Is This How Ghost Stories Begin?

monday-blogs-2Everything I am about to tell you is completely true.

Some of the older residents of my apartment building like to tell stories about the people who have died here.

One person was young and died suddenly for reasons that I’ve never been able to tease out. There is a hush that comes over the conversation when the elders mention that death.

Someone else is rumoured to have died of smoke inhalation when he made the mistake of evacuating during a fire. According to people who have lived here a long time, that man passed away in the stairwell. They say he would have survived if he’d stayed in his apartment and put a wet towel by the crack under the front door to keep the smoke from wafting in.

The lights in our building flicker a lot. Sometimes the hallway outside of your apartment is brightly lit, and sometimes it’s dim. Lightbulbs burn out quickly, too.

Sound carries in strange ways here. I’ve heard what seems to be hundreds of marbles bouncing around on the floor above me. It’s also common to hear loud thumps and crashes that seem to be coming from every direction at once.

Speaking of sounds, I occasionally hear someone laughing just as I’m about to fall asleep for the night. It is so loud and clear that I could almost swear we were in the same room, but I never see anything when I open my eyes.

Sometimes a breeze whips around the corner of the lobby and prompts the elevator door to open again two or three times just when it was about to close and start moving up to your floor. There are times when that breeze has been so cold that it made me shudder and wrap my jacket around my body more closely.

Human and canine footprints regularly appear on the floor after it’s been mopped.

When the custodians put up the Christmas tree in the lobby, candy canes and old-fashioned ornaments always show up on it within a few days. I’ve never seen anyone place them there, and no one I’ve spoken to admits to adding to the decorations that the people who work in this building had already hung on the branches.

monday-blogs-1These anecdotes could be easily remixed into a modern haunting. There could be a man trapped in the stairwell who is forever trying to reach the bottom floor. Maybe he would be the one who was blamed for the flickering lights, cold breezes, and elevator doors that open over and over again.

The half-formed story about someone dying mysteriously could easily be expanded to include a pet whose footprints appear alongside hers, explain why our local ghost is so obsessed with the annual Christmas tree, and mention why she laughs so loudly at night.

Of course, there are logical explanations for all of these things as well.

A building full of people is bound to have the things breaking down regularly, including lightbulbs and elevators. When the population density is high, there will be folks dropping all kinds of things as they tidy up, do-gooders adding to the festive decorations without wanting to be noticed, children playing with noisy toys on wooden floors, and people who don’t realize how loud they are when they come home late after bar hopping.

It all depends on how you look at it.

Regardless of how you interpreted stories like these, I hope you have a wonderfully spooky Halloween!


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4 Responses to Is This How Ghost Stories Begin?

  1. Michael Mock

    Have I shared this one with you? ‘Cause, yes: I think this is how ghost stories get started.

  2. Fred Schoch

    there have been a few times in our house when I have heard someone call out my name just as I’m about to fall asleep. When I looked around, my wife would be sound asleep.This also reminds me when I was attending college in NJ in 1973. I would very often be woken up by a gentle shaking on my bed. I remember being scared the first few times but got used to it ag=fter a while.

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