A woman who says she kept getting the cold shoulder from men in the living world has turned to the dead to find her soul mate.
Amanda Teague, a 45-year-old Jack Sparrow impersonator from Northern Ireland, says she was visited by the 300-year-old ghost of a Haitian man while lying in bed in 2014. Teague says she communicated with the ghost through mediumship, and soon learned he was “Jack,” an 18th-century pirate who had been left at the altar once before and was ultimately executed for thievery.
As she interacted with the entity over the course of several months, Teague claims she began to develop feelings for it.
“This was about six months of communication so I finally accepted it, obviously we had spent a lot of time together,” Teague, a mother of five who was previously married for six years, tells PEOPLE. “I was horrified to discover I had romantic feelings for him, having never heard of that before.”
While Teague says she’s communicated with spirits before, this experience was different.
“It was almost like falling for someone forbidden — like a friend’s husband,” Teague says. “I tried to ignore it but it didn’t go away.”
Soon, Teague incorporated Jack into her everyday life, and would often watch television or go on long drives with him. As her feelings grew deeper, Teague claimed she felt a connection to the spirit that was unlike anything she felt from the physical world. And though she has never seen Jack, she likes to imagine that he resembles Bob Marley, Teague said the spirit told her.
Eventually, Teague says the two even started having a sexual relationship—but she wanted more.
“Growing up in Ireland in my era, you were taught that if a man bedded you, he should wed you,” she says. “I knew from my research that spiritual marriage was a thing, so it was more me that wanted to get married than him—he would have been happy like most men with just sex.”
Sexual attraction to spirits—known as spectrophilia—has been a part of many folklores, including those in Arabic, Celtic, Greek and Hindu cultures.
Teague’s real-life Ghost story eventually got its fairy tale ending. After a proposal from Jack, Teague married the ghost in a private ceremony on a boat in the international waters off of Ireland, where the marriage would be legal, with Teague’s close friends and family in attendance. She also hired a medium so Jack could say, “I do,” making the union official on paper. Since Jack couldn’t put on a ring, Teague held a candle that the ring was placed on, which symbolized Jack.
“My favorite part was probably jumping over the broom, which is a tradition associated with handfastings,” she says, “and the first dance was great fun, too.”
Since the ceremony, Teague says she has written “married” on documents and has not been questioned about their authenticity. Teague’s story has been picked up by dozens of media outlets in the United Kingdom and beyond, and the response hasn’t exactly been positive.
“The reaction I have got is quite shocking really,” she says. “In this day and age it’s cool to be whatever, or so you think, but apparently we are not yet open-minded enough in society to accept relationships between us and other realms.”
Now that Teague is speaking out about her unconventional relationship, she hopes to give advice to others who are willing to give a spirit a chance.
“I hope by me coming out, it will encourage others to not feel alone or afraid,” Teague explains. “It’s not all like the entities in other horror films, there are loving caring spirits out there, too, you just need to know what you’re doing.”