An after life makes no sense. I can’t fathom a life of dead skin, blocked noses, bad diet and regrettable fashion choices being followed by clouds, harps and ambrosia. Given I am making parenting up as I go the main lesson in life is seemingly how to win at Angry Birds. Unless there are evil pigs in heaven I am not sure what the point is. I can’t believe I’ll open my eyes and see deceased relatives and pets gathered around me. My grandfather (who assured me that he was the next Christ) told me pets don’t go to heaven as God doesn’t love animals so on the off chance I’m wrong I won’t have to front up to the hamster that died in a marijuana related incident back in ’97
The issue with not believing in an after life, for a comfortable cotton underwear Goth like me, is Ghosts. I would love to believe in them. I want to believe in them. I want a GhostBuster outfit, I want my wife to dress as a shorter version of Dana Barrett and maybe make devil dog noises, I love creepy old houses and legends of crewless boats adrift on the ocean. If screams come curdling in the night from wraiths must there be something after death?
I’ve had two “ghost” encounters.
The first was at a girlfriend’s house in ‘98. Only the bedroom and the bathroom were open; every other door was locked due to her father renovating the place. As I was falling asleep she told me not to worry if I heard a knock on the bedroom door during the night.
The place is haunted, some nights around 3am something knocks at the door. Don’t worry about it.
I worried. I woke up that night at 2.58am in need of the bathroom. I stumbled in the dark and stood at the toilet, bathroom door open behind me, the stairs beyond that. I heard a creak behind me that sounded like the bottom stair. I tried to think nothing of it but then heard another, higher. I looked down the stairs, the moonlight from the bathroom window showing the staircase to halfway down. Another creak came from the pitch black below, somewhere around the third stair.
I should have turned on the light to see what was there, but it was 3am when all things have teeth, ill will and huge stature. I bolted back to bed and dove under the covers as I heard another step, and then another. I had left the door open and reached out one hand and flailed to find it, pushing it closed as I heard the steps reach the landing. The door clicked shut and immediately there came three knocks. I held the duvet over my head as my girlfriend lay fast asleep.
Three more knocks came, louder this time. My girlfriend rolled over in her sleep and said
The steps did not retreat but there were no more knocks. I lay cold, clammy and a bit upset and realised I needed the bathroom again. I stayed that way for the rest of the night, still under the covers. Quite what my girlfriend meant by Not tonight I never asked.
The other encounter was at a hotel outside of Canberra. The kids loved the place as it was creaky and creepy. Our room was in the attic. Every vacant room had its door wide open so as we walked to our room we passed dark doorways full of shapes. The landlady told us, after my wife commented on the creaky stairs and headless mannequin in the pool room that
Oh yes, we have a few ghosts here.
She told us about a bushranger shooting a policeman in the bar where we were sat and Bear found the place less exciting. He couldn’t get his head around the idea of 100 years ago and believed that the shooting had been within the last few days. We tucked up for bed, tramping up and down the stairs to use the bathroom past open dark doorways, and slept.
Sometime in the night my wife got up. I considered creeping up on her in the darkness but realised she would scream the place down. She returned and immediately fell asleep and I rolled over and closed my eyes.
Right in my ear an incredibly deep voice growled. I’d love to say it growled that Satan was coming or that blood would run but instead it growled
Not exactly the most terrifying of words but it still scared me and again left me in the needing the bathroom but unwilling to move state.
It didn’t speak again and I didn’t sleep again. My wife woke at a little while later and I pitched the idea that we leave as soon as possible, like now, straight away, get an early start, get home. I told her about the demonic Mummy incident and she told me I was an idiot. I’ve stuck to the story since and she’s stuck with her reaction.
With both incidents I am happy to say that I did hear something but both incidents came with the suggestion that I might hear something. Given my overactive imagination I can see that I likely conjured the rest from my head, though if there are ghosts then they seem determined to make me lay in bed needing to pee once every 14 years. Come the year 2026 I’ll wear an adult sized nappy to bed ready for an encounter from beyond.
There will come an afternoon where I’m sat hairy, wise and flatulent. My wife, dressed as Dana from Ghostbusters, will be telling me there is a pie in the oven. My great grandkids will be singing about my many adventures. The waitresses of Sydney will all be smiling at the thought of my custom. My eyes will flicker closed and the light in my consciousness will simply snuff out. It’s will not be a cold black eternity, it will be simply be nothing,
Since doing nothing is one of my favourite past times, becoming nothing seems idyllic to me.