I hope everyone recognized the sarcasm in that title and doesn't already assume I'm crazy. I swear to god I'm not ;)

Well before I dive into what's been bothering me, I'll let you know who I am. I'm a 17 year old girl who recently had an epiphany and came to realize she was an atheist. As a child I went to Catholic school and ironically I had the highest grade in the religion class. I don't know when it began but I started to question a lot of things in, not just Christianity, but all religions. I always wondered how there could be so many different religions, but each one tells its followers that it is the correct religion. Well they can't all be up there, so you're all wrong. A few months ago I found myself really doubting everything and then it hit me: I'm an Atheist. I then began searching for other atheists or sites like this one so I could talk to other people who think like me.

As far as I'm concerned, I am an adamant Atheist and I'm not afraid to tell anyone who asks. The only problem I have is that I have been contacted by the supposedly fictional "ghosts" my entire life. I'm not saying that I believe in them, but I'm not saying they're fictional. Hopefully you guys can give me some answers to my experiences.

1.) When I was around 9 or 10 years old (can't remember exactly what year) my entire family was at my neighbors' for a picnic, but I stayed home because I was unbelievably shy and my toys seemed more interesting at the time. I was sitting on my floor playing with plastic horses when I heard my mom yell my name from her bedroom across the hall. I yelled "What?" back to her but got no response. She then yelled my name again and I responded the same way because I was a child and didn't want to get up. The third time she said it I finally stood up and went to see what she wanted. Her bedroom door was closed and when I opened it, I couldn't see anyone but the closet door was open. I can't see into the closet from the hallway so I walked in, thinking she was looking for something, but no one was in the closet. I shut the closet door and walked through the rest of the house but she or anyone else wasn't home. I asked her later if she came back over and she said no. I don't know who was calling my name.

2.) About 7 months ago, I was sleeping in my room and I was having a very peculiar but random dream. My friends and I were running through the neighborhood at night trying to get away from something. I had no idea what it was but we were running. We made it to one of my friend's houses and before I could get through the door, they were running back out from it. I woke up shortly after that, but I just told myself it was a bad dream, and I went back to sleep. In the next dream, my friends and I were riding in a car (in daylight, thankfully) talking about things that I can't remember. All I remember is one of them saying "Maybe it's a spirit?" As soon as she said that there was an incredibly loud crash in my kitchen (in real life, not the dream). It was so loud, it woke me up completely. I'm usually known for sleeping through thunderstorms and not even knowing they happened, so it was pretty loud. What scared me was when it happened in the conversation. Even though I was freaked out, I forced myself to go back to sleep. In the next dream, I found what we were running away from. I was standing in front of it in a house. It looked like a person, he was very tall and skinny. He had white skin and white hair. His face was not evil looking nor frightening, but he had spiked teeth. He also had long, sharp fingernails like claws. At first I thought he wasn't going to hurt me, but I made a wrong move and grabbed his throat. I don't know why I did that. He didn't fight back and I let go but he just smiled and walked into the kitchen. I knew he was going for a knife so I bolted up the stairs and into the last bedroom in the hallway. My cousin was sitting in there randomly and I told her to hide but the door opened and that's when I woke up. When I first woke up I was fine, but it felt as if there was someone standing over me. I know everyone gets that creepy nightmare feeling when they wake up but it was different. I was sweating, almost shaking, and I was literally convinced I was going to die. I had never been more afraid in my life. I laid there completely still for I don't know how long. I finally got the courage to turn on the lamp beside my bed and nothing was in my room. By that time it was around 4:30 so I just stayed up the rest of the morning. When my parents woke up, I asked them if they heard anything and they said no. But my dad said an entire stack of bowls were on the kitchen floor when he got up.

3.) A few years ago, around 12:00 am, I went across the hall to use the bathroom. From the hallway I can see the living room (it's all one floor), and I noticed my mom was sitting on the couch. She turned and looked at me but didn't say anything. I didn't understand why she was up or what she was doing since the TV and the lights were off. I could see the living room clearly because the kitchen light always stays on. So it's not like I was seeing dark figures in a room of darkness. Not really thinking anything of it, I headed for the bathroom. On the way back to my room, I looked into the living room again and she wasn't there. So I just went to my room. After a little while, I realized I heard her go to bed about an hour earlier. The lady couldn't have been her because she would have walked past the bathroom and I would have heard it. My mother also said she was not up that late.

