Ghosts and romance are unlikely bedfellows. Ebenezer Scrooge had the ghosts but not the romance. Jane Eyre had the romance but not the ghost. The movie, “Ghost,” had both. Of course, the ghost, played by Patrick Swayze, could no longer kiss and hold his love, Demi Moore. Therein lies the crux of the problem.
Swayze needed an emissary — a middle man so to speak — or in this case a middle woman, so delightfully played by Whoopie Goldberg.
I have thought a lot about the role of mediums since I saw that movie. You might think this odd, since I write paranormal romance and talk about my own experiences with ghosts frequently on this blog, but I often wonder if mediums are authentic. Oh, I know there are people like the Long Island medium who claim to be for real, but are they actually having conversations with dead people during the day when they are awake? It seems unlikely. After all, if that were the case, wouldn’t murders be solved daily because ghosts would be pointing mediums to their killers?
Most of my ghostly experiences have come in dreams, without any act of will or desire on my part. There are the odd exceptions, though.
Ghost in the classroom
I stand in a line facing the chalkboard with six other little girls in our fourth grade class. Our mission? To see a ghost, any ghost, but preferably one that is friendly.
Ghosts have been the subject of conversation during recess. We tell each other scary stories of family or friends that claim to see spirits. We wonder if it might be possible for us to see a ghost, too.
We have pulled the blinds down low. The only light that penetrates the room is from the small crack at the bottom of the line of windows behind us.
I lead the conversation. In our little circle of friends, I am always the one in charge when it comes to the supernatural. At ten, I have an innate instinct for how to speak to the dead. “Is there a ghost in this room? If so, show yourself,” I command in my squeaky, prepubescent voice.
We watch and wait. Nothing. We can hear the sounds of other children on the playground outside the classroom walls. A car passes slowly on the street that runs by the school. The sound of its revved up engine blares through the windows. Still nothing.
“If there is a ghost in this room, show yourself,” I call out again. This time I brilliantly add, “Give us a sign. Tell us who you want to go home with.”
A shadow morphs on the opposite wall near the door. I watch, stunned as it speeds around the classroom, casts a breeze on my cheek, slides to the door opposite, and disappears.
“What was that?” one of the others pipe up.
“A ghost,” we all say, our voices overlapping in our excitement.
“Did anyone feel anything?” I question.
“I think I did,” my best friend, who is standing next to me, admits.
“I did, too,” I acknowledge. “Who do you think it wants to go home with?”
“You,” she unhesitatingly replies.
Later that night, I shiver under the blankets.
From the glow of the hallway light in our century home, I can see what appear to be faces in the Victorian wallpaper. Their unsightly mouths yawn wide, screaming silently. While I watch, the big oak door to my brother’s room opens. My eyes peer into the space beyond, waiting patiently for someone to come out. No one does. Instead, the door slams shut. The hallway light flicks on, off, and on again. Downstairs I hear the sound of muted laughter as my parents and older siblings watch T.V.
“Who is that?” my sister calls from her side of the double bed we share.
“I…don’t know,” I say, some part of me not willing to acknowledge what I have just witnessed.
“Will you sing me a song?” she asks, her voice small and scared.
As the big sister, it is my job to comfort her. I take the role seriously. My voice wobbles, but I manage to crank out Twinkle, Twinkle and then move on to Christmas carols, although it is the middle of the summer. The sound of my voice singing Away In A Manger in the dark room strengthens and calms me. I feel the Lord’s arms around me, telling me gently that it will be okay. Beside me, my sister snores softly. I pull the covers over my head and fall asleep.