Tag Archives: Childhood Stories

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Scariest Real Life Ghost Story

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

Blurry black-and-white photo of a ghostly-white woman wearing a long-sleeved dress and wearing her black hair half over her face. Unless you count the loud footsteps that sometimes rumble up and down my in-laws stairs (but that are probably just coming from a noisy neighbour in the other home in their duplex), I have never seen or interacted with a ghost.

With that being said, my father had a frightening and bizarre experience one night while sleeping at my grandfather’s home about thirty years ago.

This home was built by my grandfather on land that has been in our family for generations. There have been no sudden deaths, acts of violence, or any other tragedies in that house or on that land for as long as anyone in the family can recall. It’s a peaceful place, and yet the story of the black-eyed woman still happened.

Dad was sleeping in bed next to mom when he felt the bed gently shake as someone sat on it in the middle of the night. He awoke to see his wife sitting on the end of the bed staring at him.

It took him a minute to remember that mom did not have black eyes. That is to say, the eyes of the woman looking him did not have pupils, irises, or sclera. They were coal black from beginning to end. She otherwise looked exactly like his wife.

He looked over to the side and saw his actual wife sleeping quietly beside him, so he reached forward to swat the black-eyed stranger away. His hand couldn’t touch anything solid where she sat, and yet she was still there looking at him.

”Get out in the name of Jesus!” He said to the black-eyed woman. She disappeared like a mist.

He was not able to fall back asleep again that night.

Let’s add a few more pieces of information to the mystery:

1) During that time, my parents were trying to decide whether to make some life-changing career decisions that would make it much easier for them to pay the bills and even save a little bit of money for the future. Saying yes to those opportunities would also increase their stress and decrease the amount of time they had for anything other than work and finishing college (for my mom) and mean our family would need to move a few thousand miles away from where we lived at the time.

2) My father has seasonal allergies that required him to take allergy medicine before bed in order to be decongested enough to sleep. He is also known to be someone who occasionally has trouble transitioning from sleeping to being fully alert, especially if he’s interrupted during deep sleep.

3) They belonged to a denomination that worried about evil spirits and demons more than many other faiths and denominations do. Avoiding and casting out these spirits were common topics of conversation in our social circles.

So this could have been a hypnogogic hallucination. That is to say, a hallucination that took place while his brain was still in the process of waking up. These types of hallucinations can include seeing, feeling, and hearing things that are not actually there because your mind is still dreaming at that time. They are not dangerous, just a quirk of the human mind.

On the other hand, my mother has a sibling who had night terrors and incidents of sleep walking when he slept in that room as a kid. Maybe it’s a coincidence, or maybe not.

No one else has seen the black-eyed woman at my grandparents’ home to the best of my knowledge, but this is the scariest real-life (possible?) ghost story I know. I will leave it up to all of you decide if you’d rather believe it was a spirit, a mental process that can be explained by our current understanding of psychology and neurology, or something else entirely.

Happy (almost) Halloween!

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Have You Met Anyone Famous? Who?

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

A black squiggly autograph
The Internet says this is supposed to be an autograph.

I’ve never met anyone who is universally famous like Beyoncé or President Obama, so my answer to this question depends on your definition of the term fame and which social circles we may or may not have in common. Here are a few people who are famous in some subcultures that I’ve been in the same room with.

Curtis Hinds

Those of you who have followed my site for a while might remember that I was a preacher’s kid growing up. Curtis was (and still is) well known as a travelling pastor and speaker in certain Protestant circles. I knew him as a family friend who would occasionally come to visit us in the Midwestern portion of the United States or take us out to dinner when we travelled up to Ontario.

He was (and I’m sure still is) a friendly man who always had amusing new stories to share about his travels.

 

Robert J. Sawyer

Robert is one of Canada’s most famous science fiction authors. I’ve blogged about several of his books here like “Calculating God” and the Neanderthal Parallax Trilogy in previous posts.

He sometimes pops up at various literary events and festivals in Toronto. I’ve met him once so far. He was a kind and welcoming man to everyone around him that day, so do say hello if you also enjoy his work and see him around at a bookish event someday.

 

Devon Soltendieck

This one might take a little bit of explaining. Much Music is a tv channel that is like Canada’s version of MTV. Devon was a Much Music host in the 2000s. In the mid-2000s, I was riding the subway when I saw someone who looked really familiar to me. I couldn’t stop staring at him as I tried to figure out why he was so familiar.

“Okay, so how are we related?” I silently asked myself. I had occasionally run into distant cousins and other relatives whom I recognized but whose names did not immediately come to mind when I lived in the United States. Due to this, I assumed it was another case of me seeing a third cousin or something and needing some time to realize we shared recent ancestors.

