In the United Kingdom, the Grey Lady refers to female ghosts who have died because of the heartless actions of family members or violently by a love that has gone horribly wrong. She is the stuff of legends haunting castles and estates.
Since the 2008 economic downturn, paranormal investigators have discovered an increase in the reports of the Grey Lady phenomenon in North America. In Canada and the United States these Grey Ladies do not haunt the halls of ancient manor homes, like their British counterparts, but have been reported to haunt shopping malls, grocery stores, restaurants, hotels and the occasional gas station. For the average person, her presence is detected by the slightest change in air pressure as she passes by or the sound of footsteps where no earthy presence is seen.
These phantoms have been known to move objects but unlike poltergeists instead of creating disarray they seem to be putting things back in their proper place. Shoppers have experienced this eerie occurrence when they have messed up displays in their hunt for bargains only to turn around and find the items put back neatly on the shelf. Also when customers stand at the till to purchase their items their money disappears and their purchases placed in a bag for their convenience as if by magic. Hotel guest have reported leaving their rooms in a mess only to return hours later to a tidy room, the bed made and the bathroom sparkling.
Who are these grey ladies, these ghosts that haunt these places? After several months of investigation using the latest technology, ghost hunters have discovered these Grey Ladies are not the disembodied spirits of women that have passed on but living breathing individuals who because they no longer matter to society have slowly become invisible. They are not young, beautiful, famous or rich. The majority of these Grey Ladies are of a certain age, most exist on limited means and are single or divorced.
Over time, being overlooked and dismissed by society, these women have come to accept that they are merely the unseen workforce there to serve the entitled, rude public in their frenzied grasping need to purchase and possess more stuff.
But all is not lost for these women of the in between. They can be saved from their immaterial existence by some simple intervention. The next time you are out shopping put down your cell phone, make eye contact with the woman behind the counter, who serves your meal or cleans your hotel room. Say a sincere hello, put back things you’ve picked up but no longer want to purchase, don’t bark out what you are looking for instead ask politely and most importantly say thank you.
If you do these simple things you can watch as these women who were once invisible take solid form again. Let them know that they are seen and appreciated. That they exist. That they matter.
Note: If you’d like to check out the story of a ghostly Grey Lady there is a famous American one said to haunt the Willard Library in Evansville Indiana. You can check out Louise Willard’s story here.