Thursday, May 24, 2007


This is the story related to me by Shorty.

Food Box, district manager of Pac Sun, got himself an expensive suede chair for his office. The color? A deep red. The very first day the chair was at his desk, Food Box wore a white sweater to work. At the end of the day, when he got up to leave, the entire back half of his sweater was a dark pink color. The dye in the chair’s fabric had bled onto his sweater.

It was absolute proof that all he did all day was sit at his desk and play Solitaire. And he must have done some sweating, because dye doesn’t bleed dry that easy…


The year was 1990. I was five, Precious was three, Rebecca Ann was 13, and Studmuffin was 15. Dad was 35 and Mom was 36. The cliff was 90 feet off the ground. Now that we’re done with the numbers, we can move on to the story.

Friday. The time for the church’s father-son camping trip had arrived. Dad, Studmuffin and Rebecca Ann were packing up their gear and loading it into the car, and I didn’t want them to go. I just had a bad feeling about the whole thing.

First I tried begging them to stay, and obviously a five-year-old isn’t going to make much of an impression. Then I resorted to hiding in the car with a suitcase packed full of socks and my teddy bear, so that I could go with them. I was too young to get the point of packing yet.

At last they left, and I cried a lot until Mom distracted me with something to do. Precious cried too, both because he wanted to go with Dad, and because I was crying. Poor Mom.

Saturday. Mom, Precious and I were out at yard sales, and Mom got a lawn mower. She got some help loading it into the trunk, but it hung out considerably. Unfortunately, we needed a mower, and this was the only way to get it home.

The drive back was stressful for Mom, because she was driving very slowly on the highway so the mower wouldn’t fall out, and people kept honking at her and then passing her real fast giving her the finger. Alas, despite her best efforts, the mower fell out. So she had to pull over, get the mower out of the road, and try to put it back in the trunk. Precious and I had to stay in the car, of course.

Nobody was pulling over to help her, either. She finally wrestled it back into the trunk and got in the car, pulling out onto the highway and continuing the slow pace. About five miles down, the mower fell out again. This time somebody pulled over behind us to help, and followed us the rest of the way home to help unload it.

After we’d been home for a few hours, Precious and I were playing on the front patio when Mom got a phone call. We could hear mom’s voice from inside the house, gasping and weepy. I went in to ask her what was wrong, but she motioned me back outside while she was still on the phone.

I went back to playing with Precious, and shortly thereafter, Mom came out and sat down on the steps next to us. She told us that Dad was in an accident, that he fell off a cliff and might not be coming home.

I don’t remember if Precious cried, but I didn’t. It didn’t really register in my 5-year-old brain that something really bad had happened. So I went back to playing with Precious, and Mom went back in the house to call people.

Here’s the lowdown: Dad was climbing a steep rock face, no ropes or anything. He reached the top, 90 feet off the ground, and as he was climbing over the edge, he slipped on some loose rocks and fell backward, hitting a ledge about halfway down and then landing at the bottom. Studmuffin, Rebecca Ann and their friend Snowballs were at the top and saw him fall, so they ran down the path to the bottom and found Dad laying there groaning. His face was all gashed in, and there was blood everywhere. Studmuffin stayed with Dad and applied direct pressure to his face with his shirt, while Rebecca Ann and Snowballs ran for help.

He was rushed to the hospital, where they ended up wiring his jaw shut (it was shattered), putting a rod in his leg to replace the damaged-beyond-repair bone, and fixing his collapsed lung and broken ribs. Haggard.

Months later, after Dad had graduated to using crutches, (this was like 6 months later or something) the TV show Rescue 911 asked to recreate the accident for their show. They filmed a few interviews with Dad, Mom, Studmuffin and Rebecca Ann, shot a few scenes of reenacted drama, and then sent us some t-shirts.

There you go. PS Dad can walk just fine now. But he still has the rod in his leg and some bolts in his jaw.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Like haunted houses? Try 157 Buckingham Circle. During the time I lived there, the creepiest, most disturbing stuff would happen, and unfortunately I’m the only witness. Well, with the exception of Cheddar of course. She knows where I’m coming from.

I will illustrate for you the various occurrences of being visited from The Beyond in several installment chapters, starting with Cheddar’s incident.

Ghost Story #1
Cheddar’s Incident

Cheddar was spending the night, and whenever she would do that, the two of us would sleep on the couches in the living room. Yes that was intentionally plural, there were two of them.

So we were sleeping on the couches, lights out, when Cheddar all of a sudden goes “ANNA TURN ON THE LIGHT, QUICK!”

Of course I am jolted out of my sleep and immediately turn on the light. So I’m all, “what is it?” and she’s all:

“Okay so I was sleeping, and I felt my blanket being pulled off the side of the couch, so I thought Willie” (my dog) “was laying down on the edge of it or something. But when I reached down to pet him nothing was there!”

I looked and sure enough Willie wasn’t even in the room. He was sleeping in the kitchen, and there was no way he could have gotten from the living room to there without making a sound. Plus, he was in deep-sleep mode, laid out on his side with his tongue hanging out and his eyeballs all screwy.

Cheddar was pretty shaken up so we agreed to leave the light on for the rest of the night. Stupid ghosts.

