Paranormal Or Normal Normal?

Is there anyone out there who HASN’T seen a ghost?

You can’t change the channel without tripping over someone or other telling their story about their brush with the other side. And it’s not the usual group of bespectacled Heartland loonies who used to cry “UFO!” whenever a plane passed overhead or swore they saw Bigfoot in their backyard eating out of the bird-feeder. It’s celebrities, people with families, everyday folk who made it out of third grade. Apparently the paranormal has become, well, normal normal.

I’m not here to cast stones. Arguing with people about what they believe to have happened is akin to trying to drive a nail into the wall using your forehead. It’s not going to work and you’ll end up with a killer headache. And who knows, maybe it’s not the desire to make a quick TV buck, or the hope of achieving some kind of low level fame that are driving these stories. Maybe dead people really have nothing better to do than hang around watching us live our boring lives. Who am I?

I used to be a lot more skeptical. I used to be one of those jerks who had a superior laugh at the expense of the ghost hunters, with their tacky seances, and high-tech audio equipment, and constant claims about how cold it was when you stood in a particular place in the basement. There isn’t a spot in my basement that DOESN’T feel like there’s a draft blowing through your entire body. And I particularly enjoyed when they put those night vision doo-dads on their heads, put them in an abandoned looney bin and filmed them screaming at absolutely nothing for an hour. It made me feel good about myself. Those people were so stupid and I was so smart. It was a clear line of demarcation between the rational world I inhabited and the imaginary netherworld of ghosts, ghouls and goblins that nutso, candle-lighting, head-scarf wearing lunatics lived in.

Until Weldon House changed it all.

Weldon House used to be the office for the Irish Cultural Centre in the town where I live. It was basically a converted flop house. There was an office on the ground floor that led to a banquet hall, and there were stairs leading to the second and third floors that were mysteriously and permanently blocked off. When we first moved up here we tried to get a theater going in the area, before we realized that the people who lived here had as much use for live theater as they did for dentistry or the Democratic Party. We were doing show for the Cultural Centre, so we rehearsed in the banquet hall. We became friendly with the girls who staffed the place and they told us to watch out for the ghosts while we were rehearsing at night. It was after one of these rehearsals and it was just myself, Mary El and our friend Rich in the meeting room right outside the office. The topic came up, and Mary and Rich were in the middle of a spooky conversation while I was busy smirking. They were facing me and my back was to a garbage can in the corner of the room, Suddenly I heard a crash behind me and I looked at the faces of Rich and Mary El. Their eyes were as big as saucers. I turned around and saw the garbage can lid was on the ground about six feet away from the can. When we checked with the girls later they said that happened nearly every day.

Right now we weren’t thinking about that. We were thinking how were we going to get out of the place and turn out all the lights behind us without soiling ourselves. As Mary El remembers it, myself and Rich (who’s a big guy) practically crawled up her butt as we walked out of the room. She stopped short and we both bumped into her. I think I was slipping into my childhood defense of throwing one of  my younger siblings at the bad monster and taking my chances on my own. It’s up there in my list of my most unmasculine moments, along with the time the Giants fumbled during the Super Bowl and I screamed little girl screams until they recovered.

Later that week was my youngest son’s birthday. We were going to have his birthday party at Weldon House. The day before Mary El got deathly ill and couldn’t get out of bed, so I had to do all the shopping for the party, the decorations, the cake, the whole bit. By the time I got the kids to sleep it was nearly 10:00 and I still had to go decorate the place for the next day. So I drag myself out there with my bag of decorations and walk up to the side door with my key. As soon as I put the key in I hear this voice that sounds like a little angry boy yelling. I stopped in my tracks. I walked to the other side of the porch and listened—there was a camp across the street and sometimes you heard stray sounds coming from there in the daytime. There was complete, eerie silence. I took the key out and got back in my car.

When I got home I checked on Mary El and she said, “That didn’t take long. You saw something, didn’t you?!” I flirted with the idea of just lying about it, but I’m about as good a liar as my son Conor, whose so transparent you can see his internal organs. Weldon House caught me up its spooky, sinister web.

I’ll be telling my story soon on TRU or CHILLER or BIO—whoever pays the most up front.

    • Joel Flowers
    • March 28th, 2011

    Why does nothing like that ever happen to me?! It’s Mary Ellen, isn’t it? She attracts all the weirdos, kooks, dead things, and things that don’t realize they’re dead….

    • Joel Flowers
    • March 28th, 2011

    To quote KafKa, “…Life rolls in ecstacy at her feet.”

  1. The wierdos we collects in real life are just as bad. I wish more of them were ghosts.

    • John
    • March 29th, 2011

    You are just brilliant. Thanks for giving me a laugh and something to think about almost every day. Unfortunately this story makes me reconsider trying to turn the old, abandoned hardware store on Catskill Creek into a theatre. Perhaps I’ll just have to stick with Laura.

  2. Reconsider reconsidering! Laura can scare away people in real life!

    • Joe Gayton
    • May 12th, 2011

    Just curious… Was Rich Mr. Hack?!

  3. The one and only!

  4. I just came across this…I worked in the office of the Irish Cultural Centre from 2003 – 2006, and I promise that place is very haunted! I was alone there every winter 5 days a week. Mirrors would shake, I would hear voices and music, and things would fall off desks and tables in rooms nobody was in. It was terrifying, and there were many times I ran out the door. The Board of Directors laughed at me because I instituted a “No Weldon After Dark” rule! As soon as the sun started setting I was out of there, no matter what. I hear that a paranormal group came in after I had moved on to another job and that they recorded 13 spirits upstairs with their equipment. I also spoke at length about it with Tom McGoldrick’s son, who spent summers there as a kid because his parents owned the place when it was still a resort. He also had quite a few creepy stories to tell. So even though you may be a skeptic, you are spot on about this one. Blackthorne should have their haunted mansion in there!!

    • Anonymous
    • October 25th, 2011

    I heard about that paranormal group too, and Mary El heard the recording. That place is scaaaarrrrrreeeeee!

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: