Monday, August 1, 2016

Some Things Are Better Left Untried - Except Maybe One

In spite of all my years of reading books about ghosts, writing them, interviewing people with stories to tell, collecting tales from people who stop by my desk at author signings, I have never once in my life participated in a seance. Not even at a pajama party.

Some of the stories I've collected have been from people who have attended at least one seance. Like the story I heard where a group of girls were listening as one talked about a dead firefighter and then the candle in the middle of the table, the only light in the dark room, extinguished itself and fell over. The room was filled with darkness and fear and screaming girls, and I don't blame them.

(Note: several of the ghost stories I've been told are about dead firefighters: I wonder why that is?)

In all my years of reading books and collecting stories about scary urban (or not) legends, I've never tried any of them. I'm not close enough to any of the railroad crossings where you can park your car across the tracks in the dead of night and have it pushed out of harm's way. If the car has been sprinkled with baby powder or flour, you can see the hand prints of the ghostly children who have saved both your life and your car, the reason being that these unfortunate children were killed in a school bus that stalled out while crossing the same train tracks. I think I've read of two different railroad crossings that boast this particular phenomenon but I don't live near either of them.

I have never tried going into a dark bathroom and saying "Bloody Mary" or the alternative "I believe in Bloody Mary" three times while looking into the mirror to have her appear and scratch out my eyes. I do know someone who tried it and stopped immediately after saying it twice - after she noticed an image showing up in the mirror as she looked into it. (And it was too dark to see her own reflection.)

I have never tried -and this is probably the one thing I want to do- looking for the ghost lights in Marfa, Texas or Chapel Hill, Tennessee or Brown Mountain, North Carolina or the Upper Peninsula, Michigan. But I would. I have a friend who went up to see the lights in Michigan. She told me it was colder than all get-out and that she saw them at around one o'clock in the morning so she was both tired and freezing. But she also said that it was well worth it, because in that part of the UP, as they call it, you are in the middle of nowhere. Just you and a road and the dark and these unexplained lights. And the lights move. They gave her chills that were unrelated to the air temperature. And in the Upper Peninsula, like everywhere else this happens, no one can quite explain the lights. Swamp gas doesn't cut it in a place like Michigan in winter, and distant headlights from cars or even trains don't make sense; the lights have been reported since before cars were invented or the railroads were in place. Some of these locations are nowhere near railroad tracks anyway.

Yes, I would go do that.

But a seance? No way. They are too much like the Ouija board to me: you never know you who might be connecting with.

And Bloody Mary? Ditto. I already worry about seeing someone else in a mirror with me. I don't need anything nasty popping up and then scratching out my eyes. I'm waaaayyyyy too chicken to try that.

But the lights -  now, those I would try going to see, in any of the above places if I happen to be there at some point. They sound fascinating. The pictures I've seen have been a little unnerving-but in a good way, somehow- and seeing the lights would be an experience I could add to my memory card catalog. 

Anyone want to come along?

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