The Orb Within – An Interview with Jane Helen Croft

I’m excited to announce that The Ghost Post is now doing interviews with paranormal authors and paranormal investigators.  My first paranormal author interview is with Jane Helen Croft.  Jane recently published an intriguing ghost story novel with Vanguard Press called The Orb Within. To find out more about Jane or to purchase her book, go to Jane Helen Croft – Author.

 

Thank you for interviewing with The Ghost Post, Jane!

Tell us a bit about yourself. 

I was born in Hitchen, Hertfordshire, UK, in 1963. As a newly published author, I’m extremely proud to say that my ancestry dates to Sir Thomas More – 07/02/1478 – 06/06/1535, later venerated as Saint Thomas MJane Helen Croft - Author Picture 2ore. Not only was this amazing man the author of Utopia, he was also councillor to Henry VIII and former Lord High Chancellor of England. I spent my early childhood in Handsworth, Birmingham UK, and the remainder of my youth, and early adult years, in Lincolnshire, England. In 1989, my family and I emigrated to Sydney Australia.

After working in retail and customer service for many years (alongside raising my five children), in 2004 I moved to the idyllic island of Tasmania.  Up until this point, I’d never even contemplated becoming an author, but after a huge life path change, I began using writing as a type of self- therapy, and after sharing my work with close friends, as well as a few unbiased people, I made the decision to submit my manuscript of The Orb Within to Pegasus Publishing House, UK. To my amazement, my novel was accepted first time, the team at Pegasus then offered me a shared contract, and have asked for first refusal on my next two works. These are currently being written.

What made you decide to become a writer?

I’d dreamt of becoming an author for many years, however, being busy raising my five children, it wasn’t until I was in my late forties that I found both the time to start writing, and a hidden ability to create a fictional novel that could instantly capture a reader’s imagination.

Who are your literary influences?

Do you have a favorite book or author?    

To be honest, I have no literary influences as such. I do however adore a rather mixed bunch of authors, Maeve Binchy, Bryce Courtney, Matthew Reilly, Virginia Andrews and Tom Sharpe, and have recently been introduced to the works of Jodi Picoult.

Do you have any quirky writing rituals?

Yes, I do have a few routines and rituals I instigate prior to writing. I only write during the night hours. No, I have no vampires in my heritage, I just prefer the quieter hours. There are less distractions, less noise interruptions, and a more relaxing atmosphere. Being English, I must have a constant supply of tea at hand, plus a few biscuits for midnight snacking purposes, my beloved cat Binky needs to be close by, and I like gentle background music playing.

Do you view writing as a spiritual act or practice?

I view my writing as a spiritual practice. The reasons for this are as follows: Whereas a part of me wishes I’d found my writing talent when a lot younger, another part is grateful that the universe enabled me to truly experience life, and death, before I began my literary career. Not only did my past mould me into a more empathetic person, it also expanded my imagination and opened my mind to all possibilities in this world, and the next.

When and how did you become interested in the paranormal?

I was only quite young when I had my first paranormal experience. In fact, it is the vivid memory of this particular incident that was the inspiration behind my first novel, The Orb Within, and is included in the story itself. At the age of five years, I tripped and fell down a flight of stairs, rather than reaching the bottom of the steps in an injured heap though, a spirit woman appeared before me and broke my fall, she then lifted me up, as a mother would a child, placed me gently on my feet in the hallway, stroked my cheek softly, and then disappeared into thin air. This wasn’t my only visit from this sweet-scented entity. I found that at times when I felt sad or lonely, if I sat on the exact stair on which the spirit stopped my tumble, and thought about her, more often than not she’d appear.

Many years after leaving this house, I found out the tragic history of my childhood home. Back in the early 1960’s, on the 24th December (Christmas eve), the father of the family who owned the three-bedroom, semi-detached residence, finished a long night shift and headed home. Rather than following his normal routine of sleeping though, he instead packed his wife and two young children into the family car, filled the boot with luggage and an assortment of presents, and set out on a three-hour drive to visit relatives for the Christmas holidays. An hour into the journey, unable to stop himself drifting off to sleep, the father lost control of the car and steered into an oncoming fuel tanker, the family were all killed instantly.

I am totally convinced that the gentle natured, loving, female entity who was my semi-transparent childhood friend, had been the mother. I feel she was a lost soul, that somehow, she’d became separated from her loved ones upon death, and in search of her beloved children and husband, she’d returned to the place that was familiar to her, the family home.

