True Ghost Story

December 10, 2017

Floris M. Neusüss

As a teen, my friends and I would sometimes spend evenings on Dundry Hill – a large area filled with farmland and small village homes. At the top, past a few cow fields, was a small pit used for fires and barbecues. We spent many summer evenings there, staying out until the sun had gone and the embers flew into the air to join the stars. Once the fire had burned out we all made our way home together in the dark, drifting off one by one as we approached home.

On one of these evenings, I was staying with a friend of mine and so rather than heading off to my house, we turned towards hers.

Ten people became five, became two.

We walked alone, in the dark, down a road lit with street lamps. Talking quietly, happily, as teenage girls do. To our left was a small field. It was there we heard it first.

A young girl’s laugh.

This was odd, certainly, but it was an area with a lot of children. Near a school. It was ten o clock at night, sure, but it was still an explainable event. We didn’t even acknowledge the sound, we only kept walking.

We moved past the field, down a small alley that took us through a cul de sac. We went through a small gate and heard it again. This time we looked at each other, quickly. You heard it too, the wide eyes said. But we brushed it off. Continued our talk.

We saw nothing, heard nothing, until we were back on the road.

To our right, a garage.

Again, the laugh.

The same pitch, the same tone, identical in every way.

People roll their eyes at children in horror, it’s so overdone it’s become a cliche. But when you hear a child laughing on a deserted street in the dark, it is the scariest sound you could ever imagine.

We looked at each other again, eyes wide. Both realising what we had heard. Both unsure of what to do. The sound had followed us, but there had been no way to move from the field to the garage without being seen.

It was not explainable. Not to us.

The laugh.

Again.

To the left.

Louder.

We ran the short distance back to my friends house, almost laughing with fright as if unsure what else to do.

We slept with the lights on.

And we never heard the sound again.

An unsatisfying ending to a ghost story, perhaps. But a real ending to a true story.

Baylea Hart
My True Ghost Story

A ghost walking

December 9, 2017

silent darkness

Everyone has a ghost story. It might be a schoolyard tale whispered under the slide, or that time your dog howled before you found out your grandmother died. It might not even be your story, but an urban myth that made you scared to drive down the lane, walk past that house, or look in the mirror in candlelight. The point is, we all have stories that have crawled into the deepest parts of us and never let go. If you’re very lucky, this happens when you’re young, before you’ve thrown up your defenses of cynicism and doubt.

Some stories are universal, variations on a theme that act as modern day fairy tales — warning us against irresponsible behaviour or sexual “deviancy.” What is the Bloody Hook story — where teenagers on Lovers Lane rush home after hearing of an escaped, hook–handed serial killer only to discover a bloody hook hanging from their car door — other than a cautionary tale against teenaged sexual experimentation? My own childhood ghost story, assuredly handed down by an older sibling, is pretty easy to parse. After all it was the 1970s: there was nothing more horrifying in white suburbia in the 1970s than an unwed, pregnant teenage girl on drugs. But none of that mattered to eight–year–old me. I hadn’t yet built any walls of cynicism. All I knew was every few weeks, we would gather our courage, hold hands, and creep closer to the fence. Maybe the story wasn’t true, we told ourselves. Maybe there wasn’t a ghost walking through the woods. But what if there was? It was scary and unknown and the very idea of it thrilled us to our toes.

Deborah Stanish
Everyone has a ghost story

web scream

There was a girl who died every morning, and it would not have been a problem except that she kept bees.

When her heart had shuddered back to life and she had clawed her way back from the lands beneath, she sat up and drew a long sucking breath into the silent caverns of her lungs. Her first breath was always very loud in the little cottage, but there was no one there to hear it.

She wrapped her robe around her. It was a dressing gown in the morning and winding sheet at night. Then she swung her feet over onto the floor and the cold tiles were no colder than the palms of the newly dead.

She stumped out to the beehives and tapped each one with the key to her cottage, three times each. “The old master is dead,” she said, as the hives buzzed and the bees swirled around her. “I am the new master.” And she said her name, three times each over every hive.

