Haunted Houses are a popular idea in both books and films. The idea that ghosts can be contained inside a house, left to torment the people living there has been the subject of some of the most popular horror movies in recent years. The most popular being The Haunting of Hill House which is available on Netflix.
Based on the book by Shirley Jackson, this version features a family who move into Hill House to renovate it and sell it on. The house itself is an entity which feeds on souls and forces people to kill themselves or others.
The Amityville movies and more recently The Conjuring, all feature haunted houses. While the market for horror is smaller than for other genres, it is always a trope that has remained popular. Fear of the unknown increases when the unknown is in your home with you.
Ed and Lorraine Warren have recently been in the spotlight due to their portrayal in the Conjuring movies, being played by Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson.
Ed was a self proclaimed demonologist and Lorraine a medium. They travelled all over the world, investigating some of the most prominent hauntings, including the Amityville house, the Enfield poltergeist and investigation into a doll called Annabelle which was said to be possessed by a spirit.
Experts argue that the couple were charlatans, out to make a name for themselves, but being tied to the cases that they were, and through founding the New England Society of Psychic Research, they became famous in their own right.
Ed passed away in 2006, but Lorraine is still alive today. In their time, they investigated over 10,000 cases.
When you hear the word Poltergeist you may automatically think of the movie trilogy starring JoBeth Williams and Heather O'Rourke. But a poltergeist, which is German for noisy ghost, is said to be an entity that can affect the physical world. As opposed to the traditional ghost which may be only seen or even heard and haunts a place, the poltergeist is said to be able to make banging or knocking noises, break objects and in some cases even cause harm to people. They tend to haunt a person rather than a place.
There have been many stories over the years about malevolent spirits who seek to harm people. Some of the most famous cases are Amityville, the Enfield Poltergeist and the Bell Witch. There has been a lot of controversy over these claims with many claiming they were faked. Most of theses instances seem to center around teenage children, particularly girls. There have been countless films made which look into the investigations of these incidents.
Some of the most common incidents of a poltergeist are:
SPOOKY LITTLE SHORT
“Oh man! I seriously can’t believe you talked me into this.”
Bob laughed softly as he shook his head. The reality of the situation hit him hard. Looking through the small screen in front of him he saw his friend Greg just a few steps ahead.
“Stop your moaning, you know you love it. We only have to stick it for an hour, that’s it, and then we win the bet, and those guys upstairs will shut it once and for all. No more teasing and we get to hold our heads high being the only two to have taken this challenge and completed it.”
Greg was slowly and tentatively making his way toward the bottom of the hall. Like Bob, he had in his hand a small camcorder that the others in the team had given them. They had also been offered two-way radios just in case, but Greg hadn’t wanted to look like a pussy, so before Bob had the chance to accept he had declined the offer.
Bob heard a shuffling sound behind him and swung the camera around to see if he could capture the source. His heart had been beating faster than normal as it was, but now it was almost thundering, he could hear the beat in his ears.
“What the f . . .” he mumbled as he panned the camera around, but the small screen displayed nothing out of the ordinary. Just the murals on the walls some kids had painted and bits of debris from the ceiling above which had begun to give way. This was a part of the building that not many would venture into during the day, never mind at this ungodly hour.
The building was their training ground. They had been fortunate to be given access to it, as many had tried before and been unsuccessful. Paul, the head of their group, had emailed the owners and at first had been turned down, but as they lived close by and had been told that they would be around, Greg and Paul had decided to try asking in person.
The building had been the site of an old orphanage which took in children of all ages. It had been originally built to house forty at most, but at its close, it was documented as having seventy-three housed under its roof. For years not one official had come to inspect, locals never asked questions, and much of the town was oblivious to the evil that had taken place within the walls.
It wasn’t until five years ago when a little girl, no older than ten years old, in a dirty and torn nightgown, had walked into a café on the edge of town. She collapsed at the feet of the sheriff, and in front of neighboring law enforcement who had been visiting from the next state over. It was only then questions had been asked. Until then, as long as the administrators of the orphanage had their paperwork filed on time, no inspections were ever carried out, and the town’s people speculated on that reason being payoffs to local officials, but as no evidence had ever been found it had officially been chalked up to negligence.
“What did you hear?”
His friend was turned in his direction with the camera pointed at him. The hallway was in complete darkness, and part of the bet had been to do this without the aid of a torch, so they had to rely on the image on the tiny screen to ensure they were not walking into anything or each other.
The little display showed Bob looking a tad skittish but unharmed, his friend kept throwing quick glances back over his shoulder.
“I thought I heard someone behind us, could have been rats? I dunno, but when I turned the camera, there was nothing.”
If truth be told they were both a little skittish and if it weren’t for the sake of pride they would not be doing this at all.
Since an investigation at the Old Manor Orphanage back in July; when they had heard what sounded like a little girl weeping, they had investigated but turned up nothing. On their way out of the room the door slammed behind them, they both freaked and ran. They had been tagged as the Shaggy and Scooby Doo of the group.
