I'm from a rural part of Southeastern Kentucky. Ghost stories, Tall Tales, and Jack Tales are an intricate part of our culture. I've heard all the standard regional stories, haunting tales about unrequited love, greed, and practical jokes gone awry- fables meant to teach lessons as much as entertain. Although, looking back I feel that the adults were more entertained by our shrieks and fear more than we enjoyed hearing them.
Because of these tales, I become hooked on the paranormal- anything to experience that rush of adrenaline when you meet your fears and your body grapples with its own fight or flight response. More specifically, I became interested in life after death. I knew about paradise and purgatory outlined by a strict Southern Baptist upbringing, but there had to be more than that. Maybe it was rebellion against religion, maybe it was insatiable curiosity, or maybe it was the doctors constantly telling me, a child of seven, that her father was sick and he only had a few years left- but I started asking about ghosts and true ghost stories. As I grew older I read everything about the Occult I could get my hands on. (My Dad is now well, but still suffers declining health and is confined to a wheelchair.) I wanted to know what was behind the ominous creaks and voices everyone whispered about.
My childhood home was situated in a valley and surrounded by densely wooded mountains. There was an abandoned, collapsed coal mine high on one ridge where unclaimed bodies lie buried under rubble and rock and a cemetery in my backyard. Yeah, I heard some strange things. I'd hear a woman calling my name when there was no one in the house, strange marks were scorched on the wooden walls, and playful knocking on my bedroom window. After a while, I wasn't afraid. Honestly, there's not a lot out there that frightens me.
When I turned eighteen, I married and moved. My husband and I had a son when I was twenty and I became so engrossed in school and motherhood that I forgot about ghosts and spooks. Then, late one night I awoke with the feeling that someone was watching me. It's wasn't a specific feeling, just a crawling, hair-standing-on-end, sensation that bothered me enough to rouse me from a deep sleep.
I was greeted with an ugly, grotesque...THING looking down at me from behind my headboard. It looked more demonic than ghostly. My heart skipped a few beats and I could see dripping fangs behind cracked lips, almost as if it delighted in my fear. That's when I remembered that I wasn't afraid. It could only hurt me if I thought it could. So, I turned over and pulled the covers up and over my head and forced myself back to sleep. Whatever it was, it didn't bother me again.
I started visiting a psychic shop a few cities over for fun one Halloween with my brother. In the beginning, I was more curious than anything. I liked talking with the women there, so I continued going. One of them picked up on a dark entity that seemed to follow me. I didn't think much about it, but I accepted her complimentary sage smudge stick and headed back home. The dried bundle of herbs stayed in my sock drawer for over a year before I decided to use it. My son started waking me at night screaming and begging me to sleep in his room with him. He claimed that a man with an ugly face played with his toys and scared him.
I hated seeing my son so frightened, and by that point I was pregnant with my daughter and wasn't getting a lot of sleep anyways. We were both cramped up in his little Cars bed and miserable. I started saying prayers in his room and I felt better, but his nightmares continued. He even started telling other family members about the 'Black Man' in his room.
I hoped it was his imagination, but the Psychic's warning haunted me in the back of my mind. It came to a head one morning around three o'clock when I thought I heard Connor walking down the hall. I got out of bed and opened his bedroom door only to see blood oozing down the wall next to the door. When I flipped on the lights, the wall was fine but I'd woken Connor from his sleep. Seeing fake oozing walls actually frightened me more than the Spook watching me sleep.
The next day I sent him with my mother while I cleansed the whole house with sage. I chanted prayers, hung crosses, and left open bibles in every room. The Thing must have went away because Connor hasn't mentioned him since and the house feels much brighter and more welcoming.
I know there are a lot of skeptics out there and they can probably come up with rational explanations for everything I just described, but now I think twice before dabbling in things that would rather be left alone. I'd rather not be party to inviting nasty things back in my home.
I am a romance/erotic romance author with Secret Cravings Publishing. I currently have one erotic short release, Bi-Curious, and a novel contracted for electronic release in January 2013.
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