Ghosts: The Scarab (Short Fiction)

Readers, here is some short ghost fiction from my collection, Rest in Fleece. There is a tad bit of truth woven in.  Enjoy this creepy tale below: 

 The Scarab

My mother had a scarab, a real one. Her parents had gone to Egypt in the ‘thirties and brought it back for her.  It was set in gold in a signet ring, opening to a hieroglyph used as an official seal.  The scarab was green and small, no more than half an inch long.

Strange things used to happen around the scarab.  It affected everyone with whom it came in contact.  People would jump, thinking they’d seen shadows.  Their sleep would be filled with dreams of a disturbing nature.  They heard things: often, a sound like a soft crunching of eggshells.

I took to wearing the scarab, it made a pretty ring. I got compliments.  Sometimes, I took it off so my friends could see the inscription, but when they held it, sometimes it jumped, or gave the holder a small electric shock.  We wrote that off to static, at the time.

One of my friends, I’m sorry to say, was a bit light-fingered.  Kelly had periodic kleptomania, and one day while admiring the scarab, she made off with it.

The next day, we all heard she had been in an accident.  She had been walking home from her twelve step meeting when she was hit by an out-of-control car: the driver had had a heart attack.  It was quite tragic.

Because of the obvious nature of her injuries, there was no post mortem examination of any kind.   We attended her funeral and at the burial, we each dropped a rose into the grave.  We thought we heard chanting, in some foreign tongue, muffled by time.

The next day, the scarab reappeared on my bureau. Perhaps Kelly hadn’t borrowed it. I’d been known to misplace things.

I wore it for awhile.  It had a penchant for falling off my finger.  It was mysterious, because the ring wasn’t loose, and I only took it off at night.  But I’d notice it gone, only to see it across the room on the floor, or a colleague would hand it to me at work, saying he’d seen it on a desk, or on the front steps. It was peculiar.

I’d been intrigued by scarabs since childhood, when I read a collection of Edgar Allan Poe stories which included The Gold Bug.  Scarabs were symbolic: in old Egyptian mythology they represented the sun, and rebirth.  But there were also connections to more ancient beliefs, and to the roots of eastern and other religions.  Darker magic than I then knew.

Inexplicable things kept occurring.  The scarab fell off onto our large front lawn.  Its green color blended it with the grass so that it was impossible to find.  We all looked.  One day, several months later, we got a postcard from the people in Egypt from whom the scarab had been purchased.  On that day, the scarab reappeared, on the front porch.

At the university (I was taking some graduate courses in history then) I went to see an anthropologist, Hammond Rayburn, who had spent time working in the pyramids.   I shared my scarab stories, and he found them interesting.

“That’s not the first time I’ve heard of wandering scarabs,” he said.  “They move about.  It’s mysterious.

“I knew of a particularly egregious case.  One of my assistants, Anwar, was half Egyptian, from a very old, aristocratic family.  He had a scarab that had been passed down the generations for as long as anyone could remember. It was part of inheritance inventories of generations from centuries past.  The family always took special care to keep it in its place: a box in which it had come, it was said, from the tomb of one of the oldest of the pharaohs.

“One day, Anwar said, it was stolen, along with other valuable belongings, from the family home.  Everyone was quite distraught and no one knew what had become of it and other treasured items.

“In the news a few days later, there was a story of a particularly gruesome accident.  A thief had been sitting by the Nile when he had been attacked by a voracious crocodile and devoured.  No one else was disturbed, as they breakfasted at a resort near the water.  The beast had had only one target.  Nothing much was left of the thief, but the thief’s identity was known and from the remains of his wallet, police were able to obtain enough clues to locate Anwar’s family’s missing items.  The scarab was unfortunately not among them.

“However, a week or so later, it simply appeared in its box.  One moment it was gone, the next, it was as if it had never left. The family accepted this, and associated it with many other odd stories that had been told about their scarab.

