Who Ya Gonna Call?

Recently my wife and I experienced something mysterious. We bought some shrimp one day and that evening I went to fetch it from the refrigerator. But it wasn’t there. We looked everywhere but couldn’t find it. Three days later more shrimp was purchased and as we put it in the fridge, there, in plain sight, was the ‘lost’ shrimp. How did that happen? Later I began noticing other strange occurrences such as a door slamming shut on its own and eerie shadows floating by. But it wasn’t until the TV began to inexplicably turn on and off that I began to suspect it may be the work of a poltergeist. And when it started changing the channel from MSNBC to Fox News, I realized that it was a Republican ghost (the worst kind).

This got me wondering if ghosts are real and if so, are they good or evil and how would you get rid of one if it did exist? I had never believed in apparitions. Probably because I grew up watching Scooby-Doo. In every episode members of Mystery Inc. encountered a ghost that was terrifying the local populace. And in every show Shaggy and Scooby were terrified of the spirit until it was revealed that the paranormal activity was really an elaborate hoax. So I came to believe that there is always a rational explanation for paranormal events. However, cultures all over the world believe in spirits and a recent survey indicated that 43% of Americans believe in ghosts, despite the fact that no evidence has materialized to prove their existence. Can so many people be wrong? Maybe spirits are among us.

Ghosts are said to often dwell in; cemeteries, prisons, asylums and houses. And it’s not just old run down houses like the Munster’s mansion in which they reside. They can be present in any property including homes in nice subdivisions.

If a phantom is inhabiting your residence, don’t be embarrassed, some believe that even the White House is haunted, and not just since the 2016 election. Eleanor Roosevelt claimed to feel Lincoln’s presence throughout the house and Winston Churchill refused to sleep in the Lincoln bedroom after seeing the former president’s ghost standing beside the fireplace. Of course, Franklin did make pretty strong drinks.

So if spooks might actually be floating about, how would you know if your home is haunted? Look for these signs:

•A sense of being watched.
•An awareness of someone standing close behind you.
•Feeling the hair on the back of your neck standing up.
•Feeling a cold breeze as if someone has walked past you.

Men know these sensations. We get them whenever our wives walk into the room where we have been watching football all day instead of doing the yardwork as promised. Other signs that your abode is possessed (besides the ones that have been happening to me) include; lights turning on and off on their own, sounds of things being dropped and hearing someone whispering your name. Phantoms also seem to like to hide reading glasses, at least mine does.

If your living quarters are haunted, how alarmed should you be given that throughout history, ghosts have generally been considered scary and malevolent? We all grew up hearing spooky ghost stories and evil visitants are the basis of many horror movies. But some, such as Moaning Myrtle, were good, as were Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas past, present and future who were only trying to save Scrooge from a terrible fate (although the Ghost of Christmas Future was pretty creepy). And on Pawley’s Island in South Carolina there is allegedly a ghost called “Gray Man” who the inhabitants claim comes out before terrible storms to warn them.

Some people who have encountered specters have actually become friendly with them. I mean REALLY friendly. One woman in England claims to have had sex with twenty ghosts. The saucy minx eventually took a break from spirit sex, perhaps out of concern for her reputation in the spirit world. But as fate would have it, on a trip to Australia she encountered a comely apparition who swept her off her feet. On the flight home she claims they became members of the mile high club (they did the dirty deed in the plane’s loo). Now they are planning to get married and she wants to have his baby. If it’s a boy, I bet they name him Casper.

But, no doubt, some like the pernicious spirits in the Amityville Horror are filled with malice and harmful intent.

One psychic explained that if there is a phantom in your house you can try chanting, “This place is mine. You are not wanted here anymore. Please leave”. I tried this chant, but after reading about that British hussy, I added, “Or if you stay let’s just be friends.” I can’t tell if it worked. Another medium, who is in the ‘all ghosts are evil camp’, says that if your home is possessed, the spirit will not go away of its own accord and that the situation will only get worse. Yes, it might start stealing my scotch.

So if you feel the need to evict your ghost, who ya gonna call? Well, there are psychic mediums, similar to Oda Mae Brown, who claim they can rid you of your uninvited spirit. There is also a television evangelist who will perform an exorcism via skype for only $295.

However, your best bet is probably a paranormal investigation and elimination service. And, praise the Lord, nearly every state has at least one. Florida has 49 ghost hunting teams which makes sense. If I were a ghost that is where I would want to haunt. Paranormal investigators will come to your home and use various techniques and instruments to determine if poltergeists are present. They will also help you get rid of your unwelcome guest(s). Surprisingly, none of the groups is named Ghost Busters. Nonetheless some have interesting names such as:

•Bad Ass Spirit Outlaws
•Half Past Dead
•Hide & Seek Paranormal Society, and my favorite,
•Boo Hunters

But I don’t know if I want to go through the trouble of evicting my spirit. Yes, it stole the shrimp but it did return them and so far it has stayed away from my liquor cabinet. Despite the fact that it appears to be a Republican, I’m not sure it is completely wicked. Maybe our ghost just likes screwing with us. And to be honest, I’ve had worse roommates.

Happy Belated Halloween,

John Wade, a frequent contributor to Unhinged Magazine, is a retired Chief Financial Officer who lives in Wildwood, Missouri.