This is my first Apparition Blog entry. It’s all about ghosts – and the mysterious images, strange noises, and spooky feelings that go with them. I’ve always been interested in ghosts. Do they exist, and if so, what exactly are they? What do they want? And if they don’t really exist, why are ghost stories such a universal part of human culture, all over the world and since the earliest of times?
I’ve been writing supernatural thriller/romance stories about a reluctant clairvoyant teenage girl named Amelia who sees and talks to and sometimes hangs out with ghosts. Amelia is ‘reluctant’ because she doesn’t really relish the fact that she sees dead people. It’s scary, and disturbing, and even frustrating. Because she often feels they need her help, but it’s hard to tell how or why. The first book, APPARITION, is out in September, 2013, and its sequel, ABSOLUTION, comes out next Fall.
All Amelia knows is that, wherever there’s a ghost, something’s wrong. Usually something she’s got to try to figure out and fix. That makes life complicated and often dangerous. To make matters worse, her heart is torn between two boys in her life: Kip and Matthew. One of them is alive and one of them is dead but still in the picture, if you know what I mean.
Do you believe in ghosts? I’m not so sure myself. At least not when I’m downtown, walking along a busy sidewalk on a sunny day.
But alone in the country after sundown, in a secluded 158 year old stone farmhouse in Grey County, Ontario, set back a quarter mile from the road and hidden behind towering black walnut trees, well, that’s a different story.
It’s bedtime, and I head up the dimly lit staircase. I turn a hard right into my bedroom, careful not to glance to the left down the long hall toward with dark doorways that open onto three other empty bedrooms, for fear of what I might see. Like, for instance, a moving shadow in the corner of my eye. Or a portal into some ghoulish abyss.
This is when I have the creeping feeling that ghosts really do exist. In fact, I sense them filling up my bedroom as soon as I flick off my light switch. The souls of the dead surge in from hallway and surround me, crowd all around my bed, float overhead and lurk in corners behind furniture. I know they’re here because I can feel them.
That’s the problem with ghosts. There’s not much hard proof, just a cold, creepy feeling. But where does that feeling come from? Why is it so strong? It’s not like I’m making it up.
I’ve always suspected that people tend to see what they want to see, and believe what they want to believe. It’s a bit cynical, I know. For instance, I fear that for many people, ‘heaven’ is a very appealing concept, a celestial paradise that’s comforting in the face of death, but maybe, just maybe, a bit of wishful thinking too.
Ghosts are different. They’re not exactly part of a heavenly choir, offering comfort to us anxious mortals. More like the opposite. I think ghosts serve as a nasty reminder of our mortality, not an escape from it. And belief in them often arises not from wishful thinking but from raw personal experience, whether we want to believe or not. Whether we are reluctant, like Amelia, or not. And what good comes from thinking about our mortality? Well, because it might encourage us to live mortal life, for as long as it lasts, more fully, more deeply.
What about you? Have you ever experienced a ghost? How did it make you feel? I hope you’ll check in on my blog, and share your thoughts and stories too.