“But that wasn’t all.  Anwar said his sister was being pestered by an ex boyfriend, who stalked her and refused to leave her alone.  She became quite anxious, but nothing could be done.  The boyfriend had stayed barely within the boundaries of what was considered legal, so he had not been detained or even cautioned by law enforcement.

“One day, the ex boyfriend was dining out.  He was fine one moment, the next, he started choking, loudly.  He flailed about.  And before long, he was dead.  There were many witnesses: those at neighboring tables and wait staff all saw it.  A woman who had been seated close by remarked that it looked for a moment as if he were being strangled:  the reddened marks where a hand might have grasped his neck did appear for a short time before fading.

As he choked, something flew from his open mouth: to the waiter, it looked like a green insect. It scurried away, so quickly that no one caught it and few noticed it, in all  the furor that followed.  The paramedics came, and he was taken to the hospital, even though it was apparent that nothing could be done.

The doctors examined his throat, and there they saw a series of peculiar scratches and rips in the flesh.  They hadn’t seen the like before.  They attributed the wounds to, perhaps, a piece of bone that may have lodged there before it was expelled. What else could it be?

“Then too, I had a strange experience of my own.  I work around many ancient artifacts, and quite a few are the subject of legend.  This was nonetheless exceptional.

“I was at the museum preparing an exhibit of the jewelry of ancient Egypt.  I noticed that one of the scarabs was not where it had been placed in the display.  I opened the case and moved it back.  Then I locked it up and left for the day.

“That night, an alarm went off at the museum and I was called in.  The case which contained the scarab was closed, yet the scarab was gone.  Nothing else appeared missing or even disturbed.  As it was a rather famous scarab (you’d know the one if I told you), everything was kept quiet as we searched (in vain).

“There were a series of deaths after that.  The team which had discovered the trove in our exhibit were one by one picked off (I’m sorry; there is no other way to put it). The lead archaeologist became quite ill, some kind of fever (like that which claimed the life of Lord Carnarvon).  His assistant met with an accident:  he was bitten by an asp and died within minutes.  He was, it turned out, quite allergic to the venom.

Although the Egyptian workers went unharmed, all the foreigners who had entered the tomb were gone within weeks.  An anthropologist was found lying on the floor in his hotel room.  He had apparently stopped breathing, but for no discernable reason.  He was only thirty-six years of age and in excellent health.

Another team member died strangely.  He was sitting on a patio at a rooftop café, having a coffee, when he was seen to step right off the edge of the building.  Witnesses said it was all quite sudden. One moment he was reading the paper; the next, he looked quite terrified and got up, walking quickly and looking over his shoulder.  No one else saw anything, but they were convinced he did. He died of fright before falling to the ground.”

This was a lot to take in, but it was precisely the kind of information I’d been seeking. I thanked the professor and left for the library. It was then that I noticed the scarab was missing.

***

Professor Hammond Ray packed up his books for the day and took off in his car for the civic center, where he was to give a presentation later.  He was setting up his slide show, his artifacts, and some literature when he began to sense he was not alone.  He thought, for a moment, that a large shadow loomed over the room.  He heard, he thought, a sound like the soft crunching of eggshells. Then, it was gone. He went on with his work.

His presentation was well-attended and was going swimmingly.  When the scarab slide came up, however, there was a rumbling heard across the hall.  Everyone was quite startled by it, but after a few moments, people realized it was an earthquake.

The professor was an experienced pubic speaker and after things settled down, he continued (but rapidly clicked to the next slide:  it might be best to bypass the scarab tonight, he thought).

On the way home, he continued to feel observed.  It was eerie.  He’d felt something like this while unearthing holy relics in Iran, as a student.  It was as if some ancient, powerful force had been somehow disturbed.  Some things are best left alone, he’d concluded, although only after a lifetime of doing just the opposite. In his career, he’d dug up more holy sites than he’d care to add up: especially now.

He looked in his rear view mirror and saw a pair of venomous, crimson eyes glaring back.  He was not unused to the outré, but he was now quite terrified. He pulled the car over. He looked back in the mirror; but now, the eyes were gone.

