Friday, October 28, 2011

Welcome, Bewitching Halloween Guys and Ghouls!

Welcome Blog Hoppers!

I love Halloween. It’s about as uncomplicated a holiday as they come. Nothing but fun – no visiting relatives or annoying major-production meals to offset the pleasure of candy. October has lovely weather and costumes are always a good time. And scary is always enjoyable… Within reason.

In my Halloween story, Like Magic, I have a fellow who spends the freakiest Halloween night of his life when he falls under the spell of a lovelorn witch – or does he?

I have never been perfectly certain how I feel about the paranormal. My logical side says it’s unlikely, but I’ve been around the block enough times to know nothing is certain, and one should never say never.

I was 19 when I worked at a dining hall in the old east coast university where I took my bachelors degree. The dining hall was old, stone and impressive, covered in ivy and looking stately. It even had a tragic past – in the 1920s, a fire gutted it, killing four students and the housekeeper, who were all said to haunt their various lifetime quarters still. The housekeeper had lived in a bedsit in the basement, beside the maintenance area and right next to the boiler. When the boiler exploded that fateful night, she had not the slightest chance of escape. Yet, it being the 1920s, when they rebuilt and fixed a bronze plaque to the refurbished building commemorating the loss, her name was not included in the memorial.

As a result, many reported that the restless spirit of the woman was not a happy one, and she’d had been known to harass students and employees.

When my supervisor, Nicole, went down to the basement, she was always nervous. She said it felt cold, and she heard noises. Once, a lightbulb exploded when she was halfway down the dark, steep stairs. The forgotten lady, it seems, did not care for Nicole. Eventually, Nicole took to sending Dishwasher Kevin down there at the end of shift to lock up and shut down the lights. I guess no one really much minded if an angry ghost got Dishwasher Kevin.

Anyway, one night I was filling in as headwaiter to a conference banquet while Nicole was off. It never occurred to me to make Dishwasher Kevin go down to turn off the lights and lock up before he left, which I regretted later.

After I had signed everybody out, and was alone doing my lock up, all of the bravado I had once had as an empowered, educated young woman who didn’t believe in ghosts flew out the window as I contemplated going down those steps. A part of me wanted to pretend I had forgotten to lock up down there, but I knew it would be my skin if something happened because I had turned chicken, and I needed the job. Besides, headwaiting paid better than serving, and if I ever wanted the chance to fill in for Nicole again, I had better get my butt down there.

So, I went.

Down the steps, singing a little song to keep from shaking, and to the back door. I locked up, and turned off the lights as I went. Then to the employee locker room, without incident. By that point, I was starting to feel pretty silly about having been afraid, and was thinking Nicole was an idiot. I didn’t feel any chill, and nothing was happening. Pfft! I knew it all along! There’s no such thing as ghosts!

I was so confident, I decided to stop and pee before finishing my rounds and making the trek home. I got in the stall, did my business, and then… dropped the frigging toilet paper! I watched helplessly as it bounced and then rolled out under the door. One of those moments where you stop and sigh, sagging a second or two before you decide what to do about your situation.

Then… In bounced the toilet paper, back in under the door!

Now, this was not a slanted floor. In fact, the drain under the sinks should have made the paper roll completely away from my stall. And there was nothing for that thing to bump into that would make it bounce back to me. Except…

I recall how hard my heart was pounding. I wanted to scream or hide or cry, and the hairs on my arms stood on end. Either the room got cold as ice, or I imagined it did, I don’t know which.

To be on the safe side, I called out, “Thank you!” in the most cheerful voice I could. I received no reply, expected no reply, really wanted no reply. But, if some spirit out there had done me a good turn, it seemed only polite. And prudent, considering the exploded light bulb.

Nothing else happened as I rushed away from the bathroom and ran up those steps to the safety of the dining hall kitchen. Nothing ever happened to me again down in the basement of that dining hall in my subsequent shifts, but I never again felt sure there wasn’t something down there.

There is a type of certainty we enjoy when we are young, when we can “know” what is what. As you age, you lose that luxury as things happen to make you question everything. After that night, I never was certain about the paranormal again. Now, I know enough to know there’s a lot of stuff out there I don’t know, I guess you could say.

So, that’s my ghost story. It isn’t thrilling, or very flattering to me since I was sitting on the can at the time, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget that night.

Happy Halloween, everybody! And, remember – always be polite to the non-living. Except for zombies. Those suckers, you better just shoot in the head.


~*~

Please comment on this post, say hello, and tell me your spookiest encounter with something that goes bump in the night!