It was only after I’d arrived back home and turned on the TV that I realized I’d probably seen a famous person instead.

He was facing away from me on the subway, so I hope he didn’t notice me staring at him. I would have politely ignored him if I realized we didn’t actually need to play the “how are we related” game after all. Ha!

 

Person photographing her white dog. That is the sum total of my celebrity experiences. I tend to avoid celebrity culture and take an alternate route if I see paparazzi clogging up a sidewalk here in Toronto, but I hope everyone who is into that sort of stuff has plenty of opportunities to rub elbows with celebrities if they so desire to.

I’m ending this post with a stock photo of someone photographing her dog because the thought of domesticated animals being famous makes me giggle. (Although there are some famous furry friends out there, too).

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Books With an Adjective In the Title


Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

The following words are written on a green background: adjectives, verbs, prepositions, nouns, tenses, activate, study, adverbs, learning grammar. Here’s a quick and humorous story about adjectives before I dive into this week’s prompt.

When I was in elementary school, our teacher had us write poems that needed to have a specific number of adjectives, adverbs, nouns, and other parts of speech in certain portions of the poem.

I was a little unsure about what made an adjective different from the other parts of speech, so I opened a nearby dictionary and selected words based in large part on what the dictionary said about which part of speech each one belonged to.

This is probably not exactly what my teacher was hoping we’d do, but I finished the project and technically followed all of the rules for it.

1. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

2. The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne

3. The Ballad of the Sad Cafe by Edward Albee

4. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz

5. The Case of the Perfect Maid – a Miss Marple Short Story by Agatha Christie

6. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

7. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald

8. The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo by Zen Cho

9. The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

10. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Tell Us Something About a Pet

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

I do not have a photo of the actual fish I’m going to discuss, so a stock photo must suffice.

A fish swimming in a blue sea. This happened in late spring or summer when I was a child. My family lived in a house whose backyard sloped down into the shore of a lake back then.

I was walking by the water when I noticed a fish swimming oddly close to the shore and to the surface of the water.

While I didn’t see any visible injuries on it, the poor little fish looked like it needed help. It wasn’t swimming as quickly and confidently as fish normally do. It looked wobbly and uncertain.

I built a little pen of rocks around it to protect it from any larger creatures that might hurt it. The pen was not terribly big, just tall enough to give it a safe spot in the water to rest.

Then I went to the house to see if one of my parents could help him or her.

When I returned, the fish was gone.

It’s impossible to know for sure what happened to it, but I choose to believe that moment of rest somehow helped and that it had a long and happy life after that afternoon.

I did not know it long enough to pick a name, but I bonded enough with it during the brief time we knew each other for me to remember it all of these years later.

It was a nice little fish, and I did everything I could to help it.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: What I Thought of Santa as a Kid

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

As I’ve mentioned here before, my parents were pastors when I was a child. Many of our Christmas traditions revolved around the religious aspects of that holiday and the various parties, services, charitable fundraisers, and other events we held at church. It was always a busy season for us!

A black santa claus putting a wrapped presnt in his big, red bagMy family decorated a tree and exchanged a few thoughtful presents each year, but Santa himself was not part of our version of Christmas. My only experiences with him were through seasonal television programs and some traditional works of literature like T’Was The Night Before Christmas.

We didn’t own a TV at all for a while when I was in the prime age group for believing in him, and I was also homeschooled for several years there. Due to these factors, I didn’t know that some other families were so focused on Santa during Christmas until I was older and began spending more time around kids whose families had other traditions.

Sometimes my grandmother would bend the rules a little and give us a few extra presents from Santa or one of the friendly animals on their farm because of how much she loves Christmas.

We always knew they were really from her and Grandpa, of course, so my parents weren’t too fussed about whose name was on the “from” line. My parents taught us to be respectful of other people’s traditions and household rules.

The various legends about Santa amused me, especially when it came to learning about the historical Saint Nicholas and how myths about him and his magical helpers have evolved over time. That made little Lydia wonder if other magical creatures like the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny were also loosely based on real people or events.

When I started attending public school, I vaguely remember classmates talking about what race and ethnicity Santa should be. As far as I was concerned, he could be from any racial or ethnic group.

Appearances don’t matter because Santa was a metaphor for kindness and generosity in my family. We all perform the role of Santa when we notice what others need and quietly work to help them in whatever ways we can throughout the year.

Vintage Science Fiction Month: My First Taste of Vintage SciFi

Vintage SciFi Month was created by Little Red Reviewer and is moderated by Red Star Reviews. Any science fiction film, short story, play, or book released before 1979 is eligible for this celebration of classic science fiction.  Let’s take a walk down memory lane today. My family didn’t have cable* for most of my childhood, and there were… Read More