Monday, March 7, 2011
Oh how I love being haunted
I was just in the dead man's room. When we moved in it smelled of dying. There were boxes of medical supplies still in there the day we came to view the house and we might as well have been viewing the body of the guy whose dying there made buying this house possible. Not all hauntings are mysterious or magical. Sometimes, spirits are just...there.
Okay, I don't know that he actually died here. But that room had a feeling. You know the feeling. That one where it seems someone else is still there. I have lived in houses like this before and I think that is why I love old houses so much. Growing up, I lived in a crumbling old Victorian with my mother and my sister. It was a magical place, this both my sister and I, who is twelve years older, can agree on. There were eves closets with secrets, a scary cellar with an old coal closet, a library with a fireplace, a sunroom with dust motes floating, lazy cats, and a wild garden. So much atmosphere, so much ambiance. I was the little one and because of this the most sensitive. There is a story. I don't remember if I told it first or if it was told to me later by someone else who remembered what I'd said. I complained of hearing the voices of men one morning, of seeing shadows cast against my curtains. They were mumbling, angry, I seem to remember. Maybe it is because I have re-lived this in DISTILLATION, or maybe it is because I just remember it. But, I know that there were no men. The question always was, whose voices were they? Were they real or imagined? This became one of the central legends of our old house. It became said that the house held the ghosts of men because men had trouble there. The house didn't like men. Perhaps this perception had to do with more terrestrial issues going on around me that I didn't understand. Perhaps not.
In any case, I love a good ghost story to this day. And it is not just an old house than can bring me to one. With ever passing season, I sense the movement of time and of souls. I feel the essence of life whirling around me and there are spirits in the air. Spirits of nature, spirits of the dead, spirits of life. Hope glides on a spring breeze, foreboding gathers in the dark clouds of winter, nostalgia grows in a cascade of orange autumn leaves, and summer, oh summer, that is the most full time of all. In the summer I sense a paradox - the fullness of life growing all the while cast the shadow of certain oncoming death. I love summer. Summer is all. Perhaps that is why I have chosen to set my own ghost story in the summer.
One way or the other, here's to be being haunted. Have you ever experienced a haunting?