Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How Ghosts Have Helped Me.

The night crept upon me like a shadow. The house was quiet and I felt the need to listen to ELO, a pop culture group that dates me but that I'm proud to say I knew well. I slipped away from my family and headed downstairs where my oldest brother's record player sat, crying out for me to spin a sheet of vinyl under its melodic needle.

I placed the album on the turnstile, gingerly avoiding discovery. If I had scratched any of my brother's albums, I would've surely died. I knew that. I had learned the hard way. I had the bruises to prove it.

Mr. Blue Sky started drumming hip quarter notes and I hid under big brother's bed, feet tucked into sticky cobwebs and my hands under my chin, basking in the glory of big bro's collection of soul food...music from the 70's and 80's. The room was dark of course; I had to keep a low profile less I be found out and quickly dragged outside where I'd receive a proper thumping.

Our home was a typical tri-level from the 70's. I lay at the bottom, the rear, the caboose, the small room in the basement on the backside with a convenient set of double doors that frequently allowed us boys to escape late in the night.

I was in keyboard heaven, loving the solitude, taking in the soul food.

My eyes adjusted to the darkness that filled the room and everything took on a navy-blue sheen.

Looking straight ahead, daydreaming, as usual, something caught my attention. The adjacent room had been vacant and black. No one had entered or exited for the twenty minutes or more that I had been down there...until the shadow moved.

I lifted my eyes to see a form step out of the darkness. A full bodied figure silently walked in front me looking forward and then abruptly turned to the right, staring down at me. There were no eyes, no face, no teeth glimmering in the moonlight. The figure was made of midnight and quiet as the morning. He took another step and his body faded into eternity.

I felt cold. My heart raced. I swallowed a lump of fear so thick I nearly choked.

The music continued, Mr. Blue Sky ended, followed by Turn to Stone, which I did. I shivered as if I had been dumped in a vat of ice. I waited to hear the figure call to me, to come back, but it didn't. It had already left my world.

I tried to make sense of what had happened. I tried to convince myself that it wasn't real. But I couldn't hide from the truth; I had seen a ghost. He appeared and vanished out of thin air, lost as it were between where he should've been and where I lay.

The realization scared the bejeepers out of me and I bolted out from under the bed, rounded the corner and raced upstairs where big brother and mom and dad sat in the living room watching a re-run of Three's Company.

I plopped down on the couch next to my mom. The color returned to my skin, but my heart continued throbbing under my ribs. I never told a soul until recently. And now you are one of the privileged few.
Looking back on that day, I've concluded that experiences like this make writing enjoyable for me. Understanding fear allows me to communicate what my characters feel and in some way, what I have felt during the creepiest of circumstances. I have a firm belief that what we see with our eyes is not all there is.

There's more to this life than living and dying. There's more to this life than laughing and crying. If you don't believe me, ask anyone who's had the privilege of tasting the afterlife. There's dark and there's light. When I die I want to see the light. I don't think eternal darkness and wandering would be all that enjoyable.

All to say, it's no wonder I've chosen to write about the supernatural. Doesn't everyone see dead people? They're everywhere.

Jeff Bennington
Author of Reunion & The Rumblin' 

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  1. I have seen a ghost also. But, I couldn't possible write about the experience like you just did. Gave me the chills.

  2. Mission accomplished! Thanks for reading, Kelly.

  3. I'm a believer :) Great post, Jeff. I love the way you write.

  4. Thanks LJ. I think it's important that I practice my writing style in my blog posts as well as my fiction. Although I'd say I added a bit of my silly side this time; I don't always do that, but should probably do it more. So glad you stopped by.

  5. I was in grade school when I saw my first. Scared the hell out of me! Threw the covers over my head and refused to get out of bed. Didn't know then that the old man living in the house before us died there. Not cool. I walk a fine line now. I've had the most AMAZING experience but in opening that door you leave yourself open for other things. Like you said, there is more to this world than most can see with the naked eye.


  6. Hi Debra, Thanks for sharing that. It kind of sounds like my Earl story from 2010, a post I wrote a few weeks ago. Come back sometime will ya?

  7. I read your story about Earl from 2010. What a shocker that would have been. They have a hotel down in San Diego, CA with a room like that that books up a year in advance, people who want to experience the haunting. No thanks. My experience was more personal. If I ever figure out how to get my blog up I may share some of it, I am undecided. I am following you on Twitter! :)


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