Friday, November 2, 2012

Anything Ghost Podclub

This week in podclub we listened to Anything Ghost Episode #164.  I was a little apprehensive about listening to two hours of ghost stories.  Here's how this usually goes...

Me: I don't really like ghost stories...

Whoever I'm with:  Oh really?  I don't either, but there was this one time...

Me: No I really don't like them and actually would rather not hear any because it will give me nightmares and me and my         healthy imagination spend way too much time alone in the dark.

Whoever I'm with:  Oh okay yeah I totally understand, they don't really scare me like that.  Except this one time that...

See how where this is going?  Apparently people love ghost stories.  I, on the other hand, spent over twenty years avoiding them at all costs because I knew I'd eventually have to do something at night by myself and every story I'd seen or heard would be there haunting me.  Under my bed, around the corner, the dog's howling next door, don't look out the window (why did I leave it open!), in the closet or bathroom, and I don't remember leaving the T.V. on (what was I thinking watching The Shining, just because its old doesn't mean it won't scare me).  I guess in a way I've been haunted most of my life by my own overactive imagination.  When commercials for scary movies come on, I turn my head like I'm a child, too young to see.  If it sounds scary I hit mute first or leave the room.  So I guess its strange that I love halloween so much...I think I celebrate the chance to play dress up and pretend.  I love other things about it too, like the decorations, and everything being a little strange and unexpected.  

When I got married it got worse for a few years.  I had to adjust to being alone at night a lot.  I remember waking up after a terrifying dream about my closet being haunted, alone, in the dark, I called Matthew crying, just to hear his voice and beg him to hurry home.  He calmed me down and somehow I got back to sleep.  Somewhere in my mid-twenties it got a little better.  I don't have nightmares as much, I don't have to close my eyes as soon as the last light is off and feel my way to bed, I don't have to avoid looking out dark windows (though I still get this shot of fright for a moment when I do).  I still avoid scary stories and will have nothing to do with scary movies, but now they don't stay with me as much when I do hear or see one.  This podcast started out by saying it was a special episode and the stories weren't required to be true.  As soon as he said that I lost most of the fear I'd been holding about it.  There were some that were good stories, but I'm going to agree with Jill here and say he is not a very good storyteller.  I was having a hard time imagining any of them, and that means I wasn't very scared of them.  It did make me think of a few of my own stories though.  I'll tell you about them but after years of trying not to think about it, lets hope it doesn't scare me again.

I was really young.  It probably started out like most nights where me and Rachael would fight over who had to get up and turn off the light.  One of us would have to brave the monsters under the bed that appear the second the light goes off.  It was usually me, and that might be why I was laying at the bottom of my bed with my head toward the door, facing the window.  It could also be that I was terrified of the window and things that could come through it so I moved away from it.  However it happened, I fell asleep on my back, facing the window.  At some point I was woken up by a tapping on my shoulder.  Like when someone is standing behind you trying to get your attention.  It woke me up slowly and I remember thinking the tapping was strange as I came out of whatever dream I was in.  When I opened my eyes everything slowed down.  It was round and had a face but no body, just a tail that went up to the ceiling and trailed out the closed window as if it had come through it.  It was over in seconds but I remember first fear and then anger along with all these thoughts going through my head of what it could be.  I tried to hit it but it just backed up out of reach.  I sat up and when I turned to look at it again, it was gone.  I think I spent the rest of the night in Rachael's bed (who despite what her journal might have you believe, still had her good moments)  she barely woke up and said I was probably just dreaming.  I told my mom the next day and she said she had come in to check on me that night and I had probably just seen her.  This did not help because it made me worry that she might be possessed.  It was so vivid and has stuck with me like nothing else ever has.  Yes it could have been a dream, but when I say that I feel like I'm lying to myself.  I've had vivid dreams before and like all the others they fade a little and that it was a dream becomes obvious once I'm no longer in it.  This didn't feel like that.  To this day if I see something shaped like what I saw that night, it terrifies me.  And I have seen them.  Its actually another reason I don't think it was a dream.  I've seen them in things and I know there's no way I could have seen anything like that at a time in my life when I was barely allowed to watch any T.V. or listen to unauthorized music.  Here's a picture of the one that took me the most off guard.  It was in Guitar Hero on all the songs by Tool.  I couldn't play or watch any of them being played.  Its the closest ones I've seen so far, I think because of the tail.

The next story is probably more my overactive imagination but it did stick with me for years and caused many painful full bladders to wait till the sun came up.  I was a little older but still sharing a room.  At some point I heard some stories about kids getting kidnapped, and one in particular where a person woke up to find a stranger sitting next to their bed watching them sleep.  I started to worry about being taken in the night, or coming upon an intruder alone on my way through the house in the dark.  One night I was on my way to the bathroom and saw a shadow move from the stairs to the kitchen.  It looked like a person, and stopped me cold in my tracks.  I don't remember how long I stood there waiting for more movement but nothing else happened.  I was convinced it was a person though and I think I even woke up one of my parents (I don't remember which) and of course they found nothing.  I think it probably was nothing, but at the time I was convinced that it was someone who had broken in and probably just escaped through the sliding glass door in the kitchen.  I thought if it wasn't a person it had to be a ghost because of the shape and then it just disappeared.  Either way I could barely bring myself to go to the bathroom at night for months.

Okay last one.  This is why I don't like looking out windows at night.  When I met matthew we had a conversation that went a lot like the one at the beginning of this post.  I told him I didn't want to hear any ghost stories and he proceeded to tell me the church he was currently living in was haunted and then told me all the stories that went along with that.  None of them bothered me nearly as much as the last thing he told me.  He was being followed by something.  It looked like a man wearing a black trench coat and black hat.  All he could see of its face was its red glowing eyes.  I told him it was not funny to scare me, but he was dead serious.  He told me countless times that he had looked through a window at night only to see the man looking back at him, only to disappear moments later.  It had been going on for years, but seemed to happen less and less and I don't think its happened since we got married.  He claimed he wasn't afraid of it, maybe the fact that just my imagining it might happen to me scared me half to death, and made me avoid windows at night when I was alone was enough and it felt like it had accomplished its goal...I still think about it at night if i want to look outside, but it doesn't stop me anymore.  

So those are the things that haunt me at night.  I'm glad I'm not as scared as I used to be (it took long enough).  I still have an overactive imagination but I guess I've had enough practice at calming myself down now that it actually works.  

P.S.  If your looking for a great ghost story thats only the perfect amount of scary, go listen to Neil Gaimen's audiobook of "The Graveyard Book".  He reads it himself, and he knows how to tell a story.  


  1. you have no idea how freaked out i am right now leah. you just became one of those people you don't like..."i don't like ghost stories either except this one time when a GHOST WAS IN THE ROOM WITH ME and my sister was there too!!"

    i could joke around but i'm seriously scared. and i am alone all the time. in an old hotel built in the 30's in Hollywood. with creaky stairs and a tiny elevator. nice. thanks a lot! i'm going to badmouth you in my journal now...

  2. This is now many days later but I keep thinking about your're a good story teller. I vote that other guy out and you in.