A Treatise On Ghosts

Note From The Ghost:  (Myself)  I have just figured out how to consistently press the keys of this typewriter, so forgive me if this seems to be rambling and somewhat confused in its order. I don’t know how long I can keep pressing the keys, so I don’t want to stop for anything short of transference to another existence.

I have no concerns. I don’t have to worry about putting on a couple of pounds. I don’t have to worry about a lack of exercise. I have no sexual needs, nor any way of releasing them in any case. I have no friends to bandy about with. I am totally isolated from everyone, with only a spirit like environment to live in. Did I say live?

I shall never get any older, any more decrepit, fatter, thinner, nor will I ever move away from where I am today. There isn’t an outlet that I know of. There are no doors nor walls into my world, yet I am confined to this particular area, in specific, this house. No walls or doors in the world can deter me, but I am unable to traverse a single threshold to escape.

You see, I have been dead for many years now. I am a Ghost. I don’t have any of the concerns that I had when I was living. To say that I’m dead is at least a little bit of an exaggeration. While I cannot converse among the people who still inhabit the house that I once owned, I must still live among them, whether they acknowledge me, talk to me, or know anything at all about my presence around them.

I see everything that goes on throughout the house and immediate surrounding area around the house, but they rarely see any sign of me throughout their entire lives. I have seen many families living their lives through these halls and rooms, some even staying the whole time their families grew up and moved on. So far none of them have stayed long enough to die in this house, or become a ghost. I find that particularly frustrating. I wanted to find out if everyone who dies in this house remains here as a ghost, or if I have been some kind of aberration.

It has also been a fortunate house, in that no one has even died prior to their normal cycle of life. There were a few times that the children have nearly met their demise, but my having the run of the house, I can keep a pretty good eye out for them when I want to. While I’m not really into moving things around in the solidified world, once in a while I would take a hand. I moved a knife falling towards the throat of one of the kids, even caught one of them once when they were about to fall to the ground from an open window. I was glad that they were too young to realize it as it happened and what they had seen. Their mother returned shortly and snatched them off of the window sill.

I consider that my good and kind behavior. I don’t have to do it, there isn’t really a morality amongst ghosts. Perhaps it is a remainder from my life from within the solidified world that I never shook. I just reacted. It was somewhat surprising, I hadn’t been feeling too kind and considerate about my situation lately. I was beating myself with the questions that I could do nothing about, and feeling self-pity by the gallon.

Not that I believe that I should be frustrated with the situation. After all, even in the living world, I could choose to kill myself if I was so inclined. But here there is absolutely nothing that can be done to change your condition. I don’t know why I got here, how to move on, or even if I can. I recall all of the stories of ghosts and such that were told while I was living, and even as an adult, but no one ever came up with any real answers that will help me now that I’m here.

So after being here for decades, and in some cases ghosts are around for hundreds of years, my only guess is that somehow we are tied to the buildings that we find ourselves inhabiting. How we become attached is confusing itself. Some ghosts don’t really start moving around the building as soon as they are killed (departed from the living) . Or anyway, if they do, they aren’t effective at moving solid objects, or aren’t even good at making themselves visible. So it seems like they don’t immediately go from the living to a ghostly existence. Myself, I didn’t realize that I had changed from living to ghost until much time had passed.

I found myself eating the food that remained prior to my death. Well, I thought I had been eating it, but in fact, I was either hallucinating it, or deluding myself in some other kind of way. There always seemed to be food there for the eating. After realizing I was no longer alive, the food in the refrigerator turned green and molded away within a few seconds, leaving a black residue across the shelves. I shook to think that maybe it was that way before I realized it, that it had gone through its normal period of decay while I was still eating it.  Of course, I then realized that I wasn’t really contacting the food in any case, and any taste I may have had was simply an illusion right from the start.

I noticed my demise when  one day as I attempted to leave to the yard. I was able to cross through the doors of the house, even down the stairs and across the yard. But suddenly I was twisted and nauseated within my stomach and intestines. It seemed like a mixture of fear, horror, sickness from something eaten or drunk, and pain from being struck beneath the ribs by a huge fist. Something was clutching at my inner fabric and pulling me towards the house by it. When my mind cleared I was back upstairs in the bedroom. I couldn’t recall if I had climbed up there while in pain, or had merely imagined the whole trip and had simply wakened.