In their state of panic, they had forgotten the monitors, which were stationed everywhere, and they bolted from that room like their lives depended on it. All this played out in full view of the rest of the team who had been back at the hub in the downstairs staff quarters.
Greg forced a brave face and gave an exaggerated smile, more for himself than for his good friend Bob, “Dude, this place is a rat hotel, so yeah, I’d say that’s what it was. C’mon let’s get to the Manager’s Office, it’s just at the bottom of the hall and to the right.”
Just before he finished speaking the sound of metal being dragged over a tile floor rang out from the area they had just been through. Bob was by Greg's side in seconds, his heart beating ten to the dozen as he whispered to his friend, “What da hell was that? Did you hear that? Tell me you heard that!”
Greg couldn’t speak, his voice choked by fear. Instead, he jerked his head in a quick nodding motion indicating that yes, he had heard it. They both kept their cameras facing the direction of the sound while, with haste, they used the heels of their feet to feel their way, now more than ever eager to get to the office, do the hour and get da hell out of there. He knew that they had carried out a sweep of the building before it got dark just in case any homeless people were sheltering there, but because there was none then, it didn’t mean that there was none now.
Greg nodded to himself in agreement with his unspoken thoughts. Weirdly enough that was a calming thought, a better belief than the one that was rooted in his subconscious right now. A feeling that they were the ones being haunted, and that a spirit with a grudge to bear was stalking them and hemming them into where it wanted them. That thought scared the crap out of him.
Bob had a feeling tonight was going to be a rough one. When he found out that Greg had signed them up for this, he had kept an eye out for any news on the building and over the past week alone one of the workers who tended the grounds around the building had to be admitted to hospital after having a massive heart attack. When the paramedics were treating him, he kept saying over and over, ‘It was right there then . . . it was gone.’ As well as, ‘It felt like it was squeezing my heart.’
Medics thought it was just hallucinations and took no notice, but the guy’s wife had been called and had been in the ambulance with him as he was being treated en route to the ER and she had commented on it on her Facebook page, her husband was insisting that a ‘Ghost’ did it.
They reached the bottom of the hall and to say they were relieved would be an understatement. They both knew that no matter where they were in this building, nowhere was safe. The office they were approaching was actually the most active part of the building which was why the guys upstairs had picked it to be their holding place for the hour.
Bob could feel the hair on the back of his neck raise, and a coldness began to surround him. As if his heart wasn’t beating fast enough, he felt it kick up a gear and could hear it thump out a quick rhythm in his ears, his blood pressure was off the chart.
“Greg, do you have the K2 on you buddy? I think I have walked into a cold spot.”
Turning to his friend, the camera picked up Bob as he stood before him unmoving. He paid no attention to the image on the screen though as he rifled through the pockets of his webbed jacket. Even though it was a warm summer night, sitting in a healthy area of 87°F, Bob’s breath could be seen on screen with each exhale.
“Does a bear shit in the woods? Of course I have one.”
Pulling it from its cradle, he switched it on and waited a few seconds for it to calibrate before moving it in a slow sweeping motion toward Bob. As the device got closer to him, each light would blink on and flicker until the next light illuminated.
“Jesus man it’s on full bars here.”
It was then he caught a glimpse of his friend on the little screen, his jaw dropping as he witnessed what appeared to be a little girl standing by his side, she was no bigger than chest height. He kept the camera trained on her as he whispered to his friend.
“Dude, where are you feeling it? Can you sense anything around you?”
He wanted to capture this, and he knew if he told his friend what he was witnessing he would take off.
“All down this side is freezing, can you see anything on the camera?”
Bob ran his hand down his left side, and Greg’s eyes all but bugged out of his head as he watched it cut through the image of the little girl, her form wavering as it passed through her like it would if she was made of smoke.
Her face formed back as it had before, a strange smile crept over her lips, and her eyes darkened to two black pits.
“What else are you feeling, besides cold I mean?”
Greg was in awe, what he was witnessing right now was something that many paranormal investigators would die for. Something many of the so-called ‘great’ TV shows faked to get ratings. He really wanted to tell his friend, but he knew what would happen. He didn’t want Bob to freak out, his only mission right now was to get this shit on camera.
“Agh man, honestly? You know that feeling ya get when ya say someone has walked over your grave? Yeah? Well imagine that, but more intense. My fight or flight responses are kicking in. There has to be something beside me dude. I ain't never felt anything like this before.”
Greg could believe it. His friend was right in front of him standing side by side with something that by all logic wasn’t there.
As Greg watched, the little girl on screen raised a boney finger to her lips as if to tell him to stay quiet. With a wicked smile on her creepy gaunt face, he watched as she turned to look up at Bob. Her gaze lingered only briefly before turning back to look at Greg. With that same creepy expression, she held his gaze as she lifted her hand, and without warning thrust it into Bob's chest.
“Fuck –” Greg momentarily forgot about holding the camera steady and lowered it as he hesitantly moved forward to check his friend. Then realizing looking through the little illuminated screen on his camera was the only way to see the entity, he swung it back up to recapture the image of his friend who was looking at him like he had lost his mind.
