Tag: dreams

Late Night Ghost Auditions: No Callbacks Allowed

young woman in bed with alarm clock and eyes opened suffering insomnia and sleep disorder thinking about his problem on dark studio lighting in sleeping and nightmare issues

It happened last night.

I awoke to see a dark stranger standing by my bed. My heart leaped out of my chest, forcing a gasp, as adrenaline rushed through my body. I scooted across the mattress, nearly pushing my husband over the edge in the process. He, poor man, groaned, rolled over and went back to sleep. But I lay there sweating. What was that…thing?

I didn’t know. When I tried to take a closer look, it disappeared.

In the warm light of day, I brush this encounter off as an over-active imagination. I am a fiction writer after all. And I did have that chocolate mouse for dinner last night. That has to be it, right? RIGHT?

Ghostly encounters
“Ghosts are all around,” my writing buddy Joyce tells me. If anyone would know, it’s Joyce, who I met through a local writing group–the Northeast Ohio Romance Writers Association (NEORWA). She’s a member of a ghost-hunting group, called EVP Mediums and carries the title EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) investigator.

“Aren’t you afraid of ghosts?” I ask her, while visions of my mysterious late-night visitor dance in my brain.

“No, I’m not. The spirits don’t feel threatening. To me, they’re just people.”

Dead people, I think on a shiver. The thought of getting close to a ghost, let alone inviting one to speak, is, in a word, terrifying. I’ve been avoiding them my entire life, though they insist on appearing at my bedside on a routine basis and adding a dose of realism to my books.

Joyce doesn’t share my misgivings. She regularly volunteers to investigate sites known to be haunted along with other intrepid ghost hunters. They routinely tape apparitions speaking and observe dark shadows in eerie places. They even do…gasp…sleepovers.

EVP Investigator Joyce Caylor takes a break at her first overnight outing with the ghosts at Malabar Farms.

Not my kind of pajama party
Armed with camera and audio equipment, a psychic and an ordained minister, they call out to spirits, asking questions guaranteed to invoke an answer. What is your name? How old are you? Why are you here? What do you want?

In the old Mayflower Hotel in Akron, Ohio, which used to house drug addicts, the gang hears shades cry out for their drug of choice. At the Slovak Club in Lorain, ghosts are recorded speaking in…you guessed it…Slovak. At Malabar Farms in Lucas, the spirits issues words of support, uttering “I’m happy,” “He’s going,” and “Pray with you,” after the team performs a cross-over ceremony. The ceremony is performed by the group’s minister to encourage ghosts to “go to the light.”

“We always get ‘help us,'” says Joyce. “I don’t know why.”

Maybe it has something to do with being…gulp…dead.

“Has this been detrimental to your faith?” I ask.

“It’s strengthened it,” says Joyce. “I don’t worry about death. It’s made me think about my relationship with God and why this work is important to do. I kind of feel like this path opened up for me.”

In addition to the spiritual growth, there’s another benefit ghost-hunting is providing Joyce — material for her novels. She has a whole series planned, including five story ideas.

Not bad.

Hollywood has even come calling. Six members of the group (before Joyce joined) have been featured in a new series pilot on Lifetime called American Murder House.

Maybe I should encourage my late night visitor to audition?

At least he won’t have to worry about ‘breaking a leg.’

Eeks! Late night ghost encounters @EVPMediums #amwriting #ghosts #paranormal #psychic Click To Tweet

A Christmas Tale

“I wish I had a bicycle.”

“I wish I had a tricycle.”

I was six–my sister five. We sat on the squeaky blue porch swing that my dad attached to the old rusty swing-set in our front yard and made wishes. A friend at school had told us that if we wished hard enough, out loud, our wish would come true. We believed her.

“I wish I had a bicycle, I wish I had a bicycle,” went my sing-song voice, again and again, echoed by my sister’s, “I wish I had a tricycle, I wish I had a tricycle.”

The sun was shining but the weather had turned crisp. It would not be long before old man winter sought us out and put an end to our swinging days. I could see my dad and the boys cutting up dead tree trunks in the distance. The logs they stacked into neat piles would be used to feed our smoky fireplace during the long, cold winter. Many of the rooms in our drafty, old house were missing radiators, so we counted on the kitchen fireplace for heat.

On this particular day, we had been sent outside to play–probably to give my mother time to complete her chores.