How do you feel about spirits?

Having encountered many spirits in my time, two of those being my parents who visited me after they’d passed, I accept the afterlife as part of my life, if that makes sense? I have been lucky enough to have been shown that it is only our physical body, our ‘skin suit,’ that dies, not our souls, and that our essence, our very being, is preserved.

What is your view of the afterlife?

From what I’ve studied, observed, photographed, and been told by those who have passed over, is that the afterlife is a place of love, understanding, and constant learning. It is certainly not a place of judgement or punishment.

Do you believe in reincarnation and past lives? 

Why or why not?

I do believe in reincarnation and past lives. I’ve read of many instances where reincarnation is impossible to disprove, and I would love to meet someone with a vivid awareness of a past life. I myself seem to have a pull towards the Victorian era for some unknown reason, and because of this strange attraction to the past, I recently made the decision to be regressed to find out more. I’ll update the results once I’ve experienced this process, hopefully with audio tapes.

Tell us about a memorable paranormal experience that you had.

I’ve already ‘spoken’ of my experience with a female spirit in my younger years, but this wasn’t the only encounter I’ve had. After leaving my childhood residence when I was seven years old, we moved into a rental property in the Lincolnshire countryside. Now whereas the bungalow (single level home) itself was built in the 1970’s, the land upon which the estate was erected, happened to be close to the ruins of a Premonstratensian monastery which was founded in 1154. Evidently, in 1537, the abbey became involved in an uprising of some kind, six of the resident canons were executed, the others cruelly evicted, and the whole place was closed down.

For the first few months following the move, all appeared well, however, I suddenly began having horrific nightmares. I couldn’t remember what they were about, but I’d awake absolutely terrified. One night, I was too scared to drop off to sleep, and so my mother had allowed me to keep my bedside lamp on. I was lying on my side, facing the doorway that led out to a long hallway, when a freezing cold blast of air hit my face. An ominous feeling of doom filled my bedroom and I saw a dark shadow appear in the doorway.

Petrified, I tried yelling out for my parents, yet my voice was muted, not a sound would emerge. I attempted to leave my bed, but I couldn’t move, staring in terror at the large black shadow before me. The form suddenly manifested into a monk. He was wearing a cowled robe, which totally masked his face, and his arms were folded across his chest. He stood in the doorway for only a few seconds, before floating off down the hallway and disappearing into the wall. Night after night the hooded monk visited my room. I never did see his face though, neither did he speak, but the feeling of evil that emanated from the spectre was almost palpable. Thankfully, once the legalities of buying our own property were finalized, we left the bungalow.

You recently published your debut novel, The Orb Within, with Vanguard Press. 

What is it about? 

What was your inspiration for the book? 

My debut novel, The Orb Within, tells the story of renowned psychic, Gemma Underwood. Following her marriage to the suave, Robert Langton, Gemma realizes there’s something very amiss about her new husband, having no other option than to delve into Robert’s sordid past to get the answers she seeks. When tragedy suddenly strikes, Gemma has to rely on both her earthbound friends and those in the afterlife to help assist in her quest. The book not only follows Gemma’s experiences as a spiritual medium, the storyline also draws the reader into a world filled with debauchery, witch craft, incest, and a string of evil betrayals.

Is there anything else that you would like to share about your writing or the paranormal?

Due to my avid interest in the paranormal and especially the afterlife, over the years, my photographs and experiences have come under the scrutiny of many skeptics. Now whereas I openly encourage skepticism, as this allows a doorway for discussion, I am averse to cynics, those whose blinkered attitudes veer more towards criticism than to open mindedness and possible understanding. However, as in life, and death, with the good comes the bad, and I think as long as those of us who remain loyal to our beliefs, rise above the negativity, then our research into the realms of the paranormal will continue regardless.

How can readers contact you and where can they find your work?

Readers can contact me via the following – Facebook Page Jane Croft- Author, and my work (one book to date) can be viewed on my webpage: www.jane-helen-croft.pegasuspublishers.com.

Click here to see a teaser book trailer for The Orb Within!

Jane Helen Croft - Author Picture


If you are a paranormal author or investigator who is interested in doing either a phone or written interview with The Ghost Post, send a message to Tara Theresa Hill – Author via Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Haunted House Experiment

Thanks to Skip Gibson for sharing his story! Skip is a paranormal investigator and has worked with The Society for Psychical Research on various cases. This story is about Skip’s experiences while investigating the historic Bolton Mansion in Levittown, Pennsylvania.  