“You okay Greg, did you stand on something? Something freak you?”
Bob appeared oblivious to what had just happened, which in Greg’s mind was good.
Greg’s own heart was pounding now, and he could feel his blood pressure rise. Should he tell his friend now what he had seen? Shaking his head as if to shake clarity and sense into himself he gave a little cough.
“Shit sorry man didn’t mean to scare you. I thought I’d stood on a rat or something, but it was nothing. Let’s just get to where we need to be and get this over with.”
Greg’s hand shook slightly as he lifted the camera once more. Fear of what he couldn’t see as well as what he could when he viewed his friend through the brightly lit screen. When he forced himself to look once more the image of the creepy little girl was gone.
They had made their way down the hall, stepping over the debris. Things that had fallen off the wall or bits of the building that had crumbled. It wasn't lost on Bob that his friend seemed to be acting a little weird. Truth be told, from the moment they entered the building he had a sense they were being watched. At first, he thought it was because of the hype surrounding the place as well as the history it contained, but the further they made their way to the heart of the old historic building the more his heart began to quicken.
Greg was acting strange, like really jumpy, and he had never seen him like that before. His friend's jumpiness was making him anxious, and his mind was beginning to play tricks on him. A few times now he had thought he could hear someone behind them, but he knew there was no one there.
“We made it, look…” Bob pointed over Greg’s shoulder to a door that was partially opened, on a name plaque read the words Manager’s Office. With the camera still trained on him, his friend glanced back briefly to see what Bob was pointing at before glancing back at him.
“Okay, let's get this over with. I swear, I need to get this done. I need, no…we need out of here.”
“You okay dude? You’re acting a little…I dunno…freaked? We can always go back. There’s no shame in saying it was too fucked up to go on. They wanna call us Shaggy and Scooby? Big fucking deal, worse things to be called man.” Bob, after all, was only here because his friend didn’t like the nicknames they had been given. He didn’t really care one way or another. He was getting tired of sitting in cold places, freezing his ass off and calling out into the night to everyone and no one, ‘Is there anyone here who can hear my voice? We mean you no harm.’ And then the hours after listening over the recordings only to find nothing, not even a mouse fart.
After tonight, after his friend earned back the respect of the rest of the guys he was packing this crap in. Ghosts, like who the hell really believed in them. None had ever been caught on camera. No real ones anyway.
“I ain’t gonna give those assholes anything to say about us. We have made it further than any of them. Sure, they have the balls to come down in a group during the day, but none of them have had the cojones to do it at night. Not like us.”
And that was that. Decision made. He knew better than to argue with his friend or to try and sway him.
Greg said nothing more as Bob sighed, and with a small shrug, he circled around him. Turning to say he would go in first his brows furrowed when he noticed something just over Greg’s shoulder. He tilted his head slightly to the left and squinted, unsure that what he was seeing was actually real. Just at his friend's shoulder, he could see the top of a head. At least, that is what it looked like in the dark with only the illumination from the LCD screen to cast a small wash of light over it.
Were the guys fucking with them after all? Surely they would have heard or seen them, especially if they had got that close. There was too much crap laying around on the ground for them not to trip over or accidentally kick on their attempt to creep up on them and scare them.
Bob was about to call them out when two red eyes blinked open. Strands of what looked like messy hair hanging over them broke the eerie glow they emitted.
“Yeah? What is it–”
Bob couldn’t clearly make out the expression, half the face was hidden behind Greg’s shoulder, but from what he could see, he could tell it was menacing.
“DUDE! We need to get the fuck out of here.”
Bob was truly freaked. He was done with the macho crap.
“Bob, it’s cool. You need to chill. Like you said we are here, we only have to kill 10 minutes here. That’s it! What is the worst that can happen?”
Bob swallowed thickly as the red glowing eyes grew wider and more menacing, with a loud audible gulp he stuttered, “Famous last words…”
The Banshee is probably one of the most well known stories in the world. The Banshee is a female spirit in Irish folklore. She is said to appear when a member of a certain family is about to die. She wails and shrieks just before they perish.
She is said to be a member of the Sidhe, the fairy folk, and can appear as an old woman with long flowing hair and red eyes from crying. She is a bad omen to anyone who sees her.
She appears in many different stories, movies and TV shows.
Day 7022 - Year 2645
Dana Swithers - servant
Nothing much happens on this boring ship. Day in and day out, it’s the same... I do my chores, eat and sleep. Unlike the Captains and their logs, which has everything that happens outside the ship and our journey. It must be fascinating to visit new places and make new friends. All the while, we have to stay on-board to clean and serve the ‘rich’ passengers and be poisoned by the carbon engines in our quarters down below. My mother said that was the way of life, the poor served the rich. My mother was a servant, so was my grandmother, and my great-grandmother, who started on this ship when it first left the station beside Neptune. Our lives are inside this ship with 12,145 passengers on their way to a new life, well by the time we get there, it’ll be their grandchildren. Four generations will only know this way of life, inside this ship, our great-grandparents left Earth and our grandchildren will roam free on a clean planet with water and plants.