For every ten people who comment, I will pick one winner at random to receive their choice of any one of my current releases gifted via Amazon Kindle (either through an actual ereader or the PC app). I will give away at least one prize, even if I get less than ten comments.

Contest opens at midnight October 28, and runs all the way to midnight the night of October 31/November 1, 2011 (EST), as per the Bewitching Trick-or-Treat Blog Hop design. Winners will be announced here on this blog at noon on November 1, and they will be asked to email me to arrange the collection of their prizes. (Only people 18 and older will be eligible for a prize. All of my books contain explicit language and graphic sexuality.)

After commenting, please carry on the blog hop tour, and check out these great authors – all of whom are giving away treats for Halloween!

Please visit me at my website, or find me on GoodReads, Facebook and Twitter. You can also sign up for my newsletter, if you'd like to stay in touch via remote. I will include a note to winners who haven't claimed their prizes in my next issue, on the first Friday in November.

ETA: NEW excerpt from Like Magic up at my Seasonal Tales website for Sample Sunday!

36 comments:

Eva's Flowers said...

Oh that sure sounds like a bit of a ghostly story to me :) I can't say that I've experienced anything like that. But growing up, I was always around when the adults were telling stories and they had some scary ones to tell!

Thanks for participating in the Blog Hop, it sure is fun to find new authors and books to add to my TBR list :)

Eva
evitap67(at)gmail(dot)com

Lucy Felthouse said...

Sorry to say I haven't had any encounters. But since you mention zombies... I have been defeating them viciously on Plants vs Zombies on my iPhone. Does that count?

lucy at lucyfelthouse dot co dot uk

Vanessa Barger said...

Spooky!

I think the spookiest thing that happened to me was when i was in elementary school, we lived in a house where I swear I saw ghosts. Every night. At exactly midnight (i always woke up on the dot). But the kicker was that once I had a friend over I'd never told about it. And while we sat in my room doing a puzzle (I think) we heard someone walking UNDER us. I lived in a ranch house.
We went and hung out in the kitchen.

Ongoing creepiness is that I frequently hear the phone ring before anyone else. Everyone swears its not ringing at all. and I usually know who's calling.

Anne Holly said...

Oh, Vanessa, those things sound very creepy. I am glad to say I only have the one, and I never actually saw anything.

@Eva - nice to meet you! Beautiful avatar!

@Lucy - yes, that totally counts! :D

siobhankinkade said...

Creepy story, Anne... that's truly bizarre.

I think the strangest was what happened to me not too long ago - and here's the quick version.

My mother had come to visit, and she's had what we were assuming was the spirit of a child following her around for awhile because of some of the strange things that were happening. Well, she managed to leave it at my house. Things started disappearing and reappearing in strange places, the doorbell would ring for no reason, I'd come home to find cartoons playing on TV when it had been off when I left...things like that.

Then about a month ago, I was getting ready for work and when I opened my bedroom door, a little boy was standing in my hallway. He waved at me, then turned and ran down the hall into the kitchen, and was just gone. He couldn't have been more than six or seven, and I know for a fact I was alone in the house. I haven't actually seen him since, but things still keep moving.

How's that for creepy?

Lisa said...

I can't say I have had any encounters with ghosts. The ones I have heard sound creepy.

Lisa
Wolphcall@bellsouth.net

trinity said...

Scariest thing had to be when we went to an open house, we were looking to buy a house. To this day I drive away from this house! I walked into the house and I thought I was going to die, goose bumps, couldn't breath, white candles and crosses everywhere, in the basement a room with half a door which was locked. NOPE almost ran from the house!! It sat empty for over a year!
Still gives me the willies thinking about it.
Trinity Blacio
trinityblacio12@gmail.com

Jessica Subject said...

I love that you said thank you. LOL

I've only ever seen one ghost, and it was a cat. The cat who was sitting on my bed beside me saw it run under my bed too. We both looked under my bed, but nothing was there.

Anyway, have a happy Halloween! :)

Anne Holly said...

@Siobhan - Oh lordy! I can't handle child ghosts. *shudder*

@Lisa - You're lucky! I can't even say mine was really one, but that's enough for me. :)

@Trinity - I guess you didn't buy the house, eh? :p

@Jessica - I'm Canadian, so we're programmed to be polite. Especially to ghosts who hold grudges. If I recall correctly, I've heard that Chinese legends say ghost cats bring good luck, by the way. Anything really nice happen shortly after that?

Thanks for the comments, all!

Kathryn Merkel said...

Can't really say I've ever had an experience where I suspected an otherworldly presence, but I did get scared out of a year of two of life one night.

