Friday, October 31, 2008

Spooky Stuff

Being that it is Halloween, it would be appropriate to write something in a scary or spooky vein but I really have little to offer along those lines. About the most exciting Halloween memory I have is of my buddy Michael Jones telling me how he stuck ice cubes in the bags of trick or treaters because when the ice melted, the bag got soggy and tore at the bottom, letting the candy fall out.

Do you believe in ghosts? Do you think you've ever seen one, or experienced any other supernatural phenomenon? I don't, and I haven't. Never had anything even remotely in that realm come close to me. About all I can say is when I was little, I awakened in the middle of the night and was sure there was a grinning turtle peering at me over my headboard. In the past I've been curious, though, about encounters other people claim to have had.

Several classmates in high school insisted on the reality of the "white lady" who haunted a particular street in Los Angeles, mysteriously appearing in her ghostly transparent self in front of cars whose headlights shone right through her. This was no joke, they insisted. They had a friend who actually saw her. Could this be? I wondered whether or not that was for real - after all, these were people I knew!

Duane and I visited the Baldwin Hills library one evening. We ran into a couple of our classmates, Lorraine Matsueda and Misa Miyamoto. After a little while, academia boredom over came us and as I recall, it was at my suggestion for want of anything better to do, we piled into Duane's car and ventured out to look for the "white lady."

Details of that night escape me except I'm certain we never found anything close to ghostlike; the most mysterious thing was probably why they let me talk them into doing this in the first place, but at least we got to go for a nice ride.

All this time I thought we had gone to Chinatown. "Avon Street" sticks in my mind as the street inhabited by the ghost. Misa, on the other hand, said we went to Griffith Park searching for the apparition, and wound up in Silverlake. She has an amazingly good memory. Or maybe she thinks she does and since I'm so fuzzy in the brain, I'm intimidated into believing her, haha. But then, she's probably correct; had the ghostly white lady really lived on Avon Street, that would have made her the "Avon Lady."

I fear I'm a pretty gullible person. The only reason I was so fascinated by this ghost was because people insisted that they knew someone who had seen it. Well, like so many urban legends, it's always reliable because the person who tells you knows the person who told them personally. If you want to know more about the white lady, take a look at Wikipedia under "white lady ghost" and there's quite a long article about it.

Ouija boards are another item I used to wonder about. Some people swear that they personally experienced the moving planchette spelling words out on the board and also swear that neither they nor their partner deliberately moved it, but somehow supernatural forces guided their fingers/hands to each letter.

I've tried it before with no meaningful results. Most of the time the planchette travels nowhere. Once it did move but spelled out nonsense. I wasn't moving it and the other person claimed they weren't, either, but you never know if they are fibbing or not. According to the explanation in Wikipedia, a person's subconscious directs the movement, thus we are unaware of what is happening and are often surprised at the answers.

Then there's the reliable old fortune-telling magic 8 Ball. Ask it anything and it gives you astonishingly appropriate answers. I never believed in any of these things although when much younger I did sort of believe that the results of playing the board game Life would somehow be borne out in reality. Haha, fat chance!

I guess there's lots of things we believe in because we want it to be so. The white lady, ouija, magic 8 ball, fortune tellers, tarot cards, lucky numbers, tap our heels together, elections.. anyway - it's Halloween; have a safe and sane one!




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