Most of Earth was destroyed in 2175 by a plague, which was frozen in the Arctic circle for millions of years, until climate change melted the ice and it spread. The US and Asia were hit the hardest with the disease, killing off 90% of the population. It ate the skin before attacking the muscles and multiplied at an astonishing rate. A person would die within 12 hours of coming into contact with this plague, they called it the Crimson Plague, since your whole body was red after losing the skin and the amount of blood in your vomit was terrifying. That’s when it got interesting. This left the other countries fighting over the power and control of the markets and oil with the Middle East and North Korea combining their efforts. I read in our history books it was a bloodbath and there was no winner, just a desolate Earth with low survival rates.
A small community of scientists came together and created large passenger ships like our massive Luke, named after the leading scientist. Each ship hosted thousands of those seeking a better world. They tested freezing on animals, but it never worked. Either they never revived, or they awoke as vegetable, unable to function. Then they tried cryosleep, human hibernation...well that was a disaster, too. It didn’t slow down the age process, and organs started failing because they were ‘asleep’ for too long. So, many generations will live and die on this ship.
Rumour was, the previous Captain was an obese, long-bearded puffer; he inhaled the remnants of a fungus from the planet Akanthos, which was similar to drugs taken in the 20th Century on Earth. I think it was called LDS. Last week, on his fifty-eighth birthday, he sealed himself into an airlock, for smaller ships to come in and out of, and opened the doors. No one noticed him missing for two whole days, probably what drove him to do it in the first place. The Commander took charge for a few years, as Captain Miller was too young to take over the running of the ship. At just three years my elder, I remember him from school...well, there were only 3 classes on the ship for different age groups. Tall, athletic, a rugged square jaw, with hazel eyes and hair to match, which quiffed at the front. He swam like a fish in the ship’s pool.
He never noticed me, why would he, I was the ‘help’. It didn’t matter we all were created in the same laboratory, we probably used the same petri dish when they stimulated the eggs. They created me to clean his shit, eat his leftovers, and remove the tissues from his bed.
We were passing the star Zeta Virginis, with many uninhabitable planets orbiting this Sun, when the Captain spotted a ship near the planet Kula, with multiple bright rings encircling it. Our ship sensors didn’t read it because there was no power, it was just floating in space. We kept at a distance, I overheard Engineering say there were no signs of life but there were small signatures of energy on-board. Commander Polzin, Chief Security Officer Lucan, and a couple of security officers took a runner over to the ship to investigate. That was two hours ago, and they’ve lost contact, at the same time a flash of light lit up the area in front of us and near the other ship. I saw it through the window on Deck 17 while I mopped the floor.
“We need to take another ship over to see what has happened to the crew. We have no signs of life on the ship anymore,” said Chief Engineer Dawson. His narrow chest pumped up and down as his slim frame trembled, while he pushed his hands through his golden-brown shoulder-length hair. Captain Miller rubbed his chin and stood in silence.
“Send some servants,” he said, much to the astonishment of the other crew members. In the distance, I stopped sweeping the floor and listened intently as the conversation unfolded.
“But, Captain, you can’t do that. It goes against protocol,” Dawson gasped.
“Can a ship continue without a Captain? Without its Chief Engineer? Your replacement is still in training. It makes sense to send others across that can be done without. But of course, I would prefer to have volunteers and they will be rewarded by changing their caste. I want a meeting with the servants in the mess hall in ten minutes,” he ordered.
Wow, that meant higher living quarters, a better job, and I may be allowed to have a larger family. The lowest caste system can only have one child per family. They want our numbers kept low, so we do not rise up and take over.
In the mess hall, hundreds of dirty faces all faced the captain, awaiting the news. I hadn’t told anyone yet.
“I have a proposition for you all. We need a group, maybe four or five, of people to go to the ship where the Commander went and see what happened to them. Now, I know what you’re thinking… this is not your responsibility. I’m giving you a chance to rise from the gutter and move from the steerage to a room on the upper decks. Be trained in a new profession. All you have to do is arm yourself, take a runner with a security officer to see what happened, hopefully find the crew that went before you, and come back and report to me.”
A skinny man in his early forties, with his ribs protruding, put up his hand and the Captain nodded to allow him to answer.
“What happened to the crew that went over?”
“I’m not going to lie to you, we don’t know. We’ve had no contact from them since boarding the other ship. There is no guarantee you will return, but it is entirely up to you if you want to take the risk.”
Captain Miller peered across the room from left to right awaiting more questions. There were no more hands put up.
I stood up, gulped, and spoke. “I’ll do it. I’ll go.” Mother tugged at my hand, and her broken heart tugged at my soul.
“Please don’t go,” she begged.
Fear welled up in her eyes as her bottom lip quivered. Her fifty years on this ship had taken its toll, her face gaunt, with tired eyes.
