I’ve always been fascinated by ghosts and other creepy things. I loved reading Goosebumps as a kid. I played with a Ouija board more than once. My friends and I convinced ourselves that we were in the presence of spirits on several occasions—sometimes just pretending until we were actually scared, but sometimes the fear came first.
I love ghosts because they are the most plausible of supernatural creature types. When it comes down to whether or not ghosts actually exist, of course, I’m disappointingly skeptical. But the writer in me thrills at how close ghosts are to being real.
The great thing about ghosts, in my opinion, is that they embody a subtlety that I often find lacking in depictions of, say, vampires or werewolves. In my favorite ghost stories, they operate on the edges of consciousness: whispering fragments in your ear. Manifesting to you, there one minute and gone the next. Leaving enigmatic signs and messages, which you can’t tell whether they’re meant to help or frustrate you. I love the secrecy, the uncertainty, the fragility.
There’s an intimacy to them that I like, a bond that forms implicitly, one soul to another. You’re not drawn to them because of the interesting things they’ve told you about their life. You’re drawn to them because of the sensation you feel in their presence. The best ghost stories, to me, involve a living person and a ghost who resonate with each other, usually in the deep places of their beings, where we hide the truth of who we are. And they can always be there, in the back of your mind, in the corner of your eye–that’s what being haunted means.
We’ve seen the mediums in TV shows, scripted or reality, walking through rooms and describing the spirits as “childlike, sweet and affectionate” or “strong and protective”…or even “malevolent.” What a person feels from a spirit really can be a personal bond. Think of a married couple in a haunted house. One might feel that the ghost is warm and loving, a sort of guardian spirit; whereas to the other partner, the ghost might be cold and prohibitive, perhaps even aggressive.
This is what I love about ghost stories: that dealing with ghosts is not about who is the strongest or the smartest. It’s about deep, soul-to-soul relationships that the living must close to accept or reject. Does the partner whom the ghost favors give up their marriage and choose the metaphysical bond, or do they choose to remain among the living?
What would you do?
Only you can decide.
Miranda, the main character of THE TIES ETERNAL, is a medium who sees ghosts almost everywhere and hears them very clearly. She has thus far chosen to avoid the ghosts around her—but with one of them, the bond may prove too strong for her to ignore.