Happy Halloween!

Small children are hitting offices, museums, and stores in costume, gathering early treats.  Pumpkins leer from doorsteps and the flavor of pumpkin has permeated every possible sort of confection (yes, even Oreos).

So, how about some ghost stories? I’d love some!

The closest I believe I have come to a ghostly encounter was the first apartment that my then boyfriend, now husband, and I shared.  It was the upper floor of a house built in the 1920’s in what, at that time, was a prosperous neighborhood.  Something was off there.

We’d often hear a pile of something tumble over, rush to the room the noise came from, and find nothing had changed.  Our TV frequently changed channels without anyone near the remote.

Most of all, there was the staircase.  I was the person who spent the most time in our basement, as I did most of the laundry.  The stairs led from our second floor apartment down to our entry door at the side of the house, and then a separate stair continued into the basement.  I did NOT like doing laundry because of those stairs.  They were well lit and beautiful wood.  I just did not like being on them.  It was oppressive.  Something was wrong.  I’d talk loudly as I went up or down – to the cat, I claimed – so that I didn’t have to think about being alone on the stairs.  I’d rush up as fast as I could.  It just didn’t feel right.

A friend who was spending some time involved in Spiritualism said she saw a man with a handlebar mustache in our bathroom.  That he may have originally built the house.  It’s hard to say what it really was, but I can’t remember such a feeling of unease before or since.

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Why do we tell ghost stories?  What’s the fascination?  My husband and I watch ghost shows whenever we can find decent ones online – excited to hear the stories, to potentially see evidence.  For me, I think it’s a part of my belief that another layer of reality exists, and that could include spirits of those who have died.

When I asked Joel, he wasn’t sure.  “I like being scared?  No, that’s not it.”  In the end, he came very close to what I’ve been thinking.  He believes that it’s possible that our predecessors are out there and can have some influence on our surroundings.  (He’s less into the dragons, elves, and other creatures that permeate my beliefs.)

Most of all, I love ghost stories for the possibilities.  The potential for something beyond the norm.  The fact that every culture has them in some form speaks to some potential universal truth. And hearing stories of scary things helps us to realize that we can get past them. Here’s some perspective from Neil Gaiman:

“If you are protected from dark things then you have no protection of, knowledge of, or understanding of dark things when they show up.”

Have a spooky tale to share? Post it below!

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