Tag: spirits

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

That time a ghost followed me home from school

imageGhosts 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.

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.


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