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.
Posted on August 22, 2013, in My Apparition and tagged Do you believe in ghosts?. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.
Hi Gail, I have just read Apparition. It’s on my Book Club list for this year and I have chosen to review it and to develop activities for a 2 hour period in the spring. I too have always ben curious about the supernatural. I too am Roman Catholic and believe in Saints and even devils and otter bad spirits. I had a Ouija Board as a child and became so frightened by what it was saying that I put it away for more than 50 years. I recently found it when de-cluttering our family home in Toronto and was afraid to touch it and especially to part with it. So it’s still stored away there. Now that I think of it, I may bring it to Vancouver for the Apparition Book Club presentation.
The Lost Boy of Paseo El Mirador Palm Springs CA
A number of years ago I was visiting my daughter and granddaughter at their home in Palm Springs California. The land was originally settled by the Agua Calliente (hot water because of the numerous hot springs) Tribe in the late 1800s. It was in the dark of the night. I was in a bedroom down the hall from my granddaughter’s room. My daughters room was at the other side of the house. I heard Stella stirring and then herd some small feet shuffling down the long hallway towards my room. I thought that Stella had woken up and was coming to join me in bed. I heard the shuffling in my room and then it stopped. Turning over to the side of the bed I faced a small boy child, of perhaps 3 or 4 years of age, looking at me from the side of the bed. He seemed to be disoriented or lost. He had straight black hair with bangs cut straight across his forehead above his eyebrows. He was wearing brown clothing. I was really frightened and turned around to the other side of the bed. Minutes later, I had the courage to turn around for a second look but he was gone. Thinking that in my drowsy state that it had been Stella, I got up to check and walked down the hall to her room. Stella is fair with light brown hair and she was fast asleep. where I found her fast asleep.
I have no explanation for what I saw that night. Nobody else who stayed at the house ever said anything about seeing a little lost boy. I did some research of the area to determine of there was an Agua Calliente burial ground on the property but didn’t come up with anything. I took this apparition very seriously and this is the first time that I have recounted the story in writing.
Wow, thanks for your note Margie. I’m thrilled that you will do a review of my book for your Book Club. Please remember to let me know when you do – maybe I’ll crash it!!
I have to admit that even though I don’t believe ghosts are any more “evil” than living human beings, I still really fear seeing one. Haven’t yet. But since writing Apparition I can’t stay overnight in our century farmhouse in the country by myself. I used to be able to, no problem, and it’s really inconvenient that I can’t (or at least won’t) do it anymore, but it’s just not worth the stress!
I know what you mean about the Ouija board!
My husband Michael, by the way, had a very similar experience to yours in a very old country house in England that he was visiting, with a figure appearing at the foot of his bed. The owners had so many problems with strange noises and apparitions that they had the house exorcised by a priest, and soon after they moved out. In general, Michael doesn’t believe in anything supernatural, but he says he saw what he saw, without explanation.
Hello again, Gail. Thanks for your response. I wish that you could come to the Book Club-but we live in Vancouver now. Maybe there is another way that we can connect re my presentation so that the Book Club members can ask you questions–perhaps through this BLOG.
I spooked myself out last night by researching haunted locations here in Vancouver. There’s a night tour of these haunted spots and I may go. However, I’m a bit nervous because I really don’t want to become some kind of a conduit to the spirit world.