Ghost Stories: Adventures From the "Other Side"!

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Ghost Stories: Adventures From the "Other Side"!

Postby Tremors » 30 Jan 2012, 21:41

In the spirit of Car Stories, Bar Stories, and School Stories comes Ghost Stories! :wink:

I realize this thread probably would have been better started back in October, but hey, anytime is a good time to spin a tale of specters, haunts, and assorted things that go bump in the night!

Whether you believe, disbelieve or are somewhere in the middle, if you have an interesting story to tell--preferably one which is true (or as true as you believe it to be), and that happened to you or someone close to you--please share with the class!

Good night...and unpleasant dreams. :lol:
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Postby Tremors » 31 Jan 2012, 22:36

The Car Wasn’t There

"Shit run!"

The gravel beneath our feet crunched loudly with each step as we ran along the access road. Perhaps the slapping of our footfalls on the gravel road just seemed loud to us, as even the smallest of sounds seems amplified in the stillness of an otherwise quiet night. With chests heaving and arms and legs pumping like pistons in an engine, we ran through the night in hopes of escaping our pursuer. With this night stalker hot on our heels we knew that we couldn’t escape by trying to out run him; we had to evade him by going where he could not go or could not see. To that end, as we rounded the far-end of the curve in the roughly U-shaped road, Eric and I spied the silhouette of a rather large headstone nearby. With any luck, the darkness, landscaping and stone monuments would cloak our next move.

“There,” spat Eric as he pointed towards our only hope for concealment. If time were a commodity, we really had none to trade, so with one last desperate act, we bolted straight for that dark granite monument before us. At about four feet in width and nearly as high, the stone was sufficiently large enough to conceal us both. It would be the Stolbergs, the name of the couple etched on the stone, who we would have to thank for hiding us.

The hallowed ground of Chisago Lake Cemetery ever so slightly sloped away from the access road. The grave marker before us, which we hoped would be our salvation, was recessed about six from the road. At my left, like a runner stealing home plate, Eric dropped onto his right side and from right knee to right hip, slid along the cool, damp grass until he passed the headstone. Almost above Eric, as he rolled to his right in order to be obscured by the grave marker, I was in the middle of my half flip, half pirouette, gracefully gliding through the air--or as gracefully as I can glide through the air--over the top of the same monument, only to land with a sickening thud next to my friend.

The quietness of the night was entirely replaced by the rhythmic thrum of our hearts beating in our chests. We waited in the darkness of a moonless night in that Center City Minnesota graveyard; it was as eerie a setting as one could find in a horror movie. The air was cool, still, and dank. Nothing moved. Nothing.

As I lay upon the cool grass of a stranger’s grave reflecting upon recent events, I thought to myself, I wonder what the penalty is for getting caught in the cemetery after hours?



It had been near dusk a few hours earlier when I pulled the Vettemobile up to my friend Eric's house. It had been a clear summer day. Vibrant yellow and gold seemed to sparkle and dance on the waters of North Center Lake below the duplex Eric rented with the woman who would become the first of his ex-wives. Eric met me at the car while I gathered up my things and escorted me upstairs to their apartment.

As Eric and I began to talk about our evening’s plans, Amy grew sullen; her dour look pursed her lips and creased her brow. Her concerns were grave and nurtured by a lifetime of religious beliefs instilled in her by her father, the minister. And while not all his religious instructions took such firm hold of this modern young woman, some teachings remained.

“Okay boys, but not up here.”

Eric’s wife would have none of this sordid business in their home. A telegraph to evil was not something casually played with in the family living room; and to her, the possibility existed that that was exactly what I brought, a telegraph. A gateway. A Ouija board.

Mindful of Amy’s feelings on the matter, Eric and I brought the board down the back staircase and set it on a small table on the back porch. The steamy summer heat was giving way to a cool, clammy night, as a weak amber glow from the wall mounted incandescent bulb illuminated the corner of the porch, creating a tiny island of light in a sea of darkening night. Eric and I pulled two deck chairs up to the table and sat facing one another as we prepared ourselves for the phantasmal adventure.