***

I kept digging.  I learned of a mysterious volume in the university’s rare book room. One would need special permission to be admitted and allowed near these valuable tomes.  I made arrangements with the history department and was given an appointment to view the book I’d heard of.

It was one of few extant copies, and not in pristine condition.  But few knew of it, and in the time it had been at the university, it had been requested only twice.  The first one to see it, back in the forties, was an adjunct professor of geography.  He read it, and then left on a field trip to the Middle East, from which he never returned.  He was assumed to have got lost in the desert, like Bishop Pike.  The second was Professor Ray.

On the appointed day, I appeared at the rare book room and was escorted in, the door carefully shut behind me. I was briefed about the rules and how to handle the books.  I was given gloves and a ventilated mask, and led into a reading room, with the book on a table, covered in cloth.  There was a magnifying glass there, if needed. There was a chair and overhead, soft lighting.

An assistant came in with me and gently unfolded the protective material around the book. He opened it, and then left me.

The book (I dare not name it) had an odd odor, a slightly smoky scent, as if it had been seared by flames at one time.  It felt almost alive.  I carefully turned to the section about scarabs.

I was not completely surprised, I must admit, to see a scarab almost identical to my own, peering out at me from those pages.  It was said of these scarab that it would do whatever it could to return to the tomb from which it had been taken.  That people who had owned these often lost them. That they seemed to move about most unaccountably.  And that, if they were angered, the scarabs would retaliate. There were a trail of the dead and damaged to attest to this.  Their power came from an unknown source. An evil old deity, a daemon, an elemental?  Something used these scarabs as lightning rods, with most unpleasant results.

After more time, I finally came across what I sought: an antidote.  It was at the end of the chapter on a page that was almost unreadable for age and wear.  But I got the gist of it.  In typical folkloric fashion, the scarab had to be “put back,” wherever that might be, to quiet it.  One could not kill the force that animated it but one could bind it.  Old magical formulae were put forth.  They varied from culture to historic period, but they all shared two parts:  salt and holy water.

***

By this time, Hammond Ray was quite unnerved.  As soon as he got home, he left a message for me to see him at my earliest convenience.  We met at a Starbucks the next morning, where he shared his misadventures.  I told him that the scarab had gone missing. We looked at each other, alarmed.

I added that I had located the ___ Book (really, for your sake and my own, it’s best that I don’t name it), and shared what I’d discovered therein.  I mentioned that the other person who had had the book had vanished in the desert, never to be heard from again.  Did the Professor know him?

Hammond Ray had indeed known the geographer. The geographer was a scoffer par excellence. He believed in nothing and even when warned about customs and beliefs, he’d sneer and continue to put down the locals and their ideas.  Hammond thought it not unlikely that some locals had got back at him.

Except that he had heard more:  a friend of a friend of a friend had intimated that the geographer came to a very bad end indeed. He may well have been lost: but he had also been disemboweled alive by some fearsome, glistening creature.  It was large, had many legs, and it could be heard, softly munching on his remains.

(The witness, the geographer’s assistant, stayed hidden and did not emerge for hours, horrified. He never recovered, really. He was put on medication for anxiety, but still he gave up his work and joined a monastery, where he prayed and drew maps.  But never of the Middle East).

Hammond did not wish to be devoured alive, nor to be further hounded by this beast. He said he thought perhaps the origin of the curse (for accursed is how it felt) had been the discovery of the tomb of that unknown, early pharaoh, near Thebes.  His resting place ought never to have been disturbed, Hammond now thought.

The hieroglyphics had spelled it out clearly, and they had an interpreter with them who could convey the meaning. There was no mistake. Yet, in the name of possible glory and gold, they’d pressed on.  Even the local help had warned them: there had been omens. A greenish halo round the moon; dead fish floating in the river.

But he and the geographer had heeded them not, feeling superior and rational.  But where had all that rationality, modernity, and flush toilets got them?  Progress had blinded them to ancient wisdom, to the old ways, to the rhythms of nature, to the beat of the heart of the earth.  More’s the pity.

