Mom’s Phantom Visitor

The little girl woke up to see a man standing in her doorway.

It was dark in her room, and there wasn’t a lot of light from beyond the doorway. All the little girl could see was an outline of the man’s figure. He came forward into the room and spoke her name, and his voice was familiar. It was the voice of her favorite uncle. “How is my little sweetheart?” he asked her.

She rubbed the sleep from her eyes. “Okay,” she told him.

Her uncle came closer, but not too close. “I’m sorry to wake you up, but I wanted to say goodbye. I’m going away for a while, so I’m not going to be able to see you so often.”

“Oh.” The little girl didn’t like that news. He was the one who always brought her candies and new dolls. “Where are you going?”

“On a trip.”

“Are you going to be a long way away?”

“A very long way away. That’s why I woke you up, sweetheart. I wanted to say goodbye before I leave.”

“Okay.” She was just a little girl, and didn’t know what to say. “Goodbye.”

Her uncle seemed to want to come and hug her, but wouldn’t allow himself to. This was odd. He sounded very unhappy, too. “Goodbye my little sweetheart. You take care of your mommy, now. Okay?”

“Okay. Bye-bye.”

“Goodbye. You go back to sleep now.”

“Okay. Goodbye.”

“Goodnight.” Her uncle backed away from her, edging toward the door.

The little girl settled back into her bed, and glanced for a moment at the clock. She could just barely make out the time. It was after 11:00 PM, very late indeed. When she looked back up at the doorway, her uncle was gone.

The little girl went back to sleep.

In the morning, her mother was unusually silent, and spent a lot of time staring off into space. She’d burnt their breakfast eggs. While the little girl was eating, she suddenly remembered her uncle’s late visit. “Mom,” she asked, “where is uncle going?”

Her mother seemed shocked by the question. “What?”

“When he was here last night, he told me he was going away. Where’s he going?”

“Uncle was here? Last night?”

The little girl nodded.

“When?” There was an edge to her mother’s voice.

“It was really late. My clock said after eleven.”

Her mother went pale, and her mouth hung open. It took her a few moments to say anything. “Your uncle loved you very much. I don’t doubt he stopped by here to say goodbye to you.”

“Where’s he going?”

Her mother fumbled with a pack of cigarettes, pulling one out and putting it in her mouth. Her hands were trembling when she lit it. The flame wiggled and she had a hard time keeping it at the tip of the cigarette. “Your uncle went to heaven, honey.”

“Heaven?” The little girl didn’t understand.

“He was killed in a car wreck last night.” Her mother began crying, and so did the little girl. It wasn’t until a few days later, after the funeral, that she overheard her mother telling relatives in a hushed voice about the late night visit from the uncle. The other relatives gaped at the news, astonished, and gave the little girl strange glances. It was then the little girl learned that her uncle had died at about 7:00 PM that fateful evening, while driving home from a restaurant. The person who had come into her room at 11:00 PM could not have been her uncle, unless it had been his ghost.

That little girl was my mom. She’d told me this story several times. It was the first ghost story I’d ever heard, and it scared the hell out of me when I was a kid. Even now it gives me the willies, especially sitting here, alone, at a word processor at 4:00 AM … in a house that may be haunted. I’m feeling a chill as I type this, and little prickles all over my arms and at the back of my neck.

Is my Mom’s story true? She told me it was. Beyond taking her word for it, however, there’s no proof. That’s the problem with ghosts.

[I wrote this back in 2002 … I’m no longer at the “haunted” house.  I put this up here for your Halloween enjoyment.  Boo!]

Close Encounter of the Ghostly Kind…

The following is something written right after it happened.  I was sitting in the dining room in a house I could swear was haunted, late at night, just me and my Golden Retriever…

11:35 PM, April 18, 2002 – I’m sitting here in the living room, revising a manuscript, and Sunny starts barking at something unseen in the hallway.  She’s scared, I can tell by the way she’s barking, and then she runs to hide behind me, and turns to growl.  I can see nothing.  So I get up and head to the short hallway leading to the front door and Sunny is right there with me, and she’s barking at something.  I look to see where she’s looking, and her eyes are fixed at a point in the middle of the hallway – as if there’s someone standing right there, beside me!  I move to the other side, and she follows and turns and growls at the same place, but facing it from the other side.  So I do the bold, scientific thing:  I step into the area at which she’s growling.

