Monday, February 28, 2011

Ghost Lovin'

Can you really cheat on your partner with a ghost?  My boyfriend thinks so, he doesn't want me to even look at a ghost with lustful intent.  I don't see what the big deal is.  It's a ghost!  It's not like I would carry on a secondary relationship with this ghost; I swear it would be a one time thing.  Some people claim that they are in love with a certain, special ghost.  I say that those folks need to get out and meet some alive people.  How can you take a ghost to meet your parents?  How about your friends?  And what about counseling?  You two are going to need it, since you don't live on the same plain of existence.  No, I wouldn't ever think a ghost is my soul-mate that will find me when I pass on and we'll live together as happy spirits for all eternity.  I don't want to have a seance everytime I want to go on a date.  But a one night ghost stand, that sounds like fun.
As a female, there's always a concern of getting pregant when you aren't ready.  Not with a ghost!  They can't spread their ghost DNA on and make a hybrid baby.  No mess, no baby.  Sorry to be so vulgar, but I'm sure it's a concern we all have when pursuing a ghost love fest.  As a male, well, you don't have to worry about being an accidental father of a half-ghost baby.  So with all that out of the way, let's talk about fun things.
I really don't think that having sex with a ghost constitutes as cheating.  Most people don't even know where to begin to look for a sexy ghost partner.  Psychics and sensitives might.  Maybe you should talk to one of them.  But then again, you really shouldn't do that if you are in a committed relationship.  Unless you're both open to it.  That might be interesting.  However, your partner really can't say anything if you accidentally sleep with a ghost.  If one comes to you in the middle of the night and seduces you in your half-awake state, how is that your fault?  It's not like you're visiting a hotel where a ghost is known to put the moves on its visitors.  And if you do happen to visit one of these hotels, it's not like you knew about it ahead of time.  And if you do know about it ahead of time, it's not like you really need to tell your partner.  I mean, there's no guarantee that the ghost will find you attractive.  It isn't wrong to hope it does.  We all want to be found attractive.  It isn't cheating!  If you don't do it on purpose, you can't be blamed.  It's like accidentally having a sexy dream about someone else besides your partner.  How is that your fault?
Just beware of Incubi and Succubi.  They will be covered by me later on.  I just want to bring up the point that ghost sex isn't cheating.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

BEK Attack!

I can’t get enough of Black-Eyed Kids.  I’m not talking about kids who come home after being bullied at school and happen to get black eyes in the process.  I’m talking about a fairly recent phenomenon involving kids with completely black eyes; no whites, no iris, just black.  The stories I’ve heard about these beings are far more terrifying than any old ghost story I’ve heard…well…for the most part.  The appearance of these guys brings up a bunch of lore and mystery.  The BEKs seemed to have popped up from out of nowhere and have steadily been sighted over the years.  The Black-Eyed Kids seem to follow a set of rules, or a code of conduct, if you will.  They are almost immediately recognized as evil or inhuman.  They are usually described in similar ways and with similar behavior.
            I have read many BEK stories, and the strangest thing to me is their behavior.  In most of these stories, there is a knock at the door of some unsuspecting adult, when the person answers the door, they see, usually, two children, in their early teens, and dressed like normal kids.  The children have a story about being stranded or lost, and they need to use the phone.  Most good people are willing to help a child in need, however, there is something off about these kids.  They speak as if they are much older, their story seems contrived, and they are just plain creepy.  Before the person notices anything unusual about the children’s appearance, they are overcome with a feeling of dread.  These kids are pushy and insistent, they don’t really seem to be in distress.  The homeowner begins to be stricken with irrational terror, and that’s when they notice the black eyes.  That’s when the person hurriedly turns the children away, but not before some very urgent and demanding protests from the visitors.  Finally, at the climax of panic, the homeowner shuts the door on the kids, praying that they just leave and make no further attempts to get in.  Thankfully, this is usually the case.  After a few minutes, upon further examination, the children seemed to have disappeared.  At first glance it just seems that some scary looking kids tried to get into someone’s house and left when they were turned away.  If we examine this more closely, some truly weird things start to pop up.  If a juvenile delinquent wants to get into a home and steal stuff, he’s probably not going to walk up to a home and ask to be let in.  Or if he does do that, then it’s just the first step in a big to-do list that he would use for a successful home invasion.  For example, threats and weapons are employed if the homeowner puts up a resistance.  If criminals politely asked to be let in so they could commit their crime of choice, I doubt any crime of that nature would occur.  The Black-Eyed Kids are a different matter.  I doubt they are hooligans trying to commit robbery using black contacts as their only means of threatening homeowners.  The most notable behavior pattern is that these kids seem to need to be let or invited in.  It seems that their main priority is to get inside with the person they are talking to; whether it is their car, their home, or any other place that happens to have an inside.  It looks as if the BEKs cannot enter a house on their own accord, they need to get an invitation.  What does this remind you of?  That’s right!  Vampires.  In vampire lore, a vampire cannot enter a home unless he is invited in.  Are vampires among us?  Are they all children for some reason?  It’s true that most vampire mythology has been invented by mostly non-vampires, so it’s possible that we may have some vampire folklore correct, and we may have missed some attributes completely.  This is all assuming that vampires are real, and in all honesty, I don’t think they are.  Unless stories of savage attacks on people where all of their blood has been drained are covered up really well.  You just don’t read about such things in the news.  You don’t hear about people rising out of graves or burning up in the sunlight; I just don’t see any evidence of true vampires.  Don’t get me started on vampire culture, that’s something else all together.  Okay, so the Black-Eyed Kids aren’t vampires.