Only the horror was still present within my brain. Pain is quickly forgotten when it goes away, nausea and cramps also subsided slowly, but the fear and dread remained right where it was, deep in the pit of my stomach and within my thoughts. I had to find out what part of it was dreamt, and how much of it was real. The fear of pain was very real, the pain itself was just an illusion, but frightening nonetheless.

I had intention. I slowly got to my feet and walked through the door of the room. Each step was traversed individually until I neared the bottom of the staircase. But each step was becoming harder. The pulling within my stomach was getting stronger, the knot was twisting tighter with each thought of going outside and across the yard. I could feel heavy beads of sweat covering my face and arms as I grasped the railing of the stair. Trickles of it also began running down my shirt as I faced the outside door.  My hand reached through the doorframe as it pushed out the screen door. I could see it shaking as my fingers tried to hold on to the door.

I stepped out quickly and stood on the porch. I was nearly taken down with fear, my legs buckled and only my grip on the door kept me from lying face down across the wood planks of the porch. I managed to shuffle my foot over the threshold and back into the house. I began feeling better almost instantly. I turned my body until it was also inside, and I felt the tight grip of paranoia loosening its grip on the muscles throughout my whole body.  I admitted that I wasn’t going to make it into the yard and instantly felt better.

As the door slammed behind me, my mind cleared itself. I was suddenly aware of a very positive sense of belonging building within me. My lungs were releasing their expanded state, and I could breathe through them more easily; without the panting and stretching of my entire ribcage for each breath.

I swung my hand at the inside of the heavy and wooden door, and nearly missed it. Or rather, my hand nearly passed through it before finally connecting with it and shoving it closed. Even the fear of what I thought then, was nothing to the fear I had felt while trying to go outside a moment before I struck the door with my hand, nearly breaking it, thinking that it would pass through the door without feeling it. Pain shot through it from the scrapped knuckles. Enraged, I instantly swung my foot at the door, concentrating on my swelling hand. I was carried around in a circle as the foot passed through its arc and swung up higher than my head. This of course threw me off balance, and I crashed to the floor on my back.

Along with the increase in pain, this time from my back, I had more confusion fighting for my thoughts. “Had I missed the door?” I asked myself, “Or did I really see what I thought I saw?” I was certain after a minute that I had seen correctly. I was nearly standing toe-to-toe with the door when I swung. It was virtually impossible to have missed it.

I sat up and placed my hand against the door. I could feel it. It didn’t vanish beneath my touch. I was getting very confused. But as I got up and turned away from it, my elbow should have hit it, but instead, I didn’t feel anything as it swung through the door. I hadn’t noticed it until after my elbow had passed through it.

Eventually I knew what had happened. I also studied how to move things when I wanted to, and when it wouldn’t work. It took intention and concentration to interact with solid things, if either of them were absent, your hand would most likely go through them. Fortunately it was easier with people, especially with those you’re concerned with. The extra concentration is helpful when you are also trying to help someone keep out of danger. You just do it, and don’t have to worry too much about if you are concentrating enough to make it work.

After a time, I also worked my way outside. I reasoned that most of the nausea was paranoia, and that the fear was mainly responsible for the anguish and pain that disabled me as I tried to get out of the house. Similarly to helping the child from falling out of the window, getting out of the house was first done to rescue someone. It wasn’t like these things were discovered overnight. But then, I hadn’t been here merely overnight. In fact, I think it was about twenty five years after I became dead that I stepped out of the house.

Getting out of the yard was similar to leaving the house, but it seems, nearly impossible to actually achieve. Going through the house, whether through the door, or through a wall, becomes very innervating rather than painful after many, many attempts. Going towards the outskirts of the yard becomes increasingly harder with every step. By the time you get anywhere close to the surrounding trees, the nerves overwhelm the positive thoughts of escaping, and it is easier to believe that returning is a better thing to do, and escaping isn’t so important after all. It’s only when I return to the safety of the house that the craving for escape returns in full force, and plans for new attempts are begun again.

