In the spirit of Halloween (get it?) I decided to post a blog about this wonderfully eerie celebration.
*Be warned...what you are about to read is my own experience laden with dead souls, mystery, an ominous yet beautiful Victorian styled home and two innocent dogs. (Don't worry, no humans or animals were harmed during the writing of this blog or during the actual events itself.)*
So if you have the courage to, best bring out the marshmallows and gather around the crackling fireplace for halloween will not be complete without a true ghost story to inspire some hair raising chills...
Y'all ready for this?
First a quick lesson on the history of Halloween:
As you know, Halloween is celebrated yearly on 31st October.
It started off as a Celtic festival known as Samhain some 2000 years ago. This took place in a land we now call Ireland. (Yep, Halloween is actually Irish...imagine that!)
The Celts celebrated their new year on 1st November which marked the end of summer and the start of a cold, dark winter. They believed that the night before New Year, the line between the living and dead became blurred.
In other words, dead souls wander earth on the night of 31st October, mingling with the living. Muwhahahahaha!
The use of masks came about hundreds of years ago, when people were scared to walk the streets on the spooky night of October. They believed that dead souls would recognize them and the use of the masks would make the ghosts believe that they too were a spirit.
During the decades, Halloween has evolved into what is now more of a party and celebration with costumes ranging from fun to sexy to weird or wacky and scary.
(Like me as a she-devil and my one of my sexy besties, who dressed up as a witch, to celebrate Halloween this weekend at a themed night club. For us ladies, dressing up is always the best part!)
Two elements, traditions and superstitions are still gently touched upon; one of them being telling ghost stories around a bonfire.
Which brings me to my main point.
The fire has started, marshmallows are roasting and I'm about to relate my own personal experience of a ghostly tale...
It all began on a dark, spooky night...(Actually it began on a really bright day where the birds chirped blissfully away and the sun shone in all its awe. But for effect, I will be dramatic.)
My parents, siblings around my age and my twenty-seven year old self, had just moved into a gorgeous home. (I wish I had pictures of that place but that home no longer exists as it once did.)
It was an enormous three - story house which boasted five bedrooms, three bathrooms, a large game room, an enchanting fireplace, spacious garden, pool etc.
What I loved about that place was that amidst the modern decor, the black and white painted home emanated an old school appearance with its stunning Victorian architecture, wooden flooring and Gothic styled balconies.
For me it also evoked a magnetic feel, not only because of it's towering size but also because, from day one, I sensed a tragic darkness weaved into the walls. That feeling was so powerful that I would often sleep with the lights on. (I have a strong sixth sense.) My sister felt the same way as I did.
But like a horror movie, it was one room that caused the hair on my arms to stand on end. That was the fireplace room and whenever I entered it, a dreadful wave overtook my mind resulting in me not wanting to stand in that space for too long. I felt whatever tragedy took place in that house...happened in the fireplace room.
Because of that, my sister and I decided to investigate the history of the house but that was futile. The only thing we learnt was that when the house was first built English soldiers lived in it and during the 1980's it was turned into a bed and breakfast.
Our next step was to make friends with the elderly man and wife who resided across us. We heard that they were the only residents in that small road to know about the history of our place as they had lived on that road for many, many years.
We set up a date to speak to them but it never happened. For on the same day that all was meant to be revealed to us, the elderly man sadly, passed away in his sleep. His wife had understandably spent weeks and weeks mourning and thereafter sold the house and moved away to live with her children.
We never saw or heard from her again.
Of course the whole incident is more life being life in its unfortunate way rather than eerie co-incidence, but we never got to find out the history of the place and we were back to square one.
Now the house, situated in Tropical Durban, meant there was no need for the fireplace to be used. So we decided to turn the fireplace into a beautiful guest room. The room itself was large and could fit a king size bed in it with additional space for cupboards etc so it made for a very comfortable and homely invite.
The first outsider to stay there was my mums sister...however that was short lived! For on her first night sleeping there, she got up just after midnight in a state of panic. Running straight to my parents bedroom, she insisted she wanted to go home immediately!
After trying to calm her down, she revealed to us that she had witnessed a terrifying black shadow in her room. The figure glided suspiciously, as if an angry shadow had come to life and was searching for revenge of some kind.
After everyone in the house admitted that none of us was in the fireplace room that night, we all became a bit perturbed. (My family, and me to some extent, do not really believe in ghosts).
We chalked it down to my aunt either being dramatic, dreaming or having her mind play tricks on her.
Nevertheless, she did go home that night and we were still perturbed.
Two months later, my sister's boyfriend was too tired to drive home so he slept over in the guest room. (We did not relate anything to him about the room being 'haunted' or about what my aunt saw.)
Next morning, we were greeted by his unusually shaken up self.
He confessed that he did not have a good night sleep due to the fact that he had woken up at midnight hearing a strange noise. The noise he said, turned out to be a black spirit roaming the fireplace room for quite a few seconds and then vanishing into thin air.
At that point my siblings and I began to wonder about the authenticity of ghosts as well as my deep, unsettling feelings about the fireplace room.
Another month later, a family friend stayed over for a few days with us. Now this friend does not believe in ghosts and just like my sister's boyfriend we did not say anything to her, prior to staying, about a black figure in that room - seeing as we were unsure of it ourselves and we didn't want to scare people away.
Similar to the other two guests, she too woke up the next morning to let us know her frightful experience in seeing a distinct black figure gliding along and then vanishing.
She was visibly nervous but her strong courage and open mind allowed her to spend a few more nights in that room, albeit with the lights on and the door open.
This then caused me, my brother, sister and two friends to resume investigation. My sister had purchased an Ipad and we put it to effective use by downloading a ghost app -one that records supernatural energy using electronic voice phenomena and (EVP) and electromagentic field (EMF).
Gathering our bravery, and our two dogs, the five of us toured the inside of the house while the app was on.
It had picked up slight paranormal activity here and there but the minute we stepped into (yes, you guessed it) the fireplace room, our dogs, who up until that point, was only allowed into our lounge and a relevant size section of the house they stayed in, began barking and jumping wildly while at the same time the app went crazy, highlighting the intense presence of supernatural energy around the room!
All five us immediately shrieked and ran out, including my muscular, big sized brother -who one can describe as a Corleone in the Godfather movies.
We made a pact from that day to close off the fireplace room but soon after, due to personal reasons, that gorgeous house was sold and the new owners broke it down and rebuilt it to suit their fashion.
Unfortunately, we never got to find out who the black shadow was and the history of that home.
I had always felt though, that that place harbored spine-chilling stories, one that could stay with you your whole life and one that would make the most hardened of hearts...believe that dead souls do exist on earth.
And maybe, just maybe, they expose themselves on the 31st October every year.
What ghost stories have you encountered? I would love to hear!