Tag Archives: ghost

Nobody cares about your dumb séance

I have this really weird friend, and she’d been talking about doing a séance for months. “Come on guys!” she’d say after nobody responded to any of her suggestions. Nobody ever responded. Because nobody wants to do a séance. Nobody but crazy people. “It’ll be so much fun!” and we’d just do our best to ignore her, to hope that after a while she’d burn herself out, maybe take a hint that nobody felt like standing around and holding hands like a bunch of wackos.


And yeah, I guess she took the hint, because one day she decided to take charge, to force us all into participating. We arrived at our friend Jeff’s place at eight, and even Jeff looked kind of shocked as we entered the darkened living room, the long candles set up around the perimeter of a folding poker table set up in the middle.

“What the hell Jeff?” we all asked without actually saying anything. And Jeff just shrugged, communicating, “I don’t know guys, she just showed up and started setting everything up.” Which, sorry Jeff, you’re not off the hook. I mean, talk about being a pushover. That’s your place. It’s your responsibility to put the foot down when someone comes over and tries to take over the direction of a get-together at your apartment. It’s like when I have people over, and Carl tries to hijack the music. “Come on guys, there’s this really cool Gypsy punk band that I found out about online. We should listen to the whole album!” Yeah, it’s a little mean, taking the computer out of his hands, password protecting the playlist. But what’s the alternative?

The alternative is shit like this, sitting around some ridiculous table getting ready to play make-believe with all of your adult friends, when all you really want to be doing is smoking pot and playing video games. “Guys, come on, hold hands! Be quiet!” that was our friend. We were all past the point of looking visibly pissed off, and half of us were muttering obscenities under our breath. She didn’t care, “Guys! Quiet!”

She turned off the lights and lit all of the candles. “For real guys, just hold hands, just come on.” And we did, probably because we realized that this was never going to stop being a thing unless we just got through it. So, begrudgingly, I joined hands with the two guys to my side, hoping that this wouldn’t take too much longer.

“Spirits from beyond,” she started her séance speech. It was too much to take. Like were these prepared words that she had written down ahead of time? Or was she just winging it, going for the whole otherworldly ghost feel? It was way over the top, the way she pronounced everything, “from beyo – ooo – oond.”

But after like a minute of this nonsense the candles all blew out at the same time. That got everybody’s attention. “Hey, how’d you do that?” one of my friends said, and someone else said, “Shhh.”

“Ghost of the departed, why do you come? What do you need to tell us?”

And then a voice started speaking. It sounded like it was coming from the middle of the table, but there wasn’t any echo or anything, nothing like the disembodied characteristics that you hear in ghost movies. With the lights out, our eyes didn’t have a chance to adjust, and so we couldn’t see anything, the source of the voice, if it was just one of our friends playing the part of the deceased.

“What do you mean?” the voice said.

“Why do you come from bey – ooo –oond?”

“I don’t know. You summoned me. What do you want?”

“Deliver unto us your otherworldly message!”

“For real? This is like something out of a bad horror movie. Come on, aren’t you guys bored? How’d you let her talk you into to any of this? I mean, I’m fine. I’m beyond the whole concept of time and space, so this isn’t really a big deal for me. Yeah, I’m bored, but it’s not like I have anywhere better to be. What about you guys? You’re just going to waste the rest of your twenties sitting around and playing video games? I’m not judging, it’s just that when I was alive …”

“OK! All right! Thank you. We get it. Thank you for visiting us. Guys, does anybody see the lighter? Can someone turn the lights on?”

And Jeff was right by the door. He hit the switch and the lights went on and there was nobody else with us. It was just a bunch of people sitting around a table, still kind of awkwardly holding hands.

Nobody wanted to talk about it anymore. Everyone felt a little ridiculous, that even if it were a real ghost that we somehow conjured into this plane of existence, that even the disembodied voices of the dead think that a stupid séance is a dumb waste of time. I wanted to rub this fact in my friend’s face, but nobody was saying anything. I think she felt bad about it. We all just quietly opened our beers and packed our bowls while Jeff blew in the cartridges of his old N64 games, trying to get Super Smash Brothers to work. Carl and Bill started fighting over who got to play as Captain Falcon. I need to get some new friends.