When Skip was taking a psychology class in college, one of the assignments was to come up with an original experiment.  He decided to study people’s reactions when they stayed overnight in an allegedly haunted house.  He chose the Bolton Mansion, a historical house in his town that has a reputation of being haunted.  Built in 1687, the Bolton Mansion has twenty-seven rooms and was home to the highly respected Pemberton family for many generations.

By the time Skip was to conduct his experiment in 1971, the house had been vandalized and needed extensive repairs.  For safety precautions, the participants had to sign waivers and emergency personnel had to be kept on standby.  Skip documented reactions of fifty-six believers and non-believers, ranging from 18-70 years old.  The whole project lasted several months and included the assistance of staff from Drexel, Temple, Princeton, and Pennsylvania University, as a well as a grant from the psychical research society.

The locals knew about some of the ghost stories surrounding the Bolton Mansion.  Some have heard and seen the spirit of a black woman calling for help from one of the windows.  There is also the story of the ghost of a woman who is constantly searching for a lost child who disappeared while wandering the grounds.  The night that they did the experiment, no one had any paranormal experiences, although Skip did notice something interesting.  The people who believed in ghosts were less afraid than those who stated that they did not believe in the paranormal.

After the initial experiment was complete, Skip and the various university staff continued to study the house.  They wanted to see if they could capture anything on film.  They did an initial walk-through of the premises to make sure that they could map out how they would proceed through the house.  This was done so that they would never enter the same room twice.  They had a special kind of film back then that was revolutionary for the time.  It would pick up heat, electrical charges, and radioactive energy.  Since the film was highly sensitive, they sealed the house up for thirty days before filming to make sure that the rooms had had a chance to cool down.  They took three shots of each room.

Some of the pictures came back showing dry rot in the wood.  Others showed funny shapes like a glowing, white triangle with some sort of tail.  They did manage to catch fully developed apparitions on the second and third floors of the house.  In one of the rooms on the third floor, they captured an image of a man wearing a civil war uniform, standing with his back to the camera.  Then another photo revealed the figure of a woman holding up her skirts as she walked up the stairs.  None of these apparitions were visible at the time that the pictures were taken.

There is some historical information that supports the two figures that appeared in these pictures.  A family diary kept in the Bucks County Courthouse in Doylestown, PA later revealed that there had been two suicides in the house.  One of the Pemberton sons who had fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War had returned home to ask forgiveness of his family.  When his request was refused, he hung himself from the landing on the third floor.  His body had been discovered by a young female servant.  Three weeks later, the same servant shot herself.  It was rumored that she and the son had been in love with one another.  Suicide was considered both a sin and a scandal at the time and public knowledge of this would have been suppressed.  At the time that the pictures were taken, neither Skip, nor the rest of the university staff knew about the events that had occurred in the house.

Sources:

http://www.boltonmansion.org/history-of-the-pemberton-family.html

http://www.boltonmansion.org/history-of-the-mansion.html


Do You Have a Ghost Story?

Send me an email to theghostpostreporter@gmail.com to set up an interview.  I’m always in the mood for a good ghost story! 

Want even more Ghost Stories?

I have launched a ghost story magazine via Patreon called The Spirit Hour.  For a dollar a month, you get complete access to all the stories in the ghost story magazine, so that you can read them whenever you want.  A new ghost story will be posted once a month. 

Also, check out The Ghost Post’s YouTube channel for audio recordings of The Ghost Post.  It’s perfect for camping out, sleepovers, or anytime you just want to hear a ghost story on the go. 

For more ghost stories, paranormal phenomena, and updates, follow Tara Theresa Hill on Facebook and on Twitter at @TaraTheresaHill

Are you one of the following: A paranormal writer, artist, or investigator?

Or

Do you have a paranormal-themed business or Facebook group?

Then check out my new paranormal advertising group, The Paranormal Hotspot: The Market for All Things Paranormal. There is no set promotion day, so you can promote your business, art, or group every day for free. You can also post links to sites where you sell your products or services. Our mission is to help paranormal businesses, artists, writers, and investigators connect with fans and consumers!

Get Your Ghost On!

Check out our CafePress store featuring The Ghost Post’s official mascot, Spook.  We’ve got awesome coffee mugs, t-shirts, and more!

Spook Giant Coffee Mug
Spook – Coffee Mug – Copyright 2017

 

 

The Ghost from Upstairs

Thanks to Laura from Upstate New York for sharing this story with me!

