For months, the ghostly occurrences escalated and stalled, like a horrifying roller coaster that I couldn’t get off of. When the summer came, the doll manifested into a presence, and I named her, The Lady Without A Body. At first, she showed herself when Momma and Stephen argued; then, she appeared whenever I was by myself.
With her curtain of ebony hair and milky skin, she looked exactly like Momma. The entity never left my side; all day and night she breathed on my neck and made malicious faces. I debated whether or not to tell Momma. Then one Sunday morning as we cleaned the house, I summoned some courage and spilled the beans.
“Momma, I’ve been seeing something—somebody. If I tell you, please don’t make fun of me.”
“Now why would I do a thing like that?”
“Because ya’ll always laugh at me, and it hurts my feelings.”
“I’m sorry, baby. I won’t laugh, just tell me.”
“Well, there’s a lady, in the house. She looks—she looks like you.”
As I described the woman, Momma stopped sweeping and turned toward me.
“I’ve seen her, too. Not too long after we moved into this house, I started to see and hear lots of things, and she’s one of them. I tell ya that’s the devil now.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I didn’t want to scare you, you understand? Now don’t say anything to anyone. I don’t want to scare your brother.”
“But Momma —”
The lady was now our secret, but it didn’t change the fear that I felt, and it didn’t stop the occurrences. The ghostly apparition continued to haunt me, striking terror into the deepest regions of my soul. I fell further into despair, feeling mad and worse, alone.
My mother and I always saw ghosts, shadows, heard voices and just knew things before they happened; it was just normal for us. My mother and I also suffered from mental health conditions. She, from bipolar and dissociative identity disorder, and I, from psychosis, eating disorders, anxiety, PTSD from abuse, and other conditions. We also grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, an area notorious for ghosts and supernatural occurrences. Were our chronic supernatural happenings a result from our mental health conditions, or were they gifts?
I had always assumed that they were gifts and was really into both the darker and lighter side of life, although the darker side always got me into a lot of trouble and caused me to sink deeper into depression and anxiety. The lady that I saw, as I mentioned above, followed me around for a while, and now I firmly believe that it was my mother’s spirit doppelganger: a spirit premonition of her impending death, and mine as well had I not changed the course of my life.
You see, my mother was also an alcoholic, and she lived on the edge – we both did. From the tender age of 13, I started hitting the bars with her, drinking and doing drugs. Sex was something that I found as a comfort to numb myself from the memories of being sexually and physically abused as a child, and besides, I wanted to feel admired, accepted and loved.
So what does all of that have to do with ghosts and a spirit doppelganger? The more stress and trauma we endured, the more I started to see the spirit clone of my mom, which I found out long after my mother had passed away in 2012, was actually trying to warn me of the fatal consequences of my mother’s behavior, and my own.
I had another spirit warn me in 2012, just before my mother passed, only this time, it did not take the shape of my mother, it appeared to me as the grim reaper. I was terrified, but I heard a voice – be it my instinct or one my voices from psychosis – telling me that my mother was going to die. At that time, she was in rehab and doing well, trying to reach her 90-day sobriety mark. However, the next day, I received a phone call from her ex-boyfriend saying that she had left the Center. Her shadows and demons had gotten to her. Two weeks later, she died. Was the grim reaper I saw all in my head? Or, like the spirit doppelganger we both saw long ago, was it really there to warn me?
Thankfully, when my mother died, I made the decision to change the course of my life and stopped using and abusing drugs, alcohol, and got help for my eating disorders and other addictions. I haven’t seen the grim reaper or that doppelganger since.
I saw my psychiatrist last year, and told him all of this. He is very well informed of my mental history and recovery, and has a copy of Washed Away: From Darkness to Light. He is both a Psychiatrist as well as a Forensic Psychiatrist, and diagnosed me with clinical depression, psychosis, and the ability to see ghosts. Honestly, there is no shame in any of it, and I think it is pretty cool that I can see ghosts from time to time, as long as I choose to live in the light, and not in the darkness anymore.