Monday, November 2, 2009

Wisdom from the mouth of ghouls

On Friday I went with a friend to Spooky World, a collection of "haunted" houses. It's a blast, kind of an immersive theater experience, though there is a sameness to most of the attractions; some variant of zombies or scary clowns, a section with strobe lights and another with faux bodies hanging from the ceilings. I found myself yelling at the actors before they could yell at me, perhaps some old survival instinct trying to frighten away the spirits before they could get me. It was really a lot of fun.

One of the attractions stood out from the rest. For one, I went through it alone. My friend had already gone through it. For another, it had a coherent theme throughout - instead of a bunch of disjointed rooms the whole thing was a Victorian dinner party gone very, very wrong. And finally, it was dark. There was no real illumination beyond the glowstick I was given to light my path. I cupped it in my hand held high above my head to shine a weak light in front of me.

This attraction was genuinely scary. I walked through it alone in relative quiet and had to find my way in the dark. The actors (the ghouls) perhaps because I was alone, didn't jump out at me as much, but talked with me a little more than they did in the other houses. It was fascinating and creepy, more like really talking to the dead than like having people in costume jump out and startle me.

One ghoulish woman was especially effective. She drifted up to me in the dark and asked, "Are you wandering alone in the dark like a lost little child?" to which I replied, "No, I'm in the dark, a lost adult." As I said it I realized how this was a double edged statement and not entirely inaccurate. A moment later she reappeared, "Remember, not all who wander are lost," and she was gone.

I wandered into the next room, then the next, talking with various ghouls, jumping at some, laughing with others, but this one woman has stuck with me. She gave me such a gift, inadvertent spiritual wisdom from this side of the grave. I doubt if she remembers doing this or knows that her clever line was meaningful, but for that moment she became the ghost with gifts, a gift I needed. Thank you.

(c) 2009 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License

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True Stories, Honest Lies by Laura S. Packer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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