Ghosts and Shivers

What is it about a good ghost story we can’t resist ?

Yesterday I sat outside, reading ghost stories and shivering on my front step (the weather was more like late September than late July). Ridiculous? Absolutely, and yet inside, in the six-year-old house my husband and I literally built with our own two hands, I found myself looking around corners and swearing I saw something in the shadows.  And yet, I kept reading. Why?

I wonder if it’s that fact that not a lot of us can claim to have met a werewolf or vampire or other paranormal-type creature (if you can – share! and you must lead a much more interesting life than I!). Still, most of us know someone who’s had some kind of ghost/spirit/unexplained type experience, or we’ve even had them ourselves. Somehow this seems to make the possibility of someone else’s story all the more intriguing … and potentially, all the more belieavable. I was reading “More Ghost Stories of Alberta” by Barbara Smith, so ghost stories about my home province, and including places I’m very familiar with, which certainly helps to make them more “real.”

I found myself shivering (and not just from the ridiculous weather) over the mini-tale of a couple in Edmonton who were awakened very early by their alarm clock – a clock neither of them had set. That wasn’t nearly as strange as the little boy they spotted at the end of the bed, dressed in striped pajamas. He suddenly raced across the room and slammed the ringing alarm clock with such force, it broke. Then he gave them a smirking grin, and vanished.

Or what about the story told by a woman about her grandfather. As a young child, around the turn of the century, the grandfather lived on a farm, and one day found himself home alone, his parents out. Fire broke out in the home. Young and frightened, he didn’t know what to do, and thought maybe he should stay in the house and wait for his parents to come and rescue him. Then suddenly a beautiful woman appeared out of nowhere and told him to run. He did. And survived when his parents wouldn’t have been able to get back in time, and when the house burned completely to the ground – and would have taken him with it. No one ever saw the mysterious woman then or since.

Both are equally intriguing tales, though certainly one has a darker edge to it. How delicious to consider them as “seeds” for a future story. Or just appreciate them for what they are: unexplained stories as they stand.

What about you? Do you believe in ghosts? Do you have any of your own ghost or otherwise unexplained stories? Come on, share, you know you want to. 😉

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