October 31st, 2006
Happy Halloween

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Halloween. There’s just something electric in the air this time of year. You can almost taste the energy. I’m a strange duck in the sense that I enjoy monster movies and paranormal everything, but I don’t like to be scared. Like I said, I’m strange. *g*

In honor of Halloween, I thought I’d put up some cool links to some haunted sites and share a ghost story. The first and best IMO is Mary King’s Close. This medieval street was walled up during the plague and the people inside were left to die. Legend has it that they had to saw off body parts to get them out after rigor set in. The site is located around the corner from dh’s old flat in Old Town Edinburgh, Scotland. Now I didn’t personally see any ghosts when I did the tour, but I did have a couple of unusual things happen when I was down there. The first was I felt like the group I was with was being followed. I kept looking over my shoulder so much that the tour guide asked if I was okay. The sensation never went away while I was down there. The second occurred when we entered a room where the child, Annie died. For some reason, I couldn’t breathe in there. I started hyperventilating and had to be walked out of the room into a bigger space. (It was quite embarrassing.) The tour guide later said that the child had suffocated. Weird. At least I thought so.

The next site I have been to, but didn’t tour, is Greyfriars’ Graveyard. I have a lot of photos of this place, but I don’t know how to get them onto my blog. There are definitely some creepy looking crypts in this cemetery, but I do find it strangely beautiful.

Now for my ghost story. When I was a teenager, I worked as a nurse’s aid in nursing homes and in private care. I had a love/hate relationship with the job. I loved it because I enjoyed talking to the people in the homes and I hated it because I got attached to everyone so when someone died it felt like I was losing my grandparents repeatedly.

One woman, we’ll call her El, I was particularly attached to. She told me stories about her younger years that would probably curl her son’s eyebrows. *ggg* One day I came in for my shift and El told me she wanted to die. Keep in mind that she didn’t have anything life-threatening wrong with her. I dismissed it and tried to make a joke because the subject made me uncomfortable. El was dead a week and a half later. It was the first time in my life that I realized that people could WILL themselves to die. I was heartbroken over her death, but it’s what happened beforehand and directly after that has stayed with me all these years.

The women I worked with at the nursing home told me that when someone was getting ready to die that paranormal activity started in the home. I honestly thought they were pulling my leg, but several swore that they spotted the ghost of one of the past tenants coming out of the ‘chapel’ area. He was an ex-soldier who’d been wheelchair bound in his later years. They’d see him dressed in his uniform, standing proud by the doors. Luckily, I never saw him, but I always liked the idea that he was no longer confined to his chair. They also occasionally felt someone pulling their hair and tapping them on the shoulder.

It appeared that El had died, but the activity hadn’t. There were extreme temperature changes in the wing I worked in. The best way I can describe it is a ‘dead cold’. It’s not like when you open your freezer or walk into the snow. The charge in the air seems to be sucked away, leaving only a lifeless cold behind. This wall of cold started at the end of the hall near El’s old room and continued all the way to the chapel. I could literally stick my arm out and half of it was in room temperature while the other half was in the cold. As if having a wall of cold wasn’t scary enough, the one room at the end of the hall had the furniture rearranged in it between rounds.

Being the skeptic that I am, I dismissed the furniture as a prank the other girls were playing on me. I figured the cold air was a disruption in the a/c system. That reasoning worked until we finished rounds. What I failed to mention is that in every room there is a call button above the patients’ heads. Each button had an answering light located at the nurse’s station. Several of the residents weren’t physically capable of reaching that button.

As I said, the rounds ended and we headed for the nurse’s station. We’d just stopped to say hello to the RN on duty when the call buttons started going off in what looked like a power surge. We went room to room, turning off the buttons and making sure everyone was okay. The second we got back to the nurse’s station the buttons started coming back on one by one. It was definitely NOT a power surge. At this point, the hair on the back of my neck and on my arms rose. My eyes started to water. (This happens every time I get scared.) The ‘cold’ had moved to encompass the last four rooms in the hall. Whatever/Whoever it was (perhaps El) was having a grand time playing with us.

By the end of my shift the cold had disappeared and the floor was back to room temperature. We (the two other aids and I) received a call from the other wing, telling us our new ‘friend’ was over visiting them. Since we were technically off work, we went over to investigate. (I was much braver and far more bulletproof back then.;) The temperature in their wing changed about halfway down. The nurse’s aids had turned the lights off for the nightshift. Dark + Cold = Tons of fun. *ggg* We walked down the hall, rubbing our arms to try to get warm. It didn’t work. We’d made it almost to the end when we heard one of the residents ask, “Is there someone in my room?”

