An Accidental Haunting

An Accidental Haunting-By Debbi Decker

I have often wondered what it would be like to be a ghost. What would I do, who would I haunt? I suppose it would depend upon how I left this mortal coil. Sometimes I think I would like to hang around, maybe play practical jokes on my loved ones. But what if that were not the case? What if I were caught in some kind of time warp, where I would be doomed to repeat things over and over?

There is a type of ghostly activity called a residual haunting. The ghosts re-enact the same events repeatedly. Think of it like a taped show that you watch or a song you play again and again. Examples of a residual haunting would be seeing Civil War soldiers marching on the anniversary of a battle in a particular area. Or the screams heard yearly in Hampton Court attributed to Catherine Howard as she was being dragged away to prison on the orders of Henry VIII.

Years ago, I used to travel to visit my mother in South Carolina every April 16th. I would get up in the wee hours and begin my journey. Flying down the road, my car windows would be open, and my music would be cranked to full blast. Rarely would there be anyone on the road with me, maybe a trucker or two, here and there.

I would pass this little farmhouse right around 4 A.M. every single year. The house would be completely dark, the inhabitants sound asleep. Imagine, being woken up each year at the same time to music. At first it comes softly, and then rises in volume, only to fade away again. The way the house was situated, the headlights on my car would not have been seen.

Years later, it crossed my mind that the people who lived in that house might have thought that they were the victims of a haunting! I imagined that they would wake up, confused, and a bit frightened. I could hear the conversation in my mind, something along the lines of “Pa, there’s that music again! Its April 16th and its come again! Same time too! I swear we got a ghost in here!”

I stopped my annual journeys some time ago. But, sometimes I remember the little farmhouse and I wonder, do they still listen for the music? Did they ever wait up and watch to see exactly what it was? In all likelihood, they probably never heard me pass by. Its fun to think that I could have been an accidental haunting and it sure gives me a chuckle to think about it.

Debbi Decker is proprietor of twistedpixelstudio Art & Assemblage Emporium. Check out her artist page to find links to her shop and blog to read more of her writings. Visit again next month for the telling of hauntings and ghostly tales by Debbi Decker.

A Matter of Perception.

A Matter of Perception.-By Debbi Decker

You walk into a room where a conversation is taking place about a recent ghost sighting. On the table there are several pictures, and your eyes immediately lock onto an old, creased and frayed picture of a woman taken during the early 1920s. You think to yourself, that’s the ghost she must be talking about.

But wait. As the story unfolds, you realize that the conversation is centered on another picture. A picture of a young man taken in the past year. A young man who passed away just a few months ago. The details are blurry, and really, you are not listening now to any of the conversation because your mind is adjusting to the shock of the fact that the ghost is not that of the 1920s woman. That picture was simply on the table because the owner was working on a family album.

It’s a matter of perception. A matter of the brain processing details that stand out or are out of place in the current environment. A matter of preconceived notions of what should or should not be. Someone walking down the street in jeans and a cowboy hat is not going to startle you. But someone walking down the street in a pin-stripe suit and a bowler hat will give you pause. That person is out of context, out of the realm of what is perceived to be the present norm. A ghostly apparition? No. The person in the pin-stripe suit and bowler hat is on their way to a costume party. The person in jeans and a cowboy hat? That was the ghost. You might even have felt something off about that person as you passed them by. But, given the context of when and where you saw this apparition, and the modernity of the dress, you probably passed off the “something” you felt as a normal reaction. You don’t like cowboy hats. Maybe the jeans were not to your taste. You gave yourself normal explanations for the fact that you felt that “something”.

Ghosts are not always see-through apparitions, grey misty beings floating three feet off the floor and passing through walls. Ghosts can look just like you and me. We hear stories all the time of the recently passed coming to visit their relatives and loved ones. So, if those ghostly visits are given recognition and consideration, why not the possibility that at any time and in any place, you might just have walked by a ghost?

The next time you are out and about, and you feel a little tingle and the hair rises on your arms, take note. That little old lady you just passed by, walking her dog in that pretty flowered dress… Could it be?

Debbie Decker is proprietor of twistedpixelstudio Art & Assemblage Emporium. Check out her artist page to find links to her shop and blog to read more of her writings. Visit again next month for the telling of hauntings and ghostly tales by Debbie Decker.