‘I wish I had a bicycle.’
How I wanted a bicycle! I didn’t care what color it was but it must have a banana seat, a basket, a horn to alert wary pedestrians to get out of the way, and colorful streamers flowing from the handlebars. I imagined myself, hair down my back and nose to the wind, sniffing out adventures, as I pedaled furiously through our neighborhood.

“I wish I had a tricycle.” My sister had not yet learned to ride a bike but held similar dreams of her own.

We continued to swing back and forth, repeating our wishes for hours until our throats were dry and our heads ached. No one could hear us except the wind and the squirrels gathering nuts in the trees. On and on it went, until finally my mother called us in to dinner.

I don’t remember the remaining days, weeks and months leading up to Christmas. What I do recall is in our family of fifteen, there was little money for toys. Any we had were hand-me-downs or worn out and broken. It seemed an impossible dream that we, the youngest of the bunch, could receive our Christmas wish.

Missing present
Christmas morning dawned clear and bright. Snow had fallen softly in the night and lay upon our front yard like a white, glistening blanket. My sister and I poked among the presents, but none of them were even close to the size of a bicycle or tricycle. We didn’t count on our wishes coming true.

In the flurry of torn wrapping paper that followed, I forgot about our wishes. I didn’t even notice that my sister hadn’t received a gift until every present under the tree had been opened. I knew Santa had a lot of houses to get to, but I couldn’t believe he had forgotten my sister on Christmas!

My dad noticed the missing present, too. “You haven’t gotten one gift? Do you think maybe you were bad this year?”

“No,” my sister said, her eyes wide with unshed tears.

“Wait a minute. I think maybe Santa did leave you something. It was just too big to get down the chimney.”

My father led us all down the stairs and into the cellar. We advanced into the furnace room, and there it was, a shiny, new blue tricycle with a horn.

Her wish had come true!

I don’t remember being sad for myself, as I had received a set of dolls and a dollhouse. And I was happy to see my little sis with such a beautiful tricycle.

It was only later, after all the decorations had been packed away in the attic and we had moved on to spring and then summer, that I was reminded of our Christmas wishes. An older sister was gifted with a brand new adult bike by a favorite uncle. And I? Well…I inherited her old, purple bike–banana seat, basket, horn, streamers, and all.

Merry Christmas! May you ask for and receive your dearest wishes.

A Christmas Tale Click To Tweet

Into every artist’s life, a little rain must fall

Sometimes, the more I search for writing inspiration, the more difficult it is to find. Having just returned from a week in a lovely Victorian cottage on the shores of Lake Erie, I would expect to be recharged and re-energized with lots of great ideas floating around my mind. Instead, I struggle to put thoughts to keyboard. I have written two full blog posts, fully intending to share them, but neither one, although interesting, seem to have a clear purpose.

Our lovely Victorian cottage for the week at Lakeside Chautauqua.

Our lovely Victorian cottage for the week at Lakeside Chautauqua.

My vacation was sort of like that, too. It rained off and on most of the time. Just when I began to relax and enjoy the day, storm clouds moved in, and I was running for cover. I ran my normal two miles or so twice during the week, and during one of these outings, a black bird attacked me in the park, its claws digging into my scalp as it “defended” its young in a nearby nest. Our grandmother, who has joined us on this trip every year for the past 20 seasons, is sick and in a rehabilitation center. Despite the large number of people surrounding me (my children, husband and extended family) and the happy setting, I had that feeling that sometimes overtakes me in the midst of a party — I should be enjoying myself, but I’m just not feeling it.

I know, I know — chill and have a drink, right?
I would have, too. But the resort where we stay, Lakeside Chautauqua, is a family friendly place and a “dry” community.

My normal outlet for the blues is to read a good book. But since I have been writing, reading is no longer an escape route. I couldn’t help but critique the writer’s style instead of enjoying the story. Or maybe, I just didn’t have the right book.

I did have one bright spot — I met a soon to be self-published author, who was teaching a class at the art center. Although I didn’t take her course, we did have a nice chat about writing and the difficulties of social media. We agreed to like one another’s Facebook page — check out her Facebook page.

If you have read some of my previous posts, then you’ll know that I often get inspiration from my dreams and use these to fuel the stories I write. The dream I had during this week was so clear and disturbing that I am not sure it will ever end up in a story. I am still puzzling over it, but perhaps you dream aficionados out there can shed some light.

I gave up my child
I delivered a baby and gave it up for adoption. When I remembered that I had the baby, I felt terribly guilty and couldn’t understand why I would have agreed to give it up. I told my husband that we needed to see if we could get the child back from its adoptive parents. He didn’t seem to be as impassioned as I, but agreed to let me have my way.

