By OLAV PHILLIPS
Special to the Tribune
Fall is a mysterious time of the year around our fair area. As the night steadily encroaches on the day, the clouds swirling around the impending storm, the temperature steadily begins to drop and it seems the ghouls come out in force. Some believe this is because resonant energy thins the veil between our worlds, allowing spirits to pass through. Others believe the ghosts and spirits have always been there, but because of the time of year, we, as people, are more attune to their presence. But either way, Fall seems to not only hearken the coming winter but also bring out the supernatural.
It is during this time of year that people tell stories of a slightly creepier vain then normal. Ghost stories morph from the typical something bumping in the night to the scarier or even more profane. Our hearts pound as we listen intently, and our minds race as we consider the possibilities – are the stories true?
Our story has a long and sordid history, for this particular ghoul has been seen numerous times and I have heard whispers of it throughout the years, but this particular story comes to us from “Mysterious Universe” in a wonderful article written by Jason Offutt. It is about Charlotte, a lone traveler on BART who had a brush with the unknown.
The story occurred in December of 2009 as Charlotte was out doing some Christmas shopping, and like many of us had chosen BART as the means to her travel. On that fateful day, Erica, Charlotte’s roommate, had chosen to stay home and avoid the cold winter snap we were experiencing. Her peaceful day shattered by the abrupt arrival of her friend who burst in, bolting the door behind her.
“She was seriously upset,” Erica said. “I have known Charlotte since we were seniors in high school and this woman is grounded – down to earth. I have never known her to be a person who plays games, makes up stories or even is prone to exaggeration.”
Erica was obviously concerned and asked her friend what had happened.
Charlotte had been out shopping that day on her bike, but the harsh cold had driven her to take the short BART ride home. She recounted how she had boarded the train and bumped into a friend who she had chatted with during part of the trip. As they spoke, they learned another friend was on the train, but after scanning the passengers in their car they couldn’t find the friend so they just chatted until Charlotte’s friend left.
Charlotte took a seat midway in the passenger car and was looking down, doing something or other, when she happened to glance up and she saw a lone priest standing in the aisle. He stood looking at her and seemed to indicate he wanted to sit where Charlotte had placed her bicycle, but he said nothing – he just stood in the aisle staring at her. She described him as a tall, thin man with a religious habit and white collar.
At this point, feeling a little unnerved, she asked if he would like her to move her bike so he could sit. He said nothing, just continuing to stare, but as she gazed at him she felt an oddness about him. She described him as very tall and frail with a bone-white complexion and an odd red patch of skin that ran from the side of his face to his neck.
She asked again if he wanted her to move her bike, but this time noticing his eyes were white, she realized he might be visually impaired. So she asked yet again, but was only met with silence and that stare. At that point, Charlotte, getting a little scared, stood and moved to the exit where she had decided to ride out the rest of her journey. As she got up, his eyes moved and followed her as she approached the wall. It was then she realized he wasn’t visually impaired – a fact which seemed to make the priest all the more menacing.
A silent kind of fear set in as the train left the Powell Street Station. As the train moved through the BART tunnels, the priest did not move; he simply sat deathly still, watching her. As she approached her stop, Charlotte began to feel the tension rise and as she exited she turned to take a final look, but the priest was gone. He had simply vanished. She rushed to check the other cars, but he wasn’t there. It was at that point she realized she may have seen a ghost, and that terrified her.
The story would be haunt- ing enough if it was a single event, but apparently this ghostly priest has been seen numerous times riding BART trains – each interaction similar to the one I have reported here. He is always described as sickly or frail, very tall with a pale white complexion. Sometimes he is reported as possessing a menacing smile or smirk, but his presence always instills a sense of dread or malevolence.
In one frightening sighting back in 2011, the rider left the train to purchase a transit card, and upon returning to the platform came across a homeless man asking for change. When she glanced down at him, she saw the same face and expression, only he spoke to her. He said, “I just want to go home,” then blew her a kiss. What is shocking is that those are the very words she said as she had left her office an hour before.
It is not uncommon for trains, planes, and buses to be haunted because they commonly carry people during changes in their lives, and serve as points of reference. The London Tube is believed to be one of the most haunted rail systems in the entire world, but these encounters in particular seem to be much more than a typical ghostly encounter. One thing is for certain: the people who come in contact with this ghoul will never forget their brush with the unknown.
For more information on these sightings check out: http://mysteriousuniverse. org/2011/10/night-of-the-wicked-priest and http://mysteriousuniverse.org/2012/09/the-cold-stare-of-the-priest.
Olav Phillips is a regular writer for “Steamshovel Press,” “Mysterious Magazine” and the author of “The Secret Space Age,” published by Adventures Unlimited. He’s also contributed to several other books on Fortean subjects.
Phillips has also written for “Paranoia Magazine,” “FATE” and served as executive producer and principle researcher for Ground Zero Radio with Clyde Lewis (Nationally Syndicated by Premiere Radio Networks). He has appeared on many popular radio shows as well as television presentations including: Ground Zero, Shadows In the Dark Radio, Coast to Coast AM, and Voyager (RAI Due). Phillips is also a long time contributor to Ground Zero Radio’s investigations, including the famous Tracy, California, UFO crash case featured on UFO Hunters; and contributed research on the East Bay Wall, which was seen on America Unearthed with Scott Wolter and Beyond Belief with George Noory.
Phillips can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.