As a child I attended several boarding schools for blind children. During this time I shared a number of dormatories with boys most of who’s names I can still remember! The first dormitory I can recollect had wooden floors with only small mats by each bed onto which we boys could step when dressing or undressing. Despite the huge old radiators my memory is of shivering with cold while dressing in the frosty winter mornings. Oh happy days!
Being boys we regailed one another with all kinds of stories after the lights had been switched off and we should have been in the land of dreams. Among these where stories of ghosts and ghouls. I well remember some clever soul (I think it may have been me but I can’t be sure at this distance in time) regailing his fellow dorm dwellers with a story of a boy who returned from the toilet only to find that the school had been boarded up and that he was trapped inside the building with all kinds of ghosts and ghouls. All this story telling was fine until one of us wanted to leave the room to use the toilet only to find ourselves scared half to death to go alone. What ghastly creatures lurked in the passage outside our dormitory god only knew!
I believe that my interest in ghost stories stems from my early school days. Even now I can feel cold shivers run down my spine when I read or hear a ghost story.
I am an agnostic and keep an open mind as to whether anything beyond the purely material world exists. However, irrespective of whether god or something god-like exists I continue to find ghost stories a great source of enjoyment.
Thus far I have written one ghost story, There are More Things in Heaven and Earth (http://newauthoronline.com/2013/03/17/there-are-more-things-in-heaven-and-earth/). In the story Michael,a devout atheist (now theirs a contradiction in terms if ever there was one) decides to sleep in the chamber of an old house in which a Victorian serving maid hanged herself. The result is tragic with Michael being found dead the following day.
The story suggests that Michael saw something unspeakable which brought on a massive heart attack. However the sceptic will no doubt argue that people can work themselves up to such a state of fear and/or excitement that they bring about their own demise. The imagination is an extremely powerful thing and I can recollect lying in bed at school listening to creaking floor boards and cooling pipes and being at least half convinced that unearthly forces where abroad.
I’m off to bed now to dream what I hope will be dreams lacking in ghosts and ghouls!