            There are definitely other possibilities, such as soul-sucking demons, but there are still major holes in this theory.  If BEKs are demons, then what are they doing disguising themselves as children trying to gain entrance into people’s homes?  Are they trying to possess people?  Isn’t that what demons do?  As far as I can tell, demons possess people who are emotionally weak and vulnerable.  Yes, there is a sort of invitation to the possession, such as dabbling in the occult, or black magic, or whatever.  So do demons really need to knock on the door to gain access to people?  It would be interesting, however, to look in on people who have experienced possession to see if they’ve been in contact with weird kids before the trouble began.  This data is impossible to collect, but it is something to think about.  Maybe not all demons’ jobs are to possess people.  Maybe some roam the Earth just to scare people.  In that case, I suppose the Black-Eyed Kid demon people are doing their jobs just fine.  Everyone who reports a BEK experience describes complete and utter terror just by looking at these entities.  So, good job Black-Eyed Kids!
            A new theory that I just heard is that the BEKs are aliens.  This could make sense to me.  You always hear about the grays, the little humanoid beings with the big, black eyes.  This explains two things, why they appear as children, the grays are small to begin with; and why they have black eyes, they’ve obviously never heard of contacts.  All joking aside, the theory I just read presents the possibility that BEKs are the result of failed disguises.  It’s as if their image projectors, or whatever they use malfunctions and their black eyes show through.  In this theory, the BEKs need access to a home in order to get a quick layout of the house so they can properly abduct someone.  Okay, that makes sense, I guess, you don’t want to beam right into a wall or something.  Yes, this is a very unique and interesting theory, but I find that it has major problems.  Like, why does just the eye part of the disguise malfunction?  Why don’t you hear any stories about bulbous-head kids, or alien language speaking kids, or just aliens showing up at the door?  Also, I really don’t think aliens need to get into someone’s house before an abduction.  Don’t these things have scanners of some kind?
            Some people think they’re ghosts, skin walkers, or maybe a zombie-type being.  I don’t have a lot of explanations for these theories.  I like the ghost idea, mostly because I like ghosts.  If they are ghosts, why do they have their own specific rules that don’t seem to apply to other ghosts?  It’s true, some of your regular ghost sightings, sightings that take place in someone’s home, sightings that require no prior interaction; it’s true that some of these ghosts have black eyes.  Yet most of those ghosts aren’t children, they’re already in the house, and therefore, aren’t what I’m talking about.  As far as a skin walker goes, these beings from Native American culture usually change into an animal, or something half-animal, half-human.  I don’t think they just change their eye color and age.  And zombies, I don’t believe in zombies.  But there is a story about a female black-eyed person.  She was a little older than most Black-Eyed Kids.  She tried to get into a dorm hall, the guy at the door thought she was pretty, until he realized she had black eyes and her clothes were tattered and her feet seemed to be rotting.  Sounds like a smart zombie to me.  There are several tales of Black-Eyed Kids having some inhuman characteristic; such as claws and extreme agility.  Does that make them zombies or skin walkers?  I don’t think so.