***

We resolved to stop the scarab.  We had salt of course, and stopped at St. Jude’s parish for holy water from the font.  I had some words copied from the ___ Book.  And we had, most importantly, our conviction, our complete belief that we must do this, that this was real, and that it must be stopped at all costs.

***

We met again that night, Hammond and I, at his office, where the scarab had disappeared last.   We put out some Egyptian items he owned, thinking of the magical principle “like attracts like.”  We took out some old Egyptian religious texts and began to chant (he had printed out phonetic pronunciation so we could read the words in unison).  Of course I was unfamiliar with the language.  To be fair, most linguists wouldn’t have recognized it: a bastardized ancient Coptic tongue, used mostly for secret ceremonials by only a select few of the high priestly caste.

We lit candles, meditated for a few minutes, and then began.  We repeated a beckoning chant.  And after a time, with no forewarning, the scarab appeared, squatting on Hammond’s desk, appearing inanimate and harmless to the unknowing eye.  We said the final chant and tossed salt and holy water at the scarab.

There was a shimmering in the air.  It glistened, reflecting the light of the candle.  It grew large, casting a gigantic and menacing shadow against the wall.  And then all was black.

***

I awakened to a sound like the soft crunching of eggshells, and saw Hammond being devoured by an enormous dung beetle.  It was a dead ringer for my little scarab.


Copyright © 2019 Bookemjano – All rights reserved
To learn more about real ghosts, please see About Ghosts: A Useful Handbook.  For some great ghost stories, please see Death Be Not Loud, Rest In Fleece, and Sepia Seepage.  To learn about ghosts in modern fiction, please see Infectious Ghosts. And so much more, at: Jan’s Amazon Page
 
 
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Mob Haiku: Liened On

from the archives: 

Frank forged signatures

on his mortgage: busted, his

loss was on the house.

 

Copyright © 2019 Bookemjano – All rights reserved
 
For more Mob Haiku, please see Pasta La Vista, Baby: Mob Haiku to Die For, and More Pasta: A Second Helping of Mob Haiku to Die For, and other fun books at Jan’s Amazon Page
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Ghosts: A Voice from a Cemetery

Readers, here’s an interesting and strange tale from an individual who worked as a criminal investigator, so it’s someone who’s trained to check very carefully, to say the least.  This caught my imagination and I expect it will catch yours.  Read more here from Quora: A Voice from a Cemetery

 

 Copyright © 2019 Bookemjano – All rights reserved
To learn more about real ghosts, please see About Ghosts: A Useful Handbook.  For some great ghost stories, please see Death Be Not Loud, Rest In Fleece, and Sepia Seepage.  To learn about ghosts in modern fiction, please see Infectious Ghosts. And so much more, at: Jan’s Amazon Page
 
 
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Mob Haiku: Jerk, Anyone?

Fabio got down
with the reggae, and the dreads:
Pastafarian.
Copyright © 2019 Bookemjano – All rights reserved
 
For more Mob Haiku, please see Pasta La Vista, Baby: Mob Haiku to Die For, and More Pasta: A Second Helping of Mob Haiku to Die For, and other fun books at Jan’s Amazon Page
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Ghosts: House Ghosts (Short Fiction Derived from Actual Experience)

Readers, the following short story is from my collection Rest In Fleece: Ghosts, Tall Tales and Horror Stories.  It is drawn from some true events and while some was made up out of at least half cloth, several events really happened.  I leave it to you to guess which.  Read on, below: 

House Ghosts

My first impression was mixed. It was an undeniably lovely house. Not large but attractive: a midcentury modern with open beam ceilings, wood floors, clerestory windows, and privacy:  no big windows facing the street.  It had been restored, but not ruined.  Surrounded by large camellias, azaleas, rose bushes, and shady trees, it was an established, well-kept domicile in a good part of town.

