Hallo all! Robert C Roman here to entertain you for an hour or so. It's Halloween, and that means it's time for all manner of scary things to come crawling out of the corners.
Today I'm going to treat you to an old favorite; a ghost story! Everyone I know has one hiding in a closet somewhere. They may believe it, they may think it's a hoax, or they may have a completely rational explanation for it, no matter how scary. For some it's personal, for some it's one they heard from someone else, and for some, me included, it's something that happened to someone in the family.
I remember it pretty clearly. It was a summer morning; school was out for the year. I was ten years old. My little sister came toddling down to breakfast; she was two and a half years old; just big enough to be walking and talking on her own. While I tried to scam more Count Chocula, she got Mom to pour her some Kix and crawled into her chair. Before she started eating, she announced to one and all that there had been a man in her room the night before talking to her.
Let me tell you, you've never seen panic until you've heard a toddler announce that there was a home invasion the night before, and everyone else slept through it. Mom got Dad, Dad scoured the house and checked all the locks for evidence that something had been tampered with. Eventually little sis described the intruder. He was tall (taller than Dad, at least), had curly hair, and was really 'square'. Now, neither my sister nor I are old enough for 'square' to be slang for us, and she was a little young for slang in any case. When pressed for more details, she also said he was 'glowy'.
Now, at some point I got the bright idea to show her pictures and see if any of them looked like the 'glowy' man. I tugged out the picture album…
Okay, for those of you too young to remember, pictures used to be stored in special books; kind of like scrapbooking, only with more organization and less scalloping along the edges.
…so I tugged out the picture album and started pointing to people. I was careful not to name any names and to make sure there was always a 'lineup', because I was a huge fan of Quincy, and that's how they did it on Quincy. Was the man a boy or a girl (a boy). Was the man old or young (several pictures put the age range at late middle age; fifty-ish). Was the man tall or short; shots of folks beside Dad clocked the guy in at solidly over six feet; maybe six four. Finally, when we hit the picture of one of my Uncles Sister says 'oh! Like him, only not him. The man was squarer.'
Now, that Uncle takes after his dad in a lot of ways, but there were no pictures of Grandpa when he was in his fifties in the album. In his forties, yeah, but not in his fifties, and he hadn't aged well. He looked quite a lot different. The pictures of him when he was younger than fifty were, well, 'not square enough', according to my sister.
Young sleuth that I was, I remembered an old photo that used to hang on the wall in my dad's office. It hadn't been up for at least four or five years, because the picture frame wouldn't stay put. Instead, it lived on a shelf about a foot from the ceiling, lying face down to keep dust off the photo. I only knew it was there because I might have been instrumental in making the picture frame non viable a number of years before that…
I admit nothing! You can't prove anything!
…at any rate, it took a footstool set on a folding chair for ten year old me to clamber up to the seven foot shelf and pull down the picture. Upon retrieving it, I showed it to my sister, who looked once at the picture, brightened up and said 'That's him! He was a nice man.' Except for one fact, that statement would have made the morning far calmer. I mean, little girl dreaming about Grandpa coming to visit in the middle of the night is no big, right?
Y'see, my sister had never seen that picture before. Nor had she ever met my grandfather. He died when I was two. Five years before my sister was born.
What's your ghost story? Tell me in the comments! One lucky commenter will not only win a copy of my newest eBook, 'What Not to Fear', but I'll also send them a little basket of Halloween goodness!