            So if they aren’t vampires, demons, aliens, ghosts, skin walkers, or zombies, what could they be?  A roving gang of scary teenagers with black contacts?  Perhaps.  But let’s step back from everything for a moment.  Let’s remove all categories from the BEKs and just examine their behavior.  Let’s forget about what they could be, and focus on what we know they are.  First, they can’t get into a house uninvited or by force.  Second, they aren’t very good at concealing the fact that they aren’t really human.  Third, they give of scary vibes.  Fourth, they are known to use a language style that is at a higher level than the kids they are trying to portray.  And fifth, they are way too pushy and insistent for their own good.  Add this all up and we’re left with very few options.  They could be evil entities that don’t really understand humanity, or they could be evil entities that are just plain stupid.  If they simply don’t understand that humans don’t come with solid black eyes, and that their houses aren’t usually impenetrable fortresses; I guess that could be forgiven, a little more human observation could clear that up.  Stupid makes more sense to me, though.  Their tactics for whatever they’re trying to achieve obviously aren’t working.  No one wants anything to do with the BEKs, and yet they are still showing up.  They want to get into our houses for some reason, but they can’t seem to figure out how.  It all seems stupid and sloppy to me.  But what do I know?  I can’t even begin to comprehend what these things are and what they want.  I’m usually pretty good about coming up with far-fetched theories, but the Black-Eyed Kids leave me stumped.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Monsters 101

There is a big misconception out there about monsters.  Over the years, monsters have been humanized, modernized, glamorized, plagiarized, romanticized, super-sized, even trivialized.  I’m not going to talk about those sexy monsters; vampires, werewolves, Frankenstein’s monster, or even Godzilla.  Sure you can call them monsters, and by a very loose definition they are.  Yet they are boring these days, hackneyed and frankly, too accepted by the general public.  You don’t fall in love with monsters and you certainly would never want to become a real monster.  Monsters are supposed to be out there, hiding in the world, beyond human understanding, out of reach of any type of civilized society.    They are seen by few, understood by none, and feared by all.  I don’t mean that all monsters are dangerous, blood-craving beasts; they’re frightening because they exist on the cusp of human logic and understanding, so they provoke a fear of the unknown.  Forego all that selfish psychiatric nonsense where monsters represent the primal side of humanity.  How self-important we are to think that.  The true definition of a monster, in my opinion, has nothing to do with humanity.  They are their own entities.  Let monsters be monsters, I say.  But we have to remember that even the title ‘monster’ is a bit too constricting.  Monsters, like everything else in the paranormal realm, have no set rules and boundaries.  They fall into the monster category, sure, but they could easily drift into other strange categories: ghosts, aliens, demons, inter-dimensional beings, cryptids, you name it.  So no, I won’t be talking about the monster that dwells within all of us.  I don’t really care about that right now.  I’ll be discussing the real monsters in the world, lurking, hiding, and generally challenging our perception of reality.
            When anyone mentions a monster, the thing that probably comes to the minds of most people are cryptids.  They don’t know what a cryptid is, but they are still most likely conceptualizing the basic idea.   A cryptid is essentially an unknown animal.  Until an animal is discovered and given some fancy Latin name, it remains a cryptid.  New species of animals are being found all the time; rodents, bugs, monkeys. They’re all out there, waiting for scientists, waiting for their brief moment on a news segment, waiting to get their special name.  These are just plain old cryptids, nothing too exciting about that; but there are cryptids so elusive and strange, they develop their own lore and intrigue.  These are cryptids who also happen to be monsters.  You probably guessed by now that it’s Bigfoot that tops the list of cryptid monsters.  This thing has gained tremendous popularity and notoriety without providing any substantial evidence that it exists.  Almost every culture in the world has their own version of Bigfoot. It is known by many names: yeti, Sasquatch, yowie, skunk ape, Harry.  They are all names for pretty much the same thing; a big gorilla-type creature that walks upright, is exceptionally muscular, and sports some very large feet.  Not every version of Bigfoot is a towering giant, they range in size.  There is the oxymoronic pygmy Bigfoot, to a ten-foot tall creature.  They come in many different colors as well; from bright red hair to a very dark black.  There are a few blond ones, but who really cares about them?  Another important thing to note: some of them smell awful.  I should mention that in this case and for every monster I mention from here on out, I will discuss possible logical explanations for these creatures.  For the most part, however, I’ll just assume that they are real in some way, shape, or form; and I will share my knowledge and theories in that frame of mind.  Saying that, yes, some Bigfoot sightings are misidentifications.  People seeing bears standing on their hind legs is pretty common.  Many of the footprints found, the very same footprints that gave Bigfoot its name, are hoaxes; people fashioning giant fake feet and stomping around in the woods.  Some people have even taken photos of a supposed Bigfoot and it turns out that the photo was of blurry birds.  Yes, it’s easy to mistake the ordinary for a Bigfoot.  However, there’s got to be something strange going on in our world.  In an attempt to make this less long-winded and drawn out, I’ll stick to the subject of the American Bigfoot, or Sasquatch.  Hairy ape things have been seen in this country from the time that humans first lived here.  Native Americans from all over the United States and Canada have been describing this creature primarily through oral legends.  