Hi SE Readers. Joan here today. Tomorrow is Halloween, so instead of talking about writing, I decided a seasonal post was in order. This is a true story that happened to me several years ago.
The huge, October full moon appeared on the horizon, visible through the bare branches of the trees. A north wind blew, causing any remaining leaves to fall to the ground where they crunched beneath my feet as I walked through the woods to my brother’s house. It was a perfect night for a ghost story…
I’ve never encountered a ghost. At least, I don’t think I have. (I’m discounting the night I saw our neighbor after he had died.) However, I come from a long line of superstitious people, so I can’t help but wonder.
Such was the case at age nine when a cousin and I begged my uncle to tell a ghost story. When the story ended, we convinced ourselves a ghost was hiding in the wall vent.
But it was just our imagination.
A few years later, as a teenager, I had a slumber party at my aunt’s house. The attic bedroom of the turn of the century bungalow provided the perfect backdrop for ghost stories. The fact that we had to pass by a door to the unfinished part of the attic didn’t help matters. Before the night was over, everyone was certain a moaning sound came through the walls.
But again, it was just our imaginations.
Having an older brother who played tricks on his little sister didn’t help matters. One night, he and a friend convinced me they had seen a werewolf close to our house. I was positive I saw one prowling about.
Once more, it was just my imagination.
So when I walked through the woods as an adult that October night, I had long since convinced myself ghosts didn’t exist. My faithful German Shepherd was with me, so I wasn’t afraid. I looked forward to spending an evening with friends.
Still, some things never change. My brother and his friend began to talk about Sleepy Hollow, strange sightings, and ghostly apparitions.
“A headless horseman has been spotted in this area several times,” our friend said. “I’ve seen him in these woods. He’s most active this time of year.”
“Yeah, right. You’re only saying that because it’s close to Halloween.” I wasn’t about to allow them to scare me. I was still the kid sister, but no longer a child.
But when the time came for me to return home, I was a little nervous. I didn’t expect to encounter a headless horseman, but I didn’t trust those guys not to sneak through the woods in an attempt to scare me.
My dog decided to go home early and left without me. I set out on my own, constantly looking over my shoulder as I walked along the path. After a while, I thought I heard the sound of something in the woods.
Yeah. It’s them. I know they’re sneaking around. I won’t let them scare me.
I walked faster, hoping to reach the edge of the woods. And that’s when I had an encounter…
…with a large tree root sticking out of the ground. I tripped and fell, skinning my hands and knees.
The root was real. The sound was just my imagination.
I’ve been on ghost walks in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Vicksburg, Mississippi, and Jefferson, Texas. No ghosts.
I attended my husband’s class reunion at an old hotel where a ghost is said to reside. She never made an appearance that night. Maybe she didn’t like classic rock music.
I’ve explored lots of cemeteries (never at night), but I’ve never seen ghosts there.
No, I’ve never encountered a ghost.
But there was a time when a dozen friends gathered around a campfire one night. We heard a mysterious sound. No one could explain it or identify the source, but everyone heard it. Was it just our imagination?
Have you had a ghostly encounter? Allowed your imagination to trick you? Please share in the comments.