Let's face it, no one really knows for sure if ghosts exist or not, but I've always suspected (wished, hoped) that they did. I suppose I find the idea reassuring in a strange way, but as I've had no experiences of my own, I've had to rely on other people's stories and theories and hope they weren't smoking anything when they saw or heard what they said they heard or saw.
In researching my next book I've been doing some reading about them. Not ghost stories, as you might imagine, but books written by people who claim to have communicated with them. This time, for at least part of the book, I'm writing from the vantage point of the ghost, so I'm not as interested in rattling chains as I am in why they rattle them.
In the process of researching this topic, I may have stumbled across the answer to an ongoing problem that plagues our household. The mystery of missing items. According to one writer, some ghosts think it's funny to move items around when no one is looking. If so, then the one that haunts our home has a strange sense of humor. This can probably be explained by the fact that the people who live here also have a strange sense of humor and like energy attracts like. Personally, I am not amused.
This ghost seems to concentrate on two things: the dust pan and my socks. Not the boys' socks, not Gary's socks. Mine and only mine.
I don't know exactly when it started, but over the last few weeks, I've grown increasingly aware of my shrinking pool of socks and I've had to resort to mismatches or borrowing Gary's more and more. At first, I blamed it on my own carelessness with the laundry and assumed they'd gone into some boys' drawer.
Yesterday, I finally went in search of them. Having emptied the utility room, checked all dressers, and dug through the small container in which I keep all single socks (in hopes that their mates will turn up), I paired multiple erstwhile single socks and did a count of all the ones without mates. All of the men's socks were located and now everyone has drawers full of nicely rolled, clean socks. Everyone, that is, except me.
Until just a few weeks ago, I owned twelve pairs of socks--nice ones of various breeds and colors--thick thermal ones, fuzzy ones, footies, ankle socks, and thin dress socks. I now own twelve mate-less socks. In fact, I'm presently wearing a pair of Gary's thick black ones, which are comfortable, but don't look very nice with leather penny loafers; and they look especially goofy with white New Balance tennis shoes. My socks are not in my drawers, nor are they in any of the boys'. They cannot be under my bed as my box springs are sitting on the floor (no monsters will be grabbing my ankles during the night!). I've looked high and low, even in places as tropical and illogical as the shed, the dogs' beds, under the sofa cushions, behind furniture, and even the far reaches of my own closet. This is not the first time I've had socks go missing, but it is the first time they have all vanished at the same time. They are simply gone. Coincidence? I think not. If this is indeed the work of a ghost, it is an evil, sick entity.
It also seems to think it's funny to move the dustpans. Pull out a broom and dustpan around here to do some sweeping, set the dustpan in some conspicuous place, and, I promise you, at some point while sweeping, you'll reach for it and it won't be there. If you're like me, you'll assume you've lost your mind, and wander from room to room muttering, "Where did I put that thing?" Or you'll blame the kids, who will (in their own defense) jump to their feet and help you look. After you've dismantled the room in which you were sure you set it, someone will trot in waving it, saying "I found it!" They will tell you they found it in the broom closet (where it belongs), or on top of the washing machine (near the broom closet). Lest you think I'm just absent minded (and I'll own up to that), let me add to this mystery. Sometimes it's never found. It goes missing and never reports back. Wanna hear something even creepier? I've probably bought six dust pans in the last year and a half. And NO ONE KNOWS WHERE THEY WENT. (Cue spooky music . . .)
I've decided against hiring a TV ghost hunter for the time being as they are expensive and I don't like being laughed at, but I'm thinking about performing an exorcism in my utility room, which seems to be the nexus of the entity's power. I'd contemplated lighting some candles and saying some Hail Mary's (though as I'm not Catholic, I'm not sure how convincing I'll be) and waving around some incense. However Gary, (who says that anybody can be a ghost hunter--all they need is a flashlight, a movie camera, and the ability to gasp believably) insists that I'll be better off to set out some warm banana bread and a glass of milk and leave him to watch for spiritual activity. Apparently ghosts love banana bread and milk. Who knew? I asked him what he'd do if it made an appearance and he replied that he'd probably offer to share. I have no idea how this is supposed to exorcise the ghost, but Gary seems enthused about it.