Short Stories

Did Y’all Hear That?

I reckon Halloween and ghost stories are as southern as blackeye peas. You can ask folks in any small town, and they’ll tell you about one or more haunted structures. There’s somethin’ about these locations that leave folks feelin’ a mite unsettled.

If you’ve read “Humor Deeper Than A Holler,” you know I’ve had my fair share of spooks, specters, and even demons. Now, I know some people believe they’re too sophisticated for such things and look on people like me as a bit backward in our thinkin’, bless their hearts. Of course, these are the same high falutin’ types that will go screamin’ out of a room like a three-year-old girl scout at the first sign of the supernatural.

Since I wrote that book, Darla and I took another trip down yonder to St. Augustine. Darla, being the thoughtful wife that she is, got us another ghost tour at the lighthouse.

Headin’ down the road at night to the old lighthouse is a bit of an adventure. Once you cross over the bridge from old-town towards the beach, things get mighty dark. The four-lane road and small road signs make it hard to navigate, so GPS is a necessity. When you pull off the main drag, you meander down a small two-lane road and hang a left on to another.

Once you’re sure you’re probably lost, you’ll see a stretch of spooky lookin’ woods on your left. That’s the parkin’ lot. Of course, this time, we were expectin’ to find it, so I still managed to pull into the wrong entrance and navigated my way around the trees just like before.

Now the good folks at the lighthouse have equipment you can rent, but I’ll be right honest, your cell phone is fully capable of pickin’ up any energy-related abnormalities, and there are even some apps that will use its sensors. Heck, the last time we found the ghosts was because they messed with the electronic compass on Darla’s flashlight app.

In any case, we eventually moseyed along with the group to the caretaker’s house. Unlike our previous trip, the group started gettin’ activity on an EMF sensor within the first few minutes. The guide asked whatever was lightin’ up the device a few questions and said she thought it was one of the girls who tragically died at the lighthouse during its construction.

Now I’m a bit more old school. I tend to think a spirit can be somethin’ benign or malevolent. That’s why I make it a habit of limitin’ my interactions like the good book tells me. Darla, on the other hand, is friendly with anyone, includin’ folks from the ethereal plane. She said hello, asked names, history, and tried to get some family recipes.

I assisted by standin’ there and usin’ my app that helps translate certain waveforms into words. It’s sort of like a digital recorder that speaks in real-time. I just hoped it worked better than Microsoft’s voice recognition. Long story short, it did appear that we were chattin’ with some children.

It didn’t take long for folks to get bored, though, and plan to head over to the actual lighthouse. Over yonder, you can see where the Ghost Hunters captured a specter on video and then hike up the tower to become a ghost yourself after your heart attack.

Darla and I have had our fair share of lighthouses to climb in our younger days and requested to stay alone in the keeper’s house. They permitted us. I reckon a couple of retired folks don’t look like much of a threat. We crept into a room that the workers claim they don’t like to enter because they see shadow people.

I think the creepier vibe is from the period furniture that decorates the area. Of interest to me, though, was the only picture of the three daughters that died. As a dad and granddaddy, it broke my heart to think of their parents’ agony. Some folks may say life was tougher way back when, but that doesn’t matter. Losin’ your children is the sort of thing that will change a parent forever.

Afterward, we headed down yonder to the basement. There’s a fella there they call Matthew. During our first trip, I caught a couple of recordin’s of old Matthew. Since ghosts ain’t worried about time, I reckon he remembered us because we had a chat. He doesn’t think much of visitors, although we seem to get along alright.

While we were interactin’ via my phone’s app, the upstairs door swung open, slammed, and children’s footsteps went runnin’ up the stairs. The only problem is that the door is no longer there, the steps are no longer there, and there weren’t any small children on tour. Now in the ghost huntin’ world, that’s called an echo.

An echo is somethin’ that happens because a single event or repetitive events leave a mark, if you will. It’s the idea that energy transfers as opposed to dissipates. As a result, any actions you take in life will leave an imprint. As far as physics goes, it’s possible but not definitive.

In any case, we heard that noise clear as day. Although it’s benign, I will admit that scared me more than the half dozen ghostly conversations we had carried on.

Bein’ the brave one. I went to the bottom of the basement steps and hollered to see if anyone was in the house instead of climbin’ the stairs. I had no desire to run into any ghosts on my own. Sure enough, Darla and I were alone in the house.

I walked back to find Darla havin’ a conversation with what she said was one or more girls’ ghosts. Those children did seem very spry and got around quickly for their bygone age.

Along about that time, someone came into the home from the tour on the main floor. Whatever we were chattin’ with requested we head up to the third floor. So, we hiked on up the attic stairs, walked outside to the staircase that would take us to the top floor, and went inside.

Alone again, the conversation picked up. We chatted for a while with whatever it was. It then wanted us to head to the basement once more. Now, for a spirit slidin’ up and down floors of a buildin’ is easy. Unfortunately, for two humans with arthritis, it’s a lot more painful. It was at this point I said we were done playin’ and hoped they had a good evenin’.

We picked up a few more interactions outside, which was also a first. I would say the place was lively, but that wouldn’t be respectful. As we enjoy Halloween this year, take a moment to appreciate that God created all things, includin’ spirits and that this old world that we are now in ain’t nothin’ more than a temporary stopover compared to eternity.

If you ever get a chance to go on a ghost hunt, take it. Be respectful, open-minded, and ponder your place in a universe that holds wonders both seen and unseen. Y’all be good.

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