“It’s okay, Mum. I need to do this.”
I needed to get out of the rat hole and make a better life for my children and me. If I died trying to do that, it would not be a waste. Better than dying down below, a life wasted. It was worth the chance.
A few others stood and volunteered. One was Mikey, the kitchen porter who had eyes for me since school and stalked me at every chance. I groaned. He’s only doing this to be with me. Vinny, the waste disposal technician, or shit-guys as we call them, who crawled through human waste when there was a blockage, jumped from his seat at the chance of something better. Rolly, the incinerator, with a permanently red face from the heat of the furnace, slowly stood up, his wife’s tears freshly on his hand. “I’ll go, but it means my family come with me upstairs.”
Captain Miller accepted that condition and said it applied for all. We were leaving now. We were all handed a small beamer, a deceptive petite laser gun which could blow a person’s head right off, and a chain shield which could only be penetrated by a beamer, all other weapons were useless against it.
The Captain looked on as we strapped into our seats and gripped the sidebars with anticipation. He gave orders to the security officer, Nepton, to keep communication open at all times, drift into the ship with no engine on, and wished us all good luck.
It didn’t take long to glide alongside the massive ship, similar in size to ours, and drift into the bay. The entrance shield to keep in the oxygen didn’t block us, and we saw the other runner there. I shivered like someone had tickled my spine and goosebumps spread over my skin.
“You okay?” asked Mikey.
“I’m fine, but I have a bad feeling about this. Something is not right.”
As we walked out of the runner, the glacial atmosphere hit our skin, like being pricked with a thousand needles dipped in nitrogen. My breath turned to ice droplets as it left my mouth. The engine had not been on in weeks. Our flashlights turned on one by one as we explored the room, creating eerie shadows that stretched and grew across the walls.
“It’s freezing, which shows the engine hasn’t been on in a while,” stated Vinny, as he breathed into his cupped hands.
“We need to get to the bridge or the Captain’s quarters to find any log to tell us what happened,” said Nepton.
“What about the other crew?” asked Rolly.
“They’re dead. The Captain doesn’t want to face it, but it’s obvious something happened to them. We haven’t heard from them since they boarded here. Since that flash.” Nepton scratched his acne-scarred cheek, still oily in parts. Only a trainee, he seemed a little lost as we made our way through the deck to the stairwell beside the elevator.
I peeked down each corridor for a split second as we passed them. I didn’t expect to see anyone, and I don’t know why I kept checking.
Movement, down there. I saw something.
“Wait,” I said to the others. I stared down the corridor as if I expected someone to appear and wave at me. “I know I saw something. I did.”
“We don’t have time for this. It’s just your imagination,” Nepton snapped.
Nothing. I moved on and apologised for keeping them. Nepton stopped outside the elevator and realised we were all walking around with our weapons charged and pointing outwards.
“Please, lower your weapons. Only if you need to use it, should it be pointing at anyone or anything. I suggest we split up, so we save time and are not here longer than we need to. Dana, Mikey, and Rolly, you go look for the Captain’s room, check the top floor of the living quarters. Vinny and I will go to the bridge. Stay alert and keep your weapons down until needed. Good luck,”
Nepton and Vinny had to go up four flights of stairs to the bridge while we needed to go down seven. Our flashlights struggled to break through the darkness, etching at the abyss below. Their steps echoed as they descended. I looked up through the gap and saw two reflecting eyes looking back at me. I screamed startling the others and leapt back toward the wall.
“Someone is up there. I saw two eyes.” I held my chest and felt my heart race, my breathing now erratic.
Rolly pointed his light upwards and all around. “I think she’s seeing things. Stupid woman. We shouldn’t have brought her along.”
“There’s no need for that, Rolly,” answered Mikey, defending me.
“I tell you, I saw something. This place is creepy as fuck. Let's go back to the runner,” I added.
“I didn’t risk coming over here to go back empty handed for the Captain. I want a better life on the ship that is my coffin. I won’t get to walk on land, so I want to sleep in a soft and comfy bed, eat fresh food, and drink a whiskey. Is that too much to ask?” Rolly raised his voice and pulled at his collar, “Well, is it?”
We heard a loud bang from above which vibrated and echoed down the stairwell, and I wasn’t waiting around to see what made the noise. I sprinted down the remainder of the steps and through the door of the living quarters. I didn’t look back to see if the other guys were following, I was out of there. The door closed behind me, and I was alone in the corridor. I peeked through the slimline glass on the door. I waited for what seemed to be an eternity.
A hand covered in blood slapped the glass which caused me to jump back. Then Mickey’s face appeared. He flung open the door, stepped forward, and slammed it behind him. Out of breath, and with fear spread across his face, Mikey looked in a right state.
“Where is Rolly? What happened? Why is there blood all over you?” I demanded to know.
He grabbed my hand and ran into the closest room and locked the door. He bent over, still trying to catch his breath and put one finger in the air asking for a minute. I was freaking out and paced the room until I heard him speak.
