I’m a pretty skeptical person, and I’m positive these stories have rational, non-ghostly explanations. But if you ARE looking for ghostly explanations, I should probably mention that I was born with a caul or veil, which is disgusting. According to superstition, caulbearers are supposed to have second sight (or immunity from drowning, or greatness). My aunt said it was supposed to mean great beauty, but by the time I hit my early 20s it was pretty clear that ship wasn’t going to sail. If “second sight” means I get these spooky stories to tell at Halloweentime, though, I’ll take that over good looks any day.
In which a pale, creepy child has her dreams haunted by a little girl ghost
If you were a kid in our hometown in the early 90s, you knew about the little girl who was kidnapped. There were posters everywhere, vigils, benefits, constant news reports. She was an adorable girl with long blonde hair, about 4 years old.
About a year after she’d disappeared, I hadn’t thought about her in a long time because a year is a lot longer in kid-years. Then, I had the dream. I was in a townhouse, and I knew it was my home in the dream even though I lived in a 1920s city house in my real life. Isn’t it weird how that happens in dreams? A little girl knocked at the door, asking for help so that the man didn’t get her. I couldn’t do anything.
The dream cut to the same little girl, underwater. She was clearly dead – green, even – with her blonde hair swirling around her face. Then she started narrating from beyond the grave. Ew. I can still hear it: “He put me in the water. I’m still here. They still haven’t found me.” It’s can even hear her tone – mocking, almost, like she’d been so let down and was so done with everybody. I woke up chilled, and thought of the missing girl for days after (days are longer in kid-years, too.).
A little over a year later, I was watching 20/20 because I was the world’s lamest 9-year-old. It was a special about kids getting sucked down pool drains. The station cut in with a breaking report, and before the reporters said anything or a title card came up, I just knew it was about her.
It was. They found the girl – who was kidnapped and killed in her neighbor’s townhouse – stashed in a giant water tank.
I’m sure it was all a big coincidence. How many dreams do you have that don’t end up coming true? Most of them, really – you just forget about them. But between the dream, the tank, and the damn 20/20 special, I wouldn’t go near the deep end of a pool for years.
In which ghosts hate me cause they ain’t me
There was only one time anyone has wanted to be me, and it was a ghost. [Rationally: it was a series of flukes – but it’s Halloween, so let’s play!] Freshman year of college, I came back from visiting friends down the hall and told my roommate that I really had to work on an essay. “Weren’t you doing it earlier, when I walked by and you were at your computer?” We figured out what time she had seen me, and I wasn’t at my computer, or in the room at all. Meet Ghost Molly. [Realistically: it was 2004, which means if we’d accidentally left our door unlocked someone probably jumped onto my computer to change my Away Message on AIM.]
The next semester, my friends were all talking about the fire drill the night before. I had no knowledge of a fire drill. I truly thought they were playing a stupid prank on me, until I asked enough people I wasn’t friends with, too. Yep, there was a drill, which I’d apparently slept through — except, at least 2 people said they saw me, standing apart and looking away. I’m sure I was in my bed all night, so what they saw was obviously my ghost twin again (honestly: I hope that WAS a ghost because sleepwalking scares me more than the undead).
The next year we lived in a “haunted suite.” For instance, one suitemate accused our other friend of coming into her room in the middle of the night and pulling on her toe – but he didn’t. Another friend confronted all of us because her goldfish went missing. I’m pretty sure she still thinks we stole it, because we all started laughing — but only because goldfish don’t disappear so it was hilarious (R.I.P. Pearl. 2005 – 2005). Also, my roommate thought that I was home napping in the middle of the day because she, you know, saw me at home napping and could hear me breathing. I was at class all day. Doppelganger Molly strikes again.
That semester, my friends and I were taking a walk when we ran into our roommate. She had met with a psychic who said that the room was haunted and we were supposed to be respectful, prayerful, and not make fun of the ghost. We started laughing, obviously. As with Poor Dead Pearl, we only laughed because it was so unexpected. Then we probably went back to the room and laughed at the ghost, too. Does it count as ‘mocking’ the ghost to name him Devon, after Devon Sawa, the tween star of Casper? Because we did that as well. The take-away here is probably that I’m unable to take anything seriously.
F’real, though, life was pretty damn cushy in college. I’d have wanted to be me if I were a ghost, too.
In which death comes rapping at my chamber door
I lived in a borderline-divey neighborhood in law school, in a cute art deco apartment with no peephole. You couldn’t get into the building without a key, so if someone knocked at my door I knew it wasn’t just a friend dropping by. Between the lack of peephole and being able to rule out friendly visitors, I usually wouldn’t answer my door when it was really late. Shortly after I moved in, though, I started to get knocks on my door in the middle of the night. First it happened every few months, then just about every week. Without a way to check who it was, I’d usually just hold my breath until the knocking stopped.
I don’t think it was a ghost. I just lived in a bad neighborhood and had some iffy neighbors. I got a dog and started keeping a knife under my bed.
Hey, they can’t all be ghost stories.