Category Archives: Ghost Stories

Ghost Story for Halloween

Contact: Presence, A Short Story

Rachel Blackstone, the Reluctant Medium, is startled when a clock flies across the bathroom while brushing her teeth. Is it a message from the spirit world? She and best friend Chloe hold a transition ceremony and wait for further contact. But will it be peaceful or have they summoned another evil entity?

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Mystery Book Excerpt

Anasazi Medium Coming in January 2020

by G G Collins Copyright 2019

Ancient peoples enlighten contemporary humankind in a mystery as old as time. Rachel Blackstone is recruited by the spirit world to prevent a cataclysmic occurrence: the end of the Fourth World of the Hopi. As earthquakes occur and a super volcano threatens to blow, it becomes imperative she discover the root of all evil. But can she stop the greedy men intent on having their way and willing to kill to achieve it? The survival of an unaware civilization depends on her getting it right.

The computer screen went black; followed immediately by her desk lamp. It wasn’t yet dark in Santa Fe, but the sun was on its way down.

“Dammit, not again,” Rachel swore. The City Different was known to lose power from time to time so while not yet concerned, she was frustrated by the outage.

“It should be called The City Dark. Hey, we’re on deadline!” She nodded to her tortie cat, Chile Pod.

But Chile Pod was in alert mode; ears pricked forward, green eyes big, colorful neck scruff raised.

“What? What is it?”

Before she could sort it out, a wolf howled. It carried across the city, both eerie and urgent. Rachel had heard it before; Kiyiya, the spirit wolf who always seemed to be around when she needed a heads-up.

Rachel really didn’t want to get up and look outside. It would be so much better to continue to sit in her kitchen corner safe in her ignorance. She reluctantly pushed her chair back and stood. Before she could cross the kitchen her house shuddered. Things—a lot of things—began hitting the roof and walls of the house. This was no ordinary hail storm, an occurrence fairly common to this southwestern city. They must be huge stones. Usually, they received small hailstones that tended to go splut when they impacted. This sounded more like rocks striking.

When a window shattered, she ducked.

“Chile, get under the . . . !” But the tiny cat was already under the table sitting on a chair peeking from beneath the brightly colored tablecloth.

Rachel raised her eyes upward although there was nothing to see but her ceiling. No explanation was forthcoming. Just as she reached the window something dark hit the pane, cracking it, and bounced off. She stared in horror at what was happening in her backyard.

“This can’t be!” she cried, holding both hands over her mouth.

But it was. Birds were falling from the sky, hundreds of them.

Sensing there was nothing dangerous inside, Chile Pod jumped to the counter to see for herself. Rachel covered her protectively as she watched the ghastly precipitation event. In a few seconds, they abruptly stopped falling.

“Stay inside please,” Rachel said to Chile Pod. “I don’t want to have to worry about you too.”

The storm door creaked as she pushed it open and cautiously stepped outside. There were birds lying on her stoop. She grabbed the broom from next to the door and carefully moved them to one side so she could go down the steps. They all appeared to be dead. Rachel had read about this phenomenon. It was normally caused by loud noises such as fireworks that caused disorientation or a flock flew into a hailstorm and died of blunt force trauma. Of course, doomsday predicators had a lot to say about such events and what they felt was the impending Armageddon.

Rachel was wiping tears as she walked carefully through the bird kill. She found it to be incredibly sad. Once she had navigated the stone path to the courtyard terrace continuing to use the broom to make a path in the midst of so many bodies, she stopped to observe the sunset. It was another spectacular display of colors stretching across a limitless sky, completely unaware of the tragedy that lay upon the ground.

A lone bird righted itself and stood unsteadily. It fluffed its wing feathers as if conducting a pre-flight inspection. None of the others moved. He would have a lonely journey.

Rachel watched this with trepidation and gloom. What had caused uninjured birds to fall from the sky? When the power returned, she would check the internet for similar incidents.

Her attention was quickly captured as cold air closed in around her. Within seconds, she could see her breath. It gathered in a white cloud and slowly drifted away. She held the broom handle in one hand, clutching her arms about her. It felt like winter had come too soon. But Rachel was certain that something frightening was about to happen. She was learning the signs; the wolf howl, bizarre episodes. She waited. It wasn’t her show. But she wished whoever or whatever would get on with it.

She became aware of a sound, low at first; a familiar rattle. It reminded her of the first time she had witnessed the return of a spirit in her living room only last year. Rachel waited; helpless to hasten a ghost making a return voyage.

Slowly moving streams of fog appeared from four directions, moving across her courtyard with excruciating intent. Oddly, each vaporous rivulet carried a different tint: black, white, red and yellow. Some Native Americans believed these represented the four colors of humankind as well as the four directions. When the colors united, a shape began to form.

