Ghost story

I wouldn’t have believed it if it hadn’t happened to me. The other night I had a little ghostly experience, on Christmas Eve in fact, apologies to Dickens and his spiritual cadres. Now, before anyone thinks I’m losing my marbles, I think I can explain what happened. But I’ll tell you this, it was terrifying.

On Friday a friend and I went shopping. Somewhere along the line I must have been exposed to a nasty bug. By Saturday I was a mess, without going into the gory details, let’s just say the only thing worse than chills and fever are chills and fever with extreme double-end nausea.

By Sat night, Christmas Eve, I knew I was in for a bad night. Hours of violent fluid loss and delirium had taken their toll. I guess my body just sorta gave up trying to expunge whatever it was. With the help of a handful of painkillers and diphenhydramine, I fell into a deep, dreamless sleep. Until about 3 O’clock in the morning when I woke with a start, it was like coming out of an alcohol induced college black out. With one horrifying exception: I was not alone!

I live by myself in a small apartment, but before I even opened my eyes I felt what I can only describe as The Presence. Dark, foreboding, beyond rational explanation. I knew there were things in my little adobe. When I opened my eyes, I could see them in the darkness, and hear a menacing whispering. The one that was closest to me looked like an old lady in an old-fashioned bonnet. Others were dimly visible in the distance. With great effort I fumbled for my cell phone, always kept charging next to my bed. It was like my arm weighed a ton, I could barely move it. But somehow I reached and grabbed the phone. With one hand I managed to swipe it on, and got 9-11 entered in to the registry. And at that moment, some semblance of reason took over.

This couldn’t be happening, I knew I must be dreaming or hallucinating.  The figures I was seeing look a little too much like that scene in Poltergeist where the spirits walk down the staircase. The whispering sounded exactly like what the kids in the movie Knowing heard. And I realized I had seen both those movies in the last few days. The Presence was still there, scary as ever, I could see and hear the people. But I forced myself to relax, close my eyes, and see if I could go to sleep, or wake up as the case may be. It sounds easy now, at the time it took every bit of control and willpower I could muster.

It worked, some indeterminate time later I opened my eyes, no presence, no dim figures, no weird whispering. Then I picked up my phone, and what do you suppose I saw in registry, yeap, 9-1-1, clear as day.

Now I know I wasn’t really visited by ghosts. I understand intellectually that I must have suffered a bout of sleep paralysis; it’s happened to me before. And it was pretty obvious that in my half conscious stupor I had managed to really dial those numbers into the phone. So I knew, rationally, that it was a delusion. But when I saw those numbers in the phone display, I promise you, the ice-cold chill that ran down my back like freezing cold syrup was as real as it gets.