I got the bright idea to watch a scary movie "The Funhouse" all by myself on the big screen TV at the Video Store my folks owned. The movie was mediocre, but must have gotten to me more than I realized. When exiting the building, I had to walk past the furnace room, which had a hole in the wall where the air return vent should have been. Just as I got alongside that hole, the furnace kicked on & I just about lost it. That was the last time I watched a scary movie by myself at the video store.

drainbamaged.gyzmo at gmail.com

Andrea said...

I've never had any spooky encounters.

ainfinger@comcast.net

Jean P said...

I have never had any paranormal encounters. But reading your story, gave me goosebumps.

skpetal AT hotmail DOT com

E. Jamie said...

What a creepy story! Though I ADORED your saying 'thank you'! (laughs) That was too funny!

My creepiest encounter involves a spirit in a phone! Started off beeping, then whistling than full on engaged communication with it speaking of things it would have no way of knowing if it was just some random prankster or glitchy radio frequency!

Kirsten Arnold said...

This hop is so fun! I'm enjoying the "treat" of finding new authors. Thank you for participating.

I love your ghost story, and good for you being polite.

My "ghost" story follows the "be polite" guidelines. In college, I worked as a tour guide in a Victorian mansion. On evenings when I had the last tour and had to shut off lights and secure the house, I never felt alone and often heard bumps and thumps. I'm sure it was my imagination, but just to be safe I'd hold a running conversation with "the family." No use tempting fate. :o)

--Kirsten
kanavyhist[at]aol[dot]com

E. Jamie said...

Whoops, forgot to add my e-mail addy!

nancy777ca@yahoo.ca

wanda f said...

ounds fantastic Ihave to read this one

flanagan@mebtel.net

books4me said...

I think that sounds pretty scary, Anne! Mine isn't really too scary but it was to me: I was sleeping many years ago and I felt the bed depress as if someone was sitting next to me but there was no one else in the room! Needless to say, I slept with my mom the rest of the night.

Happy Halloween.

books4me67 at ymail.com

lisagk said...

I loved your toliet paper story. I got really freaked out several years ago, because a puddle of water appeared in the middle of my kitchen floor out of nowhere. I cleaned it up, and in twenty minutes it was back, I cleaned it up again and again it made a reappearance, this went on for a full evening, and I was getting really spooked. I was convinced I had a 'haint in my house. Turned out to only be a plumbing issue and is good for a laugh, NOW. Thank you for being part of the hop, lisagk(at)yahoo(dot)com

Julianne said...

My husband and I had just gone to bed and about 10 mins later we heard the door that goes from the kitchen to the garage shut. We both sat straight up and he jumped up and ran to our son's room to get him. My husband met our son outside his bedroom and ushered him quickly to me and told us to get on the floor between the window and the bed. My husband went on down the stairs and into the kitchen and opened the door. He checked the outside garage door and it was still locked. Then he noticed a corner of the rug on the garage floor was wet, with two small footprints outlined. He walked around the house and everything was still locked and he didn't find anyone in the house. My heart was beating so fast. I've never been more scared in my life. We came to the conclusion that our son had managed to walk down the stairs, through the kitchen and opened the door and peed on the rug thinking he was in the bathroom. It wasn't the first time our son had sleep walked around.
luvfuzzzeeefaces@yahoo.com

Jennifer S said...

One night, when i was a teenager, I was asleep in my bed when all of a sudden my covers yanked completely off me and my bed. I turned on the bedside light real quick thinking it was one of my brothers messing with me but no one was in my room, my door was still shut and there was no where for someone to hide. There was no way I kicked them off because the sheet and blanket were both tucked in between the mattress and the box spring and they were all the way across the room. I slept with the light on that night and without my cover LOL.

Thanks for the chance to win
JenniferSmith.ga (at) gmail.com

mnjcarter said...

Very creepy!!
I never had anything like this happen, more like just what we imagined happening or thought was happening as we sat around campfires telling scary stories. Always thought someone was coming through the woods to kill us, or worse!

mnjcarter@charter.net

panalopy said...

I grew up across from a cemetery, my friends and me used to walk through at midnight on Halloween we never saw anything though. Almost gave ourselves heart attacks freaking each other out but we never saw anything, kind of disappointing.
talia628@yahoo.com

tammy r. said...

i have not had anything like that happen to me but my brother had something like that happen.
when he was young(8 or 9) one night there was a stray dog outside barking and when he opened the door he felt like something grabbed him by the throat. the dog ran up on the porch and was barking and growling and whatever had grabbed him let go. the next day the dog was gone. very creepy.
trvlagnt1t@yahoo.com

Anne Holly said...

Thanks for all the comments, folks! I am thrilled to meet you all. Also, many thanks for those who have checked out my books and signed up for my newsletter. I appreciate it.