I first talked to a nurse in the hospital who told me that she had seen many cases like this before, and I should be able to get the baby back. The nurse was right. The baby, a little girl, was brought back to me, swaddled in a blanket and delivered by my brother, who handed her over somewhat cavalierly and told me her name was Caroline — my mother’s name, my daughter’s middle name, and my little niece’s name. I told myself that I would have to change the baby’s name since it was already in use in our family. I picked the infant up and tried to nurse her, but it was difficult, since she had been bottle-fed the week we were away and didn’t know how to nurse. She was just beginning to get the hang of it when I awoke.

This dream disturbed me, evoking that sense of responsibility I have as a mother to my children and leaving me with a sense of guilt that I would abandon my child.

So dream experts, what is my self-conscious trying to tell me? I asked my husband what he thought it means, but he just said, “It means you were sleeping.”

Funny guy.

When grandma comes to visit

imageThe year is 1979. I am twelve.

In the backyard of my home, there is a black telephone attached to a pole. It looks like the kind you might find in an old phone booth. It rings nonstop. I look around hopefully, waiting for someone to answer it. No one does.

I think: Maybe, if I wait long enough it might stop ringing?

It does not. Instead the ringing persists, growing louder. After staring at the telephone a moment, I pick it up cautiously.

“Hello,” I say.

“Hi! Tell me about yourself,” an older woman speaks with enthusiasm.

“Who are you?” I ask.

“Never mind that. Just tell me all about yourself. What do you like to do for fun?”

“Who are you?” I say again, feeling stubborn. Why does this lady think I’ll answer her questions if I don’t even know her name.

“Hurry. I don’t have much time. Do you like school? Do you have a boyfriend? I want to know all about you.”

“Listen, lady,” I say,” annoyed. “I’m not answering any of your questions unless you tell me who you are.”

“It’s…it’s….,” she struggles, clearly torn. Eventually, she realizes that she has no other option if she wants to continue the conversation. “It’s grandma,” she finally sputters in my ear.

I stare at the phone dumbfounded. Both my grandmothers have been dead for years. I never knew them.

I hear a click, and the telephone is disconnected. I awaken to the sound of a dial tone in my ear.

When dreams speak
This is obviously a dream, but I can’t shake it. It was nothing like the nightmare I’d had the week before, which featured Bigfoot on a white horse. (It was the late 1970’s, remember. Bigfoot was all the rage:)

Could I have been speaking to the spirit of my long-dead grandmother? And if I was, what did she mean when she told me she didn’t have much time? Why would there be a time limit to our conversation? Wouldn’t a ghost have all the time in the world? And couldn’t she spy on me from the other side to know if I had a boyfriend or not?

So many questions, but for me, the dream remains elusive — staying just out of reach of my logical and enquiring mind. As much as I want to ignore it, I can’t. It disturbs me, forcing me to deal with questions that lack satisfying answers.

Despite all of our scientific advances, little is really known about our dreams. It is believed that most of us dream every night, although many people don’t recall or pay attention to them. That’s a shame because psychologists say that dreams can reveal many aspects of our lives. They can bring to light and offer solutions to our problems. They can help us understand and accept deep emotions — the kind that are so painful to contemplate, we bury them deep within our subconscious.

Maybe, this is why I find myself exploring dreams in the Mind Hackers series. Although the heroines would prefer to ignore them, like the ghost of my grandmother, their dreams haunt them — engaging them in compelling conversations and hinting at clues to mysteries that must be resolved along the way. Clues that cannot be unearthed in any other fashion.

Getting back to grandma
When I recount the strange dream to my parents the next morning at the breakfast table, they find it oddly entertaining.

“Now doesn’t that sound just like your mom,” my mother tells my father, giving him a strange look. She turns to me and adds, “Your grandma was always asking her granddaughters if they had a boyfriend. She loved soap operas and romance. If she were here right now, that’s exactly what she would ask you.”

Their acceptance lends validity to the visit.

Many years pass, and I dream of grandma again. This time, she hands me an antique movie camera and has me peer through the lens to see still photos strung together of other long-dead relatives. She has a message, too.

But that’s a story for another day…nothing like a good cliff hanger, right?

I’d like to think grandma with her love of soap operas would approve.

Note:  Enjoying these posts? Did you know you can be notified when they are published and read them in an email each week? Just enter your email address to the right to subscribe.

© 2021

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