4.) About 8 months ago I was up late on the computer, which was in the dining room right next to the living room. Everyone was asleep, except me. It was around 2 am when I heard my name being yelled, kind of like the time before but it sounded like a young boy and it was coming from outside the back door. It sounded so real, for a moment I thought my younger brother was outside. My name was yelled twice but I didn't respond or go to the door, I turned off the computer and practically sprinted to my bedroom.

5.) A month after the last incident happened, I was up on the computer again (bad habit, I know), and both of my little brothers were asleep on the living room floor. I was looking at the computer screen when I heard a little boy laugh in my brother's bedroom. From where I was sitting I could see down that hallway and into his room. My brothers have a habit of spying on me and making fun of whatever I'm doing. So I thought he was sneaking up on me or watching from his room. When I looked away from the computer, I couldn't see anything in the darkness, but when my eyes adjusted I saw my two brothers sound asleep on the floor of a completely different room. Once again I turned off the computer and sprinted to my room.

6.) Little things have also happened too. My family was in the living room for a movie night, and my told me to shut my window because it was supposed to get cold that night. So I walked into my room and shut it. About ten minutes later my dad walked past my bedroom and told my to shut my window. I told him I did. But surely enough, when I walked into my room it was open. No one had been in that part of the house.

A small carpet in my room is always in a different place. It usually ends up against the wall or a piece of furniture. My mom says she never moves it. I don't know who would.

I woke up one morning and a painting of mine that was leaning against the wall had fallen over, opposite of the way it was leaning, and was balanced perfectly on my makeup bag. My mom said the cat did it, but my door was shut and the cat isn't that smart. I don't know how it could have fallen backwards.

7.) About five years ago during the summer my neighbor friend and I found a bronze owl on the hill between our houses. We asked her mom if it was her's and she said no; my mom said it wan't her's either. There's no way it could have been there for long, the grass is mowed on that hill and the owl is about 5 inches tall and pretty heavy. As soon as we brought it into the house it started looking pretty creepy. We kept it in the kitchen and I hated it. One day I took it into the woods behind my house and left it on a tree stump. You might think I'm crazy but it happened, my dad was tilling (loosening the dirt and making straight lines for planting) the garden and found it buried in there. After that happened, I put it in my room, on a shelf on the wall and it's been there since.

8.) I also used to have terrible night terrors as a child. The ones where you know you're dreaming but can't wake up, the ones where you can feel the pain, and the ones that continue when you fall back asleep or even years later.

9.) My mother has experienced things in the house too. She felt someone sitting down on the end of the bed multiple times in my parents' old bedroom, but no one was there. And she felt it again, after we remodeled and added rooms onto the house, in the new bedroom. One night she said she blurted out "It's okay, Mary. You can go." She doesn't know why she said it, but it hasn't happened since that night she says. Mary was the name of a lady who owned the house before us.

Many other things have happened throughout the years, but I didn't include them because even I doubt them.

I'm not trying to say there are actual "ghosts". I'm just telling you what happened, and asking for your opinion. I would like to not believe in them, but so much has happened to me I just don't know.

Please include a number in your response so I know which topic you are referring to.

Thank you for your opinions!

- Jamie Ayers

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I was going to include premonitions in this post but I could write an entirely new discussion just on that topic. That actually happens to me more often than "ghost" experiences but I don't think it has anything to do with religion, so I didn't include it. I'm glad you brought that up though.

It's usually little things; I'll think about something and it will happen that day or a few days later. Or I'll dream about something and someone will say something from the dream or I'll be in the same place. But nothing to the extent of your friend's experience.

For example: My great-grandmother passed away 6 years ago, and I knew she had died as soon as I heard the phone ring that day.

Another time I was thinking about my dad getting pulled over and later that day it happened while I was in the car with him.

I'll think of a song and it will come on. Or I'll think about something happening and it'll be on the news later. I cried one night because I was randomly afraid of my pet guinea pig passing away and the next day my best friend's dog had a seizure that almost killed him. Wrong animal, but still haha.