So why do some ghosts haunt houses? Well, they probably don’t start out that way. But after years upon years of living here, not being able to leave, which is a more human aspect of living, and not being able to die either, or change in any way, the mind of some Ghosts just gives up, or falls apart. And some of it is due to attempts to get the living to help them escape their prison. I think mostly though, that the ghost gets bored and needs a change just as much as we all did while living.

There are ghosts who get into a content mode, where they can see existing just as they are, sitting on their favorite rocker, playing the piano as they did when they were living. Most of the time these things don’t bother the living, but occasionally they become too solid and are seen doing these things. There is also the occasional playing of instruments within the hearing range of the living. This causes many obvious problems.

Once we have been discovered within a house, all kinds of troubles happen. It doesn’t matter if it was intentional or not, it sets the wheels in motion for things that are totally out of the hands of the Ghost. While we can influence some things, mainly solid objects once in a while, the living obviously have the greatest control over everything. They can take steps to deal with the Ghost, sometimes positively, sometimes negatively. Generally these usually become negative as far as the Ghost is concerned as it forces them to do things that are unpleasant, such as leaving the house. It is thought that perhaps, if a Ghost is separated from his hold on his once living existence, he will pass into whatever is before him.

Aside from what he considered absurd attempts by those who think they can easily expel the Ghosts, the result of this confrontation between the living and the Ghosts is usually for the Ghost to leave the area for a while. But it is more likely that either the home of the Ghost is removed, sometimes it is only a portion of the structure that was holding the Ghost there; or the people move away, not being content to live with the Ghosts.

I know I haven’t moved from this house since I passed into this state. I was once discovered, that is, before this time of course, and it nearly ended my extended stay here. While I wasn’t sure about moving along, whether I even could or not, I couldn’t decide for absolute sure at the time, and so I laid low until they stopped talking about removing me.

Since they didn’t know when I was around, I could stand around them and listen to them while they talked about the situation. The family at the time were mostly older kids, quite adept at researching Ghosts in many different places. It seemed like it was the family’s main concern, and everyone chipped in by bringing anything back to the house that they could find out or had heard about Ghosts. I didn’t have to go anywhere to know virtually everything known about, or better said, what they thought to be known about Ghosts. I could disregard the majority of the stuff they found out, if just from personal experience, and absorb everything else that they brought to me. I became an expert on myself and other Ghosts that none but another Ghost could better know. The kids were smart, but they wasted time on stupid ideas and methods that had nothing to do with the reality of Ghosts, since they didn’t know what we know.

After getting all of the living opinions, knowing the truth about us from what I learned by being a Ghost, I still had to make logical guesses about us. Since they weren’t Ghosts themselves, none of the certain truths that other Ghosts knew could be known by them and passed along. So I had to make my own choices about which way some things went. But just as we don’t know while we are living what will happen to us after we die, Ghosts don’t know what happens after they leave, no more than the living know what happens to them after they die.

I’m only speculating, and it is a horrid thought for me, that Ghosts don’t ever leave where they died. Even though they may never be heard from after a particular Haunting, they may no longer be able to influence their surroundings, and therefore no one knows that they are there.

I think that the easiest thing for Ghosts to move,  are those that they had some special connection to while they were living. Sometimes this is a special passion, like or love, or interest in it, that they remain connected to after death. People are special cases, because they are usually heavily passionate towards them in the first place, and the feelings went both ways. A weakening of this occurs after the Ghost has been dead for a while, and the living can’t carry his passion to the same level through the years.

All this leads to the ‘disappearance’ of the Ghost. Whether the objects that the Ghost is connected with are removed from the house, fall apart with age, or the very timbers of the house itself are taken down, the Ghost is unable to connect with the living world any longer. So the Ghost may remain there, as far as anyone knows, but there is never any sign of them apparent to the living. What a horror it would be to the Ghost, not having anything surrounding him any longer.

I prefer not to believe that scenario, just because it is too horrible. Instead, I go back to the thoughts of the living, believing that the dead go somewhere else, like Heaven or whatever. Like I said, we don’t know about the afterlife beyond Ghosts, any more than the living do about living after dying. We can only make up our own endings, and happy ones are more satisfying to think about than sad or horrifying ones.