A basic Ouija board is a simple device; if you wish to call it a “device”. To some, “diversion” is better; to others, “demonic” is the only descriptive needed. Made of the same common game board stock as Monopoly, Candy Land or Checkers, on the top are printed the 26 letters of the alphabet; the words “Yes” and “No”; a depiction of the sun in one corner, the moon in the opposite; and the always reassuring “Goodbye” spelled out on the bottom. A small, plastic, heart shaped piece with a window in the center called a planchette glides across the board and spells out spectral advice or admonishments to the players. Of course, all of this is crafted by only the highest spiritual mediums at the Parker Brothers manufacturing plant.

The week prior, I sat in the candlelit laundry room of my friend Jason's apartment building where I first experimented with the Ouija board. Not unlike Eric's wife Amy, Jason's wife Kris wasn’t comfortable with the Ouija board being in their apartment, especially in the presence of their young daughter who was only a few months old. Whether or not there was anything bad inherent in the Ouija board was not something she could say for certain but her feelings on the matter were best summed up as better safe than sorry.

The correctness of her decision was reinforced to her when Kris reported that during the half-hour or so that Jason and I were messing around with the Ouija board, their cats were uncharacteristically patrolling by the front door the apartment in an anxious state of heightened alert; their front door being perpendicular to--and immediately next to--the door of the building’s laundry room.

The details of what exactly happened that night in Jason's apartment building has long since abandoned me, but I remember being both fascinated yet still somewhat skeptical about what had occurred. I did not consciously set out to influence the behavior of the board's planchette. Still, I could not be certain Jason was not purposely manipulating it; though he has steadfastly denied having done so.

With the prior experience fresh in my mind I purposely brought the Ouija to Eric's house. The reasons for selecting Eric in this test of the Ouija board’s “power” were twofold: First, Eric is a man of strong, if somewhat ill-defined spiritual beliefs; a Christian with certain fundamental underpinnings. The second and perhaps most important reason for me at the time, was simply that Eric was not a good speller! In fact, to put it bluntly, his spelling was terrible! By his own admission, it still is. This is not to say Eric is illiterate, but assembling the correct letters in the right order of the proper word never came as naturally to him as it does to most others.

For me the thinking at the time was that Eric's poor spelling skills would tip his hand if he were to be faking movements of the planchette. And if there were something otherworldly to the actions of the Ouija board, Eric spiritual/religious temperament might make something not easily explainable, occur. It was worth a try. Heck, for all we knew, maybe we would reach Elvis, which would have fine by Eric as he occasionally did public impersonations of The King.

Under the pale porch light we gingerly touched the planchette with little more than the tips of our fingers. Ten seconds passed and nothing moved; 30 seconds and still there was nothing. Soon however, the slightest tremor began to rise up from the planchette; this was about a minute into our attempt. Slowly, and ever so smoothly momentum built and the planchette began to glide across the board. First right, then left, until a near-perfect figure 8 shape formed. I was ever mindful of how our fingers were placed on that tan plastic piece as it began to move faster and faster on the board; too lightly, and they wouldn’t stay on, too firm, and the planchette wouldn’t move. Additionally, if one’s fingers were held down too firmly, it could also be an indication of shamming.

Once we had established “contact”, the fun began. I had brought with me a small New Testament courtesy of those fun lovin’ Gideons who frequently handed them out to us wayward students at Lakewood Community College, when not depositing the Good News in hotel and motel rooms across America. We placed the book on the board and for about a minute or so not much happened, then cautiously the planchette nudged the book until the board was cleared of the Word of the Lord. Again the New Testament was placed on the board and again the planchette pushed it off. We had tried this a couple times, and more often than not the book was escorted from the board.