I’m scared of ghosts that are indifferent to my existence

Sometimes I’ll want a good scare, and so I’ll try to find some cool ghost stories to read on the Internet. But even the good ones aren’t that scary. The ghosts are always trying way too hard. At first you barely notice that they’re there, but then slowly they start moving stuff around the apartment, running right behind you when you’re in the bathroom brushing your teeth, spelling out really creepy sentences on the fridge out of the magnetic word poetry set that you bought at Urban Outfitters. And then after the fun and games are over, they reveal themselves, it turns out to be a really evil ghost, and that’s it.

image credit: www.i-am-bored.com

image credit: www.i-am-bored.com

The scariest parts of ghost stories are the parts where the ghost isn’t even doing anything yet. The main character moves into a spooky new house, and nothing out of the ordinary has happened at all. But I’m reading a ghost story, and so I know that something scary is about to go down eventually, and so I’m shaking, totally freaked out. And then as soon as that candle knocks itself off the fireplace, I’m like, OK, there it is, that’s the ghost, and everything gets progressively less scary.

So I’m not into scary ghosts, not in fiction, certainly not in real life. And I’m not too fond of happy ghosts either. As a little kid, I always thought that Casper the Friendly Ghost was one of the dumbest shows on TV. It wasn’t scary, and it wasn’t funny. It was just weird, and kind of sad. I remember thinking to myself as a little kid, so wait, if Casper’s a ghost, then he’s dead, right? So why is he dead? Isn’t he just a little kid? Mom, if I die right now, am I going to have to come back as some bald floating cartoon character without any legs?

Scary ghosts, no. Happy ghosts, also no. What really gets me are the ghosts that are totally indifferent to my existence. And since by their nature they’d want nothing to do with me, I can never rule out the possibility that my house might be super haunted right now, like totally overflowing with ghosts that don’t care about me. I just can’t see them, because they don’t find my presence worth haunting. And so they’re sitting around enjoying my couch or whatever it is that ghosts do, and then they hear me coming and, poof, they’re gone.

What the hell, ghosts? Couldn’t you at least do me a solid? If I were a ghost, resigned to take up space in my house for some undetermined amount of time, sure, I can see how I’d maybe feel a little apathy toward whoever takes residence here next. Maybe I wouldn’t want to give them the time of day. If I had the ability to poof myself out of any situation, that’s probably what I’d wind up doing most, if not all of the time.

But do me a favor, just come and say hi. That would be huge for me. I’d finally find out once and for all that an afterlife does exist, that death isn’t the end. Sure, maybe the idea of floating around, disappearing, still trying to avoid weird social interactions with people that I’m not close with, maybe that’s not the idea of heaven that I was expecting. But it’s better than nothing.

Come on, if I were a ghost, I’d leave you alone, but I’d at least give you a little heads up. “Hey,” I’d manifest myself right in between you and the TV. “Look, I’m not going to scare you or anything, and this doesn’t have to be a thing where I’m all up in your business, but I just wanted to let you know that I’m here, and that I’ll be out of your way. When I was alive, I put a lot of thought into this, and I just feel like, at some level anyway, you’d probably want to know.”

5 most haunted spots in my house

People think I’m being a little crazy, everyone’s telling me that it’s all in my head, that my house isn’t haunted. They’re only partially right. It’s not all haunted. But certain spots are really haunted. Here are the five most haunted spots in my house:

1. The basement stairs

Yeah, I guess everybody’s basement stairs are haunted to some extent. But you know that feeling you get when you’re at the bottom and you turn the lights off and you have to sprint upstairs all while you can just feel the otherworldly spirits reaching out to pull you back down? I’ve experienced that everywhere, my childhood home growing up, my grandparent’s place. And for real, it’s significantly more pronounced in my basement.

Even worse, my basement staircase is its own separate room. There’s a door on the first floor dividing it from the living room, and another door at the bottom that closes off the actual basement. I’m pretty sure that the architects who designed the house recognized the evil inherent in that narrow corridor, and so they did their best to localize the darkness by sealing it in from both sides. Which is fine if I’m in the basement with the door closed or upstairs in the living room with the door closed. But as soon as either one of those doors is opened up even a crack, it’s like you can feel the ominous presence start to encroach upon your soul. If I was the kind of guy who lit candles, I’m almost positive they’d all get blown out in unison.

2. The haunted crawlspace off the basement stairs

I’m still on the basement stairs here. Once you get to the bottom, there’s that door to the left that goes to the basement. But there’s also another door straight ahead that leads into this weird dungeon area. That’s where you’d go if you wanted to do work on the pipes that connect to the street and everything, and so when you’re in there, you look up and it’s all subterranean, pools of moisture that don’t have any specific source, or random cracks in the concrete that would make really comfortable habitats for rats or possums, that is, if that architectural abscess were capable of sustaining biological life.

And the door won’t close all the way. There’s a doorknob, which should close in theory, but for whatever reason, it doesn’t click shut. So the previous owner nailed this tiny little latch to keep the void from constantly gaping out to the rest of the house. Only, even with the latch, the door is still just a little bit open, just a crack. And it’s like, that’s all it needs, just that inch, so that every time I go downstairs, not only do I have to ignore the spirits that occupy the stairway, I have to simultaneously keep out of my head whatever it is that lurks behind that creepy second door. And I can feel it, calling out to me, creepy looking ghost fingers trying to paw through from the other side. When I’m away, do the voices in the two rooms whisper to each other, make plans on how they’re going to lure me deeper inside?

3. Underneath my kitchen sink.

This is a subtler haunted spot, because it’s so small. When I first moved in, I had naturally assumed that the entire kitchen was haunted. But upon further examination, I was able to pinpoint the origin of any spooky activity to directly under the kitchen sink. The first obvious sign was the total disappearance of sponges. There are never any sponges. And I’m constantly buying them, the five-packs, the high quality yellow-bottomed-green-topped good sponges. When I get home, I put them with the other kitchen cleaning supplies, right underneath the sink. So where are they? There’s just no way I could be going through that many sponges. It’s like whatever lives in there is consuming them by the multi-pack.

Also, did I leave it open? The cabinet door? I don’t think so. Stuff like this happens all the time. And if I’m ever guaranteed to be surprised by a cockroach or a silverfish, it’s almost always coming from that two-by-two cupboard of horror. There’s no food under there, and it’s relatively free of clutter. The only possible explanation is ghosts. Lots of very small ghosts.

4. My guest bedroom

Totally haunted. Which, I mean, if I have to have ghosts hanging out in the house, I guess I’d rather them hang out in the guest bedroom than in my bedroom. It gives me the sense that they’re respecting boundaries, that they realized they’re merely guests in my house. Or I could just be projecting too much of my own hopes and fears into the situation. Maybe the guest bedroom is haunted because that’s where something crazy went down. Like a murder. Or a possession. Or a murderous series of possession, all eventually culminating in right now, me living in this house, the ghosts just waiting for my wife and I to get into a big enough fight where one of us storms out of the master bedroom to sleep in the guest bedroom for the night.

And that’s when it’s going to happen, because the guy is always the one that storms out, pillow and guest blanket in hand, full of anger, ripe for murderous possession. Or maybe it’s the guest bed. Maybe the wood that the bedframe is made out of came from a tree, a cursed tree, maybe some crazy violent possessed lunatic hung himself on that tree, and then when they found his body and cut it down, they accidentally cut his neck, and all of his possessed evil blood spilled onto the ground, into the soil, through the roots, making the tree even more evil, and now it’s in my guest bed, it is my guest bed. Whatever it is, it’s haunted, it’s the most haunted guest bedroom ever.

5. My printer

I didn’t use to believe that printers could be haunted, but that’s because I’ve never owned a haunted printer before. Now that I own one, I want to get the word out there: printers can definitely be haunted. It started out innocently enough, I’d click print, I’d get random messages popping up on my computer like, “There’s no printer connected,” or, “There’s no ink,” even though I just bought ink, there’s no way that I could be out of ink already.

But then pages started printing randomly, without any prompting from me, pages of characters and incomprehensible text. That was my first hunch that something dark might be living inside the printer. But it was only after I had my next ink cartridge blessed by a priest that I came to conclusively believe that what lurked inside was pure evil. It spazzed out and sputtered around, for a while only printing out documents in blood red tones. Finally the strange activity subsided somewhat, but I still think that it’s haunted, that it’s just waiting there for the malevolent printer company to remotely send it an evil firmware update. And I’d get rid of it, I really would, but printers are so expensive, and it’s last on a long list of haunted repairs and maintenance that I need taken care of here. Like, do you know how much it costs to replace just the kitchen sink cabinets?

