Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Ghost story

Scientists keep trying to prove that vampires, ghosts, and other supernatural entities aren't real, but so far, all either side has managed to yield are logical reasons why such entities can't exist. But as much as I respect rationality, some things just defy logic.

As mentioned in my 100 things post, I once thought that I might have seen a ghost (#72). In the spirit of Halloween, I thought I'd elaborate.

Note that (1) this is, indeed, a true story; (2) I haven't told all that many people about it; and (3) last time I checked, I'm not certifiably insane.

First I should issue a little disclaimer: Pretty much my entire life, I've lived in new -- or relatively new places. The exceptions were my college dorms and the flat I lived in during my study abroad program in London. So, assuming that ghosts are tied to places of emotional significance for them, there was pretty much no chance of me running into one.

Anyway, during the summer of '97 -- midway through my law school career -- my brother and I spent part of the summer in New York City, celebrating his graduation from high school. For one week of this trip, we stayed in my aunt's friend's pre-war apartment on the Upper West Side, essentially as housesitters while she was on vacation. Only the back bedroom -- the guest room -- was air conditioned. My brother slept there.

I slept in the master bedroom in the front of the apartment. Since it didn't have air conditioning, to be able to sleep, I needed to turn on a fan and open the window. Generally, with the window open, I heard some traffic noise, but no discernable conversations. Mostly, they were masked by the sound of the fan, but the fact that my brother and I tended to keep pretty late hours didn't hurt.

On these hot summer nights, it usually took me a while to fall asleep. So, I'd toss and turn for a while, in the room full of white noise, trying to find a cool, comfortable position. One of these nights, in that gray area between awake and asleep, I had a conversation with a soldier.

I don't recall the specifics of the conversation. What I do remember is the feeling that he belonged in Gail's apartment more than I did.

Anyway, the rest is equally vague. What I remember is that eventually, I figured out that it wasn't normal, and I sat up, wide awake -- but by then, it was over and he was gone. I somehow convinced myself that it was just a dream, and managed to fall back to sleep.

So there you have it. My ghost story. It could have been anything, or nothing -- and indeed, it probably was nothing. But there's this teensy little part of me that likes to believe that there's something out there more than what we see, more than can be easily explained. And that little corner of my mind isn't completely convinced that I was dreaming.

Update: In keeping with the holiday, try some virtual pumpkin carving. Here's mine:


Ryane said...

I doubt you were dreaming. There is a ghost in my house...she drinks vodka and turns off the coffeepot.


Justin S. said...

Sounds like a dream to me. Quite frankly, the burden of proof shouldn't be on scientists to prove there aren't ghosts, it should be on those who believe in ghosts to prove that there are.

Dara said...

As usual, I'm not sure what I believe, and I'd like a little empirical evidence before deciding.

But, like Mulder, most of the time I want to believe that there is something else -- something bigger -- out there.