Suddenly, the rattling stopped as the vapor integrated and became one in the center of her flagstone terrace.

Rachel stood quietly, hardly daring to breathe, every muscle taut with readiness. Just because she’d experienced this before didn’t mean she was immune to fear.

A body was slowly forming in front of her. This person wasn’t wearing a lot. She was seeing a great deal of skin. But she also noticed the spear. Of course she had no weapon unless a broom constitutes one. Just how did one prepare for any eventuality? Ray gun for alien beings? AK-47 for home grown terrorists? Star dust for pissed off fairies? These occurrences were potluck affairs.

A Native American man walked out of the mist. He was very fit, not the fitness that comes from working out in a gym, but from physical work. This was someone who labored outside. He wore a simple loincloth, probably made from an animal skin and shoes made of the same that reached upward to his knees.

His presence was disturbing. It wasn’t just the spear, but she perceived him as warrior if the need arose. This was someone to be feared. Rachel watched him carefully, reminding herself he was in spirit, but also aware that spirits could cause great harm, even kill. She was ready to run, not that it would do much good.

He stepped toward her, shoes soundless on the stones.

“You are the one?” he asked. He spoke in a language she had never heard, but the words appeared in English in her mind, much as supertitles at the opera.

“I don’t know,” she replied not knowing if he understood. “Who are you looking for?”

“The one who speaks with the dead.”

“I believe I’m speaking with a spirit now. Is that true? Are you in spirit?”

“I am from the Land of the Dead.”

“How can I help you?” She really wished she’d stayed near her back door instead of backing into a corner. When would she learn to have these unscheduled meetings on her terms? Could they happen on her terms?

“All the signs except one have been fulfilled. You must stop the last one or the world will end and another begins. This will not be good. All will die.”

“What? What sign?”

“The ninth sign is near to completion. It must be stopped.”

“What has to be stopped?” Rachel was even more apprehensive about this man’s prediction than his formidable stature and spike.

“The ninth sign. A blue Kachina in the sky. If it occurs the fourth world will end, all will die. The fifth world will commence, but without all living creatures.”

Rachel could feel the urgency in his words, but didn’t understand.

“It is the blue star; the brightest in the night sky,” he explained.

“The Dog Star; Sirius?” she asked not knowing if he would understand.

“Yes.”

“What will happen to it?” she asked.

“If bad men are not stopped, it will fall to the Earth and destroy the fourth world.”

“Bad men? That could be almost anyone, anyplace.”

“These men will kill our land, our valley where we lived in stone walls.”

“But, what can I do?”

“You have the power of the writing instrument. You must expose them.”

“And if I can’t?”

“Everyone you know and everyone you do not know will die. You will die. Your feline companion will die.” Had he seen her in the kitchen window? How did he know?

“Can you give me more information? I don’t know where to start.”

He turned and pointed north. “In our ancestral lands,” he said and faded away.

The mist dispersed and the cold evaporated. But Rachel felt chilled to the bone.

Paranormal Investigation

Paranormal Investigation: Come Along, If You Dare

by G G Collins          Copyright 2019

To protect the anonymity of the investigators and their group, names have been omitted.

The theatre is in total darkness as six people grope their way through the former playhouse. Abandoned instruments stand quietly on stage as if waiting for ghostly musicians. The five members of this paranormal investigative team and this reporter carry flashlights, cameras and a variety of measuring tools to check everything from temperature to electromagnetic fields. It will be a long night. Paranormal investigations begin around 9PM and usually end in the wee hours of the morning. The hours between midnight and 3AM are the most active so an infrared camcorder must be in place to catch energies which may appear as orbs or mists of light. One investigator watches the monitor in the outer lobby as the camera rolls.

Camaraderie is abundant and I was given unlimited access to the investigation which became quite exciting as camera flashes began to strobe the thick gloom. Shouts of “I’m in” and “I’m out” indicate that a participant is taking shots. Any sounds made from a stumble or impact with furniture is acknowledged so it may be culled from the data later on.

It has been reported that a director of a play, back in the theatre’s prime, died during a performance. Will his spirit honor us with his presence? All souls are welcome tonight. We patrol the theatre from back to front, over the stage, and behind the curtains looking for cold spots and other indications that energy, physical or metaphysical, exists. At times the EMF meters (including mine) screech like Geiger counters over radioactive matter. Then the deliberation: Is it electronic equipment, plumbing or a water source far beneath the building? If all those things can be ruled out, then things get real interesting. But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Bump in the Night

It begins when something goes bump in the night. We’ve all experienced an unexplained noise or odor that we generally dismiss as nothing. Although it’s very unusual to see a true apparition, reports of sightings continue. If mysterious things create conditions in homes or offices that interfere with normal daily living it may be time to call a paranormal investigation team.

