Ghost-hunters are not some Discovery Channel bull crap that exist solely for people to poke fun of from the safety of their armchairs sculpted around their butts, munching on a pack of David’s Original Sunflower Seeds.
Well, okay, maybe they are.
I’ve never seen a ghost. But I’ve tried my best to seek them out. I’ve wandered into abandoned houses, churches, and cars, hoping against hope to meet one. They must be too intimidated by all 5 feet, four and three quarters inches of me.
Most of the time, when I’m out on my adventures, I poke around in anything I can find. I’m scavenging for old blackmail letters, ticket stubs or photographs. Usually my imagination fills in the blanks when the “evidence” is lacking. Oh, I found an old shoe in this abandoned building? BAM a child was kidnapped, brought here and left to die. He grew up, lost the shoe and murdered wandering ghost-hunters.
On my ghost-hunting expeditions this past week, I had two fellow hunters with me. I recommend taking people with you for reasons you can probably come up with on your own. The few that come to mind for me are:
- Someone to get eaten by the ghost first
- Someone to trip so that they get eaten by the ghost and you can get the hell out of Dodge
Don’t worry, I’m sure my partners were thinking the same thing.
We found an abandoned church. Found is a loose term, technically its been property of the college we attend for years. We’ve just not had opportunities to break in.
This church has been firefighter practice grounds for the past few weeks which means most of the windows have been blown out and quite a few of the doors don’t lock anymore. Made things very accessible for ghost hunters to drop in and poke around. The ghosts invited us in.
The main floor was where I had been the most. It used to be offices owned by the college I attend. I guess technically, they still are offices, but they’re being renovated…well if that’s what you call taking down a building to make room for parking spaces.
The inside of the church was cold. A sharp contrast to the false summer breezes outside. I walked on the main floor, reminiscing. When this used to be offices, an upperclassman would let me in to wander around. It’s different poking around in a building when it was still inhabited then coming back and seeing the corpse of what had been.
I found the room where my friend told me I had a chance to be in a musical. The carpet was gone now, nothing but black ashes underfoot. The place where the piano had stood, where he had played the same song over and over, was empty, all that was left was the black stains from where the fire had licked up the walls.
I went upstairs and tried to find the pew where we had written our initials in the dust, laughing and sneaking looks out the window, afraid security would come and we’d have to scamper down the stairs.
But the pews had been “stacked” (a nice word for haphazardly thrown) onto the stage, empty pizza boxes and half drunk two liters of soda decorating the scene. There used to be stained glass windows hung on three of the four walls. But that’s all gone. I was disappointed, I wanted a pane.
The stairs to the bell tower didn’t go all the way up, which was another disappointment. Unless my Spidey senses kicked in all of the sudden (not to mention 8 years and 4 spider-bites too late), I wasn’t getting higher than where I was. That left the basement.
The basement smelled like wet ash. Wet ash is like burnt cheese on the bottom of your oven. It coats your nose and you leave thinking you’ll never smell right again. I wore probably the worst shoes to go adventuring in because they were white. If a ghost showed up, I’d probably beg them to let me take them off to carry them as I ran.
Ash crumbled underfoot as we walked around the basement. The rooms were dark, windows half-heartedly boarded up, doors blown off hinges, everything stained black. I ran my nail across one of the windows that was left intact. It was one that went on a door. The smoke had coated the glass like mist on an early morning. But it didn’t wipe away like condensation does on the inside of a car window. It stayed intact and shrieked as I ran my nail across it.
Set up in the center of the basement were three burnt skeletons of armchairs. The fire had gorged itself on the flesh of the cushions. Boney springs were all that remained.
“It looks like the scene of a Hozier music video,” one of my ghost buddies said.
We laughed. I laughed because I was uncomfortable and ready to go back upstairs. There hadn’t been chairs the last time I’d been here. I wondered if they were someone’s special chairs. The kind that everyone looks at and says: “No you can’t sit there! That’s So and So’s chair.” They were recliners, well they used to be. Recliners always struck me as personality chairs.
My friend had one. It was blue-green. It creaked when you sat on it and would groan if you tried to lean it back and extend the legs. But it was soft and less lumpy than you’d expect. It has an old pattern of diamonds, red and white. Or maybe I’ve forgotten already.
The point is, the chair was his. Still is, even if I try to sit on it, I always expect to jump up and move aside if he appears.
I wonder if the burnt corpse recliners are the same. If the springs sing when you sit in on them, or the cushions bounce back instead of crumbling away. It’s too late to know now.
But I’m starting to wonder if the only ghosts that haunt the church are the ones I let in.