There are so many more haunted hot spots in my house, like our haunted Oster twelve-speed blender, or my left hiking boot, but the haunting are more obscure and hard to articulate, and in terms of conclusive proof, well, it’s conclusive to me, I mean, I can feel it, but … you think I’m crazy, right? Why does everyone think I’m nuts? Did you just hear that? No, you’re reading this from your house, how would you hear that? Unless your shower curtain rod is haunted like mine is, and maybe they can send each other haunted messages. No, that’s nuts. Is it?

Originally published at Thought Catalog

I don’t make promises I can’t keep

It’s not that I’m saying I won’t do the dishes, it’s just that I can’t promise that I will. And believe me, I have every intention of coming home after work today and heading straight for the kitchen sink. Because, I know, I said I would do them two days ago, and then I said with even more emphasis that I would definitely get them done yesterday, and then when I fell asleep on the couch for the better part of last night, I begged, I pleaded, “Please. Tomorrow. Definitely tomorrow.”


And now tomorrow is today. And yes, I didn’t get them done in the morning, OK, even though that was my goal. But I still have until the end of the day, right? Technically I still have until midnight. And I’m going to get them done. But you want me to promise? Don’t you think that’s a little extreme?

I mean, I could think of a dozen or so reasons just off of the top of my head why I might not be able to get them done. That’s not to say that I’m not going to come straight home and put those rubber gloves on right away. But like, what if there’s a sniper? That happens sometimes, it happened in DC a while ago. Say people are getting picked off, and they can’t find the gunman, wouldn’t you rather I hole up at work? So in that albeit unlikely scenario, I wouldn’t make it home to do those dishes.

And I don’t want to break a promise, that’s just not who I am. Or what about a flash flood? It would the same exact situation as above, me not being able to make it home because of some sort of emergency. Tornado. Hurricane. Well, I guess not hurricane, because everybody would be talking about, making its way from the Gulf few days before it would hit here. But still. I said sniper, right?

Or what if I get home and the water’s out? I know it’s never been out before, but it could happen. What if that same sniper, what if he’s teamed up with someone bent on poisoning the city’s water supply? And maybe the detectives or homeland security, maybe they found out the plot before it was too late. But some of the poison made its way into the pipes, and so just to be extra careful, the city shut everything down. How are you supposed to do dishes with no water?

I guess I could maybe agree to a promise, but only if we sit down and go through all of the very legitimate excuses, however unlikely they may be, that would exempt me from actually following through. But, I don’t know, that could take a lot longer than we have, or I have, you know, time left in the day for me to fulfill my end of the bargain. Unless you want to add that to the agreement, one of the stipulations could say, “Unless we run out of time because we get caught up listing all of the ways in which I might be reasonably prevented from doing the dishes, including, but not limited to, this sentence.”

What if I die right before I make it to the house? Do you honestly want your last memory of me to be that of a promise broken? And what if that promise then chains me to this mortal coil? I’ll be unable to pass completely to the afterlife, I’ll be a ghost, a shadow of my former self, doomed to spend eternity futilely trying to make it home in time, before I die, but I’ll already be dead, I’ll be one of those ghosts that doesn’t know that he’s dead.

Do you really want that? And then years after you’re dead, you’ll be in heaven, I’ll be stuck haunting this house, the new occupants will have enough of my roaming around the halls, moaning out questions like, “Hooooney, where do we keep the extra spooooonges?” They’ll call up an exorcist, he’ll be a really powerful medium, I won’t stand a chance. What if I get banished to hell? Do you really think that’s fair? All because I made a promise to do one or two sinks full of dishes, a promise that the universe for some reason refused to allow me to keep?

Come on, just trust me here, I’ll get them done. And also, for real, where do we keep the extra sponges? Because, I know … I know you hate wasting sponges, but I hate using old sponges, they’re so slimy. Just … which counter, upstairs or downstairs? OK, and, that big lasagna pan, I mean, do I really have to scrub that? Or can I just let it soak? Because I don’t think I have that kind of elbow grease. OK, OK, yeah I’ll get to it. I love you to. No, I don’t promise, but the very next level down, whatever type of commitment that’s just slightly less binding than a promise, that’s what I’m committing to. OK, see you at home.

