Scrolling through the TV channels, I stumbled across one of my favourite supernatural programmes called ‘Strange But True’.
‘Come on, it’s on!’ I yelled to my dad, Roger, 61, from the living room.
‘Scooch up then,’ he laughed, plonking down on the sofa next to me.
I loved watching spooky programmes about ghostly sightings, especially with dad.
My mum, Pauline, 61, and him got divorced when I was four, so I stayed with him every weekend until I was about 17 years old.
‘Do you think ghosts are real?’ I asked one evening.
‘Maybe,’ he replied with a cheeky smirk.
Growing up, I’d always been fascinated by the paranormal.
I wasn’t sure if ghosts were real, but I was happy to be proved wrong.
I even went on ghost hunting events and spent nights in a ‘haunted’ building in the hopes I’d encounter a spooky apparition.
I’m not sure dad believed in it as much as me, but he’d always encouraged my interest.
It was definitely our thing.
Dad never remarried or met anyone – I was his rock and he was mine.
Then in October 2015, he broke some news that shattered my whole world…
‘I’ve got lung cancer,’ he explained tearfully.
‘Oh dad,’ I cried, giving him a hug.
He barely had any symptoms, but had suffered from asthma for years.
Dad was also diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – a type of lung disease that caused him breathing difficulties.
He went straight into treatment and underwent gruelling chemotherapy.
He ended up contracting pneumonia and rapidly went downhill as he was admitted to hospital in March 2016
I sat by his side and held his hand as he grew weaker.
‘Love you,’ I whispered tearily, giving him a kiss on the cheek.
No matter how hard he battled the deadly disease, the illness was too advanced.
He was too poorly to fight off the latest infection and I was by his side when he sadly passed away three days later.
Losing my dad was the hardest thing I had ever been through.
I struggled for a long time and after years of suffering I was finally getting to a better place.
That’s when I stumbled across a message from dad.
In March 2020, I was scrolling through Facebook, when a post caught my attention.
It was a video uploaded by the Retford Ghost Hunting group.
‘Eh, what this?’ I murmured curiously, clicking on the link.
I didn’t follow the page, but something about the images drew me in – like I knew it was meant for me.
The paranormal investigators had visited a 17th Century pub called The Black Dog in Grantham, Lincolnshire, and shared their creepy findings on social media.
It was a sighting of a ghostly monk-like figure but to me, it looked like a man.
As I leaned into my laptop to inspect the grainy image, I felt goosebumps course across my body.
‘Dad?’ I gasped in shock.
The facial features were uncanny – it was the spitting image of him.
Not only did it look like him but the photo had also fallen into my lap on the anniversary of dad’s death.
That week, it would have been four years since he passed away.
I grabbed my mobile and called up my mum.
‘You’ll never guess what,’ I said in disbelief.
After sending the post to mum, she was just as shocked as me.
She went on to reveal something even spookier…
‘Your dad used to visit that pub all the time,’ she explained on the phone.
Before I was born and my parents were together, they used to live in that area.
Apparently dad used to be a regular in The Black Dog back in the day.
‘I can’t believe it!’ I laughed.
There were too many coincidences for it to be random.
It would be just like dad to have a laugh like this and pop up in a video ‘haunting’ a boozer.
I know he would be chuffed to bits that we found the video and I can just see him grinning from ear to ear.
The week of his death is usually a really tough time for me, but not anymore.
It’s like he picked the perfect time to reach out and cheer me up.
I know that some people out there won’t get it.
They might even suggest I’ve been sipping on an entirely different kind of ‘spirit’, but I don’t care what they think.
There’s no wrong or right.
I believe it’s my dad and it’s his way of comforting me.
Even now, from beyond the grave.