About a year ago I was coming home from a friend’s place. It was only about 8PM but it was a very dark, wet night. I usually enter my house from the laneway that leads to my back gate. It’s a nice little shortcut. There are streetlights peppered throughout the lane but on this particular night the streetlight nearest my gate was out. I didn’t think anything of it at the time even though I heard someone singing in the distance. It was a drifting, lilting kind of song that could have been a lullaby. It didn’t bother me at the time,  I just figured that someone was walking home singing to themselves.

I have heard the singing several times since then. Sometimes when I’ve been in the laneway and sometimes when I’ve been in the garden. It is a woman’s voice. It is lonely. It is bloodless. It is not a humming song but there are no words, merely intonations and nuances.

Whenever I hear the song I usually say to myself: That woman is walking home singing again, except that a few weeks ago I decided to check to see who this mysterious wandering balladeer is.

I was putting out the recycling. The full moon was high in the sky, dressing the garden like a lace tablecloth. The streetlight once again was out. Further down the lane I heard it. The singing. I peered into the dark but it was hard to see; the moon distorted the shadows on the ground, throwing strange orbs of light around.

So I ran. Towards the sound of the voice. Like some kind of madwoman. And suddenly it was upon me, there and gone at the same time. Passionless but intense.

There was no one there.

I checked all of the houses for music or sad singing occupants but everyone seemed to be tucked up in their beds. There was no one there at all.

Suddenly, I got a little spooked and ran back to the house.

My heart was racing and I felt an inexplicable dread. For a couple of weeks I avoided going into the laneway or garden at night.

Last night I realised Nick had left his school shoes out on the back porch. I didn’t want them to get damp so I ventured out to get them. It was well after midnight. The night was opaque. The trees in the garden were painted black.

I heard the singing again. It was a lamentation. It reminded me of that scene from the film version of Wuthering Heights where Merle Oberon is calling out Heathcliff on the moors. It was plaintive, heartrending. A little unsettling. And like most spirited experiences seemed near and faraway at the same time.

Looks like I have a local singing ghost.

9 thoughts on “SPIRITED

  1. Oh wow, that’s wonderful! (I think.) I had a ghost once and once I got used to the idea it was kind of nice. I’m sure yours will continue to mind her own singing business.

    Nevertheless, this was beautifully written Selma.


  2. The way you tell the story Selma, “The full moon was high in the sky, dressing the garden like a lace tablecloth.” it creates the perfect mood! I felt like I was there, listening to her song.
    Well, she sings when it’s dark so I suppose she is harmless 🙂 And you get to listed to someone with a nice voice every now and then… Never had a ghost myself, but if I did, I’d like her to tell me stories… 🙂


  3. Ooooh freaky!

    And another one who loves “The full moon was high in the sky, dressing the garden like a lace tablecloth.” Stunning image.


  4. Put me on the list of those who love the full moon segment. As for your singer… wow, lucky. We have one who stomps, a woman who wears strong perfume, and various guardians outside the home. The one in the bathroom makes me nervous (it’s behind the mirror. I refuse to even look toward the mirror at night when the lights are off. No, not kidding…)

    I wonder if you could dig up some history on your neighborhood, maybe find out who your singer is (was) and why she sings.


    It is a little unnerving but exciting, nonetheless. I am going to try not to be scared and just enjoy her appearances.

    Hi LUA:
    You have just hit on the perfect idea for a story. A ghost that does a writer’s writing for her. That is fabulous. Such a good idea!

    Hi LIBBY:
    I can see her singing anything folky.Maybe even a little light jazz….

    Hi MELEAH:
    I thought of you while I was writing this and hoped you wouldn’t be too freaked out. I will admit to being a little freaked out myself. Yikes!

    I can’t see a singing ghost being too sinister. Unless she is trying to enchant everyone. You just never know…..

    Hi DAOINE:
    You and Lua are lovely to say that. I often think that the full moon dresses the garden. 😀

    Hi KAREN:
    I am freaking out about your ghost behind the mirror. I would be wetting myself because there is a lot of mythology about mirrors and ghosts who inhabit them being able to change a person’s fate and stuff. OMG. Karen. I am going to burn some sage for you….

    Hi HILLY:
    Can you believe it? It’s kind of nice. Better than thumping and groaning, that’s for sure!


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