But there was something.  I felt watched.  One never felt quite alone there.  Others who came mentioned it too; it wasn’t just my imagination.  It wasn’t malevolent, not at this point.  Just present.

After unpacking, I chose what I thought the nicest en suite for my own. It looked out onto the garden in back and was situated at the end of a long hallway, apart from the other rooms.  I’d be able to write in peace there. 

But I did sense that someone was eyeing me as I unpacked. Again, it felt neutral, but I found it somewhat annoying.

I decided perhaps it would be wise to bless the house. I’m clergy, you see. I’ve done that often when asked, and people often remarked that their homes felt lighter afterwards.  So I found my holy water (I always keep some about) and my prayer book and went through each room myself, asperging with the holy water and asking God to bless each room, and then the yard.  That should do it, I said to myself. 

Back inside, everything felt fine.  But I still felt observed.  And, when I entered the living room, I saw the coffee table leaning on its side, with some books and a vase balanced on top.  Strange?  Sure.  But not eerie. In the movies, these things scare the crap out of people. But at the time, it just looked stupid.

Time for the Sopranos; I was binging on Sunday reruns.  I relaxed, put my feet up. Then there was a resounding crash. I got up to look and beheld my new bottle of pinot grigio, which lay shattered on the kitchen floor.  I’d left it out to Breathe, but this was hyperventilation.  I wondered if the ghost (for I had by now accepted that I had a housemate) was from the ‘twenties and had been a Dry, advocating for Prohibition. If so, he was a day late and a dollar short. Well, ten dollars, counting my pinot.

There were no further disturbances that night. Ghosts need sleep, too.

The following day, the lights blinked on and off.  I shrugged it off.  Like, big whoop.  I still felt watched; but I just watched back. 

I was gone that day: I had chaplaincy duty at St.Ga’ways Memorial. I spent the day working with patients and staff.  It was interesting though.  I stopped by to see Dr. Benedict, who is known to be psychic. He right away asked me if everything was okay. I said it was, but that I thought I had a spirit in my new place.  He asked to look at my hand (he had a real gift for reading palms.  The staff loved him).  I held it out, and he peered at the lines.

“Chaplain,” the doctor said, “You should take this seriously.  Something is going on with that place.  I wonder, do you feel safe there?”

“Sure I do.  I blessed it right after I moved in, and there have been shenanigans (I told him about these) but nothing scary. I mean, the coffee table, really?”

“Well.   Don’t laugh. The next thing may not be so harmless,” he cautioned me.

“Thanks, Doc.  I’ll let you know how it goes.”  We parted, then. I went back to my office to chart my day’s visits, and then returned home.  As I approached the door, I heard a buzz of voices, like a party.  It sounded fun.  (Except that I had not been invited).

When I opened the door, it was silent as the grave.

I decided the best offense was ‘don’t take the bait.’ I ignored the whole thing.  Fixed dinner, did some laundry, ironed a clerical shirt and sat at the computer to check my email. 

I’d received the usual commercial mailings: food ads from Safeway, clergy attire sales from Wippell’s (the Cadillac of vestment makers), and yet another email from the Bishop, hitting the clergy up for donations: this time it was his “mission to Bangladesh” (i.e. his cruise to the Bahamas). 

But what was this? I’d almost stuck it in the spam file, unopened. But I bit. Naturally, it was from my house mate.  It was not typed, however. It looked like an old-fashioned letter, the kind written with ink from a fountain pen, and on good paper. 

“Dear Fr. Jane,” it said.  You women have no business being clergy. Stick to cooking and sewing. Don’t even think about offering me communion. Yours, A High Church Ghost.”

I got this kind of thing from certain parties in the congregation from time to time; I’d always respect the viewpoint and never took it personally.

I typed back:  “Dear Ghost.  You owe me $9.95 for the pinot grigio. Sweet dreams, Fr. Jane.”  Then I went back to my crossword from two days before.  When I came to 7 down (“Pest”) I shot off a P.S.: “How many letters in your name?”