The founder of the team had her first brush with the paranormal when she was taking Polaroid photos where she worked.

“I got an apparition on film. I said, ‘Oh my, I think I’ve got a ghost.’”

That wasn’t the only strange thing to happen that day. When she loaded a new cartridge all the pictures came flying out. They were blood red. Polaroid’s usually come out grey.

It turns out a woman had been murdered at her place of employment and with that in mind she went to the internet for information. She found the woman’s photo in the obits. The murder victim had long hair and was wearing a striped shirt just as the apparition appeared in her own photo.

As if this wasn’t enough, doors slammed spontaneously and her business cards would disappear. She found them stuck between the pages of her calendar.

“I thought my crew was playing a trick on me.” They weren’t.

By then, she had more than a casual interest and reached out to others involved in investigating the paranormal. She joined a ghost club in another city because at that time there wasn’t a group where she lived.

“I was with them for a year and they said I needed to start my own team—and (my city) needed a team.”

The new team became a reality within a few months. Other members include a historian with a master’s degree in history, doctorate level work in history and anthropology. Other members have varied backgrounds including one with a master’s degree in psychology.

Tools of the Trade

When the team goes into a structure to investigate what might be paranormal phenomena it is done with permission of the owner and an arsenal of equipment: recorders, electromagnetic field detectors or EMFs, infrared night shot camcorders, temperature meters to check for cold and hot spots, 35 mm digital cameras—and open minds.

First, a baseline of conditions such as temperature, humidity and moon phase are recorded. Later, readings repeated for verification. Cameras are set up at different locations for correlation. If one camera catches something that the others did not, it’s significant.

Photos reveal paranormal energy in different ways: Orbs or “glowies,” mists and vortices that appear as a white line through a photo. Once readings are completed it is time for the sit-down. The team remains quiet during that period and allows the equipment to do its job.

“If there’s an underground water source and the EMF meter is going off, it doesn’t necessarily mean there is a ghost present. We look for any man-made sources first and any explanation we can find because we don’t want to harm the credibility of our group. We don’t want to fake it.”

Extensive interviews are done with clients prior to scheduling an investigation to learn as much about the history of the location as possible. That way, conclusions are reached with as many facts as possible.

Investigations take place in the overnight hours because that is when the activity is most likely to occur.

“There are lots of theories on why that is,” the founder says. “It could be the dew. Water is a conductor of energy. It could be the moon phase. It’s not real conclusive at this point.”

Light interferes with the process so all lighting is switched off. It’s easier to conduct testing at night because there is less evidence contamination with the outside world.

Invisible Friend?

The leader of the team is psychic and thus she becomes another tool in determining authenticity of possible paranormal incidents.

“Animals and children are very sensitive, so when your child walks up to you and says, ‘I’m going to go play with the little boy in my room’ and things of that nature you should pay attention.” Visual and auditory manifestations are very rare. Odors are the most common type of haunting. “That’s why it’s helpful to have someone who is clairvoyant.”

Unfriendly Ghost

It was in an abandoned, and creepy, hospital in another state an investigation became frightening. An entity is present in that building and likely evil.

“He gives off feelings of nausea, dizziness, and fear. If he preys on you, you know it. On the second night (of the investigation) we went into a lab area where we felt very strong energy. We set our recorder down and said, ‘Is anybody here who would like to join us? We’re open to that.’” Asking permission is one of the proprieties of this team. It’s respectful.

The two team members were using an external mic. It is helpful in that it doesn’t reproduce grinding noises from the recorder motor.

“It sounded like somebody sat down on the microphone. Everything on the tape from there is mush. It’s all muffled. We sat there a few minutes. We could feel something was there with us.”

They asked: ‘Would you like to talk with us?”

After a few more seconds they sensed it was time to leave. They bolted, leaving the recorder behind.

During an investigation in a structure that used to be an orphanage they felt the presence of some children and a female.

“We did get an EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) of a woman singing. We kept hearing noises in the next room. We’d go into that room and investigate and there would be a noise in the next room. It kept avoiding us. We picked up a voice on our recorder saying, ‘I don’t care!’ It was none of us.” Voices of men arguing were also taped.

The team uses a computer program that filters out white noise and static. A clearer, more definitive tape is the result. The program also allows members to measure and profile their own voices so they can be identified.

During an investigation in another theatre things got far spookier. An opera singer reportedly haunts the building. Footsteps and other noises have been reported as have moving objects. It has been recounted that atrocities were conducted in the basement during a riot.

Who You Gonna Call?

What should the average person do if they fear a haunting? First, try to rule out a man-made cause. If you can’t, don’t go any further on your own. It’s not recommended that you try Ouija boards or séances as these could make the situation worse.