When Laura was ten years old, her parents moved into a three-family house in Upstate New York.  It had originally been a large Victorian house, but the owner had broken it up into separate apartments, so that she could rent them out.  The top floor was empty at the time that Laura’s family moved in.  It was a studio apartment meant for either a single person or a couple with no kids, so Laura’s parents chose the larger, two-bedroom on the first floor.  The landlord lived in the basement.

The living room was located toward the front of the house and the kitchen had a backdoor that the family could use to go down into the garden.  While the house looked pretty, with its tall, elegant windows and high ceilings, the floors were uneven and the narrow hallways shot off at weird angles.  The strangest part of the house was the hallway closet.  Laura discovered it on moving day.  While her parents were busy carrying boxes into the house, Laura ran about exploring everything.  Inside of the closet was an old wooden staircase that ended one flight up at a blackened wall.  Despite the light from the hanging bulb, the stairwell remained cast in shadow.

“What’s behind this wall?” Laura asked her mother.

“Back when the house was unified, those stairs led up to the third floor.  They built a wall across it when it was renovated.  I don’t want you climbing up there.  The stairs are original to the house and they look rickety.  You could fall through and hurt yourself.”

By early fall, the airy house turned bitter cold.  No matter how much heat the landlord sent up, it was never enough.  They didn’t want to complain, so they insulated the windows, used space heaters, and kept the curtains closed all day.  Even with all the lights on, the house was much darker than it had been in the summer.

Laura liked to sit at the kitchen table to do her homework.  One afternoon while her mother was napping, she was reading a book when she became aware of someone watching her.  She looked up expecting to see her mother, but didn’t see anyone.  She went back to her book, only to see a shadow go by out of the corner of her eye.  This happened a few times until Laura decided to go check the hallway.

“Hello?  Mom?” she called out.

Laura stood in the darkened hallway waiting for an answer.  She was thinking of going to check on her mother when she heard light footsteps scamper across the floor.  They were moving away from her, but she hadn’t seen anybody standing there.  Suddenly freezing, Laura rubbed her arms.  She went back into the kitchen, pulled on a sweater, and dragged a space heater up to her chair, so that she could finish her homework.  After that incident, she always did her work in the chair nearest to the wall facing away from the hallway.

Another time, Laura woke up in the middle of the night to see a ball of light moving about her room.  It appeared to be about the size of a soft ball, was solid-looking, and had a golden color.  Laura sat up in bed wondering if she should call for her parents.  She didn’t feel threatened by whatever this thing was, although she knew this wasn’t normal.  The ball of light lasted for about a minute before fading away.

Since moving into the house, Laura had often had trouble sleeping.  Sometimes she even had strange dreams.  One night, Laura dreamt that a little, blonde-haired girl wearing a blue dress with long, puffy sleeves came into her room.  She began playing with Laura’s toy tea set.

Laura watched her for a few seconds before clearing her throat.  “Hello.  Who are you?” she asked.

The little girl put down the teapot she was holding, turned to Laura, and dipped into a little curtsy.  “My name is Emily.  I’m looking for my mother.  Have you seen her?” 

“I’m sorry,” said Laura.  “No.  I don’t think she’s here.”

The little girl giggled.  “Of course, she is!  She never leaves the house except to go into the garden.  Perhaps, she is there now.” 

The little girl ran out of the room so fast that Laura didn’t even have a chance to respond.  Laura opened her eyes to find herself sitting up in bed.  She could hear little footsteps moving along the hallway and a faint voice calling, “Mama!  Where are you?”  After a few seconds, the sound faded away and the house was silent once more.  Hoping she had imagined everything, Laura turned over and went back to sleep.  By morning, she had written it off as a dream.

When she got home after school, Laura was surprised to find her bedroom door closed.  She was pretty sure that she had left it open that morning.  Opening it, she quickly walked across the room toward her tea set.  A gift from her grandmother, it was porcelain with a pattern of pink roses sprayed across it.  Laura hadn’t played with in it years, but since it was pretty, she liked to keep it set up on her old doll table.  She always left the teapot in the center of a circle of four teacups and saucers.  The tea set was still there, but all the cups had been turned upside down.

From then on, Laura often came in to find her toys moved around.  This didn’t bother her.  Even if she was a ghost, Emily was younger than Laura.  If Emily wanted to play with Laura’s toys when she was at school, she didn’t mind.