***

That night, there was noise coming from the kitchen.  For God’s sake.  What now?  I rose, threw on a robe, and padded down the hall. A meal was being prepared.  James Beard’s American Cookery was open to the ‘omelet’ section.  There were broken eggshells on the counter and their former contents sizzled in a pan on the cook top. Cheese was being sprinkled on top, but from midair. 

 “Don’t tell me you’re hungry,” I say.

“I miss food.”  I hear nothing, but the comment is scrawled in flour on my formerly clean counter top.

“Then go to Denny’s,” I say.  “And clean up this mess!”  I retire.

***

In the morning, there was nothing out of place, and all had been cleaned up. Except for one thing.  There was a plate on the table with an omelet: half eaten. 

***

At a clergy breakfast, I broached the subject of ghosts with some colleagues.

“No such thing,” said Bob (Presbyterian).

“Oh, there sure are,” injected Mary, but then she was from a spiritualist denomination.

“Tell me more about that.” This from Joe, who was, at times too obviously, a therapist.

“Why do you ask?” from Mark, the Catholic priest, clearly the only one who was actually listening.

“My house has one,” I replied.  I shared the events of the past couple days, in a calm way. For actually, I wasn’t the least frightened:  just inconvenienced.  I hadn’t been attacked.  My sleeve had been tugged by this entity for some reason. I began to wonder why.

***

First, I investigated the history of the house.  It was old, but I could unearth no murders or other crimes to which it might have played host. I visited with some neighbors and no one hinted at anything amiss. I asked about who had lived there before, evidently it had been an air force couple who had recently been stationed someplace in the Pacific.  Guam?  Okinawa?

I thought about whether the ghost was attached to the house itself, or whether it had moved there as I had:  the house had been vacant, perhaps the ghost had moved in first, expecting to have the place all to itself.  There were no clear answers, but the latter made more sense.

Ba-rrinnggg.  It was the phone. I picked up, and heard static and vague whispers.  This was odd, but made more so by the fact that I’d just read When Your Phone Rings From Beyond.  Its author postulated that ghosts can place calls from the other side.  (No. I don’t know if they still use pay phones). After a few pointless “Hello’s,” I still heard nothing that could be categorized as a reply, so I ended the call. And decided I’d stick with reading history for now.

Returning to the study to work on a sermon, I couldn’t find the legal pad with my notes.  I always placed it in my walnut inbox, on the desk. There was no sign of it anyplace.  I had no time for this, so I sat at the computer and worked for an hour or so.  When I went to get an iced tea, there was the legal pad:  on top of the milk. (Yes, in the fridge.  Don’t ask). 

Things kept vanishing and reappearing in unlikely spots: the toilet brush greeted me from the front seat of my car.  The newspaper (opened to the sports section) was under the china closet. A bag of kitty litter in the living room (I don’t have a cat).

***

I’d invited some friends to see my new place. We were sitting round the table when the sounds of footsteps and doors opening and snapping shut could be plainly heard.  We all knew no one else was home.  My guests were from the South, and very well-mannered: other than some raised eyebrows, they ignored it all.  I followed suit.  But it was reassuring that it was an observable, objective event and not my imagination.

***

One night, I awakened, must have been three a.m.  I saw no one but was sure something was standing in the doorway, boring holes in me with laser eyes.  Unnerved, I froze.  After awhile the feeling passed.  But in the nights that followed, I felt its presence.  It had a different quality than my first ghost: this felt menacing and dark.  For the first time, I felt fear.  I blessed the room again, but that had no discernible effect.  The presence remained. 

***

Later, on a morning after another long, sleepless night, I went to the kitchen for coffee and toast.  There on the counter was some spilled flour (did I mention I don’t bake?) with the finger-traced message: “She’s dangerous.”  I smoothed out the flour and wrote “Can’t you take her out for a year or so?” In a few minutes my message was replaced with “Not funny.”  I shook my head. What was I doing! 