When looking for an investigative team, pick one that doesn’t sensationalize their findings or anger the entities in your home if you have them. Check for a professional association who specializes in paranormal research.The serious paranormal investigation teams have bylaws and regulations they follow.

“We have very strict protocol to make sure all our data is clean and we collect it in a controlled environment,” the founder says. “You have to wear your camera strap or take it off. All long hair has to be pulled back in a ponytail so hair doesn’t get in front of the camera and look anomalous. No reflective jewelry is allowed. No perfume or cologne. No smoking.”

These steps help avoid contamination of the site. Personal property is respected and the team leaves nothing but footprints much like the hiker’s motto.

Skepticism is a good thing

“We have skeptics in our group. There’s a good quote: ‘To believers no proof is necessary, to the hard-core skeptics you can’t get enough proof.’ We’re skeptics. We’ve thrown out a lot of data that is probably paranormal in nature because we couldn’t correlate.”

Did we find any evidence of paranormal activity during our investigation of the theatre? At least one photo produced an orb of blue light—blue orbs are said to be angels. The team determined that the theatre contained minor energies as a result of residual energy.

“These are event ‘imprints’ that happen over and over,” she explains.

The data collected at the theatre is being evaluated. As for the director? There’s nothing to indicate he materialized this particular evening. Maybe he didn’t care for the billing.

♦  ♦  ♦

For my post on Santa Fe Ghost Stories click here: https://reluctantmediumatlarge.wordpress.com/?s=Santa+Fe+Ghost+Stories

 

Glossary of Ghostly Terms

Anomaly: A deviation from normal.

Apparition: The manifestation of a spirit which can be seen in human form or in blobs or streaks of light.

EMF: Electromagnetic Field. Readings used to determine paranormal activity.

EVP: Electronic Voice Phenomena. Captures voices on tape when no obvious source can be found.

Earthbound: A spirit unable to leave the physical world. Filmmaker M Night Shyamalan explored this in The Sixth Sense.

Encounter: There are three kinds: intelligent and formerly human; residual energy left over from the past; and malevolent.

Ghoul: A demon who enjoys a meal of human flesh.

Ghost Hunt: Investigation of a reported haunting using earthly technology to record any paranormal occurrences.

Haunting: A manifestation of unexplainable phenomena.

Orb: Seen as blotches of light in photos. This energy form is frequently dismissed.

Paranormal: The unexplained.

Poltergeist: A mischievous and sometimes malevolent spirit.

Spirit: Ghost of a deceased human.

Spirit Guide: A protective spirit who is with each person since birth.

#GhostStory Short by G G Collins

When Things Go Bump in Daylight

by G G Collins     (Copyright 2018)     

Based on a true story. There are so many things we don’t understand and can’t explain.

Rachel’s eyes were puffy; her face carried red splotches. Last night’s news that her friend had died was difficult to understand in someone so young. Although expected, the finality of it was awful. When she heard Tanya’s husband’s voice she braced for the worst. Tanya was gone.

Now, alone in her bathroom she started as something flew through the air, straight across the room, hit the wall of tile and crashed into her bathtub. She witnessed it all within her peripheral vision.

“What the hell?” Rachel leaned over the tub and saw her small plastic travel clock lying in the tub. Except for the battery cover, it was intact.

“Weird,” she said to an empty room. “That clock has been sitting on that shelf since I moved into this house.” She picked it up, refastened the cover and replaced it on the shelf. It still worked.

“Creepy.” Rachel shook her shoulders to push away the unsettled feeling she had. She examined the clock to be certain it was secure and the shelf itself was level. “Check and check.”

Her thoughts returned to Tanya. Their last visit together was six years ago for lunch and a movie. They had a great time, lots of laughter, sharing their lives. When it came time to part, Tanya said, “I love you and I want you to know that’s forever.” Tanya had always been demonstrative. It was one of her many endearing qualities, but this seemed a bit more than usual. Rachel noticed it, but didn’t ask her why she had added the “forever.”

And then, Tanya vanished.

There were no phone calls, emails, lunch dates. No contact at all. Rachel had been hurt as she tried again and again to reach out to her. Finally, she gave up. Whatever was going on must be bad. It wasn’t like Tanya. It was hard, but Tanya had gone radio silent, apparently for good.

When Thanksgiving rolled around, Rachel sent her an email wishing her a good holiday. The response was from someone else who said he was using the address now and wished her a Happy Thanksgiving. Well, that was it. Nothing more she could do. Yet she refused to remove Tanya’s email address from her computer; the icon of her riding on the bay in dressage competition.

After three long years of questions, she received a telephone call. It was Tanya.

“Are you okay?” Rachel asked not knowing if she felt relieved or exasperated with her friend.

“Yes and no,” was the reply.

