With Halloween just around the corner, ghosts are a common interest within this spooky season, yet not many people can say they’ve seen them.
Senior Zayne Smith said that he has the ability to see and sense ghosts. Although, it wasn’t until middle school that he discovered he was a little different. He originally thought everyone could see ghosts. When he learned this wasn’t the case, he began doing his own research on it, and that’s when he learned more about his abilities.
This gift is common within his family. His little sister, freshman Abby Smith, is an empath meaning that she can sense the emotions of ghosts. Not only can she sense the emotions of ghosts, but she can also feel the emotions of the people around her. She explained how she would randomly start crying when talking about old family members that had passed away.
Smith said, “And it wasn’t like I was sad. Like I would be sitting there, tears rolling down my face, and I would be so confused.”
“She always knows when I’m upset for any reason,” said their mom, Mary Smith. She described a time where she was with Abby and a song came on that reminded her of a sad time. Abby began crying because of the song not knowing the significance it had to her mom.
Not only do the kids have these abilities but so does Mary.
Mary said, “So I have the ability to see ghosts and stuff. I’ve had a lot of experiences. Some very alarming experiences, some good experiences, and then I decided to shut that out because I couldn’t handle it, in my 20s. I don’t know if it’s per se genetic, but I do believe like certain beliefs and people being open to certain thought processes can be passed down through the family, just like environmental.”
Zayne recalled what happened when his family and he moved into their house in 2019. “When I moved in there, I knew right away there were ghosts.”
Still there was a lot of confusion. Mary said when referring to Zayne, “They didn’t know how to handle this new gift. Was this real? Was this a good spirit? Was this a bad spirit?”
Zayne knows when a being is present by a feeling he gets in his arm. He said, “My left arm would tingle. It’s weird, but it would tingle and get numb whenever a ghost was near or something spiritual. If the ghost had bad intentions, it would be hot, but if the ghost had good intentions or neutral intentions, it’d be cold.”
Mary verified this by saying, “Not only did they get the gift to see things, but also hear and feel them which is really rare apparently.”
Zayne recalled going to the basement of his house and feeling this hotness in his arm and the feeling that people were watching him. He ran upstairs to get his mom, who then went down to check it out and felt the same.
Mary mentioned being able to hear children’s laughter coming from the basement.
This wasn’t the only odd occurrence. Multiple other incidents took place within this house.
Zayne once woke up to a lady with long hair and red eyes standing over him. Zayne also mentioned their dog would start barking at nothing. Eventually the family called professionals whom Smith described as “good at getting rid of bad energy and sensing stuff.”
Mary said it was the St. Louis Paranormal Research Society, and she said, “We talked for a couple hours, and then they set up a bunch of equipment in our house, and it was definite, a hundred percent spirits there. They said, ‘You have a family living in your basement.’ I thought that was so interesting because I’ve been hearing children laugh for a long time.”
What these professionals concluded was that these ghosts were merely mischievous and were wanting to play around, showing interest specifically in Zayne. He said these professionals ended up banishing the spirits, going around each room repeating some sort of chant with some sort of herb in hand.
After these incidents, Zayne struggled with his abilities.
Zayne said, “I was kind of having a conflict of whether I should embrace this ability and make this a part of my life or get rid of it, and I chose to get rid of it because it just, it honestly kind of traumatized me.”
“It’s just a lot, and I just want to be a normal person, but sometimes I miss it, and like just because I closed it off doesn’t mean it’s completely closed off. Like, I can sometimes sense things just not all the time,” Zayne said.
It’s not all scary experiences though. Smith mentioned their grandpa who had passed away and how they were able to sense him as well.
Mary, when sitting on their couch with Zayne, said, “We felt these footsteps walking right to us and all of a sudden Zayne’s face goes really relaxed and like they were going to cry and said, ‘Mom, it grabbed my hand and put its hand on my head.’ We had realized at that moment that Zayne’s grandpa had just died like maybe a couple months before then and his wife, their grandma, had told us a story where she was mourning the loss of her husband sitting in her living room alone and the exact same thing happened to her. She told them, ‘I knew it was him because he had grabbed my hands and put his hand on my head.”
Zayne said, “He would sit on my couch a lot. There’s this one spot like where he would sit all the time, and there would always be an indent in it, and every time I sat there I felt like this weird burst of energy almost.”
There was another time in which, Smith and their family were driving back from his funeral, and a song played that reminded them of him, and they began smelling cigarettes which their grandpa frequently smoked.
Smith said, “That’s a very common thing for people to have a smell when there’s a ghost around…If a ghost does that, that means that they want you to know that they’re there and that they’re watching you, and thinking of you, and protecting you.”
A couple other students have also had experiences pertaining to ghosts but not to the same degree as Zayne and his family.
Sophomore Maggie Corrigan described an event one day where there was a constant figure of a woman wearing glasses and a Hawaiian shirt showing itself right before her.
When Corrigan went to her mom for help, her mother told her to tell it to leave. She did this, and the ghostly figure walked through her and out the door. Ever since that day, she hasn’t had any other experiences.
Sophomore Elise Leon, who has grown up in very old houses, also said she has heard and seen things since she was little. Leon specifically mentioned being able to see vague outlines of figures or something in the corner of her eye.
Leon also noticed hearing things within the old houses she lived in as well as finding things out of place.
Leon said she was able to see more when she was younger because in her opinion children are more susceptible to seeing the paranormal because they have more energy and attraction.
This will be Eleanor Kanerva’s first year on ECHO staff. They also made several contributions while taking journalism class their junior year.