Inside Patrick Stewart's Real-Life Ghost Encounters

British actor Patrick Stewart may be best known in contemporary society for his work in Sci-Fi genres like "Star Trek's" Captain Jean-Luc Picard or as Marvel's beloved Professor Charles Xavier from the X-Men film franchise, but in his book, "Making it So: A Memoir" which was released in October 2023, he opens up about his personal experiences with something that deals with a very different realm — the paranormal. According to the 83-year-old, he's had encounters with entities, ghosts, apparitions — whatever you like to call them — since he was a child. 

In an interview with NPR, after the release of the book he was asked if he believes in "spirits" or things that are "bigger than us." He replied, "I believe in it. I don't talk about it very much. It's — and I'm a little uncomfortable talking about it because it sounds wacky but it isn't, actually." 

Stewart elaborated more fully with USA Today, telling the outlet, "I have been witnessing stuff since I was 12 years old. And it has stayed with me throughout my life. I have sometimes quite intense feelings and nighttime experiences and occasionally I witness things. It happens to me and I'm not inventing it. Why would I invent it? Because I always feel slightly foolish when I talk about this." Yet in his memoir, he's chosen to open up about several of the experiences he's had throughout his life.

Creepy paintings and voices from beyond the grave

It seems Patrick Stewart's feelings of something otherworldly began with an experience that many children have, which was being spooked by eerie paintings or portraits of people. In his case, growing up in England, those portraits had the added creepiness of simply being old, from the 17th century, according to what he wrote in his book, per USA Today. He claimed the paintings seemed to exude an "unexplainable mist," and a "spooky glow" and when he told the woman whose home he was staying about the paintings, she corroborated his instincts by saying that there were indeed spirits in the house and she'd seen a girl who smiled at her on several occasions. She was impressed Stewart could sense it too. But there were more tangible incidents to come in the actor's adult years. 

Stewart wrote that he's positive he heard his mother's voice when he was alone and grieving over her body at a funeral home in 1977. According to USA Today, he said, "Just before my eyes fixed on her face, I heard her say, 'Oh, hello, Patrick, love.' I know I heard it. I did not imagine it." With that, he was able to tell her a final goodbye.

'A presence of good and the presence of evil'

Patrick Stewart has claimed to have ghostly encounters in playhouses as well. In 2009 while acting in the play "Waiting for Gadot" in London at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, he saw an apparition while performing. Theatres are notorious for being haunted – or at least lots of people who frequent theatres often say they've seen something they can't explain — and according to The Telegraph that particular theatre has a reputation for being home to lots of spirits. Stewart, who was starring in the play with Sir Ian McKellan told him at the time, "I just saw a ghost. On stage, during Act One," per The Telegraph. He believed it was John Baldwin Buckstone who in the 19th century was involved with that theatre as both a manager and an actor. 

That was not the first time Stewart said he understood that spirits linger in theatres. He told NPR, that he firmly believes that there are energies around us but that we can't see. "I believe in presence," Stewart said. "And that was why, I think, when I was an assistant stage manager in my first job, I stood on that empty stage under one light — bare light bulb. Because while I was there, breathing quietly, it was as though I was surrounded by all the hundreds of actors who had been on that stage for the last hundred years. And the sense of a presence of good and the presence of evil is what I ascribe all my experiences of this kind to."

Patrick Stewart's haunted California home

Though a fair amount of Patrick Stewart's brushes with the paranormal were not corroborated by others, he wrote in his memoir of the most substantial of all of his ghostly encounters — one that involved more physical disturbances and witnesses. He moved to LA while filming the "Star Trek" TV series and said pretty soon "weird things started happening" (via UST Today). Not only did Stewart smell a roast cooking when he came home to an empty home and cold oven, but he also thought he heard voices and someone going up and down the stairs. And the strangest occurrence happened when his son was visiting but Stewart wasn't home. His son claimed that books started flying off the shelf, so he ran out of the house and later refused to be at the house alone. Finally, Stewart decided to move but rented the allegedly haunted house out to a family without mentioning the strange things that happened there. 

A few months later after a conversation with his new tenant, she called him out, saying, "by the way, you never told us about the other things that came with this house." The woman claimed her daughter had seen things too. According to USA Today, Stewart wrote, "In a way that was a comfort that their family saw things. And they saw more than I saw."