Me and one of the other girls stepped forward to look in her room and saw a gray mist hovering near the night light. It wasn’t big, approximately three feet in height and about a foot off the ground. It also didn’t have form…exactly, but I’d seen enough to know that I was out of there. My ghost-hunting days were over. (Unless TAPS would let me ride along on one of their jobs.:) The third nurse’s aid had already started running by the time me and the other girl took off. I was so scared that I beat them both down the hall. I quit my job a month later. I couldn’t quite get past what I’d seen and experienced. Like I said, I was a teenager so my imagination was running wild after that night. If I hadn’t experienced everything with two other people, I would probably have tried to convince myself it never happened. Funny how the mind works. Happy Halloween.

12 comments to “Happy Halloween”

  1. Ohh-kayyy, I’m all covered in shivers though it’s (still) 80 degrees outside. Thanks, Jordan. And I thought I was immune to Halloween creepiness by now. 😉

  2. Oh, I love Greyfriar’s Graveyard. Haven’t seen a single ghost in Edinburgh, though, and hell knows I was around at night a lot.

    I think it would be fun to visit a battlefield at night in hope I’d see some ghosts acting the battle out – could help me a lot as writer of historical fiction. But since I’m not scared by the idea, I’m probably not psychic enough to see any ghosts. 🙂

  3. Catherine, You’re funny. Now I know I didn’t scare you. *g* 😉

  4. Gabriele, I’m not sure fear needs to be a factor. It certainly isn’t on the Ghost Hunter show. They’ve seen some things that would’ve had me moving house.

  5. 🙂 Ghosts spook me. No pun intended. We have two ‘ghost’ cats in our house (it’s 100+ years old so it came with them). We also have a gentleman dweller in the basement. He only made an appearnce once. But he repeatedly opens doors when the basement is disturbed by folks who don’t live here, like the handyman, or the furnace guy. I always wondered why the door to the basement, the one that leades to my stairs from my living room, and the one at the top of the stairs had chain locks, when they are all interiour doors, and the house is primarily a one family. I discovered it was because of our mad door opener. The previous owner didn’t like the noise I guess.

  6. Ursula, Yikes! That is scary. :-O

  7. Jordan. TOTALLY cool stories. 😉

  8. Thanks Raine! 😀

  9. Well as someone who used to be a sceptic, let me confirm that what you saw in the nursing home was definitely some past tenants, that being said, what you experienced at Mary King’s Close, at least in the little girl’s room sounds more like an imprint rather than a haunting. The distinct difference between these two is that hauntings are actual spirits (ghosts) that do not even realize they are dead, they don’t realize that they could at any time leave this plane and go to the Other Side. Imprints are pockets of energy, caused by traumatic events, extreme emotions. Imprints can last lifetimes because they continue to grow, they are fed by emotion, human emotion. So what you felt of the little girl’s suffering was as a result of her death in that place but also as a result of the grief by her family and everyone who has entered that room since. After all we are all made up of energy right, so it makes sense that our energy could be passed into another space or entity. It’s hard to explain but ghosts, hauntings and imprints are not something to fear. Most ghosts are not out to do harm, they simply are confused, angry and upset that they are not seen, heard or communicated with by anyone. Those who can and do see them either fear them or don’t know how to react. I always like to strike up a conversation if they will let me but some are unwilling to discuss the fact that they might be dead. Well anyway I have stories but I’ve already dragged out this post. 🙂

  10. Shannon, That’s a great explanation. My great-grandmother used to be able to speak to the dead. I haven’t had any of those conversations. Not sure I’d be up to one at this point in my life. Maybe later. 😀

  11. I can testify to the paranormal activity when someone dies. The week before my mother passed, strange things happened (it was also the week of the 6th anniversary of my father’s death). A picture of my father fell and the frame broke, and a picture of his tombstone (it’s at the National Cemetary and we have it framed next to his flag) fell off the wall – significantly, that tombstone will have to be dug up and her information added to the back (they stack the graves there). After mom died and we were cleaning out her room, we discovered that the picture of my brother who died last year had somehow fallen and the glass cracked. Mom’s perfume still shows up here periodically.

  12. Bailey, Yep, that’s exactly the kind of stuff I’m talking about. Right before my grandma passed a picture flew off their wall and ‘floated’ halfway across the room, then landed on the floor. I smelled her scent several times in her house after she died. I also felt her in my house. Well, actually, I’m pretty sure she wrapped her arms around me from behind at one point.