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This book, which covers Visions and hallucinations, explains what causes them and summarises how many hallucinations have been caused by each event or activity. It also provides specific help with questions people have asked us, such as ‘Is my medication giving me hallucinations?’.

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Observations placeholder

Jean Sheppard and family - I've seen a bloody ghost



Type of Spiritual Experience


Number of hallucinations: 1


A description of the experience

Science and the Spook by George Owen and Victor Sims

The only contemporary account of an actual ostensibly occult experience was that told us by Mr Julian Westwood. This happened on 28th October 1964, in his bedroom, a room used formerly as a dressing room by Mr Sheppard, the deceased husband of Mrs Sheppard. Mr Westwood said :

It was two days before Halloween and I had decided to go to bed early, around ten o'clock. In the early hours, about 1.30 a.m., I awoke with a start. I thought I could hear something. I lay there, listening hard, although still sleepy.

There seemed to be somebody in the room. There was no doubt in my mind about it. I thought it might be a burglar and wondered what was the best way to tackle him. I heard stealthy footsteps and I pushed the bedclothes back. The bedroom window had opened and a gleam of light shone through. I can't describe the light. I had never seen anything like it before.

There was something by my bedroom window. But I suddenly realised that it did not have a shadow. I wasn't feeling very brave. I tried to focus my eyes on it. What I saw was an incomplete human figure. It seemed to wear an old-fashioned nightdress or robe. The apparition was about one foot across at a seeming distance of about four feet away from me. It had a ragged edge, shading away at the periphery like an old-fashioned vignetted photograph. Within this area I could see a human forearm in a sleeve with an embroidered or worked cuff. The hand was natural flesh-colour, reddish brown. I did not identify it as either old or young, male or female. The apparition was somewhat misty and transparent.

Julian …. showed us the room and drew attention to the fact that he saw the apparition while with one foot out of the bed, about to get up and pursue, but still lying down.  Its apparent location was therefore, in relation to the room, high up near to the ceiling.  In the event Julian did get out of bed and rushed to switch on the light, but whatever it was had vanished. He then hurried along the corridor to his mother's bedroom and called out:

"I've seen a bloody ghost !" Mrs Sheppard said that Julian seemed pale and strained after this experience.

I asked him what he had been talking about just before he went to sleep, in case something had been preying on his mind. But it was nothing more vivid than veteran cars. He was very upset and I made him a cup of tea. Today he thinks very little about it, but we would all like an explanation.

The source of the experience

Jean Sheppard and family

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items


Activities and commonsteps