“I’m sorry I’ve been out of touch, but I’ve decided to call my friends and tell them what’s going on.”

“What is going on Tanya?” Rachel asked. There was more to this call than catching up.

“I have a form of early-onset dementia,” she said. Rachel caught her breath, her stomach knotted and she went cold all over. While she tried to comprehend the enormity and meaning of the news, Tanya continued. “It’s called frontaltemporal dementia. It’s fairly rare, but somehow it got me.”

Rachel stumbled around trying to find something helpful to say, but was so stunned that she barely got out, “I’m so sorry. Now I understand why you disappeared. You needed time to cope. Is there treatment?” She asked hopefully.

The next few minutes were a blur, but Rachel began to realize what her friend was up against. And that eventually, she would lose Tanya forever.

Rachel stood and looked out the window at her courtyard. In Santa Fe houses were adobe and came in many shades of brown. The wall around her backyard was also brown and enclosed her terrace and herb bed. Here she had met monsters from the paranormal realm and spirit helpers who both protected her and helped in other ways. Now her friend faced a monster of another kind and Rachel couldn’t help her.

Her thoughts raced back to their years of equestrian competition. The two girls met over saddle leather, literally introduced themselves while cleaning tack. They spent hours every day in the practice ring sharpening their riding skills. Tanya was queen of the dressage arena. She and her beautiful bay were hard to beat. Rachel succeeded only once, but she thrived in the cross-country jumping. The no-holds-barred eventing was her domain. Few could outrun her while astride her grey gelding.

“I may retain my memory with this type of dementia,” Tanya continued. “But I’ll likely become someone you and I don’t know, and probably won’t like.” There was sadness in her words, but she was making an effort to stay optimistic as she always did. “It affects the frontal lobe where impulse control is regulated. As it progresses, I may say inappropriate things.”

Tanya was the person Rachel would most like to emulate. She was kind to a fault, careful of other’s feelings and always supportive. And she accepted people the way they came. You were okay just as you were. Rachel envied her family who seemed to exhibit boundless love for each other and everyone. When there was a crisis, they circled the wagons and rode it out.

Rachel’s family wasn’t like that. Her mother died years ago; her father died recently—murdered. Brother Chris had been mayor of Santa Fe until he got involved with a bad crowd and participated in a swindle that almost ended his life. It had landed him in prison.

Her father, also a journalist, left big shoes she sought to fill. They had been close, but there wasn’t much extended family so holidays were not the big affair that Tanya’s family knew.

Two years after her last conversation with Tanya, her husband Gary called with the news. He cried as he told her that Tanya had become difficult, sometimes hateful. It was the disease; her filter was gone. And slowly, Tanya faded away. She and Gary met in high school and were rarely separated. They were forever sweethearts; now separated by death, but no less in love. He tried to be upbeat saying they would be reunited in eternity. Rachel wasn’t religious, but she silently hoped he was right.

After they said a tearful goodbye, Rachel crumbled to the floor and cried. Her tortoiseshell cat Chile Pod rubbed her leg and lifted her face to look at her guardian. Rachel absently stroked her colorful fur and was once again thankful for her company.

She remembered her friend Chloe told her about a transition blessing for the departed. Chloe, a real estate mogul in Santa Fe, lived nearby.

Rachel picked up the phone and called her.

“Tanya died,” she bypassed a greeting.

“Rachel, I’m so sorry. What can I do?”

“Remember when you told me about the transition blessing?”

“Of course. Do you want to do one for Tanya?”

“Yes. Can you come over?”

“I’ll get the crystals and be right over.”

A few minutes later Chloe arrived and enveloped Rachel. “I’m so sorry sweetie.”

“How do we do this?” Rachel asked, afraid she would cry again.

Chloe carefully poured the stones onto her kitchen table from a beautiful crocheted medicine bag. “A gift from our mutual friend Mari-lynn. We have scolecite, lilac kunzite, lapis lazuli and pink tourmaline.

Mari-lynn, Chloe’s contact for legal pot in Colorado, told her about the use of crystals. They were profoundly helpful in solving paranormal disturbances, facilitating time travel and returning spirits to their rightful place. Surely they would work to help her friend’s transition.

Chloe asked for candles and a photo of Tanya. Rachel collected them.

“Let’s go outside,” Chloe said.

The two women sat cross-legged on Rachel’s terrace. It was a lovely evening with another gorgeous New Mexico sunset in progress.

“Okay, you hold the crystals; in both hands.”

Rachel obliged. “Now what?”

“Mari-lynn told me we should concentrate on your friend. I brought a Hopi prayer that we can say.”

