Ghosts—Things That Go Bump in The Night
Who loves a good ghost story? I’m not talking about slasher flicks—I mean well-written stories that make you wonder if something exists on the other side.
I can tell you that I believe in ghosts. I do not believe that ghosts are inherently mean. They can be, but not all are.
When I was thirty-seven years old, my first husband, John Ritchie, passed away unexpectedly due to gross medical negligence by doctors at UCLA Medical Center. Although eight doctors were in the surgical suite, a resident was allowed to place a line in John’s neck. This line punctured the major artery in his neck not once but twice. His blood pressure plummeted. They packed him in ice. But it was too late. He went into a coma and never came back to me. He was just forty when he died. I share this with you not for sympathy but to tell you that for years after, I felt John’s presence with me. Little things that only I would recognize let me know he was watching over me and making sure I was okay. I don’t feel his spirit with me anymore. But I do still cry for the love that I lost. I am sure if he was still alive, we would still be married. He was the love of my life.
I come from the small Caribbean island of Jamaica. I bet you didn’t know that Jamaica has more churches and chapels per capita than any other country in the world. Why? Jamaicans are deeply religious and God-fearing people. And yes, many of them believe in ghosts. Think about it—the Jamaican countryside can be quite dark at night because Jamaica does not have the infrastructure that the United States does. In Jamaica, the country folks have developed their own kinds of country medicines—mint tea to cure a belly ache and so on. So, the people live very close to the land and are very superstitious.
In Jamaica, people don’t call spirits ghosts. They are called duppies, and the worst thing you can do to a person is draw down a duppy upon them.
One of the most haunted buildings in the world is Rose Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica. This Georgian mansion is noted for the legend of the White Witch of Rose Hall, who was called Annee Palmer in life and allegedly murdered three husbands and many slaves. Her ghost is said to haunt the property. Some believe the story, and some declare it pure fiction. My cousin stayed at the property when it functioned as a hotel, and she believes Rose Hall is really haunted.
One of the next books I am working on is a Southern Gothic novel called “Fiona’s Box.” The story is about a jewel-inlaid silver box that is given to young girl, Fiona, by a relative. The box is evil and cursed. Soon, Fiona is overtaken by its power and does things she never thought she would do. Years later, the box lands in the hands of Casey, a young girl living with her mother and some runaways in a big old house in St. Augustine, Florida. At an estate sale, Casey is drawn to the box immediately. She purchases it. Soon, strange visions and nightmares fill Casey’s dreams, and Fiona’s box slowly takes over her mind.
So, to those who believe things go bump in the night, sweet dreams.
And to those who do not believe in such things, sweet nightmares.
Until next time.