This morning my five year old daughter asked me if ghosts are real. Well, she pronounced it ghostises. Or ghostizes. After correcting her pronunciation I gave her the clearest answer I could muster up, "I don't know. Maybe. I have my doubts, but I've seen and heard some weird stuff." I don't think she was satisfied by that answer, and she quickly lost interest in the conversation. But it set my mind a-rollin' on the topic of ghostizes.
I feel the same way about ghosts as I do about UFOs, Bigfoot (the apeman, not the monster truck), and conspiracies relating to dimension-hopping lizard men: I think I believe in them somewhat because I want them to be real. Also, I really want ghosts to exist because I'm hoping to one day have a career in ghost-busting. I'd like to be the Bill Murray of my team. Though I look more like Dan Aykroyd (or so I've been told).
Only once as a kid did I see something that could have been a UFO, strange lights in the sky that seemed to rapidly change location without actually moving in the direction of the next spot. In all the time I spent in the woods growing up, I never ran into Sasquatch or any other missing links. And I don't even know where to begin looking for lizard men. But I have a few unexplained experiences that may or may not pertain to ghosts.
When I was about eight or nine I spent a lot of time playing at my friend's house down the street. One sunny day I excitedly dashed off of my parents' porch on my way to see my friend, but my dash was a little too excited. I tripped off the top step and lurched into a dive which would have resulted in me cracking my head or breaking my neck on the sidewalk. Something grabbed me by the armpits, straightened me out in the opposite direction of my momentum, and set me down on my feet. It happened so fast that I didn't really think about it until I was almost to my friend's house. Then I forgot about it due to video games and infinite cans of soda.
But what the hell helped me avoid a trip to the hospital and/or death? I'm an atheist, so I don't believe in guardian angels or any other type of angels. I don't even believe that the Angels baseball team really exists. Could it have been some kind of guardian ghost? (I thought Guardian Ghost would be a cool name for a comic book character or a band, but a quick Google search reveals that it's already the name of a comic and a band.) I still don't know what to make of it after all these years, but if there was some sort of a Slimer or a Bill Cosby from Ghost Dad looking out for me, I'd like to thank him (or her) here. Thank you. (Ghosts read blogs, right?)
Let's move forward in time almost two decades. I'm now a (somewhat) more rational adult. I moved into a crappy, overpriced apartment with my girlfriend, Ginger. We had found out from the neighbors that an old lady lived there for years before we moved in. Supposedly she died in hospice, but for whatever reason we had suspected at the time that she died in the apartment. We also became relatively sure that she was still 'living' in the apartment. It started with Ginger accusing a ghost of throwing shit around in the kitchen, specifically the toys that I had set up on top of the cabinets. I shrugged it off when she first mentioned it. A lot of action figures don't stand up that well; they must be falling off the cabinets, I figured. Then I witnessed it myself...
One of the coolest toys I had on display was Ben Grimm, also known as the ever-lovin' blue-eyed Thing, from Fantastic Four. It's a fairly big toy, and it's really heavy compared to most other action figures. Most importantly, it has big feet, so standing him up is not a problem. Mr. Grimm was proudly standing on the cabinet directly above the oven, looking all orange and badass. If he had merely fallen off, he most likely would have landed on top of the stove or maybe an inch or two in front of it. But I witnessed The Thing get launched half way across the kitchen! He went at least a good six feet. There's no way a toy of that size and weight could have been propelled that far from a mere tip-over. It was crazy, and if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn't believe it happened.
Also, in the same crappy, overpriced apartment, I would occasionally see strange happenings out of the corner of my eye. Curtains and blankets would sometimes move when there were no windows open and no discernible source of wind. More convincingly (and more spookily), I saw one of the cabinets open about a quarter of the way and then snap shut. These weren't old cabinets that would creak open by themselves. These were newer cabinets that still had tight hinges, and they'd snap shut if you didn't open them all the way. Or if you were a ghost that could only manage to open one a quarter of the way.
I'd say the spookiest, yet possibly most easily disprovable, occurrence happened when I'd settled onto the couch for a nap. Just as I was falling asleep I heard a raspy voice say, "Hello!" Initially I thought it was my eight year old daughter, because she's a creep and does things like that sometimes, but I was alone in the room when I opened my eyes. Did it really happen? Or could it have been one of those weird little dreams that you have when you first fall asleep that causes you to snap out of your fresh slumber? I do have those quite often, but the part that wakes me up is almost exclusively me getting hit in the face or falling down. It certainly didn't feel like it had been a dream, even in the moment of clarity when I was fully awake. I guess I'll never know for sure.
Even when I started typing this, I maintained the idea that I sort of believe in ghosts, but not really. After looking over and pondering what I just wrote, I'm thinking maybe I should just full on believe in ghosts. Maybe even goblins. I'd like to know that there's sound, scientific reasoning that could explain all of what I just detailed, because I'm a firm believer in science, but I'm stumped as far as a lot of that stuff goes. Did I really have a guardian ghost as a child? Was an old lady lingering in the apartment where she used to live? And what were the strange buzzing noises I heard while I was typing this up? They came from right by the front door and I haven't figured it out yet. Have I really had run-ins with spirits from beyond the grave? Maybe it's just the lizard men playing tricks on me.