Rachel thought back to that evening in her living room when she tried a Hopi ceremony to return the dead. It went badly and a dangerous spirit returned. She hoped this would not end like that. Attempting the ritual marked the beginning of paranormal encounters and the development of her sixth sense. Being an intuitive was something she didn’t want, but it seemed to want her. That same night she met her spirit wolf on a lonely strip of interstate; the dazzling white wolf who alerted her when danger was near. What’s more, she had a wonderful relationship with a Hopi shaman, even after he died. Joseph was there when she needed spiritual guidance.

“Are you sure we should try that? You know what happened the last time.”

“It will be okay. It’s a prayer,” Chloe reassured her.

“Let me have the photo so I can meditate on her.” Chloe held the small framed photo of Tanya with her beloved horse, hair cascading from beneath her riding helmet. “She’s lovely. What beautiful long blonde hair.” She glanced at Rachel who was struggling to hold back tears.

“Let’s read this,” Chloe said.

“I’m not sure I can,” Rachel said. “Too much emotion. Can you read it for me?”

“Of course.” Chloe read the words. They were familiar. She’d heard a similar version before.

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am the thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glint in the snow.
I am the sunlight on the ripened grain.
I am the autumn’s gentle rain.
When you awaken in the morning hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush.
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there,
I did not die.

When she was finished, they both wiped at their eyes.

“Would you like to ask her for a sign she has reached her destination?”

“We can do that?” Rachel asked.

“Yes, go ahead, but it’s important to do so within 48 hours of a person’s death while they are still suspended between life and death. So now is the time.”

“Tanya, if you can, please send me a sign you have arrived and are safe?” Rachel croaked on the last word.

“Let’s blow out the candles,” Chloe said. “We have finished the blessing. Mari-lynn told me to warn you, if you receive a sign it will not be a common occurrence, but something quite unusual.”

“Okay,” Rachel said with some trepidation.

After Chloe left, giving her a big hug like Tanya had always done, Rachel cried her private tears and hoped Tanya had found the afterlife she had imagined.

*          *          *

The following day, she called Chloe from her office at High Desert Country magazine where she was a reporter and editor. While working on an assignment, she happened to think of the bizarre occurrence in her bathroom.

“Chloe, I may have already heard from Tanya and didn’t realize it.”

She went on to tell her about the odd incident she had experienced yesterday.

“At first I thought it was just strange. What do you think?”

“Rachel,” Chloe said. “I believe you’re right. That was your sign. Tanya has already contacted you. Your connection is so strong she reached out to you before you asked.”

“But how could it be?”

“I know your reporter’s intellect is trying to take you in another direction,” Chloe said. “But keep an open mind. This may be what you asked for. Mari-Lynn did say if a sign occurred, it would be strange, out of the ordinary. This certainly qualifies.”

The clock experience kept rising to the top of her thoughts. When she got home, the fact-checker in her got out a measuring tape. The clock, which was still secure on the shelf, had flown eight feet across her bathroom. “That’s not possible unless someone threw it, and no one did. Why would it fly parallel to the ceiling rather than fall directly to the floor beneath it?”

After a while, she ate dinner and went to bed, curling up with Chile Pod.

The following morning, she was about to brush her teeth and glanced suspiciously at the clock. As an extra precaution she confirmed it was stable and unable to take another unscheduled flight. “Good,” she said satisfied.

Before she could raise the toothbrush, the clock rattled on the shelf.

In genuine alarm she stared at the clock waiting for it propel itself across the room again.

“What’s going on?” If she had already received her sign, then what was this? She had relatively new perception skills. Usually when a spirit wanted to talk, there were sounds and conduits of colorful fog. This was very different.

The sense of unease persisted. In fact, she was somewhat frightened. Would it take wing again? Become lethal? Had she and Chloe unleashed something evil? She felt she should say something.

“Okay,” she smiled bravely—although she did not feel fearless. “I get it,” even though she wasn’t certain.

*          *          *

That night, she and Chloe met at The Shed for drinks and dinner. The Shed was their favorite place in Santa Fe for solving supernatural mysteries and just plain girl talk. They sat at the bar sipping margaritas waiting on their entrees smothered in green chile. Chloe was her usual elegant self. With her raven hair hoisted atop her head into a knot and colorful flowing garb, she was elegant as ever. Rachel pushed at her shoulder length brown hair. Had she even brushed it?

“I may have to stop going in my bathroom,” Rachel began.

“What? You had another event?” Chloe said excitedly.

Rachel didn’t always share Chloe’s enthusiasm for the mystical, but she related the latest episode with the clock.

“I’m telling you Rachel,” Chloe said gently, setting down her drink. “This is a follow-up from Tanya. Stop trying to explain it. You can’t. But you can try to decipher the message.”

“But it’s a damn clock,” Rachel said exasperated. “What’s a clock got to do with a message from Tanya?”

