This story is dedicated to the memory of Thomas Ryan Noles and to his mother Kathy Weathers. Ryan struggled for many years to overcome addiction that would eventually take his life at the young age of twenty eight. His struggles have impacted his family both spiritually and physically and by writing his story, I hope to reach those who are also struggling to overcome addiction and or those trying to understand the paranormal aspect of losing a loved one, in the hopes that by identifying with this family’s loss, you may find some answers.
Ryan Noles was born on February 8, 1983. His mother, Kathy, was over joyed with the arrival of her baby son. As he grew from an infant into a toddler Ryan was always very close to his mom and even after he got older, throughout his middle school and high school years he always had a very special relationship with his mother. Kathy always kept a close eye on Ryan and Ryan was often the Apple of that watchful eye. Ryan was always a bit of a clown and enjoyed making people laugh. His smile was absolutely contagious and as he grew into a young man, Ryan would have many girlfriends and was very much a “ladies man”.
Ryan started using marijuana in his late teenage years, while still in high school. Though he maintained a close relationship with his mother he reassured her constantly he was “Ok”. Kathy and Ryan’s relationship would change dramatically over the next few years and the loyal son she once knew had distanced himself from her. She knew that Ryan was developing a real problem and by the time he was twenty, her worst fears had come to light. Ryan was battling a severe addiction to many drugs and though Kathy was determined to help her son, she could not force her will to help him in his addicted state.
Kathy woke one morning at 3 AM to Ryan screaming. He was begging her not to let him die. He had been vomiting blood profusely after a stomach ulcer ruptured and the bathroom was covered in blood. Kathy was absolutely terrified and had him rushed to a local hospital where he spent two days in an intensive care unit. Ryan had lost a lot of weight and was very ill. His addiction was now taking over every aspect of his life and he knew he needed help but didn’t know who to turn to. Ryan found comfort in his family that had been there for him, even at his worst and his young nephew Hunter brought new meaning to Ryan’s life. Hunter often called Ryan his “BFF” and once Ryan had made advances in getting sober, Hunter was the one constant reminder of how important it was to be a better man.
Ryan was determined to get sober for his sake and the sake of his family. He struggled to get into drug treatment programs due to financial difficulties but Kathy and Ryan both knew without the proper intervention, Ryan might not be able to overcome his drug problem. Later Ryan was able to get some help and, while getting sober was his first priority, Ryan was still battling many demons. Chronic stomach pain from years of abuse had worn his body into a fragile state. Depression was often a side effect of trying to manage the pain and stay sober at the same time. One night Ryan came to Kathy and told her he felt as if he was being spiritually attacked in the home he was living in at the time. Kathy contacted a friend who brought Ryan a crucifix that had been blessed by a preacher in the hopes that it could some how help him fight the demons he felt oppressed him. She hoped that maybe through God, Ryan could find some spiritual strength and Ryan felt very strongly in his heart that he needed to be a better example for his BFF-Hunter and to show his mother he would be ok.
Throughout Ryan’s recovery phase, Kathy noted several unnatural things happening in her home and around her. Kathy was not a skeptical person when it came to believing in supernatural forces but she wasn’t hard-pressed to believe any old ghost story either. But things were changing around her and Ryan and she felt that Ryan may have been dealing with a negative supernatural influence. This was clear to her when shortly after, she and Ryan had met with the friend, who gave Ryan the blessed crucifix. Kathy was sitting at her desk in her home when suddenly without warning, everything on her desk was knocked over, as if someone had taken their hand and pushed everything off her desk. It happened with such force it scared Kathy to a degree that she hadn’t experienced before.
While under treatment Ryan was prescribed several different drugs to help him with depression and pain. However this would prove to be a volatile mixture and on June 9, 2011, Ryan passed away due to complications from his addiction and a combination of drugs prescribed to him to help him recover. Ryan’s body had lost the fight to survive and no one suffered as much as his mother, Kathy. Kathy silently knew that Ryan would not overcome his war with addiction but she would never reveal that to him, in an effort to keep him focused on healing. Her grandson Hunter was also devastated at the loss of his BFF and for many months the family suffered tremendously to grasp the loss of Ryan.
