The Grim Reaper – Death Personified!

The concept of death as a sentient entity has existed in many societies since the beginning of history. In English, Death is often given the name Grim Reaper and, from the 15th century onwards, came to be shown as a skeletal figure carrying a large scythe and clothed in a black cloak with a hood. It is also given the name of the Angel of Death or Devil of Death or the angel of dark and light (Malach HaMavet) stemming from the Bible. The Bible itself does not refer to “The Angel of Death;” there is, however, a reference to “Abaddon” (The Destroyer), an Angel whose true identity is a mystery, as is the identity of “The Angel of the Abyss”.

In some cases, the Grim Reaper is able to actually cause the victim’s death, leading to tales that he can be bribed, tricked, or outwitted in order to retain one’s life, such as in the case of Sisyphus. Other beliefs hold that the Spectre of Death is only a psychopomp, serving to sever the last ties between the soul and the body and to guide the deceased to the next world without having any control over the fact of the victim’s death. In many languages (including English), Death is personified in male form, while in others, it is perceived as a female character (for instance, in Slavic and Romance languages).


The Grim Reaper:

A loved one is dying. The sick room is full of machinery droning on endlessly with a kind of white noise. The attendant has dozed off, but suddenly awakens, and in the dim morning light notices a figure standing near the dying person. Startled and frightened, the attendant is frozen in awe. The figure is wearing a long, dark, flowing robe, much like the robes worn by ancient monks, but no face or extremities can be seen. It seems to be in a meditation-type state. The dying person takes a few labored breaths, and finally exhales for the last time. At that moment, the figure is gone…..

Another encounter with the most universally recognized ghost or spirit entity of all time, the Grim Reaper – the Angel of Death – a frequent apparition experienced by virtually every culture and religion since Biblical times.

Though descriptions vary somewhat, the basic entity is the same – a tall figure felt to be male wearing a long monks robe tied by rope at the waist, sometimes with a sickle or scythe, and sometimes without. A skeleton-like face is occasionally reported, but more often there is no discernable face and no visible extremities. Though there are usually no facial features, the face area is often described as being the darkest dark – almost a black abyss – sometimes with sparkling or shining areas where the eyes should be. When it moves, it seemingly glides rather than striding or walking, and there are very few reports of it talking that we can find, though the people who are aware of it do get the sense that it is present to somehow function in the transitional stage of death. Its universal depiction as a harbinger of death is not surprising then, considering it appears most often where there is an imminent death.

Curiously, we can find few reports of people who have experienced near death who have related seeing this particular apparition at their moment of death. Most see the bright light, rise above their bodies, see some sort of tunnel, and communicate with various entities, but there are basically no reports that we have found of them seeing this particular shrouded figure. Therefore, we can only theorize that it manifests not only to somehow transition the dying – whether they are aware of it or not – but also to send some sort of signal or message to the living observers – otherwise, why would it materialize at all?

In this vein, not all sightings appear to result in the death of a close relative or friend, raising the possibility that maybe the appearance in and of itself is enough to heighten the awareness of the observer, thereby averting impending disaster whether or not the observer is even aware of the process. This might help explain instances in which people observe the apparition, but nothing else happens, as far as they know. Alternatively, maybe something DOES happen, but to someone from their past, or someone they are connected to in a spiritual sense that is not part of their everyday lives.

So should we fear the reaper? Hell yeah, we should fear the reaper, unless we have a death wish. He’s not there to party, that’s for sure. But maybe at some point someone will keep their wits about them long enough to find out what this fascinating phenomena is really doing……


About Andrew

Co-founder & lead investigator of Paranormal Encounters. I've experienced the paranormal all my life, having encountered ghosts, angels and demons. I live in a haunted house and when not exploring and researching the unknown, I enjoy single malt Scotch whisky & potato chips (though not necessarily at the same time).