“A ghost. It was a ghost. Rolly continued shouting about you, and this figure floated towards us. It attacked Rolly and tore him to shreds. Right in front of me.”
He held up his hands and looked at the crimson fluid staining his skin. I knew I saw something, but it couldn’t be a ghost, could it?
Nepton and Vinny entered the bridge, and the stillness enveloped them. Nepton checked the systems to see if the ship still had life in it, he touched the screens in multiple locations, but nothing worked.
“I’m going to try the secondary systems. It has a black light setting that might give us a few clues. At least the glow might help us see better than these flashlights. You check the files over there, check any recent reports.”
Vinny strolled to the cabinet under the systems and opened the drawer. He pulled out the documents closest to the front and sat to read through.
Nepton worked on the systems and informed Vinny he was ready to try and switch it on. Within a few seconds, a deep purple glow slightly lit the room, but what was disturbing was the green colour splashed everywhere. Nepton mouth gaped open as he viewed the floor and walls before him. Vinny reacted to the silence behind him and turned in his chair. Nepton searched for the last voice communications entry and played it…
What’s all that on the floor?” asked Vinny.
“Blood, a lot of blood,” Nepton replied and held up his communicator, “Captain, come in. We think it’s best to leave now and explain on our return.”
“Captain, come in, please.”
Again, there was no response.
“We’re getting out of here. Let’s go find the others. Bring those files with you, we can check them on our ship.”
Vinny wrapped the folder and kept them in his hand. They headed towards a door and halted as an apparition approached. It was humanoid in shape, but its mass was unstructured. Like a million little crystals moving in unison. Vinny hollered. “A ghost.”
It turned toward Vinny and stared straight at him, its eyes reflecting in the light, and floated toward him. A hand raised and sliced Vinny across the face with a hundred tiny glass knives. Blood sprayed, and Vinny fell to the floor. Nepton was already running out of the room, the howls and cries becoming a distant sound until all he heard were whimpers.
We made our way through each room until we were sure it was the Captain’s abode. Upon entering, the darkness evaporated to a purple glow, which made our flashlights redundant.
“What is this light?” asked Mikey.
“I think it’s called black light. Nepton must have turned it on. I can see a little better but not much. Let’s get searching. You check for a voice log, and I’ll try to find any written copies.”
I searched the bedside table and all other drawers in the room with no luck.
“Find anything?” I asked Mikey.
“Yes, but it looks like Nepton has accessed these from the bridge.”
“Copy them, just in case. We need to get out of here.”
Mikey did as I asked and as the files were downloading, his body language told me he wanted to ask me a question, to talk to me. I didn’t think this was the time or place.
Please don’t say anything.
I had to distract him and said I was taking a look outside to see if the others were around. I slowly turned the handle, not knowing what to expect. What if there were ghosts? In the purple glow were scattered splashes of a green liquid, it seemed out of the ordinary. I touched one and held the flashlight to my fingers. Blood dampened my skin. Shit!
“Mikey, we need to go now. Now. Move.”
“Coming. What’s up?”
“Let’s just say, more evidence has appeared, and we need to leave.”
I tugged at him and scoped the corridor before leaving. Empty. We ran as fast as our legs could carry us. Blood stains appeared throughout the hallways, some minor splashes, others were large patches. We peeked around every corner before continuing, but as I turned to check behind, I saw a glistening figure in the distance. Floating. Then up ahead, I saw another. They took no notice of us, not searching for us, just aimlessly hovering.
“Dana. Mickey. This way,” Nepton hollered at us.
I spotted him near the entrance to the runner.
“Hurry, or I’m leaving without you.”
I heard a yell, and one of those glistening ghosts attacked him. We stopped in our tracks. Their glass like hands tore at his skin, shredding through him like paper. As he screamed in pain the blows appeared more vicious, and within seconds, an unrecognisable Nepton lay lifeless, and an illuminous green patch of blood grew around him.
I whispered to Mickey. “I think it’s sound. They don’t like loud sounds.”
“What are they? They look so human, their shape and features, but made up of crystal-like particles.”
“I don’t know, but these records might tell us. Let’s go in here and take a look,”
We entered the mess hall which had its hidden secrets. Multiple bodies, sliced and diced decorated the room. I recognised our crew members by what was left of their uniforms. The strength of the signatory patches allowed them to keep their structure. Mickey vomited with the sight of the massacre. He turned his back and looked for the voice files again in the system.
“Dana, listen to this.” He turned up the volume.
‘We’ve stumbled across a beautiful planet and see some unusual activity in the rings. We want to investigate and see if they have anything to help us on our journey, a source of energy to be precise. A team is on their way now. Wait, what is that? A beam of light is heading….’
“It must be the light. It’s changing the composition of the body to make them look like ghosts. We saw the light flash when the other runner came over. But why are they attacking us?”
Logic set off a light bulb in my brain. “Sound. They must be sensitive to sound.”
