Do you believe in ghosts?
Are they the monsters under your bed, or are they the stuff you feel peeling the hairs off your neck to stand on end?
Or are they Samara's long, stringy hair leading the clay-mation way out of a television screen?
Or are they the silence itself at the end of time?
Ghosts, to me, are closely linked to religion. There's a physical aspect to them, but there's also a dogmatic aspect to them. Some people get swept away in the stories, in the threats that haunt them; some people taunt the legends and dare them to come out at night and do their worst.
I like to think that I stay firmly in the middle.
I remember when I visited the Winchester Mystery House--I must have been something like thirteen or fourteen, or maybe twelve--but I was a kid, still religious and still certain that magic could be real. I was sure that I could talk to the dead, if I really listened. I believed in mystical spontaneity. If I waited long enough, if I blinked my eyes in a certain way--I could control the weather. I could make something levitate. I could hear God.
I was sure, when I entered the Winchester Mystery House, that I was walking into something absolutely spectacular. It was one of the first museums I'd ever visited that was endlessly interesting to me--never before had I been so interested in history. I wanted to know everything there was to know about the house, I wanted to know everything there was to know about Sarah Winchester. But she's a ghost--reduced to a vague, transparent spirit, just an outline, an echo, a legend, a shell.
Thirteen bathrooms. Thirteen pieces of wood, thirteen steps in a staircase. Thirteen windows in a given area. The famed Door to Nowhere. I loved this house. I loved the smell of the dust, the old Victorian materials, the threat of Nicole Kidman from "The Others" peeking out eerily from behind lace curtains. There was something so fascinating about the lingering dead--like somehow, if I were to see a ghost, I would be able to figure out the key to life: I would be able to talk to people in the middle.
The construction of the Winchester mansion ended with Sarah Winchester's death. In October, what Sarah believed now sells as a gimmick to get tourists to be given a cheap fright. Legends are as legends do. I know, now: they cannot smell the dust. They cannot turn the curtains.
Or so I like to believe.
Because if I believe it, the monsters can't reach out and grab my ankle.
(This meandering post brought to you by Rie watching the newest season of "Doctor Who" because it finally came on to Netflix and eee I love it.)
PART OF THIS COMPLETE BREAKFAST
Blog not recommended for sober consumption.