I decided to try another experiment. At this time in my life I was working security in those dreary high-rise apartments owned by Minneapolis Public Housing, and I carried with me a spare handcuff key on a thin, brown, leather strap around my neck. As those public housing buildings could be quite rough, as an added measure of luck I had dipped the strap into holy water, figuring it couldn’t hurt. I removed the strap from around my neck and carefully looped the band around all three legs of the planchette, and set it back on the board with our fingers little more than grazing the top of the plastic soothsayer.

The reaction was not subtle. The planchette tipped up on its side and shook, and then dropped down to the board breaking contact with our fingers. Again our digits made the briefest of contact with the planchette and in that instant the piece reared back like a bucking bronco and to our shock, defiantly launched itself off the board and onto the floor.
Nothing more than a soft whisper of amazement escaped our lips. For a moment neither of us moved as we stared wide-eyed at the planchette on the floor. I was amazed by what I just seen, and I reached down to retrieve the planchette, then removed the partially loosened leather strap and placed it back on the board to see what it would do next.

I could not then, nor can I now, explain exactly what happened, but it was wildly interesting, and for my part, was not consciously conjured up to fool my friend. Nor do I believe based on the temperament of my friend, the observed actions of the planchette, and our physical interaction with the planchette itself, that Eric was trying to fool me. This is not to say that spirits, spooks, or hobgoblins from the netherworld were necessarily in control. For all I know what we witnessed were simply physical manifestations of something on the human subconscious level and nothing more. Whatever the reason, it was an impressive sight to behold.

Following this we asked the litany of standard questions that one may ask of those “beyond the grave”. What we got in exchange were answers of a sort; some vague, some specific, some completely irrelevant to what we were attempting to discuss with those on the other side of the board. It also seemed as though the attitude of whomever or whatever we were dealing with would alter, running the spectrum from benevolent to neutral to the truly dark and malevolent.

It was pretty wild shit.

The fragment of conversation which stands out the most is what would send us to the graveyard that night. At some point during the spectral conference call, the planchette spelled out the need for Eric and me to find a lost grave hidden in the tree line which separated the nearby section of the cemetery from the road behind Eric's house.

Why not? We were bad-ass and brave. So we took note of the directions given us, packed up the Ouija board and stepped out into the shadows of the night.

Looming above all, a literal “stone’s throw” away from Eric’s place on Summit Avenue, stood the Chisago Lake Evangelical Lutheran Church. The majestic house of worship rose up from the stately manicured hill at the confluence of three roads, overlooking the same tranquil lake as did Eric’s house. The classical Romanesque structure of the tannish-yellow brick church with its towering steeple, mature trees, and the lush front lawn which rose up in giant steps from the streets below, made it a perfect setting for the wedding scene at the end of the 1993 movie Grumpy Old Men, which Eric had the good fortune to watch being filmed.
Image
If one were standing street level facing the doors to the church, to the right was Summit Avenue, which separated the church and the row of houses behind it--Eric's included--from the lake below, to one's back would be Main Street, and to the left was Louise Avenue. Just a short walk down from the church along Louise Avenue was the Chisago Lakes Cemetery.
For further perspective, the cemetery was effectively behind Eric's house beyond the alley, however it would've been exceedingly difficult to walk there directly, as we would have to climb down what looked to me like a steep and thickly wooded hill, and then continue on through the thicket for another 100 yards or more. Certainly not worth the effort on a bright and sunny day, but definitely something we would not be doing under the cloak of night.

With only the light from distant streetlamps as our guide through the inky blackness, Eric led the way across the church parking lot, and from there we skirted around the woods and walked across the open field towards the cemetery. From our angle of approach there was no definitive boundary I could find marking where the cemetery began and the open space ended. Perhaps there was no definitive boundary. We may have been walking through an area to be used for future church or cemetery expansion. I don't know.

Many of the gravestones we came across were heavily weathered, and under the weak light we had available to us, it seems that some of the names of those mortals resting beneath those haggard monuments may have been lost to history. Some dates of the final departures of the lucky souls whose names were still somewhat legibly inscribed on their markers appeared to predate the Civil War. It was all rather intriguing; however, we were not there that night for a historical tour.

