I was asked, recently, if Mike, the character from West End who disappeared as a teenager and reappeared to the narrator was a ghost.
According to Dr. McAndrew, in the article “Why Some People See Ghosts and Other Presences,” people may see spirits when they “have become isolated in an extreme or unusual environment, often when high levels of stress are involved. These individuals report a perception or feeling that another person is there to help them cope…”
The main character in West End is isolated and in an unusual environment when Mike arrives. She’s not certain she saw him with the soldiers, just that there were soldiers and she never looks at faces, so she states.
McAndrew further states: “The loneliness and isolation, coupled with high levels of stress and unchanging sensory stimulation, might very well produce the same biological conditions that could trigger a “visit” from the recently departed.”
The narrator in West End claims to find comfort in this non-existence she has found. She left home because of the stress which she was unable to handle; she is now surrounded by, so it seems, an unchanging environment without stimulation. Then, suddenly, Mike is there.
What do you think – is Mike a ghost?