I had a strange experience in the late 1980s. Although my main residence at the time was in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, near the bohemian district called Coventry, I was teaching at the University of Dayton and during the school year rented rooms not far from the university. One night, spirited philosophical conversation with a graduate student aroused the ire of a bitter old man by the name of Charles Doughty. He occupied an adjoining efficiency and thought we were being too loud. So he started shouting at us through the closed door: "I'll kill you, you son of a bitch, God damn you, etc." Just to be on the safe side, when back in Cleveland Heights I fetched my snub-nosed Colt .38 Detective Special -- which I had purchased from yet another graduate student -- but luckily did not have to use on old Doughty.
The lonely and miserable old bastard obliged me some time later by dying of a heart attack. Conversation with Mrs. Brunner, my landlady, confirmed that he had had a heart condition and knew that he was not long for this earth. Since Doughty's apartment was bigger and better situated than the ones I usually occupied, I took it over. I dubbed it the Charles Doughty Memorial Suite at the Paul Brunner Estates.
Now in those days I never ever listened to the AM band on the radio. I was still something of a liberal and stuck to the FM band where not only the frequency is modulated but the voices of the announcers are as well. I listened mainly to WYSO out of Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, a sleepy little dorf redolent of the '60s where the scents of sandalwood and patchouli still hung in the air. WYSO was the local National Public Radio affiliate, and I listened regularly to "All Things Considered." (For more on Yellow Springs and Antioch College, see my Death By Political Correctness.)
One night after moving into Doughty's old digs, I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of the radio in the living room. I would not have left the radio on, being a very careful and cautious sort of fellow, and a lover of silence. So I got up to investigate. The radio was indeed on, but what amazed me was that it was set to the AM band, which, as I said, I never listened to in those days. Said band was for resentful white 'deplorables' like Doughty.
Was the ghost of Doughty still hanging around the place? He was a bitter old man who ended his miserable life without family or friends in a crummy, shabbily furnished couple of rooms in an old 1940's building in a third-rate Midwestern city. Did he have nothing better to do than screw around with the radio of a sleeping philosopher who once disturbed him with the sounds of his dialectic?
So there you have it. The facts are that I awoke that night to a radio tuned to the AM band. Is that good evidence of a ghost? Not by itself. Did I sleep well on succeeding nights? Absolutely. I've trained myself to be skeptical. You can't be a philosopher without being at least a methodological skeptic. Doubt is the engine of inquiry and the mother-in-law, if not the mother, of philosophy.
But when Halloween approaches, and black cats cross my path, I give a thought to old Doughty and his crummy efficiency, the Charles Doughty Memorial Suite at the Paul Brunner Estates.
If you want to read an excellent, balanced book on the paranormal by a very sharp analytic philosopher, I recommend Stephen E. Braude, Immortal Remains: The Evidence of Life After Death (Rowman and Littlefield, 2003).