I picked up a metal lamp and threw it across the room. The bang attracted two ghosts who flew straight over to it and swiped at the metal. Loud scratching noises rang out which aggravated them more and they kept attacking it. The sounds attracted more and more. I’m sure one was the Commander; his height and build were unmistakable. He towered over most. So not all were attacked, some changed. Oh shit! When will the next flash happen?
“We need to go. We can’t risk staying here any longer,” I demanded.
“What’s that humming sound?” asked Mikey.
“Hello! Is there anyone here? Commander. Nepton. Rolly. Where are you all?” a volunteer shouted.
Agggh, it hurts. Stop shouting. I head straight for the sound. Stop shouting. I lash out and hear more screaming all around me. Stop it, it hurts so much. I keep lashing out and soon the screaming stops. It is peaceful now.
“Captain, you can’t keep sending runners over with people. We need to accept the fact that no one is coming back, and whatever is happening over there is too dangerous to investigate. We’ve seen two flashes of light since the first runner caused by two large particles colliding in the ring structure. I suggest we take the scenic route around and keep well away,” advised Chief Engineer Dawson.
“So be it.”
Captain Miller slumped down into his chair defeated.
Most cultures include ghosts in their local legends and folklore. Some of the more well known stories include:
While the source of many of these stories could be fantasy, overactive imagination or simply mistaken identity, the stories of ghosts persist to the present day. We will always be fascinated by the prospect of ghosts until they are either proven or disproven definitively.
Do you have a local ghost where you live?
Fear the Reapers
“I want a second opinion,” I said. “Obviously someone has made a mistake.”
The man, who had introduced himself as Chuck, pointed at the body on the slab between us. “Pretty sure they’ll tell you the same thing.”
He walked away, seemingly unconcerned with the earth shattering news he had given me.
“But I can’t be dead! It’s not fair,” I whined.
He stopped walking and turned to face me, looking exasperated. “Well, by all means.” He waved a hand at the body. My body. “Jump back in then.”
He crossed his arms over his hideous flower power shirt. Where did he shop for clothes? 1970?
I turned back to my body, my perfectly toned body that I spent hours in the gym sculpting into shape. I looked so pale, my blonde hair was flat and as lifeless as the rest of me. Whatever, I can tan once I get out of here.
Not knowing what way to do it, I took a few steps back then attempted to throw myself into my body. Instead, I passed straight through it, and the slab, landing on my face on the floor. It didn’t hurt, not like it was supposed to, but the damage to my ego would last a lot longer than any bruise.
“Oh wait, now that I think about it. You can’t spontaneously come back to life,” Chuck said. “Sorry.”
I raised my arm and flipped him off, before pushing myself up off the floor. “You asshole.”
He looked bored now. “You can call me whatever you want. It doesn’t change the facts. You are dead. I was sent to collect you, so can you hurry it up? I have better things to be doing.”
I followed behind him, trying to plead my case. There had to be a way out of this. Something I could do to get my life back. I didn’t have a lot of money, I worked as an executive assistant, but my father had money. He could pay someone. Or bribe them.
“What if I like do community service or something? I’m sure we can work this out.”
Chuck stopped walking so abruptly, I nearly walked into him. Or through him. I wasn’t sure how this whole ghost thing worked. He spun to face me.
“You really aren’t getting this, are you? You fell down a flight of stairs while drunk and broke your neck. You are dead. There is no going back, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Get it?”
My lower lip trembled and I fought the urge to cry. I hated people yelling at me. I didn’t remember falling, but I did remember getting drunk at the office party. Then I came home. I went upstairs, then I remembered my phone was in my purse. As I turned to go back downstairs, there was a flash of black fur, probably my cat, Sasha, and then…nothing.
Killed by my cat. Hardly a glamorous end.
“Well who are you? Why can you see me?”
“I’m here to collect you. I am a reaper.”
“What’s a reaper?”
He let out a frustrated cry. “I collect dead people and take them to where they are supposed to go.”
Right. He did say that when he arrived. “Where am I going?”
He shrugged. “I don’t know. I just get a name and a location. I’m here for the journey, not the destination.”
Now he sounded like a crappy motivational post on Instagram. Who was he anyway? I was just trusting this total stranger when really, he could be anyone. A few people passed us on the street and I waved at a few of them, trying to get their attention.
I reached out and attempted to grab a man by the arm, but my hand passed straight through him.
“Hurry up,” Chuck said.
I jogged to catch up to him, wondering where we would end up. I’ve never given much thought to what comes after. I mean sure, my grandma dragged me to church when I was little, but was I really heading for pearly gates and fluffy white clouds. Then I realized, I could be heading the other way.
Oh God. What if I do go to hell?
I wasn’t like a mass murderer or anything, but had I really done anything good? I didn’t feed the homeless or donate to charity. The most charitable thing I had done in the last year was to help my friend, Trish, move house. Even then, I complained the whole time and finally convinced her to pay for movers that she couldn’t afford.
“Am I going to hell?” I asked.
Chuck laughed. “Couldn’t tell you. I just deliver.”
