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Witness: Chip
Location: Georgia
Date of Encounter: 2004

I was watching television recently one night, reclining on my bed yet quite wide-awake, when I suddenly had a flash of an image of a fairly young man standing beside me a few feet down, who was leaning over slightly and touching me in the middle of my waist. This image was only there for quite literally a split-second, the blink-of-an-eye, and was gone. 

I was startled but, it happened so quickly, but I wasn't disturbed by it; there was no feeling of malevolence. But, naturally, my mind raced: I'd never been prone to visual hallucinations, nor had I ever seen (or thought I'd seen) a ghost, but I had certainly heard of them making alleged appearances at the foot of someone's bed, etc. Yet, I was never sure of how I felt about those stories — were they dead loved-ones? Unknown entities from the past making an appearance for some specific reason? Someone who was delusional or had just dozed-off? I didn't know, but I knew in my case, I wasn't sleepy and had never been mentally off-balance to the point of "seeing things" that weren't there.

I did wonder, though, if I'd just had my first apparitional experience. It was so brief, so there wasn't much detail to the incident and I didn't think I'd recognized him in the little time I'd seen him, but I was curious, naturally, as to whom or what he'd been. Again, a dead relative I'd never met perhaps?

One thing that did strike me right away was that in that split-second he appeared, he wasn't wearing a long flowing white robe, nothing glowing or fuzzy, no black cape with a hood, nor street-clothes — he was wearing a hard-to-identify gray or brown jacket, almost like a uniform jacket with roughly matching trousers.

That was all I got out of the "vision."

For the next couple of days, the incident would pop in and out of my mind occasionally, and I would wonder about its significance, if any; forgetting about it most of the time… Until the epiphany struck: the night before I'd had this short-lived visitation, an old friend I'd met in a bar showed me, from the back of her SUV just as we were parting, an old belt pulled off a dead Nazi soldier during WW2 by her boyfriend's now-deceased uncle. I handled, specifically, the buckle, with its swastika emblem and ironic "God with us" emblazoned across it in German; we made comments about how so many cultures have used the name of God to condone their worst actions (even the Nazis, whom we'd previously believed were atheistic). That's when I got the slight chill — the young man who stood beside my bed had been dressed in a non-descript uniform, leaning over to touch me mid-waist: precisely where one's belt-buckle would go.

Just some illusory thing my brain cooked-up by power of suggestion? Perhaps. But why, then, had other previous "suggestions" in my life never produced visual images before? (Even this one took a couple of days for me to put 2 and 2 together). 

I'm not someone whose a big believer in old clothes harboring its previous owner, but I was left with the profound impression that by handling this old Nazi belt and buckle, I'd perhaps attracted somebody's attention. 

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