We made it to the gravel access road in the cemetery and began to follow the instructions given to us by the Ouija board, in hopes of finding the lost grave. “X” number of paces from the road, turn right walking “X” number of paces through the grounds, and so on. As utterly bizarre as our earlier experience with the Ouija board had been, we really didn't put too much stock in the validity of the story given to us from "the other side" to begin with, but originally it held out the promise of being somewhat interesting. It didn't take long for us to realize we were groping blindly in the dark and going nowhere fast; consequently, we gave up rather quickly on the faulty directions. Probably best we did otherwise we would've been walking back through the darkened woods to find a lost, buried corpse–and that is if we were successful!

As we made our way back onto the access road, our conversation eventually ebbed away from otherworldly events, and back on more mainstream topics like women, cars, and friends. We ambled down the gloomy lane with no sense of urgency. While we knew we should not have been in the cemetery after normal visiting hours, neither of us were overly concerned that we would be caught.

Gaps in our conversation revealed our footsteps as the only other sound to be heard. The subtle grinding of our shoes on the unpaved road was not unlike the delicate crunch of cereal just starting to be softened by the milk that one would eat for breakfast. The air was still, with only our pointless chatter and unhurried footfalls to divide the silence. Then something in our environment changed. Not something seen or heard, but definitely felt.

Something was wrong.

We stopped motionless; our idle conversation dropped in an instant. The short hairs on the back of our necks were on high alert and jumped to attention.
No flash. No sound. There was nothing so overt to stop us in our tracks, yet here we were frozen. All of our senses were heightened, and we were overcome with the feeling--no, the knowledge--that we were no longer alone on this service road. Seemingly choreographed and on cue, we simultaneously turned to face something we instinctively knew was immediately behind us.

As if it rose from the road itself, quiet as the permanent residents of the cemetery who surrounded us, and just a few feet from arm’s reach, two bright white headlights sliced deep into the darkness, hitting us with their full intensity. Nearly overwhelmed by the flood of illumination, only the some of the polished chrome from the vehicle's bumper and grill could be made out in the darkness. In stunned silence, our brains raced to make sense of what our eyes were showing us. But my snap judgment told me the police caught us.

"Shit run!"

Were we really doing something that was that wrong, I asked myself? It didn't matter. Our flight from the mystery motorcar was a reaction of pure instinct and not guided by reason. We scurried off little jack rabbits from a big predator.

Ahead of us was a curve in the road, and beyond it, we hoped, potential cover. We managed to take shelter behind the erected grave marker, and lay in silence as we waited for the car. In the presence of the dead, the violent pounding of our hearts was an ironic reminder of just how alive we were, and just how alive such excitement can make one feel.

“Where’d ‘e go?"

The silence and the darkness held to itself the answer to that question. A minute or more had passed when Eric and I tentatively, almost haltingly, peeked out from behind the granite monument and looked back at the road. Our eyes met the stillness of the night. Rising up to our knees we stared deeper into the shadows, and still we found nothing looking back at us.
Faintly backlit by the distant streetlights, in the darkness the silhouettes of headstones took on the guise of had ragged teeth and we had fallen into the cemetery’s gaping maw. By now we should be caught. Still, despite the smattering of landscape trees, shrubs, and old stone memorials, the car should not have been that hard to spot. In truth, choosing that impromptu hideout was an ineffective solution to evade our mysterious pursuer because there wasn’t as much cover when we rounded the corner as we thought. Indeed from our vantage point we could see almost the entire expanse of the graveyard to include where the access road ran all the way out to the street. And it would've been simply impossible for the car to just drive in front of us, and have us fail to notice.

“Go!”

With that command, we sprinted down the rudimentary path, not stopping until we left the cemetery and reached the oasis of yellow-orange light shining down on the city street from the lamp overhead. We had escaped. The streetlight radiated a perceived glow of safety or spiritual warmth contrasted with what we began to understand as the “empty” effulgence cast out from the headlights of the car we had seen not two minutes earlier.

