Thursday, December 01, 2011

Keeping it light first thing in the morning!

For years, Gigi has struggled with the existence of ghosts. She'd had several experiences (written about here) as a young toddler and fewer as a preschooler. By the time she'd started grade school, she had forgotten about these and ceased to have very many inexplicable events occur in her life.

Lately, however, I had been hearing more and more about ghosts around her school. The children in her class -- a few of them anyway -- actively exchanged stories about different sightings around the school ground. Gigi shared these with me, in no great detail amid tons of chatter, over the past couple of days.

It wasn't until this morning that a couple of things occurred to me. First, Gigi's pre-tween angst over whether or not ghosts existed was gone. While she used to beg me to tell her if they existed or not and I would always say that she had to figure it out for herself, now she herself believed. Secondly, while I had since the start of school dismissed Gigi's reports of ghosts on campus as simply school lore, I could not anymore.

As the morning sounds of our home began to wake us up, I found myself in the living room and Mimi stealing covers from me; Gigi, I noticed as I walked past her room, was not in bed; instead, I found her curled up beside her Daddy, frightened.

"What's the matter?" I asked.

"Gigi had a bad night."


"No, Mum, I saw a ghost."

"You did? Where? What do you mean?"

"In the mirror." The full-length mirror on her closet door is parallel to the bunkbeds that the girls share.

"What did it look like?"

"Like a head but without any skin or hair . . ."

"A skull." I gave her the word she needed.

"With a white hat."

"Oh, wow, that does sound like it would have been very frightening. But, you know, they won't hurt you."

Then, feeling a little safer, she went on to describe some events she -- and others at different times -- experienced at school. Some of the sightings sounded plausible -- the children could reasonably be thought to have had paranormal experiences. Others, like the sight of corpses in one of the washrooms, were just too far-fetched and even made the principal laugh.

"But, Mummy, I told you that I went into the washroom to wash my hands the other day and I was sure someone was in there using the bathroom because I could here them. Then, I realized that nobody was there."

I nodded.

"Another time, I saw a boy coming through the wall! In the girls' bathroom, out of the wall!"

"What do you mean?"

"He came through a crack."

I explained two things at this point. First, he would likely have thought she herself was a ghost as many of them do in my experience. Those that figure out you're not a ghost often ask for help or try to help you.

"So, if you and the boy are both afraid, does it make sense for either of you to be afraid?"

"No. . ." she agreed.

Secondly, he may have come through a wall because it's an old building. When he was around, there might have been a different layout of the rooms, etc. Buildings often get remodeled over time, especially schools.

"Oh," she said, seeming a little relieved.

Then, she started to sound frightened again.

"But, Mum, I saw a girl with blood all over her face. She was small and blonde."

"Oh, dear," I said. "That does sound pretty awful. But, you were in the washroom right?"

She nodded.

"Well, where do you go at school when you get hurt? To the washroom to get cleaned up, right?"

I believed her without reservation but I was trying to contextualize, to show how, without knowing the reason for a ghost's visit, the experience can be quite frightening.

Then, I tried something.

"You believe in ghosts now, don't you?"

She nodded slowly, seriously.

"Well, I grew up in haunted house . . ."

"You did?"

That's when I told her a few of the experiences that my family and I'd had.

"Mum . . . my school is haunted. I think some people died there."

What a way to start the day!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Canadian content

I have an enormous collection of ghost stories -- from eye-witness to classic fiction -- and, over the years, I have found myself unable to read as many as I was buying. So, the "to read" list is so very long. I've been thinking that I should tackle this soon.

Tonight, I am sitting down to read, Jeepers Creepers: Canadian Accounts of Weird Events and Experiences by John R. Colombo.