“Look,” I said. “I can’t move, my lease is signed.  Work it out amongst yourselves.”  With that I went back to St. Ga’ways for a staff meeting and some patient calls. 

I ran into Dr. Benedict in the cafeteria.  He asked me how things were.  I said “Crowded,” and shared the latest developments.  He shook his head and frowned. 

“This is precisely what I warned you about,” he asserted with a frown.  “Keep it up and you’ll have a vortex.” 

“I already own a hairdryer,” I jested.  He was having none of it.

“Listen, Rev. There must be, in that house, an open passageway for spirits.  The problem: no one screens them at the door.”  The doctor frowned and said he’d consult his spirit guide. (This doesn’t sound like any doctors you know, right? But Ransom Benedict was a highly psychic individual, and his scientific education had done nothing to change that. He observed things, he ruled out all possible explanations before going to the Other Side.  But too much had happened, in his life and in the lives of his patients, for him to write off.  So many strange stories had circulated around phenomena in the ICU, the near death experiences, the sense of a loved one’s presence before the patient expired.  While he had seen mostly harmless manifestations, he thought back to one that wasn’t.

“Jane, do you recall that patient that came in on a legal hold, the one that you and Fr. Les visited?”

“As if I could forget!”  Dr. Benedict referred to a patient who was brought in under what was called a “Legal 2000” which, decoded, meant he was deemed a danger to himself or others. In this case, I’d have put the “others” first. When Les and I entered the room, it was to the sight of three burly male nurses (one, a former defensive back for the Seattle Seahawks) struggling with a scrawny, unaccountably strong man in a hospital gown.  The patient had somehow broken out of three point restraints.  The nurses, who each outweighed and out muscled him, as a group had a very difficult time getting him into a strait jacket.  He looked at Les and I and started to speak in a disjointed, eerie way.  His words ran from Latin to Aramaic to Hebrew to Greek to Farsi to English. The air was cold in his room.  He emitted powerfully negative waves of energy, and his eyes were the kind you might see in a nightmare.

I was quite unnerved at the time and felt sure this was a case that cried out for exorcism.  Les agreed, but we knew how slowly that might evolve, how many barriers there were, and both concluded it would doubtless be a lost cause. After all, this was some nameless indigent patient, not the son of a rich church patron or power broker. 

“You may, if you are not very careful, have something like that on your hands,” said Dr. Benedict.  Please consider moving.”

“I can’t do that, Doc.  I can’t afford to and if I could, I wouldn’t.  I like the house.  Why should I be the one to leave?  Let them search the For Rent ads.” I said goodbye and left for my rounds. 

***

Back at home, it was a fairly normal night (if you didn’t count dining room chairs standing in a pile).  I spent my evening as I usually do: a phone call, some videos, some laundry.  The night was uneventful. It was the morning that shook things up.

At again three a.m. I awakened to the feeling of being stared at in a powerfully hostile way.  I looked at the doorway and as I did, small specks of bright light began to form.  They circled about lazily and gradually melded together into what appeared to be a female form.  She was dressed in an antique style of clothing that might have been colonial era. She had brilliant red slits for eyes and was pale as well as translucent: the hallway could be seen through her as well as behind her.  She emanated waves of evil, dark energy.  Now this, at last, was something truly frightening.

“Can I help you?” I managed, in my most reassuring chaplain voice.

She said nothing but raised a skeletal hand and pointed at me, frowning.

Then like Joe, I fell back on (really I did):

“Tell me more about that.” 

She looked at that moment, ferocious.  She started to glide towards me.  I felt increasing and irrational terror.  I grabbed some holy water I’d been keeping at bedside and sprinkled some at her, saying a fast prayer as I did so. 

Pssssssssst. The water hissed as it passed through her and became steam.  She said, not with her mouth, but in harsh, grating words I heard in my head:

“Get out. Now.” As she spoke, furniture began to levitate, pictures swung on the walls, and some awful rumbling noise thundered in the background.  The room temperature had dropped:  suddenly it was Saskatchewan in December. I can’t begin to express my awe, fear, and yet too, a sense of faith, knowing that I had been right that there was more out there than met the eye. 

