Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ghosts and vampires and demons, oh my...

I like to use the supernatural in my writing for several reasons. First of all, they often symbolize some aspect of our humanity that needs addressing, and I'm not one to shy away from writing about social issues (even if it's subtlety done.) But also, who doesn't love a good scare?

Have you ever lived in a haunted house? I'm pretty sure I did. Let me give you some examples.

I grew up in an old old house that I honestly don't know the history of, other than to say that it was old. (Redundant, much?) Everything about it was dark and dusty and musty and creaky and clanky and it was about as creepy as a house can get. (This post is starting to sound like Dr. Seuss wrote it.) But, as a little girl, I really didn't know much about ghosts or hauntings or the like, and so there was really no reason why I should be afraid of things I wasn't even aware of.

And yet I was.

I was downright horrified to go to sleep at night. And when I did, oh the nightmares. I couldn't sleep with the lights off--heavens, no. And the experiences I did have kind of solidified the notion that there was something uniquely wrong with that house.

Experience one involved a few nights of waking up to find an old woman... haggard-looking, with silver-white, long, matted hair, glowing green eyes and a sinister smile, staring at me from the foot of my bed. I remember not knowing for sure if I was awake or asleep, but I must have been cognizant enough to cry, because my mother came running in and threw holy water at the bed for days after. Ah, Catholics. That seemed to do the trick, though. The old lady stopped coming.

Experience two came a few years later, when I lay awake (as usual) in bed, unable to fall asleep. It involved the loud old wooden steps that led upstairs, and the fact that someone was clearly walking up them. I assumed it was a family member, but when I listened for them to take to the hall or into a bedroom, nothing happened. In a house where every step was evident on those aged floor boards, that would have been impossible to miss. So, I was curious as to why they someone was just standing there at the top of the landing, and got out of bed to investigate. As you could probably surmise, no one was there.

Fast-forward to my adulthood, when my baby brother was a teenager and I was in my mid-twenties, living far away from home. My family no longer lived in that big empty house, but they still owned it, and it sat unocupied. My brother would often seek some alone time there, sneaking in to watch some T.V., and the story he told me about his very last trek to the place still freaks me out.

He was doing his thing, just chillin'... and some lovely voiced female called for him from what sounded like the top of the stairs. Now, a teenage guy being beckoned by a lovely sounding female would normally warrant a lot of excitement on his part, but these weren't normal circumstances. He said that he turned off that old black and white, and headed for the source of the sound... toward the stairs (I'm telling you, stairways are nothing but trouble.) He stood at the bottom, listening, and sure enough, the woman called him again. She called him by name, in fact, and told him to come up to his room.

Cue uber-justified freak out.

My brother tells me he ran the hell out of that joint, nearly unhinging the old back door in the process. And this from a kid who hardly spoke a peep to anyone, let alone told elaborate stories.

So, bearing all that in mind, what is his crazy older sister doing this spring? I'm going to investigate haunted sites with some paranormal researchers. That's right. I'm the idiot who's planning to look for ghosts on purpose when everyone else is running away from them. Kind of like a supernatural tornado chaser. BUT, it's research for my books, you see. (Plus, you know, I'm insatiably curious.) Wish me luck! I'll take pictures and write blogs and share the scary.

Thanks for reading!



Alby Mangroves said...

Yikes, I wonder what she had in store for your poor brother!
My sister loves to do tours of reported haunted places, I wish you luck; have fun and get lots of book material!

Jen said...

Hey, darlin'! I sure will have fun. And I'll share it with the class... :)