Tag Archives: ghosts

The Kaleidoscope

The dim yellow glow of a simple flashlight illuminates the barely-there path. Black dirt, littered with the thick roots of trees hidden by fallen leaves, gives way to unruly vines scattered with orange gourds. The old house looms above the pumpkin patch, its sloping rooftop dropping shingles every time the wind picks up. The cold breeze could cut through any coat, and my hoodie offers little warmth. As I carefully move towards the house, vines crack underfoot, and the flashlight’s beam jerks with the unexpected noise. Dark wings flutter into the night as I try in vain to get my rapid breathing under control. I finally reach the house, and hesitantly knock. There’s no reply, and the windows are so stained with grime that I cannot see inside. But the wind starts again, and the cold pushes me to try the door’s handle. The old door creaks loudly as it swings open, and I tentatively call out a greeting as I step inside. The musty air is heavy with dust when I breathe it in, and I wonder if I was wrong. The rotting floorboards moan as I tread upon them, and the intricately patterned wallpaper is stained brown and peeling off the walls. This place seems abandoned, but I was so certain I’d seen a light come this way. I hesitate in the entryway. Should I leave? I’m not certain I could find the road again so late at night, and I know the battery in my flashlight won’t last forever. My mind is made up for me when the door slams behind me with a resounding bang.

I spin around and rush to open it again, but the door is stuck fast, and it won’t budge no matter how hard I pull. I pull too hard, as it turns out, because the handle pops off and I end up falling. The floorboards creak and a cloud of dust rises all around me, tickling my nose and setting off a fit of coughing. I twirl the handle in my hand; it’s old enough to have been worn smooth, but the faded brass still shines when the light hits it. I sigh and pick myself up off the ground. It’s time to find another exit. I make my way out of the foyer and into the parlor. There is furniture in this room, but it’s old and dilapidated, and the floral couch looks like it would fall apart if I so much as brushed by it. There’s a rug, but it’s too clouded in dirt to distinguish a pattern, and every step I take on it sends up little puffs of dust. There’s another doorway to my right, and based on the rancid smell of rotting food, it leads to the kitchen. I decide to save that room for last. I cross over to the windows. The grime is just as impenetrable on this side of the glass as it was outside, and I feel along the edges of the window pane for the latch. In the end, finding it doesn’t matter, because it’s rusted shut and I nearly cut my hand trying to pry it open. I sigh once more and move back into the foyer. To my left is the front door, still shut tight; to the right there’s a staircase, and across from me is the dining room. My flashlight passes over the room quickly. There are a table and chairs that have been covered by grey cloth that may once have been white, curtains that have long since faded from pink to brown and now hang limp and rotting from iron curtain rods that look as though they’re one strong breeze away from falling, and a crystal chandelier that somehow still manages to sparkle through the dust and cobwebs that cling to it. I turn from the dining room, The kitchen is my last hope of escape, unless I want to try jumping out of a window on one of the upper floors. I do not.

I turn around and steel myself to breathe the smell of rot once more, but then I hear a thud from above me. I pause, looking at the cracked ceiling as though it holds all the answers. Then I hear something roll across the floor, and a trail of dust shakes loose above to mark its path. My heart stops for a moment, but then the noise stops too, and my heart kicks into overdrive.

“Hello?”

There is no answer, and I try to come up with an explanation for the noise. Perhaps a raccoon got into the house somehow? And it knocked something over while looking for food? That’s a plausible enough explanation to slow my heartbeat, at least until I hear the soft laughter of a child. Raccoons are crafty creatures, but they cannot mimic small children. I panic for a moment; what if some poor child is trapped in this house too? I’m moving to the stairs before I even finish the thought, rounding the corner of the landing and making my way to the second floor in record time. The floor opens up to a drawing room, but as my flashlight scans across the space, the seemingly ancient furniture isn’t what catches my eye. The room is empty of life, and it doesn’t look like anyone has been here for decades, except for the shiny metal cylinder lying on the floor by the staircase on the other side of the room. I walk towards it before I have a chance to think about it, and when I pick it up I realize that it’s a kaleidoscope. I can’t help but play with it for a bit, watching as the colors shift into each other and create new patterns. There’s no telling how long I may have stood there, but then I catch movement out of the corner of my eye, and I hear the giggle again, much closer this time. I look up, and for half a second I swear that there’s a shadow on the stairs, but it’s gone so quickly that I’m sure my eyes must just be playing tricks on me. I carefully make my way up the steps to the third floor, cringing every time they creak.

