to jump out a window.

The reality is that ghost and haunting phenomena are harmless... for the most part. Residual haunting - the kind that are seem to be recordings on the environment - simply play themselves out. True spirits, or intelligent haunting, are either those who manifest to relay a message or are trapped entities who may not know they are dead. Very rarely, however, do they attack people.

There are famous cases or physical attacks, most notably the Bell Witch haunting and the entity that tormented Esther Cox in Amherst, Nova Scotia. But these are usually classified as poltergeist phenomena, which probably arise from the subconscious of the person or people involved.

So can ghosts attack? Consider the following cases:

SLAPPED BY A GHOST

How would you like to be roused from sleep like this? "One night, I was awakened by a violent slap on the left side of my face," says Aliszabeth, "like [with] someone's open hand." Aliszabeth at first thought it was her "prankster" sister, but then saw by the clock that it was 1:27 a.m., and her sister was sound asleep in another room. And the attack wasn't over. "I felt pulling on my hair so much that it jerked my head around. Then, my down comforter started to be pulled down, or at least it felt like it." Aliszabeth wanted to scream, but felt paralyzed. The ghost, apparently, wanted her attention. Aliszabeth then heard a woman's voice say, "Listen to me... Listen to me..." and the pleas faded off into the darkness.

NASTY LITTLE GHOST

Mary Ann A. also felt the slap of a ghostly hand in 2005 at her aunt's house in Batangas, Philippines. Her attack was preceded by a sighting of the alleged assailant. Mary Ann was relaxing on her aunt's bench swing when she saw small girl in a red dress peeking out of her aunt's front door, and when the toddler realized Mary Ann saw her, she ducked inside. Mary Ann assumed it was the child of a visitor, but when she checked, there was no one in the house except her aunt and her aunt's sleeping child, who was not wearing red.

Mary Ann dismissed the incident as her imagination and returned to the swing for an afternoon nap. "Exhaustion plus cool wind send me into a deep sleep," she says, "only to be awakened by a hard slap from a small hand. As I opened my eyes, I was expecting to see my aunt's kid. I was shocked to find no one with me!"

PUSHED DOWN THE STAIRS

Getting slapped is one thing, and getting shoved down some stairs where you could possibly break your neck is quite another. Yet that's what happened to Melanie S. in 1982 while at Gentleman Jim's restaurant (now Ashley's of Rockledge) in Rockledge, Florida. The restaurant had a reputation for being haunted by the ghost of a woman who had been murdered on the nearby railroad tracks in the 1920s. Melanie was there on a double date with friends and were hoping to catch a glimpse of something otherworldly. "We did see the lamp over the salad bar sway continuously all night," she says. "so we were pleased and felt that we had gotten our money's worth."

Melanie was soon to get more than her money's worth, however. "As we were getting ready to go down the stairs, I told my date to get in front of me because I was known to be a klutz and didn't want to fall down the stairs," Melanie says. "So they all got in front of me. We were all making jokes about the ghost and feeling pretty frisky. As we were going down the stairs, I felt a huge shove against my back and fell down the stairs, my wonderful companions moving aside to let me make my way down on my own." Looking back up the stairs, Melanie could clearly see that there had been no one behind her that could have shoved her... no one living, that is.

THE TRIPPING GHOST

Cassie B. also had an unpleasant experience on a staircase. She and her husband were visiting his older brother's house during the Christmas holidays. Her bother-in-law had warned her that the house was haunted, which she didn't mind because she had been in haunted houses before. But then he revealed that the spirit liked to push people down the stairs!

Sure enough, the ghost didn't disappoint. "I was coming down stairs to look for my husband, when all of a sudden I felt like someone pushed my feet out from under me. I ended up falling down the first four stairs," Cassie says. "Everyone came running to make sure I was ok. They asked me what happened, and I said it felt like someone pushed my legs out from under me and I just fell down the stairs."

Next page: Stranglings and beatings

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