PSICAN - Paranormal Studies and Inquiry Canada


Written by Susan Demeter-St.Clair

Why is it do you think that timepieces often play a role in both fictional, and actual reports of ghostly encounters? Is it that clocks in general whether they be the grand, and classic grandfather clock, or a modern day wall clock, or even a simple watch are symbolic of something much greater that truly captures our imaginations, or is it that time itself is important in the mechanism of these events? Perhaps both?

I often think of a report that I investigated here in Ontario involving an antique clock. In that case it involved a young woman who inherited a stunning grandfather clock from her mother. Her mother had sadly passed on after a brief illness that had seen her confined to her living room during the day in the same room as this magnificent clock that had been passed down to her from her own Mom.

The clock had apparently stopped working some years before, but oddly enough began working again on the day this young woman's mother passed on.... over 10 km away in hospital! The young woman who did not recall it working ever was shocked when she, and another family member entered her mother's living room to see, and hear the old clock ticking, and its pendulum swinging! They took this to be a sign that their Mom was now with her own mother, and at peace.

I thought it was a lovely affirmation that life does go on.....

Another very similar report we received is as follows in the witness' own words:

"On January 11th, 2008, my Aunt died in our home. One week prior to her death, a clock on our mantle began chiming every half hour. She died at 7:36am, and the clock did not chime again. The last chime was at 7:30am. The clock was purchased not working but because of it's beauty. It had sat on my mantle for 15 - 20 years never chiming. In fact, the clock could not be wound. A similar clock I had given to my aunt, was moved to our home when she moved in with us approximately 4 years ago. It was on a china cabinet across from the mantle. It had never worked, as well. As I pointed to it one evening describing to a nurse what was happening with the chiming clock it began to tick loudly! My sisters and I assumed the clock chiming was a sign from my mother, who had died a year earlier, that she was there with my dying Aunt. Although it was scary, it was also comforting. When I asked my Aunt what she thought of the chiming clock she grinned and said it was magic!"

I often say that these types of experiences are just a natural extension of the human experience.They are beautiful, and they do bring comfort.

Our thanks go out to the witnesses who kindly share these experiences with us. If you have had a similar experience we would love to hear about it. Please contact us at Your privacy will be protected.

Update March 2013

I received the following account from a reader in response to this article:

"I read your article on the chiming mantel clocks and their possible relationship to ghosts. I wanted to add my story to your report.

We have a a gold clock on our mantel that had stopped chiming about 10 years ago.  We took it for repair at that time and were told it could not be fixed.  It was a clock I had bought for an anniversary present for my parents many years ago.

My Mom and Dad were married Jan 11 1958.  My dad died on May 6 2006 in our house on the sofa of a heart attack.  The sofa is in the same room (living room) as the clock on the mantel.  After the undertakers took his body away I noticed the lamp next to the sofa flickered.

As time went on we have noticed the clock starting to chime about once a year on different occasions.  One year it was on a morning when i was going to the hospital for a test.  Recently, it chimed on Christmas eve 2012.  Then this month (January 19) it started chiming again almost every 15 minutes and continues thus far.  On Jan 19 when it started chiming, i looked out the window and saw a bird poking his head out of our bird house.

I feel like it could be my dad coming to visit or an angel.  It brings comfort to us when it chimes because we think of my dad."

My thanks goes out to the witness for sharing this experience with us. What a lovely affirmation that our love goes on.