A lot of times it happens and I'm amazed for a few seconds then I go on with my day and forget about it. But sometimes I don't like thinking about bad things happening because I'm afraid they will.

And about PTSD; I don't believe anything has happened to me. There's nothing I can really think of. I've never been in the hospital or badly injured or had anything happen to me or someone in my family. So I don't think I could have it. Nothing truly traumatizing has ever happened to me.

Dear Jamie!

Sorry for my bad English.I have begun to learn this language, while I use google translator. I hope you will understand me ^_^

I have read your stories and I wondered if you could explain yourself this creepy event  from a materialistic point of view? The fact is that no one, except you do not have access to your experience, to that place, and events that are associated with you. Any ghost stories sound  too convincing to be subjected to critical analysis. But, as I understand it, you doubt the presence of the supernatural, however you just can not find the key to unlocking the ghost mysteries of your home. 

I will not review each story individually, I'll walk around the set of their from the point of skeptic view. I warn you, I do not have a full explanation, and it will not be. However, my rule of critical thinking tells me that extraordinary phenomenon can be accepted if the alternative explanation would be even more unusual. This is the basis of thoughtful nonbelief. The ghosts do not exist, otherwise it would be attack on Science at all. It seems to me your "contact" with "dead people" - the key to understanding how the myths about ghosts are emerged.

I think that, like the commentator above, it is in your brain. You're not crazy. Just have a generator visions in your mind. This is the psychology. Perhaps you have this brain feature inherited from the mother, who also feel something. Also your brain is more active to recognize the patterns and relationships in the external world. Slightly more active than you need for normal life. This may explain your premonitions. Your brain is constantly making predictions based on the available data and makes a lot of mistakes that you do not notice. But when he hits the bull's eye, it seems miraculous, and you mark this.

Given this, there is nothing surprising in the fact that you can hear the sounds and see doppelgangers. I am not an expert on the brain, but I know about how the mind is able to deceive our senses and manipulate memories, especially, if brain is in state of overexcited. There are people who suffer from the ghosts are much worse and they have a pretty serious symptoms of sleep disorders, from sleep paralysis to somnambulism. These people believe that are obsessed with ghost, but in fact they are obsessed with nightmare were born to their sleeping mind.

So I think you may start to take an interest in neuroscience to explain yourself what is wrong with you.
Respect to you!

I thought about my cousin yesterday and saw him today. What are the odds? Higher than you may think. The human mind as an operating-psychological-system is brilliant at playing tricks on us. Coincidences which seem improbable happen all the time. Factor in our huge storage of memory plus everyday events and these "coincidences" have to happen. it would be stranger if they didn't. There is nothing strange, nothing supernatural, nothing mysterious about it. 

I'm not trying to say there are actual "ghosts". I'm just telling you what happened, and asking for your opinion. I would like to not believe in them, but so much has happened to me I just don't know.

I'm going to assume you are being truthful in describing your experiences. That is a generous assumption given how often newcomers appear on Think Atheist and lie to us or otherwise cite dishonest "evidence" of the supernatural. 

My opinion is that you have an undiagnosed psychotic disorder. The major symptoms are unusual hallucinations and delusions. I mean these words in a clinical sense, not as the insults they are sometimes used as in vernacular English.

Hallucinations are experiences or perceptions of things that aren't actually present, such as seeing persons or objects that aren't there, hearing displaced sounds or voices (this is very common), getting funny tastes in the mouth, smelling strange odors, and feeling sensations of contact against the skin when nothing is touching that spot.

Delusions are organized, false beliefs that persist after receiving evidence to the contrary. For example, being certain that you have brain cancer after multiple tests for brain cancer have all come back negative would be a delusion.

Other symptoms of psychotic illnesses include confused thinking, odd behavior, problems with relationships, and mood symptoms such as depression or mania.

Call your doctor and ask for a referral to a psychiatrist. Psychotic illnesses are treatable just like most other health problems are treatable. The psychiatrist most likely will recommend psychotherapy and prescribe antipsychotic medications, which will control the hallucinations.

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