Sunday, October 31, 2010

My Ghost Stories

It's Halloween. Another year has flown by, like a witch on her broom in the shy sky above where you're never looking, until it's too late, and the doom is upon you. I have never seen a "ghost",or least I don't think I have. I could be wrong about that. I've seen strange things, that's for sure. For example, one time I saw this guy buy a non-alcoholic "beer" at a bar I was at for an Elvis impersonator contest. My Filipino friend was in the competition, and though he had once been a professional cruise ship singer, and was fantastic at the piano bars I used to frequent with him, and even had one hell of an Elvis voice when he sang Elvis songs, he refused to dress in a white sequined jumpsuit, preferring his rather pedestrian dress pants and sport jacket. Needless to say, I thought his sound was the best Elvis imitation, but a white guy in full Fat Elvis regalia won the popular vote (maybe his sideburns helped too).

The Winning Look

But as I was saying, I still don't think I've seen a ghost, not even the ghost of Elvis Presley. But, one Halloween, when I was in Florida (I lived down near Fort Lauderdale for a period when I was a child) my sister and I were out trick or treating with some friends, and as we walked down a dark street, we saw what appeared to be people dressed in sheets on the roof of a nearby house. I still swear to this day that one of them levitated and flew around and then landed again, and it wasn't no prop because it started to laugh real loud and you could see its belly moving like Santa Claus going Ho, Ho, Ho, only this wasn't a friendly laugh, it was evil, and we ran like the wind out of there.

I didn't think about ghosts on a personal level much until years later, when my sister, one evening when I was visiting her apartment and her two kids were running around like little devils, decided to mention some strange things to me. We were playing Scrabble and as usual I was winning spectacularly (or maybe that's just how I want to remember it) and we got to talking about the supernatural and paranormal. Maybe my Art Bell listening had prompted the paranormal topic, but when the discussion arrived at ghosts, she said that was the one thing she did believe in. I listened in wonder, because my sister is a near atheist and normally would dismiss anything that smacks of the spooky as nonsense.

So, I sat as she told her tale.

The place she had lived in previously was old and had the feel of ancientness about it. There was one extra room that was being used as a kind of playroom for the kids (two boys) and it was filled with toys that were scattered all over the floor. One day, as my sister was vacuuming, as she made her way down the hallway, she noticed that the door to the "playroom" was closed. Thinking the kids might be up to mischief, she went and slowly opened it. There on the floor sat a child, what appeared to be a young boy, and he had unusual, old looking clothes on and was wearing a strange hat. She thought at first it was the youngest of her offspring, and she spoke to him, saying "Casey?". Then the real Casey answered from behind her "What, Mommy?". She turned to him, then back to the room, and the child with the odd attire and head gear had disappeared!

She told of another time at the same location, when she was reading in bed and the kids were already asleep, when she heard footsteps coming down the hallway to her bedroom. her door was still open, and as she looked up from her book, she saw a man in overalls and a straw hat standing there in her doorway. As soon as she looked at him, he literally evaporated into thin air.

My sister them moved to Texas for a short time, and while there was renting a house. I came to help her get settled, and she started saying that lights and water faucets were coming on all by themselves. I didn't believe it, until one night when I was perusing a copy of Penthouse magazine in private in the bedroom I'd been given, when the lamp in the corner of the room came on all by itself. There was no timer or anything attached to it, so I was spooked. I then got up and hid my porn, went to the bathroom, and as I stood there, I thought I suddenly heard the water in the bathtub start to run. Maybe the kids had left it on, but I was sure I hadn't heard it when I'd entered the bathroom.

After that, we all slept in the living room together and kept the television on all night for the remainder of my stay.

No more ghosts entered my life after that, except for my dreams of my grandmother. She died after suffering a stroke, and at the viewing I cried my eyes out over her open casket. Everyone else was reminiscing of all the "good times", but the finality of it all struck me horribly, and for weeks afterward, I walked around looking at everyone I saw differently. I realized that we are all ephemeral, phantoms without solid reality. That we are all, in fact, ghosts.

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