“Well, I’ve been thinking,” Chloe said. “There are all kinds of sayings about time.”

“You know Tanya and I were in journalism school together,” Rachel said. “We read one another’s assignments, we brainstormed together. She had a terrific mind.” Rachel let the words trail off as she struggled to stay in the moment and not think about what happened to Tanya’s mind. “It would be just like her to use a play on words.”

Rachel thought about it a moment; looking to Chloe for answers.

“Think Rachel. What would Tanya say?”

In utter astonishment, Rachel heard the words come from her lips. “Time flies when you’re having fun.”

“You translated the message literally?” Chloe asked.

“First thing that popped in my head.”

Rachel considered what it might mean. “Tanya has reached her destination and is having so much fun that times flies?”

“It would appear so, if you translated accurately.”

When Rachel returned home, she showered and wrapped up in a towel. As she stepped onto the bath mat the cold hit her. She grabbed her robe and pulled it tightly around her. That’s when she noticed her breath escaping in a fog.

It was not the way most spirits presented themselves to her, but a figure stood faintly outlined near the window. Rachel wanted to open the door and flee, but what if it was Tanya?

“Is that you Tanya?” she whispered.

There was no voice in return, just an unrecognizable filmy spirit who seemed to waver in and out. In a hyper second, it evaporated as though carried away by a zephyr. The cold went with it. As the warm air returned she heard a familiar sound; that of a horse trotting away. She raced to the window, but there was nothing outside, only the dark broken by one streetlight. Yet, the pounding hooves slowly receded.

Rachel stood amazed, remembering all the times they had ridden together. But in that moment she knew it was her friend. She must have met up with one of her horses from childhood. Maybe the Rainbow Bridge existed. As a new spirit, possibly Tanya couldn’t quite manifest herself, but she sent a clear message to Rachel; with reverberation.

Rachel kissed her palm like she’d seen Tanya do so many times and blew it in the direction her soul was now taking.

“Goodbye Tanya.”

 

Ghost Stories in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Ghosts Haunting Santa Fe

Ghost at La Residencia

La Residencia, located at Palace Avenue and Paseo de Peralta, has been a convent, hospital and nursing home. It was the location of the first St. Vincent’s Hospital prior to the “new” hospital being built south of downtown during the late 1970s. Now the Drury Plaza Hotel.

During its life as a hospital, a boy and his father were brought in for emergency treatment after a car accident. Sadly, both died. It is said the child died from his injuries in room 311. Reported phenomena include the sound of a crying child in this room. It was heard so often the hospital tried not to use the room.

When museum exhibits were stored in the building’s basement, unexplained sounds occurred there. Nurses described a strange phenomenon, which appeared to be blood oozing from a basement wall.

But it is the cries of a frightened young boy who haunt his third-floor room we find most disturbing.

Answer at end.

Ghost of Julia at La Posada

La Posada de Santa Fe Resort and Spa has probably the most famous of the Santa Fe ghost stories. Julia Staab who

La Posada de Santa Fe
Wikimedia Commons

died in her prime at 52 reportedly haunts the hotel. It has been the subject of television shows such as Unsolved Mysteries and Celebrity Ghost Storiesand in print at The Dallas Morning News.

Abraham Staab had the three-story Staab House built in French-inspired styling which included a mansard roof and a ballroom on the top floor. It would become the hub of society in 19-century Santa Fe. But it would not last. The couple’s eighth child was ill and finally succumbed. Julia was never the same and took to her room, which became room 256 when the house was converted to a hotel.

During a construction project, a befuddled crew came to work one morning and found their building materials in disarray. An enlightened worker began leaving roses for Julia. The mischief ceased.

Other encounters have been more personal including sightings of a transparent woman in a long dress and hood. One man reported a woman’s image in the mirror of the men’s room. And in the basement, which retains its earthen floor and stone walls, an employee of the hotel has noticed a fragrance cloud of orange and rose blossoms.

Visitors to the six-acre resort still ask for room 256, but there was the case of one man who checked in, and returned to the front desk in minutes demanding another room.

Answer at end.
 

Ghost Story at New Mexico State Penitentiary

Santa Fe Abandoned Pententiary
Wikimedia Commons

Many people don’t realize the New Mexico State Penitentiary is near Santa Fe. It’s usually the last thing on anyone’s mind as they drive into Santa Fe enjoying the clear skies, high desert air and anticipating a few days of nonstop green chile and margaritas. But in February 1980 one of the worst prison riots in the US happened here. At least 33 people killed, but the total couldn’t be certain. Two hundred treated for their injuries. The convicts in Cell Block 4 were targeted because that was where the snitches were isolated from the general population.

