By Caryl Clem
When Halloween approached, I was one of the first kids to ask for a “ ghost story”. Kids succumbed to magical powers by a person or animal who acts like your long lost friend. I imagined myself outside the protection of my family. I became a moving target for evil forces: a fear that quenched exploration of the other side for years.
Later in college dorm life, peer majority exploring mystical forces opened the door to the Ouija Board. I sat huddled in my room with friends who wanted to invite spirits to guide us. A blessing was uttered to protect us against the evil spirits. My turn came, I asked to speak to the spirit of my birth father. I was adopted, had no idea who he was The message spelled out, PLANE DOWN. I had had dreams of him in a uniform. When cold air rushed through the room and almost detached my closet door from its’ hinges. Fear was like frostbite chasing my friend back to their rooms. I gave the board away. Today’s reflection, did it really happen? Over 50 years later a contact through Ancestry said my father was in the service but never came back to marry his girl. My birth mother went to a unwed mothers’ sanctuary.
Switching schools while attending college, I lived by a city cemetery. A new friend who lived across the driveway during an open window conversation one night said,” There is a rumor that a ghost appears above this headstone every year. Do you want to check it out. We can meet at 11:40 p.m. and walk there to see.” I have nothing else to do that night being too old to trick or treat. I reply, “ Let’s do it !”
I had never climbed over a gated fence before or felt so vulnerable. Getting out would be just as hard. It is near midnight on Halloween while a friend and I walk towards the gravestone. Glistening fear on my neck. Within a few minutes mist is swirling by the site turning into a gowned woman twirling. I had reacted, “ Let’s get out of here. “ I was running chased by a cool breeze. Once over the fence, I feel a sense of quiet and calm. I was too afraid to look back to see if the mist disappeared.
I lived in my Grandmother’s last residence built by an aging contractor who told my father, “ This is my last job.” I loved the quaint cottage style dwelling. I prayed for blessings as I moved in, young, ready for my life’s journey. My hairbrush traveled without my help. It could be resting on the kitchen counter, or on the stove , or in the refrigerator. It was part of a set that was parked on my vintage dresser. A ritual every morning, brush your hair to life. I often searched for the hairbrush mumbling, “ Thanks for watching over me, I need to brush my hair now.” Guided by an unknown force, I would find the hairbrush and carry on with my day.I live on this side but unexplained forces exist.
Put forth blessings for all of us facing the day in front of us, no matter what side you are on.