After a year, Laura’s family decided not to stay there.  On top of the poor heating, they had started having trouble with the plumbing.  Laura’s father had found a new job and her mother had gotten a raise, so they were able to purchase a nice house in the area.  The moving van was waiting with the furniture and they had already packed their suitcases into the car.  The three of them were doing a last sweep to make sure that they hadn’t missed anything, when suddenly they heard footsteps moving across overhead.

“Did you hear that?” asked Laura’s mother.

Laura’s father looked at the ceiling.  “Yeah, it almost sounded like someone walking around up there, but that’s silly.  The top floor is empty.  I’ll let the landlord know.  Maybe some raccoons got in there or something.”

“I don’t think so,” said Laura.

She had tried to tell her parents that the house was haunted before, but they always rationalized everything away.  Laura couldn’t help but gaze up at the third-floor windows as her family descended the stairs for the last time.  For just a moment, she thought she saw Emily and a woman in an old-fashioned dress staring back at her.  Laura raised her hand in parting.  The little girl and her mother waved back, then they disappeared.


 Do You Have a Ghost Story?

Send me an email to theghostpostreporter@gmail.com to set up an interview.  I’m always in the mood for a good ghost story! 

Want even more Ghost Stories?

I have launched a new ghost story magazine via Patreon called The Spirit Hour.  I’ll be uploading a new ghost story or the next part of a continuing story every week.  For only one dollar a month, you get complete access to all the stories that I post on Patreon. 

Also, check out The Ghost Post’s YouTube channel for audio recordings of The Ghost Post.  It’s perfect for camping out, sleepovers, or anytime you just want to hear a ghost story on the go. 

For more ghost stories, paranormal phenomena, and updates, follow Tara Theresa Hill on Facebook and on Twitter at @TaraTheresaHill

Are you one of the following: A paranormal writer, artist, or investigator?

Or

Do you have a paranormal-themed business or Facebook group?

Then check out my new paranormal advertising group, The Paranormal Hotspot: The Market for All Things Paranormal. There is no set promotion day, so you can promote your business, art, or group every day for free. You can also post links to sites where you sell your products or services. Our mission is to help paranormal businesses, artists, writers, and investigators connect with fans and consumers!

Get Your Ghost On!

Check out our CafePress store featuring The Ghost Post’s official mascot, Spook.  We’ve got awesome coffee mugs, t-shirts, and more!

Spook Logo, White T-Shirt, Copyright 2017
Spook Logo, White T-Shirt, Copyright 2017

 

Stay in Bed

Age eleven to thirteen was a time of great upheaval for me.  My maternal grandfather passed away and my parents separated shortly after.  I switched schools first for bullying issues and then because my mother and I moved to the Bronx so that we would be closer to her store.  That very same summer, my mother’s sister, Roseanne, was diagnosed with lung cancer.  My first week of Junior High school ended with her funeral.

Aunt Roseanne and I were always close.  She knew the type of clothes and toys that I liked.  She was one of the adults that actually listened to what I said when I talked.  She encouraged me in school, listened to my dreams, supported my love for imaginary play, and was always affectionate with me and my mother.  We were heartbroken when she died.

A few months after her passing, I was sitting in my room working on a short story when I suddenly caught the scent of her perfume.  This was not a flowery fragrance that can be mistaken for a scented candle or an air spray.  Aunt Roseanne always wore Chanel #5.  It was such a distinct aroma that I actually stopped what I was doing and spoke her name aloud.

Of course there was no answer, but it had broken through my concentration.  Now completely spooked and seeing how late it was, I decided to get ready for bed.  I didn’t mention the incident to my mom because this had happened to me before.

When my grandfather had first passed away a year earlier, I had smelt his cologne in the downstairs lobby of our apartment building when there was no one around.  The aroma had been centered around my person, not wafting through the hallway, as it would have been if someone wearing the cologne had passed by.  I had been so depressed over my grandfather’s death that mom had brought me to a grief counselor for a few sessions.  When I discussed this event with the counselor, she said that it was common for family members to experience this kind of phenomena after someone’s death.

Smell is one of the most powerful memory triggers.  A grieving person might believe that they smell a specific scent that they associate with their loved one because that soul could be trying to alert them to their presence.  However, some other schools of thought believe that it is actually the memory itself that is triggering the illusion of the aroma.  Growing up in a family that believes in the paranormal, I never discounted the possibility that my grandfather’s spirit could have been visiting me.  I was not consciously thinking of either my grandfather or my aunt at the time that I experienced these phenomena.  Each time the experience caught me off guard and happened when I was alone.

