When I’m looking for something new to read, I often seem to gravitate to anything paranormal; stories with ghosts, or at least something supernatural, in them.
This post could be subtitled “Do you really need a ghost in every story you write?”
And the answer is, of course, the same one I give when asked if every good story needs a dragon … possibly not. But aren’t stories with ghosts and dragons often more fun!
Could something paranormal be stretching out to you ?
Have you lain awake at night and felt someone or something watching you? Walked into an empty room and seen flickers of black spots at the corners of your eyes? Felt an unexplained coldness cut to your core? There could be a perfectly sane scientific explanation. In fact various friends give me scientific explanations constantly! But could you have experienced something we don’t really understand? Could something supernatural be stretching out to reach you?
Do ghosts really exist?
I think they might.
My grandfather died when I was four years old. My parents thought me too young to go to his funeral and he was whisked away by adults who spoke in whispers and pushed me out of the bedroom in which he died. But I never forgot him, he taught me to read and cuddled me while I read haltingly from my Children’s Bible almost every evening.
Shortly after I started proper school, I must have been six or seven years old, I fought with my mother and ran away from home. It wasn’t a well-planned escape, I had no money and only the shorts and T-shirt I was wearing. At dusk I became disoriented and realised I was lost. I pressed myself into a smelly doorway and slumped to my knees. How would I ever get home? And what would my mother do to me when I did?
It felt hopeless. I had no idea which way to walk. Adults sped by, several older ladies tutted at me, as if unaccompanied children had no place in the street under the setting sun. But as I sat in that doorway I heard my grandfather’s voice calling me. I followed the sound to the end of the alleyway, then along the street and across the road. At the busy intersection I didn’t know what to do, until an elderly man crossed the road and turned into another street. As he disappeared around the corner, he lifted his cap and turned to smile at me. I sped after my grandfather; of course he wasn’t at the corner when I got there. But the road to my house was.
Had Grandpa come to help me get home?
My mother didn’t believe me, and boy was I in trouble for both running away and lying.
I remember her anger.
“How can you have seen him,” she said.
I’ll never forget her flushed face just inches from mine.
“I’ve never seen him. Not once. And God knows I’ve begged to hear from him.” Tears welled in her eyes.
I didn’t know what to do. It was a relief when I was sent to my room without any dinner.
At the time, I didn’t know what paranormal was or meant. I just knew Grandpa had helped me. I don’t know how I would have got home otherwise. I didn’t realise until I was much older that my mom wasn’t angry with me. She was desperately upset that she’d not seen her dad, and I thought I had.
I wish I’d been old enough to share the experience with her rather than flee from her distress.
How about you? Do you believe in ghosts?