When I reach the top of the stairs I find myself in the attic, but it’s been renovated into a nursery. There are toys scattered around the room, and the faded wallpaper looks as though it would have been colorful when it was first put up. Moonlight shines into the room from a large circular window, and I click off my flashlight as I take a few steps forward. I can’t see anyone, but I know that I heard someone laughing.

“I know you’re here.” Silence greets my declaration, and I take a few more cautious steps into the light. “Just come out, okay? I’m not going to hurt you.”

The giggle sounds again behind me, but when I turn there’s no one there. My heartbeat picks up again, but I do my best to keep my voice steady as I turn back to the empty nursery. “Please come out. This isn’t funny.”

The room is silent, and for a moment I think that I’m going to be ignored, but then the air shifts around me. I stiffen as I feel someone’s breath against my ear, and his whisper is barely more than a breath. “Boo.”

Four Foods You Need To Make This Fall

Pumpkin Croissants

All you need for this tasty and easy treat is 3 ingredients. You will need croissants, pumpkin in a can, and marshmallows. First open the croissants, pull them apart and spread them out on a cookie sheet. Next, open your can of pumpkin and scoop one spoonful on each croissant. Then, open your marshmallows and place one in each croissant on top of the pumpkin. Finally, roll the croissant up and place them in the oven for 10 minutes on 375 degrees. You will have a delicious, and quick, batch of pumpkin croissants.

Get your bake-on this fall! Graphic from Sugar Pie Farm House
Get your bake-on this fall! Graphic from Sugar Pie Farm House

S’mores Dip

For s’mores dip you will only need 3 ingredients as well! Chocolate chips, marshmallows, and graham crackers. Empty the bag of chocolate chips into a skillet and spread them evenly on the bottom. Next, place marshmallows on top of the chocolate chips and make sure they are all covering the chocolate. Place the skillet in the oven for 15 minutes on 350 degrees. Take it out after the time is up and use your graham crackers to dip into the dish! You will have indoor smores in no time!

Pillsbury Ready To Bake Ghost Shape Sugar Cookies

Not everything has to be homemade! These cookies can be found at any local grocery store and are very cheap. They are delicious and will taste homemade, even though you just pulled them apart and put them in the oven to bake! They are festive and taste great!

White Chocolate Strawberry Ghosts

Again, all you will need is 3 ingredients! You will need white chocolate chips, mini chocolate chips, and strawberries. You will also need wax paper to set your ghosts on. First, heat your white chocolate chips in the microwave and melt them all down to liquid chocolate. Next, set strawberries out spread apart on wax paper. Take your melted white chocolate and pour it over each strawberry. Finally, take the mini chocolate chips and place 2 as eyes for the ghost. Place the strawberry ghosts in the fridge for an hour to let the chocolate set. Take them out and enjoy your cute and yummy white chocolate strawberry ghosts!

Monster Origins: Ghosts and Halloween

Ah, Halloween. The one night where all spirits can roam the Earth freely. The holiday itself can be traced back 2,000 years when the Celts believed the dead could walk among the living the night before All Saints Day, or ‘Hallow’s Eve.’ Though rooted in pagan belief structures, the idea was adopted by the Christian faith as a time to honor their dead and the martyrs of the faith.

Children would often go door-to-door and offer prayers for the dead in exchange for soul cookies. Jack ‘o Lanterns were intended to light the way so the spirits would not haunt good Christian folk. To this day, the Mexican tradition still calls this holiday, Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.

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Spirits of the dead may be among us. Graphic from Discovery

Throughout history, there have been witch doctors, shamans, necromancers, and many other professions that believed they could call upon the spirits of the dead to intervene in the affairs of the living. Today, such professions have been largely discredited, save for those that continue to pass themselves off as mediums and palm readers.

