Ghost Story

Cricket just keeps coming up with better and better prompts. One of the Slice of Life prompts this week is an unusual day.

Here is my story.

[Image – Ghost Story by Raetselleben from Deviant Art.]

When I was at High School in the late ’70s, early ’80s, an interest in the occult was big. Witches, black magic, curses, ghosts. We were all listening to Gothic music and dressing in velvet and lace. We talked about dancing under the moon at midnight and spells in the dusk but none of us really believed in it. It was a fad like troll dolls and bluebird necklaces, well, except for one of us.

I come from a very superstitious family. Some might say the Irish side of the family are superstitious for a reason. There have been hundreds of incidents of ghostly, supernatural sightings and goings on. I have always been susceptible to that kind of thing. I have experienced a lot of otherworldly moments, most of which have completely unnerved me. So I was not all that happy with the trend to be interested in the occult.

Susie Steinmark embraced the trend wholeheartedly, changing the spelling of her name to S-I-O-U-X-S-I-E so she could be more like her idol: Siouxsie Sioux from Souxsie and the Banshees. She had black nailpolish, fishnet stockings and Doc Martens which she wore to our strict Catholic school defiantly, almost giving Sister Benedicta, the Grooming and Deportment teacher an apoplexy.

It was Susie Steinmark who organised the seance in the old, abandoned warehouse by the beach. I didn’t want to go. I really didn’t want to go, but Susie talked me into it.

None of the windows in the warehouse contained any glass. The floor was spotted with pigeon droppings. Dry, petulant weeds had thrust themselves through the cracks. I could see the sea but it looked cold and forbidding. There were storm clouds clumped at the horizon. A fishing boat teetered on the edge of the enormous waves beginning to form.

I saw her straight away. The girl. She looked at me and smiled that crooked, knowing smile I have seen many times since when encountering people no longer of this world, spirits. ‘Shit,’ I thought. ‘Shit. Shit. Shit.’ I wanted to go home straight away.

Susie had found one of those old wooden cable reels, a huge thing, which she made us sit around. There was graffiti all over the walls. Different from today. Not the hip hop tagging style, simpler stuff like Joey 4 Jennie and Bill woz here. And typical Aussie stuff – Darren is a poof and Steve is a dick. I tried to distract myself by reading the graffiti but it was no good. I was spooked.

Susie lit candles. The four other girls we were with started to giggle. ‘We should have brought some Passion Pop,’ one of them said. Passion Pop was a popular passionfruit flavoured alcoholic drink of the day, which I later discovered was very good for removing oil from driveways.

‘I cannot contact the spirits when I’m drunk,’ Susie said. ‘My mind needs to be clear.’

We joined hands. The candles flickered. Susie closed her eyes and moaned, throwing back her head. The fishing boat sounded its horn. Everybody screamed.

‘Cut it out,’ Susie was annoyed. ‘I have to concentrate. Close your eyes.’

Dutifully, we closed our eyes. There was a shuffling on the floor, so slight a movement that it could have been mistaken for the clearing of a throat. I could hear the sea unwinding in one breath, slamming against the shore. I opened my eyes.

There was a stain on the floor, the kind soot leaves when it has been left to harden. Susie was moaning and shaking her head from side to side. The girl stood right beside her.

There is a misconception about ghosts. That they appear like mist. Actually, they appear corporeal, like humans, that’s why we can see them, but there is a light which emanates from them, an aspect to them, that is not human.

The girl was looking straight at me. She was angry we had disturbed her, I could tell. She thought we were foolish to mess with things we didn’t understand. I was inclined to agree with her.

The girl put her hand in the middle of the cable reel. It jolted slightly. Everyone opened their eyes. I couldn’t be sure but I thought Susie saw the girl because her face turned a sickly shade of white. ‘The seance is over,’ she said. ‘It’s time to go.’ The girl stood beside her, pointing to the door. The light from the candles surrounded her like a halo. She was there but not there. I felt sick.

‘We have to get out of here now,’ I cried. ‘Now.’

The other girls caught the string of my panic and they ran, screaming, knocking over candles and sliding on roughened, chipped floors. Susie grabbed my arm, looked me straight in the eye with a pleading, terrified face, and I knew she had seen the girl.

We ran, our hearts battering our chests, praying the girl wouldn’t follow. I paused as we reached the pathway that led to the street and safety, and looked back. There she was. The girl. Looking out the very window I had looked. Straight out to sea.

The wind whipped my hair around my head. Salt spray and sand stung my eyes. I wiped my eyes on my T-shirt, blinking in the twilight. When I turned back to look once more, the girl was gone.

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27 thoughts on “Ghost Story

  1. LINDA – the Troll dolls were a classic, weren’t they? Do you remember you used to be able to get little outfits for them? I had a biker and a nurse. I wish I had kept them now, they’d probably be worth a fortune!

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  2. There is no way you would have got me in that warehouse. I’m a chicken from way back.

    When I was in High School a lot of kids used to go to this abandoned chapel with a cemetary out the back. It was creepy enough in broad daylight. They were always telling tales of seeing ghosts in the graveyard but I never knew for sure and didn’t care to find out.

    Wonderful story telling as always Selma 🙂

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  3. Um… Wow!