Just like the living person doesn’t know for certain about Ghosts, I can relate it to the similar conception of Purgatory. If we don’t want to believe in going straight to Heaven, Purgatory gives us an optional destination. Now that I know about Ghosts, I see it as a possible step towards what may or may not be Heaven. But it don’t think it has anything to do with the other possibility, since that one is reached as a punishment for sins while living, Or it is just a holding tank, such as for babies dying before they can even sin, until they are prepared for Heaven. That is probably just something made up thing to relieve some tension in the minds of the religious by giving an answer to something that just isn’t knowable. I can’t tell them about Ghosts, and whoever is where Ghosts go when the leave, can’t tell us about them either.

As far as leaving their prison, Ghosts may be released when the restriction holding them  is removed.As much fiction suggests, the solving of some crime, or the righting of some wrong, may be the trigger allowing the Ghost to move on. I have not seen this, and since I am still writing this, it obviously hasn’t happened to me either.

Just thinking — moving on to another level from Ghost may be as completely understandable as death is as the turning point from the living to whatever the next step will be. No one knows, and won’t know until it is experienced.

It is obvious to us that all people who die do not become Ghosts, because we would be awfully crowded in nearly every place where people live. I lived alone for many many years, and I didn’t ever see another Ghost anywhere about. I didn’t look for any for many years, thinking that if they were there, I would be able to see them. But it eventually occurred to me that I was making an assumption that wasn’t necessarily true. The same as the living can’t see us normally, I might not be able to see another Ghost if they weren’t somehow connected to me, or vice versa.

After many years of having made this observation, and spending  much time trying to open myself to the connections between us, I concluded that there probably weren’t any Ghosts in this building with me. If everyone became Ghosts after dying, just those who died where they lived and had connections with the living world, would be large in number, and eventually I would see something move that didn’t have any impetus from the living world; such as wind, people, or just the natural laws, like gravity. I’ve never seen anything Ghostly, ever.

Back on the subject of saving children from certain death. I would think that many horror stories involving Ghosts written in the living world, are the result of Ghosts trying to find ways to ease their particular hell. If I hadn’t saved those children from dying, it’s possible that they may have become Ghosts, and being connected to the same house, we may also have been able to connect with each other through these ties. However, allowing a child to die for the possibility of gaining a companion, is morally out of the question in the first place.

This is just a theory of mine, since the living can’t tell me personally any real Ghost  stories, they also can’t tell me about any houses that have had more than one Ghost. I know that there are many of these, especially in Europe, where whole castles were filled with people who died in the same rooms, at the same time, everything. I can only imagine the wealth of knowledge about Ghosts that some of these places have.

Since most people don’t become Ghosts, I guess they must die where they don’t have connections to the living world, have never had any good connections in the first place, or along with their dying bodies, the connections were also destroyed. Disasters such as fires would be a good example of a clean transferal between life and the next step (whatever that is in any case). Where they go after dying, whether it is Heaven, or if they are reincarnated into something or someone else, I can’t tell you either. Like I said, I’m as ignorant about the change from Ghost as I was about what happens after becoming dead.

Well, I notice that this house has been sagging a little more each year. I don’t know how long it will remain standing, it could be years, or it may be knocked down this month. I haven’t seen anyone living in it for a while, but I know it has been a long time now. Oh, that’s another thing. Marking time is also something that isn’t done much as a Ghost. In the first place, after the clocks run down, and the calendars fall off of the walls and aren’t changed, watching the days, months, and years go by is incredibly hard to do. And the other part of it is just the plain pain of doing it. When you don’t know how many years or even centuries you may be here, suspended without changes to yourself, marking each day or year is like the pain of poking your thumb in your own eye, time and time again. Even watching a vacant house peel itself down into a pile of timbers is so slow that it isn’t something you can go by as far as time.

I know the year I died, even the day, since I could still read the calendar while it hung on the wall. For a while it was even a habit, or even a compulsion, to read it at night when the rest of the house was sleeping (something that is unnecessary since our bodies don’t get tired.). By the way, that was how I was discovered in the house. Someone came down and caught me flipping through the pages of the calendar while it hung over the stove. After lifting a few pages, I felt the presence of someone standing behind me. I dropped the calendar when their hand reached out to stop the pages from lifting, and came into contact with my back.

