Monday, October 27, 2008
The Blond Duck talks to Ghosts. Seriously.
I'll admit I'm superstitious. I'll admit I'm highly imaginative. And I'll admit that I tend to believe in things other people might find ridiculous.
But when I admit that I see ghosts, I'm deadly serious.
You see, I've had the terror/ pleasure of seeing ghosts four different times. Most people scoff and tell me I was a dumb kid or asleep, but I know I wasn't. I saw ghosts. I know what I saw. You don't get a chill down your back because of a person or a imagined spirit.
Don't believe me? You will.
When I was in the second grade, I awoke to a strange noise one night. It sounded like someone was rustling through the kitchen. Indignant that someone was up when I wasn't, I crept out to investigate. Padding across the floor in my nightgown, I trotted across the living room. Then I froze.
There was a naked man in my kitchen. And he was staring straight at me.
Horrified, I shut my eyes, then peeked open again. The naked man was still there, holding a glass of water.
I wanted to talk to him, but I couldn't. My mouth hung open as I gaped at him. If my brain had been working, I would have demanded to know why a naked man was standing in my kitchen that I had never seen before.
Closing my eyes, I ran back to my room and shut the door. Then I climbed back in bed and refused to get out until my mom got me the next morning.
Now, my parents claim I was sleepwalking. They tell me I was having a dream and simply thought I saw someone. My mother even tried to convince me it was my father.
But the man was dark haired with olive skin, and he looked very frail.
My father is blond and has a beard.
When I was eight years old, my mother allowed my sister and I to have a sleepover with friends one night. We each called a friend up and set about setting boundaries. I got the front room. She got the living room. The front room had doors that closed it off and a TV with a couch that turned into a foldout bed. In my mind, I had won.
My friend Erin came over. We had some dinner, watched a movie, played a few games and then retreated to our lair. After playing Pretty Pretty Princess twelve or thirteen times, we grew bored. It was around nine and we were determined to make it to ten at night before we fell asleep. We rummaged through the game cabinet and found this.
But it's not what you think.
We placed the board on the coffee table and shoved a plant to the side.
Then we started off with dumb questions. "Is anyone here?" "What's your favorite color?" "Can you tell me who I'll marry?"
Then, the room grew colder. Giddy with excitement, we traced the plastic piece around the letters. "Who are you?"
The plastic finder slid across the board like someone was jerking on it. J. U. N. E.
I sucked in my breath. "That's my grandmother," I told Erin. Her eyes widened.
Feeling brave, I moved the piece across the letters. "Prove it." I spelled out. "Move the plant."
The plant looked exactly like this. Shoving back from the table, we scuttled by the couch. We were close enough to see, but not close enough so our breath could blow one of the tendrils with leaves.
The room was colder. We shivered as we waited.
Then we saw it.
One of the tendrils raised two or three inches off the table. Then it dropped.
The tendril raised again, higher. Then dropped.
We couldn't breathe.
The tendril raised a third time, higher. Then dropped again.
Screaming, we tore out of the front room and into the kitchen, babbling about my grandmother moving plants. We terrified my sister's friend, who called for her Dad to take her home. After my mother had calmed us down, we went to bed.
But not before moving the plant and Ouija board across the house.
My grandmother lived in an old hospital when I was growing up. She lives in an itty bitty town in Oklahoma. The hospital was very small for a hospital but big for a house. It had cement floors and metal grooves were folding doors had been installed. It had concrete brick rooms for patients and a huge open room in the center for operations. It also had a long hallway down the center. Since my mother had four sisters and a brother, they needed the room.
Most people in my family believe the hospital is haunted. The one ghost most of us have heard is the little boy.
Late at night or in the early evening, you can hear the squeaking of tricycle wheels and the sounds of rubber wheels easing over the battered cement floor as the little boy rides up and down the hallway. If you're lucky, you can even hear him giggle.
But, I heard something no one had heard before.
One summer, my mother, sister and I were visiting my grandmother and staying in her house. She had set up two old twin beds in the library/ living room, which was the old operating room in the center of the house. The only other person living there was my cousin, a eight year old boy. I was around 10 or 11 at the time.
The first night we were there, we brushed our teeth and slipped into bed. I fell asleep staring at rows of books and wondering which one I would read first.
In the middle of the night, I was jerked awake. The room was freezing. I shivered and drew the thin blanket around my chin.
And then I heard the voices.
They were right over my head. Deep, male voices standing no more than a foot over me. And they weren't just chatting, they were discussing medical procedures. They were throwing out words and terms I couldn't understand, but knew it wasn't good. I knew it wasn't my cousin, because he sounded like a girl. And I knew it was too close to be the TV.
"Excuse me," I said in a firm voice. "I'm trying to sleep. There will be no operating tonight."
The voices stopped. After awhile, I went back to sleep.
But I never stayed at my grandmothers again.
My grandfather passed away the summer I was ten years old. While preparing for the funeral, we stayed at his home in New Mexico. I don't remember much about the time. There were a lot of relatives in and out and everyone was depressed.
That's probably why I only remember this one thing.
The house was quiet and it was the middle of the afternoon. I crept towards my grandfather's room. I knew I shouldn't go in there. He wasn't there. But I just had to see it. I had to see he was really gone.
I stood in the doorway and took a deep breath, holding his smell in my lungs. The room was bare. It was devoid of his quiet smile, his soft laugh. It was cold and empty. The only thing left was his bed and his boots by the silver boot scraper. Shivering, I turned to go.
Suddenly, I heard a shuffle. My head whipped around.
The shoe scraper was lying in the center of the room.
There was no one in the house.
I never went into that room again.
Whether you believe me or not, these stories are true. To this day, I won't go in a house where someone has been murdered and I refuse to live in a historic house.
For you see, I'm terrified of what I might see.
*Tomorrow- an ode to my favorite Halloween treat!