After I went to bed the night that I smelled Aunt Roseanne’s perfume, I felt anxious.  The event had been unsettling.  I sat up, ready to go get my mother, but something told me to stay in bed.  Lying back down, I tried to go to sleep, but couldn’t.  Again, I desired to get up.  This time, I thought I heard a soft voice say, “Stay in bed.”  Two seconds after closing my eyes, there was a loud crash.

Mom rushed into my room.  Pieces of my ceramic ceiling lamp littered the floor.  My desk chair was positioned directly under this lamp.  A half hour earlier, I had been sitting there when I had smelled my Aunt Roseanne’s perfume.  After the mess was cleaned up and I was back in bed, I told mom about the earlier phenomena and then the voice urging me to stay in bed.  Mom and I still believe that Aunt Roseanne’s spirit protected me that night.

If you have a real ghost story that you would like to share with The Ghost Post, send an email to Tara Theresa Hill at theghostpostreporter@gmail.com to set up an interview. 

I’m always in the mood for a good ghost story! 

My Beloved Bambi

 

Bambi Photo
My dog, Bambi. Original Artwork by Jan Mina, 2013

For anyone who knows the loss of a familiar or animal companion.

Bambi and I were inseparable from the moment we met.  He was a handsome Sheltie dog with light brown fur and a white front ruff.  I was eight years old and recovering from the chicken pox when my parents got him for me.  Bambi was an intelligent, loving, well-behaved, and extremely gentle dog.  He never bit anyone and was deeply protective of our family.  He slept with his head on my legs from the first night that we brought him home until the day that I left for college.

During my sophomore year, he fell ill and became progressively sicker.  Then one night during my spring semester finals, I had a strange dream.  I was standing on the edge of this beautiful field.  Long green grass waved in the wind.  A blue butterfly with a wingspan the size of a large notebook appeared by my shoulder and started dancing around me.  Surprised, I started whirling around with it.  At some point in the dream, the blue butterfly smiled and kissed me on the forehead.  I watched as it flew off to join a cloud of other butterflies that had gathered in the field.  My heart was heavy because I knew that I could not follow the joyful little spirit.

When I woke up that morning, I knew that Bambi had passed away even before my mother called me.  I told her about the dream and said that he had come to say goodbye to me in my sleep.  The months that followed were a dark time for me.  I mourned Bambi so deeply that my husband (then boyfriend) bought me a stuffed animal that looked like him to sleep with at night.

I started seeing Bambi’s spirit frequently after I graduated and moved into my first apartment.  I have had four apartments so far and he has followed me to each one.  I will turn around and suddenly see him out of the corner of my eye or enter a room and find him sitting on the floor just as he used to when I was a little girl.  Sometimes I even see him resting next to my darling cat, Diana.  Bambi has the most benevolent soul and his presence always brings me a sense of incredible comfort and peace.  Even through death, we are still connected and always will be.

 

A Ghostly Interlude

This happened to me when I was a teenager growing up in the Bronx.  My family lived on Campbell Drive in the second floor apartment of a two-family house.  Built in 1942, it even still had the original glass doorknobs and other structural furnishings from that era.

From the beginning, Mom and I sensed that the place was haunted.  We’d see shadows moving out of the corner of our eyes.  The hallway lights that were activated by motion sensors would come on when no one was around.  Sometimes late at night, we’d get the feeling that there were people talking in the living room.  It was that kind of elevated energy vibe that you experience whenever you are at a party or in a restaurant.  The second we stepped into the living room, the atmosphere would return to normal.

One night, I was waiting for my mother to get home from work.  I was sitting on the couch deeply engrossed in a book when I suddenly heard piano music.  Before that moment, ghosts were the furthest thing from my mind.  The neighbors weren’t home, so it wasn’t a radio or someone else’s television.  The music was coming from our old, out of tune piano that we almost never played.

Steadying myself, I looked over to my left.  Just as I expected, the piano was closed and no one was sitting there.  I stared at it as the eerie music continued to flow beneath the invisible musician’s hands.  The tune was unfamiliar to me.  After another minute, there was a loud jarring sound as if someone had purposely banged on the keys, then the music stopped as quickly as it had begun.

I swallowed once or twice, the oppressive silence roaring in my ears.  Nodding, I got up and said, “Well, so much for watching the electric bill!”  Then I turned on the television, switched on all of the lights, and waited for mom to get home.