The concept of ghosts is mostly rejected in the scientific community, yet this seems to be one of the most common movie ‘monsters’ during the month of October. The belief in ghosts is so popular, that people are still looking for ways to communicate with their lost loved ones using modern technology.

However, science hasn’t closed the books on the dead just yet. Since 1941, American photographer Attila von Szalay believed he could capture the voices of the dead using a 78 rpm recorder. He did this in an effort to justify his claims that the dead can be captured on film.

Since then, the concept of Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) has become the go-to for ghost hunters to seek out the dead where they’re most likely to be. Made mainstream by the movie White Noise, the practice uses recording equipment to capture evidence of a spirit, but experts consider this to be a pseudoscience that results from applying words to sounds where there may not be words.

No one likes to deal with the concept of impermanence. Everyone wants to think that we can live on forever in some way, either through Heaven or through haunting people eternally on Earth. Ghosts have mounds of anecdotal evidence, none of which can hold up in the scientific world. But what else can we use as a placeholder for all of the unexplained bumps in the night?

Happy Halloween!

I need Ghosts in my life

Infinity Ward is at it again with their Call of Duty franchise, this time with a whole new futuristic storyline. Call of Duty: Ghosts has sold one billion dollars worth of games within a 24 hour period, but there’s much hesitation about purchasing the game with the eighth-generation consoles on the horizon. The story line behind Ghosts revolves around the main character, Logan, who’s in the middle of an attack caused by an enemy called the Federation who hijacked a weapons satellite. Continue reading I need Ghosts in my life

Scream-A-Torium

Radford University students have been busy getting in the Halloween spirit. Carving pumpkins, finding costumes, decorating houses and apartments, coming up with Halloween pranks and watching scary movies have been on the agenda. However, there is one more thing that seems to be catching RU students’ attention. The St. Albans Sanatorium in Radford has all of its visitors on edge. Continue reading Scream-A-Torium

Ghost infestations: How to deal with hauntings

Want to learn how to deal with ghosts? Graphic by Marie Stovall.

It’s pretty obvious that ghosts exist in our world today. There’s proof all around us. People have videos of ghosts that walk the earth, we can hear them and sometimes we can even see them. So how can we explain this phenomenon? It’s not something that’s a huge concern in our world today, but some people don’t pay as much mind to it as they should. We need to know who’s telling the truth and who’s just making it up for attention out of those around us who claim they can see ghosts.

When a person claims that he or she has seen a ghost, usually they’re making it up, and here’s why: if you’re sleeping in the middle of the night and you suddenly start hearing voices, or if you get up to get a midnight snack and see a figure walk through your living room, is it really something you’d want to tell anyone about? People will tell you you’re crazy, you’ll be sent to see therapists and you may end up in a mental institution because nobody will believe you. Here’s the thing, you’re smart enough to know that. So you keep it to yourself, and you know that you have to deal with it yourself. People who go around claiming they’ve seen ghosts are usually lonely people who don’t have a lot of friends anyway. They just do it to get attention. If they go and tell the wrong people, however, it will probably get them in trouble. And when they’re sent to see a therapist, the therapist will end up telling them exactly why they think they can see ghosts.

So, if you’re smart, and you know not to tell anyone that you think there are ghosts in your house, what should you do? The Ghostbusters,” as they are called in the movies, aren’t really there to come to your rescue. You could call the ghost hunters from SyFy, but it might take them weeks or even months to get back to you since they are celebrities, so it’s best to take matters into your own hands. The first thing to understand about ghosts is that they’re souls that can’t go on. You need to know why they can’t go on. It either means that the reason God put them on this earth has not yet been achieved, or they refuse to actually accept that they’re dead, so they deny it and remain on earth, convinced that they haven’t actually died yet.

