My Parents and the Supernatural

When I was little, I would often accompany my dad on his hospital visits. Aside from the part where I actually had to visit sick and dying people, I loved doing this, because it meant that my dad and I would ride around in the car, talking.

Usually, we talked theology.

Sometimes we talked about other stuff that was of vital importance to me, like ghosts (we were for them) and ESP (I was for it, my dad claimed to be against it, though he also claimed to have voted for Reagan in 1980 and I think we all know that’s a pack of lies meant to cause me pain.).

So, one day we’re driving home from the hospital and my dad says, “You know, I can teach you how to read any person’s mind. Ask me when you’re older.”

And I, being the nerdy do-gooder that I am, waited. And waited. And waited.

And one summer he let me go into the city by myself and I thought, “Today, I am a woman. Now, I can know the secrets of reading anyone’s mind.”

And so I asked him, “Dad, how do you read someone’s mind?”

And he says, “You can’t read anyone’s mind. There’s no such thing.”

“Argh, but you told me to ask when I was older and you would tell me how to do it.”

“Are you sure that was me and not your uncle B.?”

“Can Uncle B. read minds?”

“Not that I know of.”

But still, he knows I love supernatural stuff and especially spooky things, so last night, he mentioned that my mom has a ghost at her school.

Then, like clockwork, the minute I hang up the phone with him, there’s my mom calling* to tell me about the ghost**.

Y’all think my life is sad, this poor ghost that haunts her school is well-known for shuffling paper and moving the vacuum cleaner around.

I don’t know why this surprises me. Of course people are boring in real life. Why should they be any less boring in the after-life?

But still, the last thing I’m doing when I’m dead is vacuuming.

*I forget if I told you about this. My mom has an apartment up near where she works, so five days a week, she lives up there, and comes home on the weekends. This arrangement is tedious now, but probably saved their marriage during the whole “our son and his pregnant crack-whore wife will live with us” episode.
**Hey, maybe my mom is the mind-reader. I should think to ask her.

12 thoughts on “My Parents and the Supernatural

  1. Pssst. Here’s a secret. I’m facinated by the supernatural and the gothic. Hey, It’s fun!

    *sigh* I once went on a ghost tour of New Orleans… and saw where Crowley roomed. I was even invited to a seance by the owner of a French Quarter gothic book store. I knew my wife wouldn’t go for it, so I turned it down. Sucks, I know.

  2. I totally am into ghosts and the supernatural. I have convinced women who are on my staff who go to church everytime the doors open and say things like “Well, we all know that people go to heaven or hell, yada.” that there is scientific fact.
    I say it’s impressions of time that has recorded people’s actions at that moment which create “ghosts”and did their grandparents ever think there would be men on the moon, an actor as president or the internet.
    Of course, I made this up, but at least I get to talk about ghosts and ESP now without a forty minute lecture on why I should go to church with them.
    I’m bad. I know.

  3. I enjoy vacuuming. I like moving loud machines around on wheels and singing and sucking up the dog hair off my avacado green carpet. It soothes me.

    There’s this ghost at a theatre I work in that moves cushions around. All sorts of cushions in the prop closet. She stacks them. A cushion stacking ghost is not so creepy.

  4. Ooo, I went on a ghost tour of Edinburgh, Scotland, once. They have so many ghosts there that I think they must outnumber the people. I wish ghosts didn’t scare the shit out of me, but they do. I was ready to get the hell out of Edinburgh after that. Especially when you find out that the Scottish language has like 200 names for the devil or something.

    Miss J

  5. I took that tour too. They took us under the city in that buried building where all those people were burned to death. They crawled on top of each other to escape and got cooked from the bottom up. Oo! And there was that book on display at Edinburgh University made of human skin!

    Remember when Aunt B would come visit and she’d take a mason jar and say, “Welp. I’m off to the graveyard next to the little church behind your house to collect some dirt. See ya.”

    But, come on, Miss J. A cushion stacking ghost? Not scary.

  6. Oh, sure, a girl collects a little graveyard dirt (I still have that guy’s and Robert Johnson’s), gets herself a raccoon penis bone, and nine iron nails and all of a sudden she’s creepy.

    Boy Scout–what if you could get a ghost who installed flooring as well as vacuuming and stacking things? You’d totally be set for life.

  7. If the ghost in our house would take a shine to organizing the junk-room closet, I would be very grateful. Right now all he does is peer at us around corners when he thinks we’re not looking, hide flatware, glasses and other items until we start fighting about who used what last (and then he returns whatever it is), and whistle and make noises like the back door opening and keys jingling.

    Sometimes I think it’s my dad, but he wouldn’t have hung around this long without making his presence known during a Charlie Brown special. (Old family joke.) Also, he never believed in ghosts. My mother is noncommital, but her eyes get REAL BIG if you start talking about it. Other loved ones just shake their heads at me.

    I’ve heard EVPs, seen items move and hover, and actually taken photos at a historic home in Middle Tennessee that is horribly, horribly haunted. It used to be just the folks who owned it plus the Cherokee they took it from haunting it, then some fool who shall remain nameless brought some damn runes in there one night and started messing around. There are black hooded figures all over the place now, and one of the EVPs recorded what had to be one of Satan’s senior minions talking. (All the ghosts would talk about who’d been in the house that day and make fun of them. They were chattering one night — on a tape — and all of a sudden Mephistopheles Junior interrupted them. O my.)

    I wouldn’t take graveyard dirt, but I’d swipe a little soil from Eudora Welty’s and Flannery O’Connor’s homeplaces if I ever get the chance.

  8. Okay, this is off-topic (related to grandfille’s correction), but maybe some of you can explain to me why “an historic” would ever be correct. It grates on my ears (in this case, my eyes) whenever I hear it. My thinking is this: “an” is used when the object begins with a vowel sound. Because when most people say “historic” there is a clearly heard “h,” (not “istoric”), the “an” is not appropriate and should be an “a.” Following the same rationale, we say “an hour” but “a hysterectomy.” C’mon smarties, somebody clarify this. :)

  9. Rachel, you’ve totally got me sitting here going “a historic” over and over to try to see.

    I think it has its roots in Britishisms, as you rightly note. If you have a Hollywood Cockney Accent, you need to say “an ‘istoric house.”

    I’ve decided that, with my midwestern accent, I should probably say “an historic” because all my “a”s sound like “ah.” There’s definitely an h sound at the end of my “a”s. So, when I say “a historic” it sounds like “ah-historic.”

    My Chicago says “Such forms as ‘an historical study’or ‘an union’ are not idiomatic in American English. Before a pronounced h, long u (or eu), and such a word as one, the indefinite article should be a.”

    So, I’m taking Chicago’s word for it, since Tiny Cat Pants has no manual of style.

    Though… it would be cool if it did.

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