Eighteen years later, former Gov. Johnson closed the prison due to “uncontrollable disturbances.” The inmates moved into new facilities. After that, the old prison became a filming location for movies as well as a training center for police. One movie extra decided to explore, walked into a cell, the door closed behind him. Once a guard let him out, he left the set and did not return. Other reports of cell doors opening or closing, apparently on their own, lights coming on or going off without reason, unexplained sounds and even shadowy figures that suddenly disappear. Most disturbing are the burn marks on the floors where inmates died that cannot be cleaned or painted away. The marks always return.

Other deserted prisons are considered haunted. Maybe life sentences extend into the afterlife.

Answer at end.

Ghost Story at 122 Grant Avenue

This week we have another Santa Fe ghost story.  In 1898 a rancher built a house at what is now 122 Grant Avenue, a few blocks from the Plaza. Seven years later a young family moved in. Their son was sickly and required a wheelchair to move about. Unhappy, he was known to beat the walls of his upstairs bedroom to get his mother’s attention. Despite her constant ministrations, the lad died and his parents moved on. When the house was vacant, the neighbors reported seeing lights in the boy’s former bedroom.

In l981 the property was bought and renovated. It became the Grant Corner Inn, a bed and breakfast which hosted such notables as Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan (in better days), and illustrator Garth Williams. It had a knockout breakfast which was open to the public. But the problems did not abate. In Antonio Garcez’s book Adobe Angels: Ghosts of Santa Fe and Taos,he related the experiences of the former caretaker. He told of hearing loud noises, sudden dips in the air temperature that could kill indoor plants and the stench of rancid meat.

Several years ago, the Andrew Smith Gallery bought the property and moved into the house. No further reports of disturbances have been disclosed. Perhaps the boy is now at peace.

Answer at end.

 

Ghost Story of the Weeping Woman

There are many ghost stories in Santa Fe. A few blocks from the St. Francis Cathedral, along the Santa Fe River, is a story that endures. I’m told there are more than 40 variations on this ghastly tale and it is a favorite throughout the southwest.

Many years ago, the poor would park their wagons along the Santa Fe River (more of a trickle most of the time). According to the story, a woman from one of those wagons met and fell in love with a Conquistador. After having two children with him, she found he had been unfaithful (isn’t that just always the way?). In her sorrow, she took her children, and drowned them in the river. There are two versions of the ending: either she rejoiced that they were gone, then fell and suffered a fatal injury, or she hung herself in regret.

There are reports from people walking in the river park that they heard a woman calling for her babies, but saw no one. She has been seen at the nearby PERA Building. Workers have reported she is a dark shape and messes with the lights in the building. This ghost is known as the Weeping Woman.

Answer at end.

 

Ghost Story of La Fonda

While La Fonda has stood the test of time, it has also racked up a good number of ghosts. There are so many that we’ll cover just a few this time.

During the 1800s a gambling hall was part of the hotel. As we all know, for every person who wins, there are many more who do not. In one particular incident, a man was hung in the courtyard (sometimes referred to as the backyard). Maybe it he was cheating, but whatever the reason, he was lynched. It has been reported that some guests to La Plazuela have seen the shadow of a man hanging.

The Hon. John P. Slough, who was a chief justice of the Territorial Supreme Court, was shot in the lobby and later died of his wounds. He insulted Capt. Rynerson, also with Territorial government, calling him dishonest. Rynerson took offense and shot the judge. Guests say they’ve seen a man walking the hotel dressed in a long black coat (robes perhaps?).

And yet another man lost his life in what is now the restaurant (La Plazuela). Originally it

La Fonda Courtyard with Well, Public Domain

was the courtyard and in the center was a well. Apparently a businessman lost his company’s money in a round of cards. He was so distressed, he jumped into the well to his demise. Although the well was filled in long ago, you can still see where it was. Look at the fountain in the center of the restaurant. It even closely resembles the look of the well in the postcard shown. Hotel staff and guests have seen a ghostly figure cross the room to the site of the old well and watched as he disappeared into the floor.

The Southwest Ghost Hunters Association conducted an investigation into La Fonda in 1998 and found the strongest suggestion of paranormal activity in the parking garage. During its construction, human remains were found there. This happens from time to time in Santa Fe and environs. All work ceases until the remains can be recovered.

 

Answers to Questions:

A. What was stored in La Residencia’s basement that resulted in the bizarre noises? Indian Artifacts.

B. The man who demanded another room stayed in Julia Staab’s room 256 for how many minutes? 7 minutes. He was referred to as the “7-minute man.”

C. What movie was filmed at the abandoned state pen? The Longest Yard.

D. What kind of tree was cut down in front of the house at 122 Grant Avenue? Weeping Willow.

E. The name of the Weeping Woman was? La Llorona,

F. La Fonda has had several names over the years. Which of the following was one of them? The Exchange Hotel.

 

 

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