Thursday, October 30, 2008
Ghost Stories, Pt. I
I've been in contact with ghosts all my life. Go ahead and be skeptical, shake your head, decide I'm a few chips short of a fish dinner, whatever you want. It's Halloween, (well tomorrow) so I'm going to tell some ghost stories. Trick or treat? Oh yeah!
The basement of the house where I grew up was haunted. It's likely that the ghosts down there would have minded their own business, except that my family inadvertently encouraged the hauntings. Almost every time we went down to the basement, we interacted with the ghosts. Of course we didn't think about it that way, but in retrospect I see how we beckoned them, by almost everything we did, to come closer to our reality. And it wasn't the good ghosts we encouraged, oh no. We called in every creepy psycho ghost, just because we didn't know what we were doing.
The kids in the neighborhood got into it, too. I think especially of my friend Dell (still a friend to this day, I should add) with whom we sat around the Ouiji* board for hours, just asking for trouble. We covered the windows, lit candles, held hands and asked the spirits to join us. What were we thinking?
One of our favorite games was Covered Wagon. We layered blankets across the ping pong table, then crawled underneath where we pretended we were traveling across the prairies. Our take on the journey was that it was quite grueling. In fact at one point we made a life-sized poppet, dressed in our clothing, that represented one of us who had died. At first it was fun to travel with the corpse, lamenting her sad death, but eventually it got really scary. I'm certain some ghost or another ensouled the poppet, just to frighten us. "Bad" ghosts really love giving us a scare, who knows why?
After awhile we had to dismantle the poppet since it creeped us out so intensely. What, or who, did we invoke? Guess I'll never know. It was quite a macabre game, when I think about it now. Traveling with a corpse? Yikes. We must all have had past lifetimes from that era.
Did we learn our lesson about poppets? Uh .. no. One year at Halloween we made a full sized coffin out of black corrugated cardboard, and laid a man-sized poppet inside it. That poppet was even scary when it wasn't in the basement. We set it up in Dell's house, put it in funny positions and everything, yet still it scared us.
One summer, we created a split-stage theater in the basement. One of our favorite plays, written by my sister Deborah, was about a poltergeist. For heaven's sake.
Looking back on it now, I'm sure the ghosts were highly entertained by our interest in them and in all things metaphysical. That basement was so creepy; in our innocence, we made it creepier. By the time my family vacated the house, the ghosts were so vivid that going down to the basement was truly terrifying. Life upstairs among the living beings wasn't so great either. I have no doubt that certain family members became possessed by spirits. I'm not blaming the ghosts for all of my family's tragedies, but ... if only we'd known what we were doing. If only.
Oh well. That was then. I know a lot more about ghosts now, including a very gentle ritual to help them cross over to a place of healing and renewal. Want to know how to do it? Part II tomorrow.
Sleep well and sweet dreams, ya'll!
*Ouiji boards invoke only the most demented spirits. If there's one in the back of your closet, I recommend that you ditch it immediately. Seriously. Ouija boards are bad news.