Thank you to Quinn for hosting this boo-fest. The idea is to share a ghost story -- either a personal experience or a retelling of someone else's experience.
The thing is that I am really afraid of ghosts. I'm fascinated by them, want to learn more, drawn to haunted houses, but they scare the bejeebers out of me.
The Sixth Sense bothered me for months. MONTHS. I slept with the light on. All of my weirdo childhood hangups resurfaced -- like not being able to sleep with the closet door open. Being alone at home with any light off in the house. It was bizarre and my husband had no idea how to handle it. That was the first time he found out about my ghost problem. I still have issues when I remember the vomit girl or the mom in the kitchen. *shivers* Let's not even talk about The Shining.
We moved to Ireland right before my tenth birthday. My grandparents had bought a hotel and my dad and uncle were going to manage it. I knew the hotel had been a hunting lodge, but had no idea of what that meant. I knew it was surrounded by woods, but my Southern California based prior knowledge could not comprehend it. Not really. I was not prepared for the creepier aspects.
I remember the flight and meeting my dad at the car. The next thing I knew, I was waking up in an unfamiliar hotel room. Room 18. I was in the middle of a huge, four poster bed. The type of bed so high off the floor that you should have a small set of steps to get in an out. I was tucked under a purple, velor blanket and alone. I had had all sorts of fantasy's about moving from Victorville to Ireland, all very princess-y and magical. This almost counted -- except the room was small, cold, and damp. My blanket, while probably very nice years ago, was patched and had a musty smell. The window looked out to an overgrown hill that was so steep and high that I could have reached out and touched the gorse from my second story hotel room. The overwhelming green outside filtered the light into a dusky gloom making the shadows that much more intense.
I remember climbing out of bed (there were no stairs) and going out the heavy door -- the type of door that took a big, fat key. Directly across the hall the door to room 17 was open. My Mom, brother, and sister were napping in there. We were all waking up from our jet lag. Their sleeping arrangements were less spectacular. Dad had chosen my once impressive bedroom for me on purpose.
Rooms 17, 18, and 19 were at the end of a wing. In order to get to these rooms, you had to walk down a long corridor. To the left were broad, shuttered windows with a view of the slate roof. To the right were inset cabinets that hosted the hotel's linens.
I still have bad dreams about walking down that corridor. The dreams are set both in daylight and at night. There were other portions of the hotel purported to be haunted, this wing disturbed me. I always felt watched. Really, it was a very well lit corridor, but the windows open to the first floor slate roof gave a feeling of being exposed. Vulnerable. Of course it was worse at night -- when you looked out the windows and only saw your reflection in the glass against the expanse of dark.
I still shudder.
My most recent dream I was with my husband, two daughters, and brand new baby (I don't actually have a brand new baby) . We were in the room in the main hall that faced that wing with rooms 17, 18, and 19. I opened the door and could see down all the way to room 19, the light streaming in the windows against the glossy white cupboard doors that flanked the corridor. I felt an inexorable pull as if I was being sucked toward that hall that went on forever. I knew I had to get my family out of the hotel or it would never let us leave. My husband actually believed me and helped get the girls and I went for the baby, but the hotel had already taken her. I woke up crying, my heart pounding.
I know, this is not a ghost story in the traditional sense, but I think it is a close cousin. I cannot wait to share Ireland with my family and revisit memories, but I don't think I'll ever be able to spend time in that part of the hotel.