Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Trick Or Treat

Boo to you, and a Happy Halloween too --

On the way back from Universal Studios Hollywood Horror Nights we started talking about ghosts and so I figured that today would be a good day to tell a few tales of ghostly things that have happened to me, or around me. So find a log, sit around the fire, and listen closely, for every word is the truth. Promise.

For my first story, I take you back to Chula Vista, on a dark and stormy afternoon, roughly 28 years ago.
My Mom and I had just returned from the store and she told me to take our jackets and put them on her bed. I walked into her room and placed them on the bed, right next to the lady who was sitting on its edge. I dont recall saying a word to her, nor being surprised by her being there, nor noting how odd it was that her appearance was slightly transparent... slightly... ghostly. Though, at the time, I probably didnt have a clue what a ghost even was.
She patted the bed beside her, telling me to sit down. Being a child without fear, I did just as she asked. Most of the encounter I can recall vividly, but our conversation is one aspect I cant remember that well, I just have a vague remembrance of what we talked about. She was very nice, very friendly, and her questions were about how I was doing and how my Mom was. I answered the best I could, and she seemed happy. In fact, she seemed happy just to see me.
My Mother heard us talking and came into the room to see who I was conversing with since the apartment should have been empty. I pointed to the lady sitting next to me, only to see that she had vanished. My Mom started to get worried and looked under the bed, then the closet, then the bathroom. Unable to find the woman, she picked up the phone to call the cops. She asked me what the woman looked like and I described her and what she was wearing. My Mom slowly put down the phone and told me a little story.
Years before I was born, in Norwich, Connecticut, a woman died. This woman looked exactly like the woman I had just talked to. The outfit I had described her wearing was the same clothes she was buried in. My Mom knew this woman very well, it was her Mother. Yes, I just had a conversation with the Grandmother I never knew. And the theory goes that since I was the only grandkid she didnt know before she died, she wanted to see me just once.
There are many things about this experience that I cant wrap my mind around. For starters, ghosts really do exist. No, I cant prove it, nor will I even try to convince you. But for me, they exist and they bring with them many questions. Like why do they exist? Does this prove Heaven exists too? Or Purgatory? Or... some other place entirely? And she died in Connecticut, yet she shows up in Chula Vista, 3000 miles away. And not just in the city I live, but the apartment too. So somehow she knew where to find me. And is she still watching? And who else is watching? And why havent they shown themselves? Theres just an endless string of unanswerable questions. Maybe one day Ill find out. One day in the very distant future.

Our next series of tales - some of them a mere sentence or two - concern the place I work at and it status of being haunted. Unlike others, I have not seen the ghost myself, but on a couple occasions I did have some unexplained things happen to me or in my presence. Read on...

Its not normally my responsibility, but on a few occasions Ive had the opportunity of escorting new employees around the store for a little guided tour. During one of these tours, we were in the back stockroom and one of the guys said to me "Who was that lady?" I didnt see whom he was talking about, but I knew and so I played along.
"What lady?"
"The lady in white that just went down that aisle."
"A lady in white?"
"Yeah, she wasnt dressed like she worked here, but she went down there."
"Ok, lets go see." (Upon getting to the aisle she went down, we see its empty)
"I swear I saw her go down here."
At this point, with the rest of the group looking scared or thinking that the guy is crazy, I told them about the ghost and how were supposedly haunted. And how this wasnt the first time a new employee, not knowing we had a ghost, had seen her.

During one overnight shift, the team I was working with was in the back corner of the store when we all heard someone scream from the other side of the store. We took a quick head count and realized that we were all accounted for and that it was impossible for any of us to be the cause of it. Some worried looks were exchanged between all of us and I volunteered to head toward where the scream came from. I wish I could say I saw something scary, but from what I could tell, nobody was there.

We have a machine at work called the Wave. Its a car of sorts that you can drive around and use to raise yourself up to the ceiling. It has numerous safety features including sensors on the floor that both feet MUST be on or the Wave goes nowhere. You also MUST have at least one hand on the controls or you go nowhere. Thats three points that must be recognized by the Wave for it to even move.
Soon after we got the Wave in the store I was in the back room and I was raised about halfway up to the ceiling. I was facing in the direction of a "bridge" in the back, but was stopped and not moving. All of a sudden, the Wave takes off straight for it. Im frantically trying to get it to stop, but nothing is working. Not even the emergency break. I realize that if I continue to stand up Im going to crash chest high into the bridge, so I duck down and get ready for the impact of metal on metal. Then the Wave stops. I look up to see where Im at and Im literally about two inches away from the bridge. All I could do was shake my head and I actually said out loud, "Ok, you finally got me."

Friday the 13th, about five years ago. Again, Im on the Wave, but this time at the front, as high as I can go, hanging signs on the ceiling. What I needed to do was just out of my reach so I stood on the rails that are about six inches of of the platform floor. So Im not even touching any part of the floor sensors. I also have both of my hands in the air as I hang the sign and so I dont even have one hand on the controls. Remember, you need both feet and at least one hand to move, and I have none of the above. But the Wave decides it wants to do circles all by itself. So there I am, high in the air, spinning around, and I have no control of whats going on. I look down at the girl who was stocking nearby and tell her to look whats happening. I found the situation funny, she got freaked.

One night we came in to work and saw the whole cleaning crew sitting at the front of the store. Our boss asked why everyone was there and they said that they couldnt work anymore cuz the ghost wouldnt leave them alone. Apparently she kept throwing things off the shelves. Some of the cleaning crew never came back.

One of the bosses refuses to believe that the store is haunted, despite numerous people saying otherwise. He would always say "Its not haunted until I see it for myself." One night were on the floor and hes standing right next to me along with a couple other people when we all hear a scream. Just like before, everyone is accounted for. I look at my boss and say "So, still believe were not haunted?" Hes never said no again.

The night before the PS2 was released a bunch of people camped outside the store overnight. I was there and by coincidence the girls next to me were coworkers. It was a bit after midnight and they wanted to tell ghost stories. So I asked if they knew we were haunted and they didnt believe me so I started telling them some of the tales I just told you. When I was done there was nervous laughter and one girl said "Theres no such thing as ghosts" and just as she finished saying that, every light in the parking lot blew out. They screamed so loud and got this look on their face like... well, like they had seen a ghost.

Anywho. Thats all for now and since the fire is starting to burn out, its time to gather your things and head for your tent. Oh, if you see a ghostly lady in there, say hi for me.

Til next time...

-- DBW --

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