In either case, it’s pretty hard to communicate with them, but you either have to find out what their purpose in life was or you have to make them accept that they’re dead. The only way to find out what their purpose in life was is to ask them what they were doing when they died, and then try to find out how they died. If there’s any way you can complete what they were trying to do, you should, and then they’ll leave you in peace. If it’s not something you can do, then you need to find out who can do it. In the cases when a soul refuses to accept that they’re dead, the only real way to make them see that is to tell them that you think they’re dead. In a sense, you have to think like a therapist and make them see that it’s time for them to move on, using whatever communication skills you think are necessary.

So after you come to understand this, you can make any ghost move on and leave you in peace. However, communicating with spirits can be a very messy buisness, and often it can drive people mad. So if you think there might be ghosts in your home, and you don’t want to risk losing your sanity, the best thing to do might just be to find a new home and go somewhere where you’ll be left alone. Communicating with ghosts is definitely not for everyone.

Paranormal Activity, does it live up to the hype?

I am a monstrously huge fan of horror movies, but I have not seen one in years that scared me to the point of screaming in horror. “Paranormal Activity looked like the answer to my petrifying prayers. This was a movie I have been looking forward since I first saw the TV spot a couple months ago. I even went online to demand it be released nationwide. Well, 1 million demands later, there was a nationwide release planned. Paranormal Activity” has been said to be one of the the scariest films of the year, perhaps even the decade. Could be true? Could this finally be the movie that can make audiences squeal in terrifying, horrific delight?

Not quite.

Plot Summary

Everyday, average couple Micah and Katie buy a video camera to record the not-so-average paranormal phenomenon that seems to be following Katie. At first, it is only noises and slamming doors waking the couple at night, but It quickly progresses into more violent and creepy happenings like footprints made in flour on the floor. Finally, Katie calls a physic who informs the couple that the entity in their home is very aggressive and he can do nothing for them. Micah then takes matters into his ownhands by going around the house cussing out the demon spirit (bad call) and then proceeds to borrow a Ouija board in an attempt to make contact. Unfortunately, his plan not only upsets Katie (who wants to take the smart approach to the situation and leave the evil spirit alone), but also causes even more disturbances, including possession. Katie is filmed doing things she can not remember in the morning, such as standing beside the bed for 3 hours like a creeper, staring at Micah while he sleeps. Katie begins having more blackouts and strange behavior, and Micah is lost on what to do. He suggests they leave the house (one of the view good ideas this guy has) and Katie agrees at first, but then changes her mind, saying “everything will be okay now.” That should have been a big red flag, and the audience can sense that something is about to go down, and we all know who it’s going to be. The end is sad, slightly reminiscent of The Exorcism of Emily Rose and The Exorcist , and too sudden. Paranormal Activity beats comparable films, like The Blair Witch Project, all to crap, but there could still have been more done with it if they had actually had a decent budget.

Is it worth your time?

The “home-video” feel to the movie makes the story seem more realistic, as Katie and Micah could be your next door neighbors. It actually puts me in the mind of Ghosthunters on the Scifi channel, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sure, that kind of approach can make the audience feel a little let down in the special effects department, but that’s part of the fun of this movie.

As with any film, “Paranormal Activity” comes with its share of problems and goofs. There are times you can hear the main characters call each other by the wrong names, but the viewers would be to engrossed in the situation to even notice the first time around.

What this movie does bring to the table is something different, a change of pace from the usual serial killer/monster movie we are starting to see a trend of. If you’re a fan of the psychological horror, this film can mess with your head if you let it. But, if you walk in not looking for the thrill of becoming scared, you probably won’t find this movie very threatening in the nightmare department.

See it or Skip it?

See it. I admit, I was caught up in all the hype surrounding this movie and expected to have to sleep with the lights on for a night or two, but I was a little let down. Maybe I expected too much and my standards are too high. I know this film would have scared a lot of my friends, so this is why I’m saying, give it a chance. This might be a film for you. As a viewer, you need to let yourself get into the story, and that’s when you can really enjoy its subtle terror. On the other hand, you might find this film funny (I did), and even that is worth some entertainment points, but it still does not live up to the hype.

Final Result: See it or wait to rent it (with a big group of people at night. That might make it more fun.)

Check out the trailer:

Photo courtesy of Blumhouse Productions

Video courtesy of YouTube.com