As the tumult increased, as it became unbearable:  it quite suddenly stopped.  All was quiet.  The air cleared and for the first time since I’d moved in, I sensed I was truly alone in the house.

***

A glass of pinot noir was called for. I went to the kitchen to get one and there on the counter, scrawled in cornmeal, was the legend “You’re welcome.” 

***

That being said, when an opening came up in another state, I jumped on it, and within two fortunately peaceful weeks, I was in California. I had had a very close call and only by chance had a disastrous episode been narrowly averted. 

Had I deserved it? Was it karma?  I don’t think so.  Who was the evil spirit?  I have no idea.  In books, we can create photo finishes.  Like so many supernatural events that occur in real life, there are loose ends, many questions, and few if any answers. I have written it off as inexplicable. 

It did affect me.  I suffer the odd panic attack these days.  I look behind me.  I have troubled dreams. 

There is more than we know.


 

Copyright © 2019 Bookemjano – All rights reserved
To learn more about real ghosts, please see About Ghosts: A Useful Handbook.  For some great ghost stories, please see Death Be Not Loud, Rest In Fleece, and Sepia Seepage.  To learn about ghosts in modern fiction, please see Infectious Ghosts. And so much more, at: Jan’s Amazon Page
 
 
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Mob Haiku: Barred

Momo sold fake gold
to the unsuspecting. They
purchased ‘bull’ion.
Copyright © 2019 Bookemjano – All rights reserved
 
For more Mob Haiku, please see Pasta La Vista, Baby: Mob Haiku to Die For, and More Pasta: A Second Helping of Mob Haiku to Die For, and other fun books at Jan’s Amazon Page
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Ghosts: A Chicago Author’s Ghosts

Readers, here’s a long but fascinating post by Chicago author Ursula Bielski, who’s written several books about ghosts. The story of her family’s house, and some strange haunted related tales, are worth reading!  See more here, at Chicago Hauntings: An Author’s Ghosts

 

 Copyright © 2019 Bookemjano – All rights reserved
To learn more about real ghosts, please see About Ghosts: A Useful Handbook.  For some great ghost stories, please see Death Be Not Loud, Rest In Fleece, and Sepia Seepage.  To learn about ghosts in modern fiction, please see Infectious Ghosts. And so much more, at: Jan’s Amazon Page
 
 
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Ghosts: A Haunted Lighthouse

Readers, this is a great story of an abandoned lighthouse that comes to life at night!  Eerie as all get out!  Read this one!  From Lake Superior Magazine, here: Haunted Lighthouse

 

 Copyright © 2019 Bookemjano – All rights reserved
To learn more about real ghosts, please see About Ghosts: A Useful Handbook.  For some great ghost stories, please see Death Be Not Loud, Rest In Fleece, and Sepia Seepage.  To learn about ghosts in modern fiction, please see Infectious Ghosts. And so much more, atJan’s Amazon Page
 
 
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Mob Haiku: Jitterbug

Tony OD’d on 
uppers: o so antsy, he
did the benny hop.
Copyright © 2019 Bookemjano – All rights reserved
 
For more Mob Haiku, please see Pasta La Vista, Baby: Mob Haiku to Die For, and More Pasta: A Second Helping of Mob Haiku to Die For, and other fun books at Jan’s Amazon Page
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Ghosts: Haunting of Sir Ben’s

Readers, here’s a great article about a haunted tavern.  Very creepy! From Lake Superior Magazine! Enjoy more, here:  Haunting of Sir Ben’s

 

 Copyright © 2019 Bookemjano – All rights reserved
To learn more about real ghosts, please see About Ghosts: A Useful Handbook.  For some great ghost stories, please see Death Be Not Loud, Rest In Fleece, and Sepia Seepage.  To learn about ghosts in modern fiction, please see Infectious Ghosts. And so much more, at: Jan’s Amazon Page
 
 
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