Before the North American Bigfoot was clumped together, each region of indigenous people had their own name for it.  The name Sasquatch is a mistranslation of a Native American word for Bigfoot.  The translation of most of these words came out to mean “wild man” or “hairy man.”  You may have noticed that I seemed to cross the threshold into the human realm, but I assure you, I have not.  Bigfoot is a bipedal humanoid, but certainly not a full on human.  This will be discussed in more detail a little later on, but for now,  let’s go back to the Native American legends.  The great thing about the Sasquatch of early indigenous people, is that it was endowed with supernatural qualities.  Many were seen as some kind of forest spirit.  In some tribes it was used as a sort of boogey-man to make children behave.  Some just ate children, some ate anyone, while some simply stole trout from fishermen’s nets.  I can see why Bigfoot was regarded as a guardian of the forest, its visage is unique to North America and they very likely do border on the spirit realm.  As mentioned before, paranormal boundaries get kind of fuzzy at times.  However, as time went on, to humanity, Bigfoot became less of a mysterious spirit and more of a scientific wonder.  This led us to believe that Bigfoot could somehow be the missing link.  Maybe it was a human descendant who didn’t follow the same evolutionary path as us and didn’t end up as a homo-sapien.  Bigfoot has certainly not vanished and it has not been completely disregarded as folklore; there have been thousands upon thousands of sightings over the years, up until present day.  And now, I have to mention the Gimlin-Patterson film.  You’ve all seen it; a few moments of a bulky creature walking away from the camera with a quick stride, turning its head to look at the camera, then marching off into the woods.  The controversy surrounding this film is astounding, it could fill many books, and it’s something I don’t want to get into here.  I’m writing about monsters, not arguments.  I will say this: it’s interesting that the entity in the film turns its whole upper body when looking back, it doesn’t just use its neck.  Either someone knows their primates well enough to recreation certain physical attributes, or we have something quite strange on our hands.  I have mentioned Bigfoot first because I think it is the most likely monster that might prove to actually exist.  There are a lot of woods and wilderness out there; I believe a substantial population could thrive in secret.  I also think that there is enough evidence collected over the years that shows something odd is going on.  While some critics can argue and use logic until they’re blue in the face, witnesses will believe they have seen it, and no amount of scientific reasoning will change their minds.
            I will now go from the most-likely-to-exist monster to the least-likely-to-exist.  You all know him, he’s the most popular monster in the world: Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster.  Everyone seems to love this thing, many have bought into the hype, and tourists flock to this lake in droves to get a glimpse of this wonder of nature.  This creature is popularly theorized to be a plesiosaurus, a living dinosaur.  Some think it’s a freakishly large fish or eel.  The Loch Ness Monster has a very long history, starting with Saint Columba in the 7th century, where he drove away the attacking monster with a prayer.  This story is certainly not factual, but it is interesting to note that this story shows a long account of a strange fascination with the lake.  It’s a pretty boring lake, as far as lakes go; not tremendously deep, longer than it is wide, murky, and kind of cold.  However, there is something going on there that makes some people do a double take.  Not all lakes have this power.  While the story of Saint Columba may have started the epic Nessie story, the monster was all but forgotten until 1933, when a couple saw something strange move across the road, in front of their car, and into the lake.  The monster was back, and ready to ignite the imagination of the world.  The emergence of the famed “Surgeon’s Photograph” in 1934, served as definite proof to many people.  It’s that picture that shows a long neck and a head.  The monster was real, it was a dinosaur, and it was living right alongside people.  Sighting continued, and people felt that they had real evidence to back them up.  That is, until the photo was revealed as a hoax in 1994.  This dealt a serious blow to the credibility of Nessie, but the sightings didn’t stop.  There still had to be something there.  The living dinosaur theory still persists today.  This is where I begin to have questions.  If there have been sightings since the 7th century, either dinosaurs live an insanely long amount of time, or, the lake boasts a breeding population to ensure its survival.  I don’t think this is the case, in order for a bunch of dinosaurs to thrive for hundreds or thousands of years, there would need to be a huge amount of food in the loch.  And there simply isn’t.  It isn’t big enough, for one, and there just aren’t enough fish or eels, or whatever plesiosaurs eat.  If there was a living, breathing population, there would be nothing living in the lake anymore, not after all these years.  People would probably be attacked and eaten once the fish supply ran out.  Since there are still fish in the lake, and very few people killed by monsters, the dinosaur theory just doesn’t add up.  That doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything there.  Not everyone can be mistaken, can they?  If you remember, Saint Columba scared the monster by calling on God.  This may lead us to something more sinister lurking in the depths.  It’s a well known fact that Alestair Crowley, a famed Satanist and black magician, used to live on the shores of the loch in the late 1800s.  Could it be possible that Mr. Crowley used some sort of conjuring skills to reawaken the evil entity that Saint Columba cast away centuries earlier?  If that’s the case, then it kind of makes those cute little stuffed animals they make of Nessie seem a lot less cute.  Most of the sightings are definitely sticks, eels, birds, or the wind; but something odd is connected with Loch Ness, and I think that the mystery of it all is the tell-tale sign of a monster.
