Chilly thoughts of ghostly dreams

Here it is, June 4th and I am wrapped in blankets with my heat on and my dog nestled against me. How strange this season has been. Perhaps summer will prove unbearably hot trying to make up for all these days of damp coolness. For now, the extra sleep is pleasant.

Casting my mind back to more turbulent times, when my family lived in the house so saturated with frenetic energies that no family after us ever stayed more than a few months, and trying to arrive at the point in my mind when I knew without a doubt that time was an illusion, I traveled the road of thought. As a very small being, my universe was infinite. The ghosties and goblins living under the house and in the closets, behind drawn shades and between the lulls in prayers, waited only for a lapse in the attention of the adults to show themselves present. Indeterminate knocks through the central heating systems. and little groans beneath the floorboards; flickering lights and random clicks were all proofs. This world of wonder was exclusively the family realm of our home. Many years later I decided that we haunt ourselves. Forward and backward in time, using dreams, mirrors and mental magic as portals. we connect briefly with ourselves. Flashes of insight, moments of terror, sudden strong longings, yes, I believe we haunt ourselves. Independent of that, I also believe that some of us leave energy footprints in places- emotional stamps of strong feelings imprinted in the place where we felt them.

Growing up in a house so haunted that no neighbourhood children would visit for longer than a few minutes, and few ventured up our stairs on Halloween night, caused me to value the peace of a happy home above all things. My current home is a sanctuary of good thoughts and happy times. A price above rubies say I. As a teenager I met someone else living in a haunted house. They lived on Heather Street in Vancouver, in a home that had been the original farmhouse of that area. It stood four floors and an attic tall, quietly waiting for nightfall. A telephone would ring it's old fashioned brrr sounding in the stairwell. Books would fall from their shelves. A heavy iron bed , with two unaware sleepers in it, moved across the room to block the doorway during the night and sometimes, a cold freeze would descend on the kitchen. The matriarch of this family was deceased. The only daughter left home at 15. The four boys lived on with their dad who steadfastly refused to acknowledge the strange events. The boys, howeever, gleefully told their stories to friends and visitors. I thought it was all a silly fairy tale until the day I was alone in the attic - or so I thought.

My friend Bruce had told me the ghost did not like females staying around, and I had laughed. He was quite stern about it and asked me to make sure not to close the stairs door. I was up in that attic when I heard him call from downstairs. He had gone to get us some snacks so I went to help him bring them up. As I went down the stairs the door closed after me and the light went out. I kept going steadily down, calling out as I went. The doors were closed all the way down. When I got to the kitchen entrance, I kicked on the door and called out to stop fooling around and let me out. Sitting on the stairs, I was quite a bit madder than I was scared. I was convinced that the younger brothers were having a laugh at my expense. But where was Bruce?

I ended up crying in frustration and pounding on the door while yelling. A sudden *pop* sound and the door on the second floor opened. The light went on. Two heads looked down on me. They swore they were just coming down for a snack and had heard nothing. Bruce was in the basement with his father, investigating a series of thumps. They had thought a raccoon had gotten inside. No one admitted to calling me down from the attic. No one had seen the doors close. And no one was even slightly surprised by my misadventure. Needless to say I never stayed in the attic alone again, nor did I go down the stairs without someone right with me. In fact, I broke it off with Bruce as one haunted house was quite enough for me. My house at least tolerated me.