T Kingfisher (Ursula Vernon)
Telling The Bees

When Dennis Wheatley was at prep school in the early 1900s he was convinced he saw a ghost on the staircase one day. In an era when spiritualism was in vogue and Ouija boards were taken seriously it was not unusual for a little boy to be superstitious. The significance of Wheatley’s encounter with an apparition was that it sparked off a lifelong fascination with the occult that spawned a series of bestselling novels with titles such as The Devil Rides Out and To The Devil A Daughter…

Dominic Midgley
Master of the Macabre
Daily Express 18th October 2013

globules of blood

November 17, 2017

Young boys biting into shinny red apples only to discover the globules of blood at the cores…

Caitlin R Kiernan
The Red Tree

Ghost story

November 15, 2017

a cloud reaching

Everyone has a ghost story. It might be a schoolyard tale whispered under the slide, or that time your dog howled before you found out your grandmother died. It might not even be your story, but an urban myth that made you scared to drive down the lane, walk past that house, or look in the mirror in candlelight. The point is, we all have stories that have crawled into the deepest parts of us and never let go. If you’re very lucky, this happens when you’re young, before you’ve thrown up your defenses of cynicism and doubt.

Deborah Stanish
Everyone has a ghost story

a superfluity of ghosts

November 3, 2017

A ghost in darkness Vietnam

I remember thinking (facetiously) that with all the dying done in Southeast Asia there must be a superfluity of ghosts in that region. I’d been over there a couple of times and knew that belief in ghosts was a given among the general populace, and I thought that there might be an Asian man of science who, motivated by this belief, would have sought to investigate the phenomena. And then, of course, I came up with the idea of an American ghost, a soldier in the Vietnamese war, as the subject of his investigation…

Lucius Shepard
Interview with The Weird

Haunted Houses

November 2, 2017

All houses wherein men have lived and died
Are haunted houses. Through the open doors
The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,
With feet that make no sound upon the floors.

We meet them at the door-way, on the stair,
Along the passages they come and go,
Impalpable impressions on the air,
A sense of something moving to and fro.

There are more guests at table than the hosts
Invited; the illuminated hall
Is thronged with quiet, inoffensive ghosts,
As silent as the pictures on the wall.

The stranger at my fireside cannot see
The forms I see, nor hear the sounds I hear;
He but perceives what is; while unto me
All that has been is visible and clear.

We have no title-deeds to house or lands;
Owners and occupants of earlier dates
From graves forgotten stretch their dusty hands,
And hold in mortmain still their old estates.

The spirit-world around this world of sense
Floats like an atmosphere, and everywhere
Wafts through these earthly mists and vapours dense
A vital breath of more ethereal air.

Our little lives are kept in equipoise
By opposite attractions and desires;
The struggle of the instinct that enjoys,
And the more noble instinct that aspires.

These perturbations, this perpetual jar
Of earthly wants and aspirations high,
Come from the influence of an unseen star
An undiscovered planet in our sky.

And as the moon from some dark gate of cloud
Throws o’er the sea a floating bridge of light,
Across whose trembling planks our fancies crowd
Into the realm of mystery and night, –

So from the world of spirits there descends
A bridge of light, connecting it with this,
O’er whose unsteady floor, that sways and bends,
Wander our thoughts above the dark abyss.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Samhain

October 31, 2017

(The Celtic Halloween)

In the season leaves should love,
since it gives them leave to move
through the wind, towards the ground
they were watching while they hung,
legend says there is a seam
stitching darkness like a name.

Now when dying grasses veil
earth from the sky in one last pale
wave, as autumn dies to bring
winter back, and then the spring,
we who die ourselves can peel
back another kind of veil

that hangs among us like thick smoke.
Tonight at last I feel it shake.
I feel the nights stretching away
thousands long behind the days
till they reach the darkness where
all of me is ancestor.

I move my hand and feel a touch
move with me, and when I brush
my own mind across another,
I am with my mother’s mother.
Sure as footsteps in my waiting
self, I find her, and she brings

arms that carry answers for me,
intimate, a waiting bounty.
“Carry me.” She leaves this trail
through a shudder of the veil,
and leaves, like amber where she stays,
a gift for her perpetual gaze.

Annie Finch

To the dead

October 31, 2017