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I Ain’t Afraid Of No Ghosts

Happy Halloween everyone!  The forecast for this evening is thankfully above freezing.  Our little man is excited to dress up as Captain Jack Sparrow, complete with an amazing hat that has Jack’s hair in its full glory.  We also have makeup for what my son calls “pirate eyes.”  I bought myself a $20 black dress with red trim at Halloween Express and some face paint so I can make myself look semi-terrifying.  My husband will probably be going as Guy Who Works In An Office That Is Home For The Night, or maybe Dad Who Would Rather Be Home Playing Xbox.  We’re not sure yet.  Either way, we’re looking forward to collecting a lot of candy and hopefully seeing some cleverly decorated homes.

Halloween appeals to me for a variety of reasons.  I went out trick or treating every year until I graduated high school and was always in full costume, not like some teenagers who smear some paint on their face and go out in street clothes.  I’ve only skipped a costume once and that was when my son was too young to trick or treat.  I love that having a kid gives me an excuse to wander the streets once again in search of candy.  I love the haunted houses that pop up all over the place and the people who take the time to create one of their own on their front porch.  I adore having scary movie marathons and watching shows like Ghost Adventures that go to various haunted locations to prove the existence of ghosts.

Yes, I do believe in ghosts.  Not the Casper type that looks like a flying bedsheet with eyes, but I definitely think that something paranormal exists.  I think a lot of people feel the same way, even if they won’t admit it.  It’s the reason why movies like Paranormal Activity are so popular; they’re terrifying because they’re strongly rooted in reality.  It’s different from watching Freddy or Jason, characters that frighten but are obviously fictional.  It makes more sense to worry about the unseen force that slammed the closet door than it does to worry that it was Freddy Krueger who is hiding in your closet.

One of the reasons I’m certain ghosts exist comes from my experience at Shoney’s, where I used to work waiting tables.  Stop sighing, I know EVERYONE has a ghost story and it’s ALWAYS less scary than they think it is and can ALWAYS be easily explained.  Some people hear the creaking of their house settling and instantly think “Yep, that was a ghost, we are haunted!”  I promise I’m not one of those people.  Shoney’s had been around for 24 years before I began working there and they hadn’t ever made any renovations to the building itself, only updates to the equipment and various small items such as drink trays or mugs.  The first oddity I came across was the CO2 tank for the soda machine was constantly being disconnected.  It was almost always disconnected first thing in the morning and would detach throughout the day; nothing anyone did and no replacements brought it would stop it.  It was strange, but explainable.  The second oddity was silverware that didn’t like to stay still.  It would fall to the ground from empty tables, it would undo itself after we rolled it into a napkin and secured it with a paper napkin ring.  Still, could be explained.  Third, we had issues with the coffee and tea makers being turned off and on with no one claiming to have done it, as well as spills no one would own up to and used tea bags being left on the counter that no one admitted to doing.  Odd, but it could have been someone being lazy or messy.

Finally there was the supply room.  I can’t explain what happened in here.  The door was nothing more than a flimsy door you see on a basic hall closet and the knob had no lock.  We always kept the door open with a wooden stopper in place to ensure it stayed open.  One afternoon, my manager went in the room to grab napkins and the door slammed behind her.  It took us 30 minutes to get the door open again; neither her pushing nor us pulling was enough to get the door open.  It was replaced a few days later in case there was some sort of odd fault with the door.  A month or two later, I went in the room to grab some supplies early in the morning.  The door, which was wedged open by the stopper, slammed shut behind me and I was unable to get out until one of the cooks arrived and let me out.  After that, I started asking someone to hold the door open for me when I had to grab supplies and it never happened to me again, but did happen to coworkers who were either braver or dumber than I.  Maybe it was the wind or some other logical cause, but my brain said nothing but ghost ghost zombie scary ghost ghost…..

A month before Shoney’s shut down for good, I was told by a friend that about 20 years ago, a teenage boy died in the supply room at Shoney’s.  He was working third shift cleaning the kitchen when he decided to try to get high using one of the spare CO2 tanks in the supply room.  It ended up overwhelming him and he passed away.  He was found the next day by one of the prep cooks.  She was initially alarmed because the supply room door was closed and it was always left open.  She still worked there when I did and told me that she refused to go into the supply room because she could feel him in there and she knew he was hurting.  She believed that he committed suicide because he would confide in her about his abusive father who would make messes in the kitchen and blame it on him and who beat his mother daily until she left them both.  Because of that story and because I had no prior knowledge of it and couldn’t have been projecting, I believe that building is haunted by the ghost of that boy.

My husband and I joke to our son about a kitchen ghost or a hallway ghost because of random noises that happen throughout the day when no one is in the area.  It may seem a bit mean on the surface, but it’s resulted in our boy being much braver than I was at his age.  Rather than be fearful, he has fun with the idea of ghosts and supernatural beings.  Even if I’m totally wrong and there is no such thing as a ghost, it’s fun to play with the possibility.  I like thinking that if I’m the unlucky spouse and my husband dies before me, that he’ll come haunt me after his death so I won’t truly be alone.  I like the thought that when our dog goes crazy over something invisible, he’s seeing a spirit that my eyes can’t.  I like watching shows like Supernatural or American Horror Story and thinking that maybe this could be a real story for someone out there.

It’s only Halloween once a year, so let’s embrace our open-minded side and believe in ghosts just for today.  Avoid black cats and beware of things that go bump in the night.  Stock up on rock salt and watch out for demons, avoid anyone who howls at the moon or has teeth that are a bit too pointy, and have a safe and happy Halloween!

If you have a story about a ghostly experience you’ve had, please post it in the comments!!

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About Jamie C. Baker

“Long time no see. I only pray the caliber of your questions has improved.” - Kevin Smith

Posted on October 31, 2011, in Crazy People, Fear, Work and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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