            On a similar note, I’d like to quickly mention Champ, North America’s Loch Ness Monster.  The monster makes his home in Lake Champlain; a lake surrounded by New York, Vermont, and Quebec.  Champ has a pretty long history as well.  Native American tribes in the area have legends about this beast.  Even the guy who the lake is named after supposedly had a run in with it in 1609.  The Samuel de Champlain story is probably made up.  What makes this story interesting is that the first actual sighting of Champ took place in 1883; 50 years before things started picking up at Loch Ness.  The two lakes themselves are quite similar, about the same in depth, length, width, and temperature.  It is important to remember that both lakes were formed by a receding glacier at the end of one ice age or another.  Things have been frozen in ice before, but has anything actually survived the freezing and thawing process?  Not that I know of.  I really don’t think it’s too probable that a breeding population of plesiosaurs survived a glacier ride in two different places in the world, and then proceeded to live on for millions of years.  But then again, something unusual is definitely going on.  Maybe it has to do with the similarity of the lakes.  Maybe the size and shape makes people more susceptible to delusions or something.  I also don’t think that witchcraft or black magic has been practiced in abundance around Lake Champlain.  But what do I know?  I’ve never been there.  So are they both demons?  Is Champ the good counterpart to the evil Nessie?  That’s too convoluted and bizarre for even me to understand, and I’m the one who wrote it.  I will proceed to put Champ to rest for now and conclude with my opinion on the Native American tribes that have legends of this monster.  They fished in that lake, they were more in tune with the natural world than we ever could be these days.  If they said they saw something, I’m more inclined to believe them than anyone who sees it nowadays.  Something was going on in Lake Champlain, I’m just not sure if it still is.
            I could talk about living dinosaur legends forever, but I’ll stop with this one, the most interesting one in my opinion.  Mokele-Mbembe, the one who stops the flow of rivers.  This is not a lake monster, though it hangs out a lot in water.  It lives in the Congo River basin.  It is a part of native folklore, like all good monsters should be.  Mokele-mbembe can be described as a saurpod.  You know, the dinosaurs with the long necks and tails.  Some think it’s just some elephants or hippos, but there are tales of this very territorial monster that describe it killing hippos that may get too close to it.  The mokele-mbembe is also described by some Congo villages as a spirit.  A ghost dinosaur, perhaps?  Maybe an earth spirit of some kind?  Westerners, as arrogant as we are, have to see it first hand before we believe it, natives simply don’t know what they’re talking about.  So in 1776, a French missionary saw some giant footprints, about three feet around, with evidence of claw marks.  In 1909, the creature was first suggested to be a living dinosaur, when some kind of lieutenant heard natives talk about a saurpod-like creature.  This man was also shown an animal hide that supposedly belonged to a mokele-mbembe.  Obviously, no definite conclusions were drawn from this experience.  Since then, there have been quite a few expeditions into the Congo to find this creature, and they all have met with very little success.  There could still be something out there.  That area is intraversable in most cases, and vast areas remain unexplored.  There could easily be a few large reptiles in that area of the world; hanging out, eating leaves, fighting with hippos.  If it happens to be a spirit, that will make it just that much harder to find.  The mokele-mbembe hasn’t achieved the popularity of certain lake monsters, probably because it’s hard to say its name; but I like the idea of it just the same. 