“So, it’s possible?”
He shrugged. “Depends on what kind of person you were.”
I’m a good person. I am. I just never had a chance to prove it. That’s all.
If I had more time, I could have gone on to do great things. I could’ve cured cancer. Well, okay, maybe not that. But I could have done something worthwhile.
Chuck was leading me toward the pier. Why there? I needed to figure this out. Maybe when I got wherever I was going, I could bargain with the guy in charge.
As we approached the pier, I felt my fear grow. I really didn’t want to go through with this.
Chuck stood on the edge of the pier, staring down at the water. I looked around, wondering what he was waiting for.
“Come here. It’s time,” he said.
I stepped up beside him, looking down at the water. It was now a swirling vortex, leading who knows where.
“What is that?”
“The portal to where you are meant to be.”
I stepped away from the edge. “No. I’m not ready. Can’t I take a few days to think about this?”
“What is there to think about? Ghosts are not allowed to remain on earth, it is against the rules.”
“Why? What happens if the one stays?”
“You don’t want to find out. Step into the vortex. It’s for the best.”
“But I don’t want to!” I said, stomping my foot. It used to work on my father when I was growing up, but I could see that Chuck wasn’t amused.
“You are so difficult! No wonder no other reaper wanted the job. Get in the vortex.”
“No,” I said, crossing my arms.
He took a step toward me then stopped. “You have to go.”
“You can’t make me.”
He threw up his arms and started muttering to himself. It was true, he couldn’t make me. I had to step in willingly. Well there was zero chance of that happening.
“Last chance, Lacy. Go now or we’ll both be in trouble. Trust me, rogue ghosts don’t last long.”
“So other ghosts have refused? I’ll take my chances.”
The vortex grew smaller and started to close. “No, you need to jump now!” Chuck cried.
I backed away. “Not happening.”
What was he going to do? Kill me?
The vortex closed. Chuck faced me, his face red with anger. “Now you’ve done it.”
I squared my shoulders. “Really? And what are you going to do?”
He let out a whistle which echoed all around us. People began to materialize on the pier beside him. All of them, fixated on me.
“Meet my fellow reapers. You had your chance, Lacy. You could have gone to the afterlife you were meant to go to. But now, well when we catch you, you’ll go to purgatory to await your sentence.”
Purgatory didn’t sound good.
“I suggest you run,” Chuck said.
So I did.
If you think of Ghosts in Literature, you may think of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens or Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. We have always had a fascination with ghosts and over the years there has been many books written about them, The ghosts featured have had different roles to play in the narrative.
In A Christmas Carol, Ebeneezer Scrooge was haunted by ghosts of his past and the ghosts of past, present and future, with the aim of making him rethink his choices and become a better man.
In Rebecca, there is the 'ghost' of the former Mrs De Winter, in that the new Mrs De Winter feels haunted by this seemingly perfect woman.
A ghost can be a warning to the main character (mend your ways) a curse, or it can be malevolent, eager to hurt the living.
In Stephen King's novel, The Shinning, the Overlook hotel is haunted by the former caretaker and his family. This ghost attempts to drive Jack Torrance mad, so that he will kill his family. Which he nearly succeeds in doing.
Most recently, there was a TV adaption of the classic Shirley Jackson novel, The Haunting of Hill House. More on that later in the month.
Ghosts remain popular because there is so much speculation about them and no one knows for sure whether they really exist. Many would argue not, while others have had experiences of their own that has led them to believe that there is indeed life after death.
What do you think?
Welcome to the Spirits and Spooks Blog Event. This month we will be looking at ghosts in all their forms. We will be hearing from authors who write about ghosts and we will feature some short stories about ghosts too.
Calendar of events:
Feb 2nd - Ghosts in Literature
Feb 3rd - Fear the Reapers by S. K. Gregory
Feb 4th - Ghosts in Folklore
Feb 5th - Rings by D. J. Doyle
Feb 6th - Banshees
Feb 7th - The Bet by K. A. Denver
Feb 8th - Poltergeists
Feb 9th - Ed & Lorraine Warren
Feb 10th - Haunted Houses
Feb 11th - K. A. Denver Real Life Encounters
Feb 12th - Dopplegangers
Feb 13th - Evermore by S. P. Oldham
Feb 14th - Ghosts in Film
Feb 15th - An Interview with P. J. Blakey-Novis
Feb 16th - The Veil
Feb 17th - Spirit Photography
Feb 18th - Meredith by P. J. Blakey-Novis
Feb 19th - Real Life Encounters
Feb 20th - Spirit Transfer by Kat Gracey
Feb 21st - EVP
Feb 22nd - Don't Look Now by Christine King
Feb 23rd - Ghost TV Shows
Feb 24th - Real Life Encounters
Feb 25th - An Interview with Suzi Albracht
Feb 26th - Recommended Reading
Feb 27th - The Haunted House by S. P. Oldham
Feb 28th - Thanks for joining us!
I AM AN AUTHOR, BLOGGER AND A JOURNALIST.
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”