Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Ghost of a Chance




I did not, do not, will not, might—believe in ghosts.

I’m halfway through my fourth doll collecting mystery. The middle. Is it sagging? Not in the least. All due to a sudden mix of reality and fiction.

Gretchen (the protagonist) has an off-the-wall Aunt Nina, who is into anything new age and beyond. She’s causing all kinds of trouble for Gretchen and for me. Throughout the three books I’ve written so far, Nina has experimented with auras and their different colors, tarot cards, and ESP. Now she’s ghost hunting in an old house that the club is converting into a doll museum and she is pretty sure she has established contact with the ghost.

I don’t have a problem with her pursuit since its right in character. Even if she has just marched off the outline I was trying to make her follow. And the ghost’s appearance would be more appropriate if I was writing a paranormal mystery, which I’m not. In the end, I can always leave its existence in doubt. Let the reader decide.

No. My problem with it is more personal. You see, I think we might really have a ghost in our house.

It started last week when I began working on this scene where Nina has her experience.
Some time during this initial setup, I heard a bang in another part of the basement. It sounded very distinctly like a door slamming shut, and not that far away either although I couldn’t determine the exact location. Considering that we don’t have a door in that direction, I made a tour of the house. The cat was sleeping in the linen closet, the dog was snoring on a rug, and no one else was in the house. Just me. All alone in this old house out in the woods. Okay.

Since then, I’ve heard the same bang several more times and each time I use the same investigative techniques to rule out explainable possibilities. I wish I couldn’t do that elimination thing. I need an answer that fits neatly into my black and white view of the world

So what is it? Can someone please tell me why I’m hearing a door slam where there isn’t a door? It’s okay to suggest that I’m certifiable. I AM on a tight deadline.

6 comments:

Sheila Connolly said...

Interesting that you checked in with your dog and cat. I always figured that pets would be more sensitive to "presences" than humans, since we're conditioned to be sceptical.

At least your visitor seems to be friendly, if the pets aren't alarmed.

Linda O. Johnston said...

As a writer, you have a vivid imagination, Deb. Maybe you can chalk it up to that. And if not, you have an exciting story waiting to be told!
--Linda

Kathryn Lilley said...

My dad was once called upon to investigate a "ghost" that walked up the staircase of an old southern mansion, every night at sundown. (I think they called Dad in because he is a scientist, and they were looking for a 'non-paranormal' explanation.). He arrived at the house, and at sundown, right on schedule, footsteps could be heard, ascending the grand staircase. After much investigation, he determined that the "steps" were generated by an old iron rod that was installed in a closet under the staircase. At sunset, every night when the temperature went down, the iron rod contracted. And voila! The ghost "appeared."!!

Camille Minichino said...

I LOVE scientific explanations. whew!
Thanks Kathryn.

Monica Ferris said...

I read a collection of "real" ghost stories long ago, and only one story remains in my memory: a young couple bought an old house with a broad two (maybe three) story open stairwell. And every so often there was an enormous crash coming from that stairwell. They'd rush to it, thinking the roof had fallen in or the stairs had collapsed, only to find everything in perfect order. They called the phenomenom "the grand piano smash," since that's what it sounded like and never did find out what it really was, or what event left such a memory in the house. So count yourself lucky!

Lorraine Bartlett said...

One word: Move.

(Just kidding.)