            So far, I’ve only mentioned monsters that have a long and rich history, but not all monsters are the stuff of ancient legends.  In 1995 in Puerto Rico, eight sheep were found dead, killed, it seemed, all in the exact same way.  Each sheep had three puncture wounds in its chest and they all seemed to be completely drained of blood.  In August of that same year, about 150 animals were killed in a single town, all with three puncture marks and no blood.  It was a Puerto Rican comedian who gave a name to this vampiric predator, the chupacabra, the goat sucker, and thus, a modern day legend was born.  The chupacabra prefers to stick around Latin communities, but it occasionally ventures further out.  Now this is a true monster; it kills livestock, it sucks their blood, and it’s even reported to have hypnotic abilities.  It is reported to be able to lull its victims into a false sense of security.  This is why the animals it kills seem to show no sign of struggle or panic, they simply seem to succumb to the chupacabra.  There is even a sighting by a human, in which, after seeing the creature, she heard a calming voice in her head, telling her not to be afraid.  However, the monster’s looks are anything but calming.  It is reported to be three to four feet tall, with spines running down its back, it moves like a kangaroo, obviously has large fangs, and most strikingly, it has big, sometimes glowing, red eyes.  The chupacabra, since it appeared on the scene in 1995, has dominated cryptozoology, the paranormal media, and monster sightings in the Americas.  It has shown itself in popular culture and has made itself a household name.  That’s just the chupacabra’s reputation, though.  How do we really get to know the monster underneath all that hype?    Why has it only appeared very recently?  Where did it come from?  Some theories suggest that it’s some sort of mutant-hybrid thing.  A hybrid of what?  Is it a result of genetic testing?  I think a man-made monster still counts as a monster.  It’s still mysterious and scary; it’s still not recognized by the scientific community.  Other theories suggest that it’s an alien.  I enjoy this theory.  I like to imagine that it’s an escaped alien pet.  But I don’t want to subject you to me entertaining my fantasies.  Scientists and wildlife experts believe that the chupacabra is a sick dog.  Yes, a sick dog with mange.  This is a result of examining the carcasses of several “chupacabras” that were killed by farmers or hunters.  These animals initially looked strange, but tests proved that the bodies were those of dogs or wolves with mange or parasites or both.  The scientific community thought that this was the end of it, but, like all good monsters, you can’t get rid of them that easily.  First of all, these downed animals don’t look anything like the chupacabras reported by witnesses.  I have yet to see an alleged chupacabra with spikes running down its spine.  The eyes aren’t big and red, they’re generally too small, and well, they look like sick dogs.  This closed minded explanation completely ignores the fact that mange and parasites existed well before 1995.  Are they trying to tell me that sick and wild dogs never attacked livestock before this date?  I’m pretty sure that ranchers and farmers can identify a dog attack as opposed to an animal death that seems a little weirder.  I’m pretty sure that it was more likely that people shot weird looking dogs since the first chupacabra attack.  Now people are looking for monsters.  I find it hard to believe that anyone would truly mistake a sick dog for a large fanged, spiky, hopping creature.  Everyone who has a chupacabra sighting describes a reptile, everyone that shoots a chupacabra comes up with an ill mammal.  And as far as I know, dogs don’t suck blood.  It is most apparent with the case of the chupacabra, that scientist and wildlife experts are dismissing unconventional creatures too quickly.  Isn’t the point of science to discover new things?  Don’t they know that the rules don’t apply to everything every time?  There’s a monster on the loose, and no amount of sick dogs will change that fact.
            I will discuss less popular and more magical monsters in the future, as I seem to have touched on enough at the present time.  Real monsters are more fun than they could ever be in the movies.  They stay mysterious, they don’t infiltrate our society, they don’t talk, and there is nothing sexy about them, thankfully.  There are monsters out there that have never been sighted, and some that have don’t ever neatly fit into a certain category.  That’s the beauty of monsters.  We see them, we hear them, we love them, and we fear them.

How to Write a Ghost Story

As a writer and an avid reader of ghost stories, I feel that I am somewhat qualified to present my opinions on this subject.  I love ghost stories, I have read thousands; I also have extensively researched ghosts, as well as all things paranormal.  In my quest to learn the truth, and in all reality, to just be entertained; I have noticed that a majority of these stories are, with lack of a better word to describe them, bad.  These sub-par stories mostly appear on ghost story websites that are open to the public.  I have visited most of the websites out there, and I make sure I read every story I come across.  Therefore, I rarely get creeped out or surprised, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a good ghost story when I see one.  A lot of ghost story authors out there are probably saying, “Surely she isn’t talking about me.”  Well, to be honest, I am very likely talking about you.  I don’t want to come off as a snob or a know-it-all, and you probably already think I am.  Just read on, I promise that my intentions are to be purely beneficial.  A lot of you have great stories; I can certainly see the potential in a majority that I read.  I think that if I provided a few tips, tricks, and a dedicated ghost story reader’s point of view, your story will entertain, enlighten, and most importantly, get your point across to the paranormal community.
