When I was younger my mother told me a story of how when I was little my papa who smelled of popcorn tucked me in at night, the thing is my papa had passed away a year before I was born. She also told of how my sister and I would always say hello to something or someone when we entered a room in one of our old houses. We believe that this spirit has followed us through every house move as similar ghostly activities have happens in each house.
Whilst I've never seen much, most of my experiences have been through sound.
I've always heard things like people walking up stairs when I'm alone and I know there no one else in the house and people saying hello or calling my name when I'm alone. As well as an instance where the doorbell would go off late at night and would only stop when I asked.
However as of the past couple of years I've began to see things again. It first started out as shadow blobs that would appear for up to a minute and then quickly move behind something like the couch or the door, over time these shadows have developed into the forms of people as one time I saw someone walk past my mother in the kitchen as well as seeing a shadow at my living room door and near my couch as well as standing within my peripheral vision. I have also seen the shadow of animals such as dogs running throughout the house.
Another incident happened whilst I was at work where in one of the screens I was watching over. I felt some one grab my arm and yank it back despite me being close to a wall with a small gap that no one could fit behind me
Also as of the past month or so I've also began to see an almost ghost like outlines of people walking through my living room.
I'm curious is this a gift or is it all in my head?
You sound like a medium and your gifts are opening up again like they were when you were younger. I highly recommend you learn basic psychic protection, grounding, centering, meditation, clearing your space and energy (the invocations do this for you actually), and what to do with excess energy or stagnant energy you may have at times before practicing your gifts. I can tell you the Michael Invocation, White Light Shields, several dark colored crystals, and some lighter colored crystals like lapis lazuli and amethyst can be helpful with psychic protection. White sage is also good for clearing spaces, but it doesn't cross over any ghosts.
If you ever notice a ghost around, (or if you're unsure and you're like me and rather be safe than sorry) just ask your guardian angel (or Archangel Michael, or whatever name you call your guardian by) to find the ghost and take them into healing. The sentence goes something like this:
"Archangel Michael, FIND the ghost that is near me and TAKE it into healing."
You can change the wording to fit the situation but keep the words "find" and "take". I would especially do something like that for whatever entity bruised you, it's obviously not friendly. Spirits from heaven never do harm.