Not long after Ryan’s death, more strange and unusual things started to happen in Kathy’s house. Frequently she would notice things out of order and often she would hear and see things in her home that she hadn’t experienced before. Items like cigarette lighters would go missing from a certain location and then reappear in the same location later on. Kathy and visiting friends would often hear conversations in the house when no one was home but them. Glowing balls of lights would manifest over her head board at night and haunting sounds of her son’s ringtone came over the television one night while watching with her grandson, Hunter.
All these circumstances lead Kathy to believe that her deceased son was trying to make contact with her in any way possible. Kathy was still struggling to come to grips with Ryan’s death and so was the entire family, but she could no longer ignore the obvious occurrences that were happening around her. Kathy looked into many paranormal investigative teams and remembered that she had contacted a group some years before while researching ghost hunters in the area. Kathy contacted the Alabama Paranormal Research Team in an effort to find some answers regarding her situation.
In January of 2012 the team investigated Kathy’s home after an extensive interview regarding her case. All information regarding the events in the case was kept confidential between Faith Serafin, the director of Alabama Paranormal Research Team and Kathy until the completion of the investigation. This helps avoid any power of suggestion that may occur and allows team members to function without seeking out any one particular phenomenon based on reports. Almost immediately audio recorders were picking up voices not heard with the naked ear but with specialized, enhanced, audio equipment. The audio specialist from the team was hearing human voices answering the team’s questions throughout the investigation.
Other audible voices came over the recorders which distinctly say “Ryan” and another that said “tell them”. Audio recordings of this nature are classified by paranormal investigators as EVP or Electronic Voice Phenomenon, which in theory works by allowing a low frequency sound to be picked up by an audio recorder or device. The idea is that not all sounds can be heard or determined through casually listening and by using the technique of recording sounds in an environment and playing it back, gives one the ability to manipulate the recorded sound in an environment to better determine if any sound or voice was there, that wasn’t heard audibly at the time.
These recordings and a few full spectrum photo’s of a shadow figure captured in Ryan’s bedroom were all collected as evidence in Kathy’s case and while the Alabama Paranormal Research Team has concluded that her home has some paranormal activity, the team can only speculate as to who or what is actually causing the phenomenon. However working with Kathy and keeping an open line of communication with established clients is critical in the field of paranormal investigations as it pertains to ghost hunting. The activity is still very much a part of Kathy’s life now and has continued since her initial reports of activity.
It’s possible Ryan is responsible for the activity since his name was heard over the audio recorders collected by the team and Kathy still struggles to let go of her emotions involved with the loss of Ryan but a gentle understanding between a mother and the spirit of a child has shed some light on the subject to a great degree. Kathy made great sacrifices as a mother to be there for her children and Ryan knew that. She fought, cried, hurt and suffered all the years Ryan struggled to overcome his addiction. She stood by him as any mother would and made it her personal battle, though it was not her burden to bear. She laid out her heart in a selfless act to defend her son against an enemy neither she, nor her son could see. Ryan and Kathy both knew the overwhelming obstacles they would face and both stood fast, together with the odds stacked against them. But they had something that most people in that situation don’t have. They had love and they had each other and an unbreakable bond between mother and child that no words can describe.
The love endured worlds over by people who believe they have the power to stand together, against the worst evils in the world. This is still true for Kathy and Ryan. Ryan is no longer of this plane and exists in spirit alongside so many others in a realm, not unknown, but is only reachable through death or other interdenominational connection only known to a select few. This door way is not as far away as one might think. Mothers connect to their children on a level that is not understood by science or faith. It simply exists and is there. This is why Ryan is still with Kathy today. His spirit resides alongside his mother in an effort to do all the things for her that she did for him, once again reminding her that she will forever and always be the “rock” he will reside on. Keeping her close to him so that she can know she will never truly be without him and keeping a watchful eye on her with the promise that he was not able to fulfill in this life. He no longer suffers from the demons that plagued him through drugs and addiction. He is no longer burdened by the everyday battles he faced in overcoming and can rest easy knowing now that there is no obstacle he can’t overcome. Along with Kathy they understand that one day they will see each other again and until that time comes she and Ryan are Ok and can still find peace in knowing that the spirit world really isn’t that far and that the love they have for each other is unbreakable, unbreachable, and undeniably profound.
Kathy Weathers and her son, Ryan Noles