I suppose I should start off with a few writing basics that cover writing in general, and applies to more than ghost story telling.  The most important thing you can do when writing anything is to proof-read.  I know most of you are not aspiring authors; but you want your story to be understood and taken seriously, right?  Then proof-read.  Perhaps you shouldn’t just rush into getting your story out there; I would avoid writing your story on the website itself.  You might want to create your story in a writing program first.  Then your story can have its spelling and grammar checked.  We all rely on these programs to help us come across as the intelligent people that we are.  Cutting and pasting a spell-checked document: it’s a good thing.  Editing programs, as helpful as they are, still can’t assist you with all the little nuances of human languages, so proof-reading requires a bit more effort.   I suggest that you read your writing out loud.  You’ll experience firsthand what your readers will be viewing.  You’ll discover that some sentences may not make that much sense.  Every writer encounters an oddly-worded sentence here and there.  Even non-writers can still see where their story may be confusing.  Reading out loud is a very good way to discover these things.  This may be hard for some to do, but I also suggest that someone else read your story before you send it off.  A fresh pair of eyes looking at your writing is always a great idea to help make your story more readable.  If you feel that your story is too personal, and you would like to retain your anonymity, just stick with the first two suggestions.
Now I would like to discuss story content and actual writing.  You certainly do not need flowery, dressed up language to convey a good, solid story.  Just state the facts, tell us what happened; your writer’s voice will appear on its own.  There’s no need to try to draw someone in with poetic language, it gets in the way of the content, and I think that would be the last thing you want to do.
So you have your story, you basically know what you want to write; now you have to deal with getting it out of your brain and assembling your thoughts into a cohesive story.  Try outlining; put all of your important points down on paper.  This will essentially help you with the chronological aspect of your story.  If you have an outline of every major point from beginning to end, you have a clear and concise way of telling people what happened, how it happened, and the end result of these happenings.  You may be inclined to mix up the timeline of your story; such as starting from the climax and then describing how you got to your opening point.  This is an advanced writer’s method.  If you are an advanced writer, go for it.  However, I just want to do basics for now to ensure a high success rate for storytelling.
A word of advice: don’t tack on things that you just remembered to the end of your story.  Yes, writing the story itself will probably remind you of other important details; but if you want to look good in the story telling community, take your time and put those extra points in where they belong.  Believe me, your readers will appreciate a story with a definite beginning, middle, and end.
This brings me to my next point, finish your story with a strong ending.  Both new and seasoned writers have problems with ending a story; even true stories.  I am, after all, talking about non-fiction stories here, and finding an ending is hard when the story itself isn’t complete.  If it is ongoing, let us know, and be bold in your statements.  If you fear for the future, tell us about it.  If you look forward to the ongoing chronicle of your life, tell us so.  Don’t trail off, this is crucial when trying to get a point across; you don’t want to leave your readers in a state of story-telling purgatory.  Even if you are seeking advice at the end of your narrative, do it definitively, tell us exactly what you want.
Ghost stories are unique in comparison to most other stories in that there are usually deep emotional and personal connections to the facts being presented.  Ghost story writers fear ridicule or disbelief.  The writer is presenting themselves in a very vulnerable way; and rejection from the paranormal community is almost an attack on the very character of the writer.  This is why I will tell you again to just stick to the facts; and just you wait, it won’t be the last time that I tell you the same thing.
I know I will receive adamant dissent when I say this, but I’m going to say it anyway: I don’t really care if your story is real or made up.  Let the arguing commence.  Just hear me out for a second.  Of course I hope the reader is telling the truth; in my unending quest for answers, I need all the facts I can get, so I can expand my knowledge of the paranormal world.  Yet when I settle in at my computer to read a bunch of ghost stories in a row, I’m looking for entertainment first and insight next.  I’m certainly not suggesting that you come up with the most exciting and scary ghost story that you can think of, and then try to pass it off as fact.  I’m saying that in the paranormal community, as well as in any other community, there are bound to be liars.  People who may make up events just to feel included; or, dare I say it, to mock the group as a whole, feeding on, in this case, the readers’ desire to discover the truth.  They also could simply be liars to the core, it may be a habit, and yes, they do have a voice as well.  Thankfully, false ghost stories are painfully obvious.  Historical discrepancies, plot holes, made up locations; these stories can easily be weeded out.  I just want to make it clear that folk legends don’t count.  That’s history right there, feel free to share your local tales.  I, personally, cannot get enough of regional ghost legends.
