• Neva Bryan

I See Dead People



Recently, as I was walking our dog, I experienced a visual hallucination. As I approached Jamie’s house, which is next door to mine, I glanced at his porch and saw him sitting there. When I stepped closer, I realized it was a shadow. Because I was accustomed to seeing him sitting on his porch, my brain filled in the blank. It was a cruel trick.


A few studies of bereavement have found that some people experience grief hallucinations. These hallucinations might include sensing the presence of a deceased loved one, hearing them, feeling their touch, or, in my case, seeing them.


Anyone can experience a bereavement hallucination.

These types of hallucinations appear to be more common in people older than forty, but anyone can experience a bereavement hallucination. My hallucination of Jamie was not my first one.


I experienced my first grief hallucination when I was a teenager. My grandfather died when I was fifteen. A few months after he passed, I heard him hollering for me from outside. It seemed so real that I went to the door and looked for him.


The same thing occurred after my mom died. Several times over the years, I’ve heard her say my name.


Many people who experience bereavement hallucinations find them comforting.

Although the hallucination of Jamie sitting on his porch brought tears to my eyes, many people who experience bereavement hallucinations find them comforting. They find that the perception of the person speaking to them or touching them eases their loneliness.


Have you heard or seen or felt your lost loved one? Was it distressing or a source of comfort?

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