Late at night
When I’m standing in a darkened room
I can feel your eyes on me
Everything that I do
And I know that it’s true…
I know you’re haunting me
I know you’re haunting me
I can’t see you there
But I know you’re with me everywhere
I know you’re haunting me…
Thats all I remember of a (mediocre) song I wrote roughly thirty years ago, which makes me sound a lot older than I feel. It, of course, conflates the natural obsession with a loved one lost with the supernatural presence of things unseen. It doesn’t take a ghost to haunt us, the world is full of people and things and events that can serve that purpose just fine. The things that we carry past their time, the things that obsess us, the things, for good or ill, that mold us, those things are our ghosts, metaphorically speaking.
But are there literal ghosts out there, haunting folks, drifting down cold hallways, moaning like they’re having the saddest possible orgasm, posing for blobular, out-of-focus pictures?
When I was a kid, I had what some folks would deem an encounter with a ghost, though others would reckon it an alien visitation. Lying in my bed one night, curled under my blankets, I saw a strange light outside my window that spooked the hell out of me. Though the light faded, I still felt like there was a presence out there, a presence I wanted nothing to do with. So I rolled over to face the wall, putting my back to the window in an act of sheer denial. Nope. I didn’t see anything. I didn’t feel any sort of presence, that would just be crazy.
A minute or three passed. Then, my sense that something — someone — was there got a lot stronger. I became convinced it was in the room with me. I didn’t want to look, but I had to; denial only goes so far. So I peeked.
Something was at the foot of the bed, standing there. It was indistinct, but it was taller than most adults. And it was glowing in the darkness.
I wanted to scream for my father. But I knew with dread certainty that if I did, the thing would vanish before he got to my room, and he’d be pissed that I woke him. My father pissed off was an ugly thing. I also feared that once he went back to bed, the glowing figure would come back. And having it return seemed even more terrifying than it being there in the first place.
So I squeezed my eyes shut and turned back toward the wall. I would just continue to ignore it until it went away.
Then, somehow, it reached through my covers…and touched my right shin. What I felt seemed to be cold, hard, bone fingers, as if the thing were a skeleton.
I started, my heart pounding, but stayed in position, eyes tightly closed, face toward the wall.
The fingers, if that was what they were, withdrew.
And I lay there for what seemed hours, until I no longer sensed the thing. I looked, and it was gone.
I have no idea what it was, or even if it was just a particularly vivid nightmare. As an avowed skeptic, I try to think it was just that, but it has the weight of true memory and sometimes I acknowledge I believe something did visit me that night. Maybe.
Like I said: skeptic.
Once upon a time, such an encounter might have been seen as a visit from the fae. Now, as I mentioned earlier, there are many similar tales told by folks who think an extraterrestrial came to see them. My maternal grandmother told me it was my mother (who died when I was a baby) coming to see me. But would my mother have seemed so sinister, so terrifying, so horrible?
Had to be a dream.
I’ll return next Wednesday with the letter H. I hope you’ll stop by. I’m a writer and I post about a wide variety of non-alphabet-specific topics. Feel free to comment under my posts. If you want to subscribe to the blog, there’s a button in the sidebar.
Also, if you’re in the mood for ghostly doings, check out my story “Dead Folks,” available on Amazon for only 99 cents. What would you do if your town was mysteriously inundated with the corpses of historical figures?
For another fun ABC Wednesday post, visit the Carioca Witch here: Bringing Up Salamanders.