I guess the question is whether or not we can believe in the supernatural, actually. Which is almost like asking, "Do you believe in UFOs?" Well, of course; everyone has to believe in UFOs. Flying Objects do exist that are Unidentified. Do supernatural occurences exist? Of course they do. They happen all the time. I know very few people who don't have some story of the unexplained. But, like the UFO question, it's not so much a matter of if they exist, but what they are.
Most of our experiences, though, have been Echo Ghosts, and I'll tell you about some of those here, if you want to pull up a good thunderstorm and tuck in with a cup of cocoa and join me...
1. Signal Graces: Signs from God through either His direct intercession or those of His saints. (St. Anne, St. Philomena, and St. Theresa the Little Flower have been very generous with us in this way.)
2. Demonic Forces: Very real. Very scary. They can only become a part of our lives to the extent God permits it, so we can at least take comfort in that fact. (Praise God, we've only had a couple of fleeting scares on this front, and pray to never have more than that.)
3. Human Souls: Those can be of the condemned variety (rare, we believe), souls in Purgatory seeking our assistance in releasing them from their sins, and those who have gotten trapped between this life and the next. Of that latter group, we know that "it is appointed unto each man once to die and then the judgment," but we know precious little about the specifics of God's judgment for us and the anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that it's not as instantaneous (at least not according to our sense of time) as we would think. It's one to wonder about for sure.
4. Residual or "Echo" Ghosts: It seems that intense emotion, strong personalities and life-changing events can leave a mark on a place, causing a moment in time to repeat. These ghosts don't communicate or react in any way with us, but move about more like a record with a skip in it.
5. Wrinkles in Time: Sometimes a ghost can be interactive, but does not appear to have a spiritual agenda, either good or evil. It's a theory of ours that time doesn't always work the way humans expect it to. We know so little about it from God's perspective. Could it be possible that our time overlaps with another one sometimes, and unexplained voices and things we see exist in real time, but not our time? We can only guess.
*Please understand these represent merely our theories, and do not reflect any teaching of the Church, whatsoever. We don't think they contradict any, either.
In our circa 1898 home on the Western Slope, I would catch a girl sitting on the fifth step from the bottom of our staircase every so often. She was wearing a long peach-colored dress and had her elbows on her knees, her chin cupped in her hands. She looked miffed. I've always wondered what event that recorded. Did someone stand her up?
My sister lived in a trailer on our property, just east of our house a few years ago. She's the member of the family who hears ghosts, while I tend more to see them. (Go figure that. We're an odd bunch, aren't we?) Anyway, Nina has told many stories of hearing people outside the trailer, when, after investigating, noone was there. (We live far from any other houses, the family was all accounted for indoors, and the animals ruled out, too.)
She was also the one who had someone sit on the end of her bed when she was sleeping in the old nursery in our last house (the one with the ghost mother in the white nightgown). She thought it was me or one of the kids coming in for some reason, and grabbed her glasses to see who was there. There was nobody there. Everyone else was sound asleep.
When we were getting ready to move back to the prairie from the Western Slope, my husband delivered a truckload of paraphernalia back to the old farm. While he was here, he took a walk-through of the house. He was alone, standing near the base of the stairs, when he heard something thundering down the stairs.
A priest once told us that it is likely that anything evil would bring with it a definite feeling of evil and fear ~ most especially if we are in the state of grace. So, never having felt an evil threat, we figure, to cover all bases when faced with a ghost, it's good to say a prayer for the soul, in case it's a member of the Church Suffering, looking for help from us. That's the best we can do. We don't worry about it much, otherwise. But they make for interesting conversation! Who doesn't love a chance to swap tales and spin theories? Especially now that it's thunderstorm season on the prairies...