Ghost Story #2
Home Alone Incidents

I was home alone and it was the middle of the day, kind of cloudy like it was getting ready to rain. I was standing in the dining room, kind of leaning against the table and eating something, when I heard a loud thump from upstairs, like somebody dropped a bowling ball. It was that loud.

Well at first I thought Miss Pickles had knocked something off the desk up there, so I opened the door and started going up the stairs, when I remembered that just a second ago I had seen her curled up on the couch. I rushed back down and shut the door, goosebumps on my arms and neck from the momentary terror of almost going upstairs into the darkness. Peeking around the corner into the living room, I saw that Miss Pickles indeed had not left her spot on the couch, and that Scamp, Willie and Tucker were all sleeping peacefully in the same room.

Then I thought that maybe somehow Rebecca Ann had gotten up there, without my knowledge. So I cracked the door open and shouted up for him, but only silence greeted me…

That was not the only noise incident, though. Other times, I’d hear what sounded like somebody pacing upstairs, or the cat galloping around like she sometimes did. But there was never anyone up there. None of the pets were even allowed to be up there, and after I heard the noises I would check for them and they’d always be either downstairs or outside.

Stupid ghosts.

Ghost Story #3
The Pounder

It was another one of those nights where I was home alone, probably watching TV or reading a book. So I’m just sitting there on the couch when all of a sudden, I hear footsteps on the front porch. The dogs start a low growl in the back of their throats. This makes the hair on the back of my neck stand on end.

I walk over to the front door to see who it is, standing on my toes to look out the windows at the top. There’s nobody there.

So now I’m pretty scared. I’m no longer hearing the footsteps, so I go to the big picture window and peek out through the curtains, just one eye so they don’t see me. Once again, nobody there.

Then, all of a sudden, somebody starts pounding on the door. Not a mild knocking, mind you, but a full-on, angry pounding. The dogs freak out, barking their heads off, and I run for cover in the hallway, grabbing the phone and crouching down with a pillow for safety. I drag Scamp and Willie into the hall for added protection. Tucker is already cowering with me.

I can’t call anybody, because it’s like 11:30 at night and everybody is either asleep or unreachable. So I just sit there and wait for it to stop. Actually, the pounding was rather short-lived, but the dogs kept on barking and I didn’t even begin to feel safe until they quieted down. But I never saw anyone and I’m convinced it was that darned poltergeist.

Ghost Story #4
A Physical Manifestation

One night, I was sleeping on the couch because I had a bad cold and when I was sick I used to always stay on the couch. Easier access to the TV I guess.

Anyway, this particular night, the cable was out, so it wasn’t doing me any good. I was sleeping, and I started dreaming that the portable phone antenna was bumping up against my face, as though it were hanging from a string.

I woke up and still felt it, so I assumed I had fallen asleep with the phone right next to me. I was too tired to open my eyes so I just kept them closed and brushed it away with my hand—only there was nothing there. (You know how when you dream about a burger and you try to bite it only to wake up empty-handed.*)

I opened my eyes to find the missing phone, and instead of a phone, there was a smoky white ribbon bumping against my cheek! I jerked back in surprise, and the ribbon of smoke flew up to the northwest corner of the living room and just floated there. I watched it for a second, my heart pounding wildly, and then pulled the covers over my head.

When I peeked out, it was still there, so I turned on the light. Immediately, the smoke disappeared. I sat there for a moment, feeling pretty panicked, until I calmed down and started getting sleepy again. I was having trouble drifting off with the light on, so I turned on the TV for light instead.

Unfortunately, the cable was still out. I stared at the TV screen, letting my eyes go in and out of focus, trying to do that “magic eye” thing you see in books, but it just wasn’t happening. When I refocused my eyes and just stared at the screen, I started seeing faces in the static, like bat faces and creepy old men. It was sketching me out but I couldn’t look away. I watched them for maybe ten minutes before my fatigue overcame my curiosity and I fell asleep.

I am pretty sure the ribbon was a ghost. A weird-looking one, but it was unlike anything I’d ever seen before.

*Side note: back when I was still sharing a room with Precious, I once had a dream where I got a Big Mac and was gonna eat it, but when I tried to take a bite I woke up and it wasn’t there. The dream was so realistic that I was literally searching my bed for the missing burger. I had to settle for cereal for breakfast that morning instead. What a disappointment.

Ghost Story # 1/2

Missing Cat

This happened back when I used to sleep in the smallest room in the house (it really wasn't anything more than a storage room). It was upstairs, and there were two doors in that room: the one leading out, and the one leading to the attic. Both were closed when I went to bed. My bed was just a mattress on the floor. (That's all that would fit.)

Shortly after I drifted off to sleep, I was woken up by my cat jumping onto my feet at the end of my bed. I felt her lay down, so I reached down to my feet to pet her. For some reason, I couldn't find her. I felt all over the end of the bed with no luck. I thought maybe somehow she had gotten up without me hearing or feeling it, so I reached up and turned on the light to find her.

Upon thorough inspection of my room (it took approximately 30 seconds) I realized that my cat was not in there with me. The door to my room was closed, and so was the door to the attic. There were no hiding places. I'm not sure what I felt jump onto my feet, but it sure wasn't my cat. I slept with the light on the rest of the night.