The boy felt the energy as his hand went into my back and he pulled it back suddenly.  I don’t think he saw me, but he sure looked in my direction for a long, horrified moment. His mouth hung open and silent as the pages of the calendar floated downward and were still. I was so scared, I ran upstairs totally shocked. I even let a couple of stairs squeak badly as I pounced on them on my way up, forgetting to take them carefully. I could feel his stare on my back as I ran up them and turned down the hallway upstairs. I didn’t dare come down for many days afterwards. It is also suggested than some children can see ghosts, or at least those that they have some emotional connection with. The child probably had a good chance of connecting with us in the other world.

I didn’t contact him, or anyone else again, but I must’ve impressed him deeply. Soon talk of Ghosts was everywhere, and the big research project had begun. I was baited many times, but fear kept me from trying to connect with them ever again. I was totally petrified. It didn’t have the feeling of dread and horror that going outside had for me, but this was more of a rational fear of something that could actually hurt me. More like fearing being stung by a bee than a paranoiac fear that was totally out of proportion to the actual possibilities or consequences. I couldn’t stick my hand into a jar containing angry bees, even though I knew it would only hurt for a while, and I just couldn’t get myself to go downstairs either.

Eventually I made it downstairs. I even managed to knock the calendar behind the stove so that they wouldn’t throw it away when the year changed. I could either slide it out from under the stove when I wanted to count the days I had been dead, or just walk through the stove and look down at the calendar lying on the floor. After my other scare, I usually preferred to read it behind the stove.

Further on yet, I stopped looking at it when it became depressing to view it and calculate the days I’d been here. They eventually found it back there, wondered if I had done it, (but obviously they could never prove it.), and threw it away. By that time I didn’t care, and in fact, I wanted it to go also. Then I realized that it had been another thing that I was connected to, and now it was gone. Another thing that wasn’t going to hold me here.

I started wondering if I was feeling any different as the various things I was connected to began disappearing. I wondered if I would start feeling ‘lighter’, more removed from the living world. And I did sort of, but mostly because I couldn’t move many thing any longer. I was beginning to lose my physical touch with the living world, and I was becoming less able to manipulate it. It brought about more feelings of isolation and depression.

If it seems like Ghosts hang out in attics a lot, it’s because that’s where most of the remaining connections are stored and remain for the longest time. It’s not like we are trying to stay connected with the living world, but only because we all need the familiarity that we also needed as living beings. There isn’t really any change in the perspective from the individual outward, we still feel like an individual looking outward, and we have the same kinds of thought patterns and concerns about ourselves that we had when we were living. We lose our concern about our physical existence, but that’s because our bodies don’t change after death. What it was when we died, it remains after death. I don’t know if Ghosts can tear each other apart if there are more than one of them together since that information can’t be passed by the living, but I suppose that their bodies could be changed then. I’ve never seen another ghost since I’m the only one here, so I can’t know that. How that affected the personalities of the Ghost while still hanging around the building of their life, I don’t know. If they couldn’t move around the house, I would imagine it to be the same as a paraplegic who also couldn’t move themselves around while living. Except that the frustration of not being in contact with the physical world would be even more horrible since it would also extend to their own bodies.

The gist of a ghost is solitude. Even in a house with more than one, or a castle with many ghosts, I don’t believe there can be any physical contact of any real force. Being of the ethereal quality, it would be much harder for one such ethereal quantity to affect another of the same quality, unlike having something solid to push as in the living world. Therefore, as in a party where you are unknown or unwelcome, you are very alone, even in the presence of many others. That is perhaps the most frustrating and horrifying aspect of being a ghost. The fear we all have of being alone while living is amplified by the reality of knowing that it is possibly an endless condition, and greater than that same fear in the living since we are much more isolated.

Author’s Note:  Having found this buried in an old desk, buried beneath the ruble of a broken and collapsed house of considerable size, I can only assume that it was written many years ago. The house itself was over two centuries old, and unoccupied for at least fifty years as of this date. Nothing of value was found within the basement walls containing the refuse.

The End

About Barbara Blackcinder

I am a poet/writer with a hunger for words. There are so many out there that I haven't used yet. They define all reality and especially mine when you read those from me.
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