To those who have never encountered anything paranormal, you're quite lucky, in my opinion! :D

Anne Holly said...

@Kathryn - I did something similar to myself. I saw Blair Witch in theatres, and then walked home in the dark. Almost died when a cat jumped out of a trash can at me!

@E.Jamie and Kirsten - I really felt being polite was the wisest option, all things considered. :)

@Wanda - Thanks!

@books4me - I've felt that, too, and it always scares the hell out of me!

@lisagk - I am often certain there is some logical explanation for my story, as well, but then I wonder who really knows?

@Julianne - My BIL did that once. He sleepwalked and peed into the slot in their VCR. No one will ever let him forget that one.

@Jennifer - I don't blame you! I'd likely never turn the lights off again!

@mnjcarter - Most kids love spooky. I never did, though. :D

@panalopy - I had a friend, who was determined to have an encounter, who was jealous of my TP Incident (as we call it), since he was always disappointed in his quest.

@tammy r - That is horrific! :0

Anne Holly said...

According to my calculations, I am up to two winners so far (20 people commented). Two more days left to the contest, too.

I'm loving this blog hop!

Jenn said...

I've always wanted to experience something paranormal. I think I want it so bad I give off bad vibes to the ghosties. :(

jennirv4967 at gmail dot com

lily sawyer said...

I think you were wise to say Thank you, I mean you certainly were in a bind when that toilet paper rolled away from you and the spirit made sure you got it back.

I've had a few incidences. I think my dad visited me right after he died, It was more like I think I saw him out of the corner of my eye sitting in his fave chair in the living room.

But my latest encounter was over the summer when I was dog sitting at a neighbor's house while they were on vacation. I already knew the place has some spirits, my neighbor gave me a heads up. I didn't actually see the spirit but I heard them on the second floor. I'd be on the first floor and I'd hear things being moved about upstairs. When I went up there there was no one there and the sounds stopped.

A couple of years ago I went to live with a friend up in NH, She had an attic and late one night, while everyone else was in bed. I heard the sounds of something being moved around up there. I lay in bed with my heart pounding.

these days I'm not so scared of them. I just accept them.

Anne Holly said...

@Jenn - Maybe ghosts are like cats. They sense who doesn't want them around and then immediately zero in on them.

@Lily - Yes, I suspect if there's nothing you can do about getting rid of them or moving, you'd have to get used to them or go nuts with nervousness!

Thanks for the comments, folks. :)

geschumann said...

I don't really have any scary stories. My grandmother used to have this thing where she would hear 3 knocks--it could be like a knock on the door or firewood falling over--and then within about a couple of weeks, someone they know would die. It wasn't necessarily a relative, but always someone they knew. Weird!
Thanks for the giveaway! Gloria

geschumann at live dot com

June M. said...

I have never had any paranormal experiences but I love paranormal stories.
June M.
manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

shadow_kohler said...

Very scary! I live in a haunted house and ive had several occurances of ghostly things. Ive had a knife thrown at me, someone sit next to me in bed, doors open and close by themselves, things turn on or off, things moved around, ect...the list goes on. Happy Halloween! Thanks for the awesome giveaway!
shadowluvs2read(at)aol(dot)com

flchen1 said...

Wow, that's spooky, Anne! I can't say that I've had a similar encounter of my own, which is probably just as well since I'm the biggest scaredy cat ever!! I'm sure I'd lose all sense of manners and simply run shrieking... probably inadvertently offending the spooks!

f dot chen at comcast dot net

desitheblonde said...

whe i seen elivs and told a bunch of fioreing that he was walking up the isle and got the pic of and proffed it

Anne Holly said...

@Gloria - The old folks in my family always had strange ideas like that, as well. They creeped me out, but they insisted on passing them on.

@June - I read mostly contemporary, but have been moving more into paranormal, slowly but surely.

@Shadow - I would not be able to to function if any of those things happened to me! I am glad all I had thrown at me was TP!

@flchen1 - I was too scared to risk offending!

@desitheblonde - I wouldn't have the presence of mind to gather proof, I think. But I would regret that later, I know!

Thanks for all the comments, folks. So far, I think I will be picking three winners tomorrow at noon. Let's see how many more we get before midnight!

Had a great night tonight - took my 3yo out trick or treating, and we had a blast. Very tired now, though. Luckily, he's already passed out.

Enjoy the rest of your night, folks!

Anne Holly said...

And the winners are...
Trinity
Jennifer S.
Lucy F.

CONGRATS!

I'll be in touch sometime today.

http://anneholly.blogspot.com/2011/11/halloween-blog-hop-winners.html

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