Whoa!  MAJOR COLD SPOT!  Chills go right down my spine and the hairs at the back of my neck are sticking straight up.  I mean, within seconds I’m shivering!  As I stand there it begins warming up and dissipating, and Sunny calms down.

I wish this actually proved something.  For all I really know, she was barking at a mosquito. 

I’ve got a few more of these, as I’m putting together a book about ghosts and hauntings.  I’ll post a few more of them over the next few days to help crank up the Halloween spirit…

Back in 1984…

The comedy show was funny as hell.  Two comedians came on before Will Durst
have no clue now who they were … then Durst came on and stole the show.  Karla was laughing and hanging onto me so she
wouldn’t fall off her stool.  Her father
was on the other side of me, buying drinks for everyone.  Then when the show was over, Durst gets down
off the stage and walks down the center aisle right toward us.  I thought, wow, I can introduce Karla to
him.  That would be so great!

He’s still heading toward us.  He’s heading right toward me.  I’m smiling and looking at him.  He’s smiling and looking back with unfocused eyes,
walking quickly, walking right at me.

Walking, almost trotting, right at me.

Right into me.

He slams into my knee. 
Smack dab into my knee as I’m sitting there on the stool, and the part
of his anatomy that smashes into my kneecap are his testicles.  Wham! 
And then he staggers back a step, bending over double, and I realize
with horror that I’d just kneed Karla’s favorite comedian in the balls.

“Oh shit!” I yell.  “Oh god, are you okay?”

He stands up straight, grin plastered on his face, and
says, “I’m fine!  I’m okay!  Sorry!”

I can tell he is not fine.  He is covering up like a pro, but he is in
pain.  “I am so sorry!”

“It was me. 
I’m sorry.  Couldn’t see because,
came off bright stage, it’s all dark. 
Not your fault.”

“Um,” I stammer, “this is Karla, it’s
her 21st birthday.”

“Happy birthday Karla,” he says, and gives
her a hug.

[this is an excerpt from something I’m writing right now, and it really did happen]


This is interesting.  Our fellow Xangian MaryEliz has done some investigating on the accident and hospitalization of fellow Xangian Missugs (aka “Terri”) and has turned up zilch on any evidence what-so-ever that any of it ever happened.  If MaryEliz is right, and my gut feeling is that she is, this stirs up a lot of negative feelings in me — I had been praying hard for Terri, and praising the character “Gil” for being such a prince of a guy.

Terri, if you did indeed make this stuff up, stop now and confess, and ask for forgiveness, and explain why you felt you needed to do this.  If you need attention, just ask.  There are lots of kind souls on Xanga who are more than willing to talk to you, to care about you, and to help you through a bad time.  But the jig is up, girl.  Better come clean — or delete your account and disappear.

Something in the back of my mind did make me wonder if I was being suckered, but I didn’t want to believe it.  Still don’t, really, but…  no.  MaryEliz is right.  It doesn’t add up.

For all you brave NaNoWriMo writers…

I’ve always loved this poster…  and it’s always reminded me of National Novel Writing Month.


I’ve done the NaNoWriMo madness twice, and twice I’ve ended up with over 50,000 words that I never wanted to see again. 

As Kurt Vonnegut said, there are two types of writers:

“The Swooper”


“The Basher.”

I started out a Swooper, writing like the wind and then editing like mad later.

But now I am a Basher, where I will spend a lot of time over far fewer words, but later have much, much less editing to do.

Ernest Hemmingway only wrote two pages a day, and even then, only one of them was original.  He’d get up in the morning, rewrite the last page from the day before, then write a new page, after which he was done. 

He’d go fly fishing for the rest of the day.

Not that I’m a Hemmingway, but… really, I think he had the right idea.