We stuck to the streets as we made our way back to Eric's place, consciously deciding not to take any shortcuts back through the cemetery, keeping watchful eyes on the burial grounds and keenly spied each end of the access road where it met the public street, for any sign of the missing car. We were relieved not to be caught while in the cemetery. And so while it was stupid to run away from the police in the first place, I knew that neither he nor I could afford whatever ticket Johnny Law would be so gracious as to give to us. Within moments however as we began to compare notes and digest the events of the evening, a new realization began to take hold.

Why didn't we see the light from the headlights cast out in front of us before we turned around or see the headlights sweep around the cemetery? Where was the engine noise; and for that matter why would the dirt and gravel growl beneath our feet as we walked, yet nearly two tons of automobile made no sound whatsoever on the roadbed? Why didn’t he follow us? Modern Ford Crown Victoria's don't have round headlights, but didn’t they look round to you? I didn't see emergency lights, did you? And now that I think about it, did the front of the car look rather old or did I imagine that?

What began with an assumption that the local constabulary found us trespassing, quickly began to fall apart under the weight of our own self-examination. Thinking back to the behavior of the Ouija board earlier in the evening, Eric and I couldn't help but wonder if these events were linked. With our heads on a swivel to catch sight of anything else unusual lurking in the darkness, it was not the dampness in the air that chilled us as we nervously scurried back to Eric's home.

Either we ran into an apparitional automobile, had gone quite mad haring a singular illusion or were telling tall tales. Amy couldn't be sure which of those options was correct as we told her the story. She was always tolerant of our antics, yet on this night concern furrowed her brow. Eric’s wife let it be known in an I told you so kind of way that what we had done was ignorant at best and dangerously foolish at worst. Like children playing with their dad’s gun, we may have created the potential for something very serious to happen.

Perhaps it did; perhaps not. I don’t know.

I'm not necessarily married to the idea that what occurred that night must have originated on the “other side"; although I am open to the concept. I cannot simply say that a ghost car appeared anymore than I can say it was all an unconscious flight of fancy. Neither believer nor debunker am I. But if our imaginations had run away with us, without so much as the courtesy to let us know about the fanciful journey in advance, then at that moment with our minds focused on more secular topics, why where we both instantaneously, and so primitively--so viscerally--compelled to turn and both see the same car which could not have been there in the first place?

Simple answers come easier, if it happens to someone else.

UPDATE:
I went to the cemetery a couple years ago, and found the headstone we hid behind that day. Hasn't too hard. As I wrote, it was about 6 feet from the service road (which I am standing on when I shot the picture), near the curve, and was the largest stone of its type in that area.
Image
Last edited by Tremors on 25 Apr 2017, 16:16, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Ghost Stories: Adventures From the "Other Side"!

Postby Tremors » 02 Oct 2012, 14:05

Alright folks, its October; Halloween is right around the corner. Its the time of year to delve into the ooky-spooky. I have to believe that there are others with firsthand experience with the not-to-readily-explained. I gave you my ghost story, and it really is about the only story I got. So now its your turn!
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Re: Ghost Stories: Adventures From the "Other Side"!

Postby Tremors » 09 Oct 2012, 12:19

Oh guys c'mon, you're "killing" me here! :lol: :twisted:
Last edited by Tremors on 17 Oct 2013, 21:40, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ghost Stories: Adventures From the "Other Side"!

Postby Tremors » 17 Oct 2013, 21:39

Okay, now its October. Halloween time...again. Start kicking out your ghostly tales...if you dare. :twisted:
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Re: Ghost Stories: Adventures From the "Other Side"!

Postby Tremors » 24 Oct 2017, 16:21

http://www.twincities.com/2017/10/23/dnr-officers-look-for-deer-poachers-in-cemetery-find-ghostbusters-instead/

Classic. I can kinda relate...though I wasn't using some goofy "ghost app"! :lol:
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