February 3, 2009
Would you move into a haunted house from which all previous tenants had been driven by paranormal phenomena? You have to reside in the house for a year.
Before I answer this, can I state unequivocally that I am a huge fruitcake and that I totally believe in ghosts? And also haunted houses (because ghosts have to have somewhere to live, duh)? I was the kind of kid who, between Judy Blume books and Beat the Turtle Drum and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, checked out books on ghosts and haunted houses and all kinds of scary things over and over again and read them as I fell asleep at night and scared the shit out of my prepubescent self. I don’t want to get carried away here, but my elementary school favorite was called Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat,* and it taught me so many useful things, including how to get Bloody Mary to appear in my bathroom mirror (I never made it past the second “Bloody Mary”) and how to sell my soul to the devil (I told myself I didn’t believe it but was too afraid to try it out in order to debunk it). It used to freak me the fuck out and, when the lights were out and I was alone in my room, was one of the reasons I would think my phone and television were morphing into one gigantic Super Ghost Killer or that all my bajillion stuffed animals were going to start dancing in a circle on my bed and talking in evil children’s voices the instant I fell asleep – and yet I read it over and over and over again like the compulsive neurotic I was even then. The point of this whole thing is so that we’re clear about the fact that I am not cavalier about this kind of thing – I take ghosts and being scared of ghosts very seriously. Okay?
And yet I say yes. I know – it doesn’t make any sense to me either but, I guess I say yes to this dare because a) it’s $1,000,000 and b) don’t you get a little excited to think you might get to live with a bonafide ghost? It’s scary and thrilling and makes me queasy and yet oddly buzzed – in a good way. Maybe it’s just the way I’m wired but I would be both thrilled and mortified to be offered this dare; I’d dread the move and simultaneously tingle at the thought of how scary it was going to be. I mean, the worst (and this would be really awful) case scenario is that you’re dealing with angry, gang raping The Entity-style ghosts, but let’s hope it’s not as bad as all that. Keep your fingers crossed!
* Writing this made me do a Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat search for old time’s sake and I just discovered it’s one of the most targeted-to-be-banned books. Which is simultaneously distressing and inexplicably satisfying at the same time.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I believe in ghosts, but I’m certainly scared of them (if that makes any sense). Like Kali, I read an enormous amount about ghosts and the supernatural when I was a kid, and I was fascinated by stuff like ESP, The Twilight Zone and The Bermuda Triangle (which to this day I would not fly over). And while I’m not convinced that any of this stuff has any basis in fact, all of the books and TV shows really left their mark on me. Dark rooms give me the creeps, and if my boyfriend is away then I have to hide underneath the covers with my stuffed bulldog in order to sleep (I make a little tent in the side of the duvet for airflow so that Mr. Banks and I don’t suffocate). This is all just to say that this dare is a hard one for me to accept. I’d do it, I think, but I’d need more money…Let’s say 5 million. Greedy? Perhaps. But honestly, living amidst a severe haunting fucking sucks. My early research, which brought to my attention a French chateau called Calvados Castle, impressed this truth upon me. Aside from the sheer OH SHIT!-ness of constantly hearing ghostly wailing and keening and boisterous bumping in the night, there’s also the pants-wetting possibility of being slapped around by angry spirits who couldn’t care less that you have nothing to do with their eternal dissatisfaction. If they want to fling a body out of bed, then you’ll do nicely. Eek. Maybe I don’t want to do this.