“I do believe in spooks, I do believe in spooks, I do believe in spooks”
-Cowardly Lion

I’m not a religious person but for some reason I have had many ghost sightings in my life. Most of them occurred when I was a child but they were so vivid they have stayed with me all these many many years. I have had episodes of ESP as well but I think those tend more from my ability to recognize obscure patterns.

When I was about five years old, I was walking through our old house with my father. We had moved to Texas and then Colorado while my dad did his time in the Army but had kept the house in St. Paul and were visiting it to check on how the remodel was going. My mom had a stroke while we were in Colorado and changes had to be made to the house to accommodate her handicap.

Dad was off talking to some contractors and I was walking up the back stairs. As I was going up a little boy was coming down. He was dressed in knickers with suspenders, a white button down shirt and brown shoes with white socks. He had one of those hats that kids wore whenever it was that they wore suspenders and knickers. Probably in the ’30s. The kid was opaque so I could see the wall behind him but still see what he looked like. I don’t recall talking to him or being afraid.

A few years later I woke up to find a head at the end of my bed. A man’s head with a full beard. It was creepy and I ran into my parents room and dragged my dad in to check it out. When I returned to my room with my father there was nothing there to see but the spot where the head was happened to be warm. The next morning I learned that our neighbor had died of a heart attack the night before. Right around the time I saw the head in my bed and yes the neighbor looked just like the head in my bed.

My father and brother played on these episodes and told me ghost stories about the house. My father mentioned that the living room held a bunch of dead bodies at one time. He was most likely referring to the practice of holding either the autopsy, which if the person died in the house was a common practice or the wakes of the dead, again a common practice a long time ago. He told me that my great grandmother died in my bed. This news terrified my until I realized that this was also a common practice as there were no hospices around at that time and people didn’t generally go to the hospital to die. It creeped me out sufficiently however to prevent me from sleeping in my bed for several months so I guess the joke was on my father who had to put up with me crawling in their bed every night.

Other than a few slamming doors, windows suddenly opening and that kind of thing I have had little contact with the dead except of course for my grandfather who occasionally visits whenever I am stressed out. I don’t mind when he visits as he tells me things are going to be OK and I like my grandpa. I miss him so it’s nice to see him from time to time.

Yesterday I was working on my book. I was doing a fair amount of editing and spent a long time on the chapter about the opera and how much my father loved it and how much I hated it. I was having trouble getting it just the way I wanted and was getting rather frustrated after the 12th hour. As I was getting ready to throw in the towel and start again tomorrow I heard opera music coming up from the air vent that is between the second floor and the first floor.

I went downstairs to see where it was coming from and there on the floor of the living room is my daughter who is writing a book about her grandfather, my dad. She had dug out her little radio that was a stocking stuffer from two years ago. She turned it on and located the opera channel and decided that she loved the opera and it was just the inspiration she needed to finish the illustrations she was making about grandpa.

Grandpa died nearly three years ago, my daughter was three when he died. As the years have passed it has been clear that she is forgetting him. She hasn’t talked about him in a while so this was peculiar to say the least.

I don’t know if he is pulling strings where ever he happens to be but it’s a pretty sick joke if he has turned her into an opera lover. I had to endure it for the duration of my childhood and anytime I drove anywhere with him including the last days he was alive. I really thought that if there was any good to be had at his passing it was that I finally never have to listen to opera again.

What’s even worse is that now my daughter wants to know the names and composers of the operas that she is listening to. Dad told me these things but since I hated it so much, and figured there would never be a quiz, I never committed any of the information to memory. Damn.

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