I apologize for such a digression, but I felt it was necessary to clear the air around my presumptuous statement.  No, I don’t care if your stories are true or not, I just want them to be good.  In saying that, please don’t repeatedly insist that your story is true.  You’re posting it on a ghost story website; thousands of people have submitted thousands of stories that are probably very similar to yours.  We won’t think you’re crazy, unless, of course, your story is an obvious fake, as mentioned before.  You just don’t need to say over and over again that the mentioned events really happened.  Just present the facts (told you I’d mention this again) and let the reader come to their own conclusions.  Some people may not believe you, and this is apparently a harsh reality for ghost story writers.  But when you think about it, the paranormal is a fuzzy area.  There are no definite boundaries.  Tell your story the best that you can and let the skeptics be skeptics, and let your good writing assist those with open minds absorb your story and take it into consideration.
Now I’d like to present to you what I think is the most important factor in telling a good ghost story.  Please don’t skimp on the details.  This is my biggest problem with most ghost stories that I read.  I can’t tell you how many times a ghost is simply mentioned in a story.  Okay, so there was a ghost.  So what?  We need to know the specifics.  I will admit that most stories give a basic description of the sighting.  That’s all well and good, but I believe that the reader wants more.  We want all the details; such as where was it?  What time of day and year did it happen?  What were they wearing?  What exactly did it look like?  Was it moving?  If so, how?  How did it make you feel?  Don’t worry if you think that you are going on for too long; people log on to ghost story websites to read about ghosts.  What really gets me is when people say they saw a demon.  How do you know that what you saw was in fact a demon?  What did the demon look like?  Please tell us what the demon looked like.
I would also like to be let in on the history of the haunting.  I have read countless stories where somehow, the haunting was verified through research.  This may be the single most important thing you could possibly share with the paranormal community.  If you’ve researched a haunted location, please tell your readers how you obtained this information.  This will lend more than enough credence to your story.  I understand if you found information on a private property and you are concerned about breaches to this privacy.  Just a mention that you found your information at, let’s say, a library, you still are given a little credibility for sharing this detail.
The more details the reader gets, the more answers you’ll receive.  People can relate to your story, and tell you about their similar experiences.  Then you can finally make some headway in finding conclusions to your spooky encounters.
I fear I must mention what may prove to be a sore subject for a few people reading this: is your story even worth sharing?  How dare I say such a thing?  To those of you who have stayed with me after my last statement, I thank you.  I’d like to explain myself.  Primarily, I am talking about people who feel that their experience is too personal and intimate, that they omit huge chunks of their story.  Are you doing this to taunt your audience?  Why even mention it at all if it’s that touchy?  Here I go, I’m going to say something shocking again: the paranormal community reads these stories to learn about the other side, we honestly don’t really care about your personal life.  That is, unless it directly ties to the story you are telling.  If you had an encounter that was too personal and private for you to properly explain, please don’t tease your audience with vague sentences and ambiguous ideas.  If you’re uncomfortable telling it to others, simply don’t tell it.
Along those same lines, do a few creaks and a moment of hearing footsteps really constitute a true ghost story?  I personally don’t think so.  Yes, something startled you, does that mean it was a ghost?  Or more importantly, would it make a good ghost story?  Would you think your story is interesting if it was written by someone else?  These questions apply to a very small percentage of the stories I’ve read.  Like I’ve mentioned before, most stories have great ideas hidden within extraneous material.  But that small percentage probably needs to rethink their story.  Most importantly, is it a true ghost story?  Are you sure that shadow you saw was an actual ghost?  Are you sure it wasn’t just a shadow?  As far as knocking and banging go, it happens in a lot of places, and a lot of places are not haunted, they just make banging sounds.  Yet, what I think is most important regarding an overreaction story, is what the writer was doing during the time of these so called hauntings.  Were you talking about ghosts?  That is a red flag right there, the power of suggestion should never be underrated.  The mind plays tricks on you, on everyone, really.  Watching a scary movie can also put you in this mind set.  Make sure you aren’t already scared when this so called scary event happens; otherwise, the writer comes off as a bit paranoid and very open to suggestion.
I know we all want our story to be perceived as interesting and exciting; but I can tell you that there is a huge misconception in achieving this.  In many stories that I’ve read, I notice an abundance of exclamation points.  They’re fine when the writer uses them in quotes, I mean, if you yelled something, you’ll definitely want to use an exclamation point.  However, putting an exclamation point at the end of each sentence does not make the story any scarier.  If anything, it makes the story choppy and hard to read.  This is a phenomenon that I’ve only noticed in paranormal stories, if you want us to understand exactly what you were going through, stick with the facts, and be liberal with your description.  Your story will be better and more interesting that way.
I promise that this long-winded rant is almost finished.  I just need to drive my point home.  I know you’re excited to get your story out there for the world to read and enjoy; just remember to take a little time and take your readers into consideration.  They want to hear your story, they want to discuss your story; but most importantly, they need to understand your story first.