Push button for green light

The other day I was driving my car and I saw this lady at the corner. She didn’t have the light so she put down her grocery bags and walked to the pole at the intersection. And then she started pushing that button, the one that I forgot was even there, it says, “Push here and wait for green light.” Not just once, she kept pushing it, over and over again, I imagined her saying in her head, green light, every time she pushed, green light, green light, green light …

green light button

I don’t know why, I couldn’t stand watching her do it, I know I should have just minded my own business but something about that push, push, push, I rolled down my window, “Hey lady! What the hell are you doing? You really think that button’s connected to anything? You really think the light’s going to change faster because you’re standing there pushing it again and again?”

And she looked at me, she was definitely pissed off. I shouldn’t have said anything, it was totally pointless. And I wanted to say so much more, I wanted her to respond, to tell me that it does work, that I should mind my own business, and then I would have kept going, I would have been like, oh yeah? Well why do you keep pushing it then? Shouldn’t you just have to push it the one time? What do you think, it’s a button designed to speed up the changing from red to green based on how many times it’s pressed?

She was just staring at me, still pressing the button at the same frequency, but not paying attention to the light, it changed to green, she ignored it, she was locked on me. I felt kind of bad, but I didn’t want to let her know, I was hoping that she’d maintain eye contact long enough for the light to change again from green to red, and then I could really point out to her the futility of pressing the button.

So I engaged her a little more, this time in a more contrite tone of voice, again, I was feeling bad, she reminded me of my grandmother. Not my grandmother exactly, but somebody’s grandmother. She was old. And I thought back to how I started the conversation, well, it wasn’t a conversation, not yet, she hadn’t said anything back yet, although I could tell she was trying to communicate something with her eyes, but man, finally I was like, “What the hell lady?” I didn’t really need to say hell, that was a little harsh, I wouldn’t have said hell to my grandmother.

So I started again, “Excuse me, ma’am, but you can’t really think that that button is actually connected to anything, can you? I mean, it doesn’t do anything. All of the lights in this city are timed out, like a grid, it’s all measured out in even intervals, to help traffic maintain as good of a flow as possible. And again, I’m sorry I said hell before, but I just hate to see you standing there, pushing it over and over again, and why push it so many times? When you’re at home watching TV, how many times do you push the on button? That’s not really the same, I get it, like with the TV you’re getting an instant result, whereas here … well just imagine if that remote didn’t have any batteries, and you stood there pointing it at the TV, click, click, click, nothing, how long would you keep that up?”

All the while, the light hadn’t changed back to red, I couldn’t believe it, it was actually taking forever, and the lady was still just staring at me, totally giving me the stink eye, so, whatever, I told her, “You know what? I’m sorry lady, just, be careful with your groceries on the floor, someone might knock them over.” And I rolled up my window.

But I couldn’t go anywhere because the light in front of me was stuck on red. One minute, two minutes went by, this thing wasn’t changing. And then I realized why. It was the lady. She was still clicking that button, click, click, click. It must have actually been connected, and her constant pressing was keeping the light green, for her. For me it was red. I was stuck.

I rolled down the window, “Hello? Hi, hello,” she was still just staring at me, unwavering, “Yeah, look, I feel really bad, and I’m actually thinking that maybe that button does work, and listen, I feel really terrible, coming at you like that, berating you, you’re clearly in the right here, I think the button does work, obviously it works, that light hasn’t changed in a while now. Anyway, you’ve proved your point, and I’d just like to … I’m sorry again, I’d really like to … yeah, so.”

But she didn’t stop. Now I was getting pissed again. But what was I going to do, knock her groceries over? Force her to stop pushing the button? I looked left and right, making sure no other cars were coming, and I inched into the intersection. Immediately I saw the red and blue lights behind me, a cop car perfectly hidden from view, watching me run the light.

“Officer, I’m really sorry, but that lady, she kept pushing the button, the light wouldn’t change. And I was going really slow, come on, I’m sorry.”

And the officer was like, “What are you stupid? Those buttons aren’t connected to anything. Nice try pal, now hand over your license and registration.”

But that lady, I turned around, she was gone, no lady, no bag of groceries, nothing. What was she, a ghost? Was this like some sort of a haunted intersection? Am I really going to have to go down to City Hall to fight this ticket? Because there’s no way that the judge is going to believe any of this. I guess I could just hope that the officer never shows up, and I could just make up some other story. Or maybe a reduced fine, something. I’m telling you, I know it sounds crazy, but she had to have been a ghost, because how else can you explain any of this stuff?