Write What You Know

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Everyone has a story to tell.  I’m usually an open book type of person, but my particular story has been something I’ve held back, mostly because it was such an emotional experience, and also because it’s…well… strange.

Growing up, I always enjoyed a good ghost story.  My dad was a master storyteller, and he delighted in scaring me with stories about John Dawson (the local boogeyman) and how his spirit would roam around a certain spooky area of town in search of his next victim.  I was also a Girl Scout, and there was nothing better than sitting around a campfire with my troop, swapping stories about sasquatch, children lost in the woods, and ghostly visions of hitchhikers thumbing for one last ride.

What I never expected, is that I would later become a character in my own ghost story.
I believed in ghosts, but on a superficial level.  Ghosts belonged in books and campfire tales and they were good for scaring the crap out of your friends at sleepovers. Purely entertainment.  They aren’t supposed to jump out of the pages of the book and materialize in your own home.  That’s what I thought, anyway….until I experienced the paranormal for myself.

I guess it’s the same for everyone…. you don’t really believe something can happen to you, until it DOES happen to you.  When it does happen to you, the first thing you think is “I’m going crazy. There’s no way that just happened.  It isn’t physically possible.” – But it DID just happen, and there is usually no logical explanation. When you experience a REAL haunting, your brain can’t accept what your eyes are seeing, or what your ears are hearing. Why is that door opening by itself? It must be the wind…but there is no wind.  Why is there a figure in the upstairs window staring down at me….when no one is in the house? It has to be a reflection….but you blink, and the figure disappears. Why do I hear noises upstairs, when no one’s up there?  Must be the dog.  But you don’t have a dog. Is it the house settling? Maybe.  You are always, always trying to justify to yourself what’s going on.  In a real haunting, there’s a sense of being watched. There are things that appear to move on their own. There are noises, but no real sense of where they are coming from or who (or what) could be making them.  There is a sense of unease…of not knowing what strange thing will happen next.  Weeks will go by and everything will be normal, and then, when you least expect it, something unexplained will happen.

It isn’t scary, though. Not really. Nerve-wracking, yes…but not scary.  There aren’t bloody figures or decayed corpses jumping out at you from closets or under beds. There aren’t bleeding walls and creepy girl-demons crawling out of the TV.  No, a true haunting isn’t scary….not until it’s over, and you look back only to realize you weren’t alone in your own home. Objects really did move by themselves. There really were things standing right behind you when you thought you were alone. There really was something whispering unintelligible things in your ear.  Was it a nightmare, or was that dark thing really in your room last night?

Sometimes, when you are experiencing a haunting….you think you’re going insane….hearing voices, seeing things…these are all symptoms of a severe mental illness. But, can a whole family have a brief mental illness….at the same time? Not likely.

So, after months of indecision, I decided to come out with my story – our story. My friend, Kim Johnston, and I are writing a book about the experience.  Kim is a paranormal investigator, and she and her team did an investigation of our home….once our family had moved out, of course. And what they found was far beyond what any of us anticipated. I wanted to tell the FULL story….not only because it’s a great story, but because I want to help other people who may have experienced the same kind of thing.  Here in the South, we have our ghost stories….but when the story becomes too personal, we usually file it away in the “don’t tell anyone” file and forget about it.  I’d thought about doing that, but I’ve decided to open up about it instead.  I know there are other people out there who have gone through a very emotional, very personal experience with the paranormal….and I want to encourage them to come out with their stories. It’s a bit like therapy: If you can’t talk about it, you will never be able to heal.

So…Kim and I are working on the book – Haint Blue: The Rockford Haunting.  We hope to have it published sometime this fall, if everything goes right.  The website for the book is http://www.haintbluehaunting.com – and we have launched a Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/haintbluehaunting AND a Twitter page @HaintHaunting.

It takes a lot of gumption to come out with a story like this, and we can use all the support we can get!

I also need to give a big shout out to Mr. Edwin F. Becker.  After a wonderful conversation with him, I was convinced that I didn’t need to be afraid to come out with my own story.  He has a book of his own, and you all need to check it out.  It’s called True Haunting.  What he and his wife experienced was very similar to our own experience, and I am indebted to him for giving me the strength to realize that I am not alone.  These things DO happen to people!

So, the next time you THINK you are being watched…..or you hear whispering….or you see things dart around in the corner of your eye…..you probably aren’t crazy.

Hauntings are real. There are things that can’t be explained.

Don’t be afraid.

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