Everyone has a ghost story or can spin one that they’ve heard and can swear is true. My oldest sister lives in a haunted house, and I didn’t know we shared a ghost story until we were randomly discussing our childhood home and she mentioned how she’d always get scolded for tripping and falling on the stairs (those stairs we had to drag our dog up and he wouldn’t stay unless we had him on a leash). Funny, my most vivid memory of our old house was the sensation of being able to float down the stairs – without ever touching one – even when my family members were in the living room below. I can still remember that feeling to this day. We compared notes. Third step from the top? Third step. Turns out my parents bought the home after the elderly previous owner fell down those steps and lay at the bottom for some time before she died alone. Ooo, goosebumps!
My sister’s house scared off the first realtor when she was in the home alone and the upstairs toilet flushed, the door opened and closed and she heard footsteps on the stairs. Undaunted by the disclosure, my sister and her family moved into the historic home where deadbolts unlock leaving outside doors standing open, the gas burners come on at random times on the stove (quickly replaced by electric!), sounds of party conversations from the oldest part of the house rise up at night, where my sister would find her big dogs crouched on the floor outside that upstairs bathroom door growling at nothing, and both her son, when a little boy, and mine when he and a friend spent the night saw apparitions of the same man in period clothing. The man they deduced was the owner who’d expanded the home and died in a fire in the basement. The activity on the front stairs, a maid who’d hung herself in the open stairwell. Would I go any farther into that house alone than reaching in to deposit the mail just inside the door when I was picking it up for them . . . oh, hell no!
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
Though I’ve never put a ghost into any of my books, I do have my favorite things that go bump in the night:
- Ghostbusters (the original movies just for fun)
- Ghost (most romantic movie ever!)
- The Woman in Black w Daniel Radcliffe (made me leave the lights on)
- The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (scariest book ever!!)
- The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (which spawned Ghoststory by Peter Straub)
- American Horror Story – Season One (lights on, again!)
For the past few years I’ve opened the doors to my own Haunted Open House in October. Still trying to decide if I want to throw off the drop clothes and get that party started for 2016. I’ll keep you posted . . .
Until then, have a Spooktacular fall season!! And happy reading!