    I have an extra resident in my house, she’s been here for as long as I can remember. Every so often, she’ll play some tricks or do something to try to scare me, or just make me notice her. I’ll smile and say “hello” so she knows she’s not been forgotten.

    My mother says she’s the daughter of the guy who built the house. We don’t believe she died here, but she may have liked it enough to come back.

    But I don’t get to see her very well, just glimpses and shadows, but I can feel her, so I know it’s not my eyes playing tricks.

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  4. Well isn’t that strange – I was just about to write my own ghost story when I happend to check in and see what’s new around here. Anyway, I guess I can say that I don’t believe or disbelieve in ghosts. There are things that are beyond our understanding. As Ozzy Osbourne sings, “There are things that you should not know”.

    Very interesting indeed.

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  5. Gave me goosebumps… My adopted mom used to tell me if you felt a shiver – the kind that makes you try to shake it off and there is no cold air to explain the shiver – it means a ghost just walked through your body. She definitely spooked me with that one!

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  6. You just cracked me up with this deadpan observation: “Passion Pop was a popular passionfruit flavoured alcoholic drink of the day, which I later discovered was very good for removing oil from driveways.” in the middle of a ghost story. I love it. Still giggling. 🙂

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  7. BRITT – that is one of the moments in my life where I have almost wet myself. Literally. I try to stay away from the occult at all times.

    INGRID – I didn’t sleep for weeks after that!

    GYPSY – I am a chicken too. Even though I’ve seen a few things here and there I am still very cowardly when it comes to spirits. And graveyards – forget it.

    KAREN – the little glimpses are freaky. I know because the house I lived in 6 years ago was haunted and everybody saw the ghost. One day I’ll have to write a post about that but I’ll have to steel myself because it still freaks me out a little.

    RWHACKMAN – that is a strange coincidence. I agree with you, there are definitely things we shouldn’t know……

    TBALL – oh yeah, some of those old superstitions are quite scary. I’d rather think about lollipops and rainbows and girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes. Ha ha. Still, that superstition you just mentioned is a good starting point for a piece of fiction. Now you’ve given me an idea….

    NAT – I am too but actually prefer not to be an active participant in the tale. I am far too much of a wimp.

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  8. DAOINE – hey, you know me, just can’t pass up an opportunity to slip in a gag. And it kind of fits : deadpan -ghosts. Hahaha. I also believe Passion Pop is quite good for cleaning jewellery. I can only imagine what it did to our insides. Aaaah, those were the days, sipping Passion Pop and creme de menthe at midnight thinking we were all grown up. Good times!

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  9. This gave me shivers Selma! I have been haunted before, and although it wasn’t as bad as some people would think, it was a relief to move! I wonder what she wanted?

    Yeah – I don’t mess with that stuff! Even reading about it gives me chills…

    I’ve been thinking about joining the slice of life prompt – I like the idea of the prompt purposely being a part of your life. Can anyone play?

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  10. TEXASBLU – I would love it if you would join in Slice Of Life. I know that Cricket would be delighted. Please give it a try. I have found it to be a lot of fun. The prompts are really good. Hope to see you there!

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  11. I wonder if that Passion Pop contained grain alcohol. It sounds suspiciously like the “punch” we would make in high school.

    Love the seance story. I was really drawn to supernatural, ghosty type things pretty much through my early twenties. But more in a “how much can I spook myself” way. Though I never had the guts to participate in a seance or play w/a ouiji board.

    Now I believe wholeheartedly that such things exist, but I’m more empowered in terms of being afraid. That said, I’m a huge proponent of white light and a raised vibration when things feel dicey. 🙂

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  12. I must say I never held much stock in ghosts. However, this story coming from you has given me pause to reconsider. This scared the begibbers out of me!

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  13. HEATHER – I freak myself out, dude. To the max!

    HOLLY – I’m not sure what the Passion Pop contained. I wouldn’t be surprised if it did contain grain alcohol. For the most part otherworldly experiences empower me too but occasionally I get a little stab of fear. I don’t know why. I think I really need to look into it further.

    CRICKET – sorry to scare you, but I guess that was my objective in a way. I can tell you one thing though, it was much scarier being there. I hope I don’t have to go through that again any time soon!

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  14. i just don’t understand why i have never seen a a ghost.. i want to ,, i would be overjoyed to.. i have coaxed and prodded,, i currently live in a house that a man lied dead on the bedroom floor for three weeks before he was discovered… and nothing.. not a damn thing…

    this was a great story,, and i am ever so jealous…..

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  15. PAISLEY – you are a character. I can just imagine you enjoying living in a haunted house. The poems and stories you would produce would be astounding (Not that they aren’t currently astounding). I hope that one day you have an encounter with the spirits.

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  16. I love hearing about real ghost stories and aparations. I think it is interesting, and Paisley, maybe you can’t see the person who died at that house for two different reasons: 1.) Your not the one meant to help him: or 2.) The person had no unfinished business in these world.
    Keep writing people,, It’s great reading your stories.

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  17. Hi FREAKSHOW:
    I am so grateful you stopped by and read it. It was a scary moment.

    Hi MCKENZIE:
    The pic is FAB, isn’t it? There are some amazing photographers out there!

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