My hometown

Published 3:13 pm Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Have you ever been awaken in the middle of the night by a noise? A worry? A phone? A ghost?

It seems that fear is at its most advantageous at the midnight to 3 a.m. period.

Just check all the haunting stories, movies, and reality shows. Apparently spirits are allergic to daytime and rarely show themselves during the sunlight.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Just like this generation of children, they rarely show themselves outside in the sun.

Nurses have told me that it is more common for people to die during those hours. Is that true? Does that have something to do with spirit activity?

I gathered with several of my Robinson aunts and uncles recently at my parents’ home on a quick Mississippi visit and the conversation quickly turned to the old haunted house that family had lived in located in Picayune. The house was an old white house with picket fence next to the railroad tracks and had a history of supernatural sightings, hearings, and extra strange events that could not be explained.

Unfortunately, the ghost adventure dudes can’t investigate this one because a family member had it torn down.

Some say he had a bad experience and had the house destroyed. However, the ghosts may have had the last laugh as they found him dead in his chair shortly after, in his mobile home setting on top of the property where the house had been. He had joined the spirits.

Could he have made the ghosts mad and they scared him to death? That is what some whisper. (Cue the eerie music.)

At my impromptu family reunion, each sibling told a ghost story, an unusual occurrence, or an unexplained episode of spooky sounds that they had experienced or was told about regarding the home that is now only a memory, as our many of the characters that had experiences there.

I was experiencing my own scary bumps in the night during my visit, each night I slept in our cabin amongst the hills of Perry County. I came right out of my comfy bed at 2 a.m. every night, not because an eerie ghost was bumping around, but because I was worried that rock and roll music was not playing in the garden. Yes, I was afraid we had forgotten to turn on the radio in the country garden.

It is not a crazy scientific experiment to see if squash and peas grow faster to distorted guitar music but rather an attempt to keep the hungry deer from devouring all my father-in-law’s hard work. Each night, I went outside on the cabin’s front porch to listen to Ozzie Osbourne.

Or, maybe I was entertaining the spirits.

During these nightly awakenings and the family spooky stories, I remembered that many times I have had those heart stopping moments when something did go bump in the night.

At the family gathering, I informed my Aunt Esther, who is nothing like Fred Sanford’s prime agitator, but rather the cool aunt that lived with us for awhile, that a shadowy figure use to hover over her at night when she was asleep. I witnessed the phenomenon which could have been flickers of light and shade from the window fan shaped into a male image. For a six year old, it was very frightening.

As I grew older, my scare in the night was my mother sleepwalking.

Particularly, one night she wore a black gown that she had used to play a vampire in the Southeast Volunteer Fire Department’s haunted house. She slept-walked into my room, rummaged around in my drawer, then stared at the wall ahead of her and repeated the activity.

It was kind of creepy.

Mom then quietly walked away. As the occurrences of strange nighttime behavior continued for years, it did not bother me anymore.

However we are afraid that not all her sleepwalking had been monitored. The front door was discovered open in the morning a few times. If anyone saw a ghost near Caesar Road in the seventies, it could have been my mom.

Again, another bump growing up was my brother’s loud crash as he fell out of his bunk bed, hit the wood floor and never even woke up. My cousin and I would pick him up and throw him back up on the bed. We didn’t worry about him because he had a real hard head. No spooks there!

Sometimes scary storms wake us up in the middle of the night, that can be frightening, but the night I somehow fell asleep during Hurricane Camille’s wrath and I woke in the middle of the night to see the ceiling breathing was kind of the most frightening. If you have never been in a category 5 storm, it’s hard to explain how your house can breathe, but the walls move and the ceiling expands and recedes. Plus, you add all the hundreds of bumps hitting your house, the overwhelming roar of the two hundred mile an hour winds and its one of the scariest nights of all times.

I have never had a night terror; I do however fear the sound of a ringing phone in the middle of the night — its usually never good news.

However, that fear turns to intense irritation when you discover it’s a wrong number. As you settle back to try to regain sleep, you should always say a thankful prayer that all is well in the world and the call was not what it could have been.

Do I believe that ghosts come out at the witching hour? Do I believe there are perfectly explainable facts to diffuse the spooky stories of my family? Do I wonder about the shadowy human figures I saw with my own eyes in my bedroom at night?

Should I call ghost adventures or ghost hunters?

My twins watch the ghost reality shows, fascinated by their use of technical gadgets to record orbs, eerie voices from the spirits and their over use of melodrama to promote their attempt to prove supernatural events. “Did you see that? Did you hear that? Did you?” They get overly excited about a tiny noise and point cameras and recorders and later interpret the noises as ghosts.

My answer to it all is that I never claim to know the answer.

I am open to spiritual activity because of my belief in God. Do I believe that ghosts exist or do I believe its more like fallen angels that roam the earth causing havoc?

All I can say is that some things are explainable and some things are not.

I think some people are more open to the unseen and thereby, they are exposed to it more than skeptics.

Besides, fear is a recreation. If not, then rollercoaster rides would be out of business, along with haunted houses that are all sound effects and teens dressed up in scary costumes. We like to be scared.

So, the next time something goes bump in the night, open your eyes around you and see what it might be. There is nothing to fear, but fear itself.

Tracy Williams is a syndicated columnist and can be reached via FaceBook at My Hometown Column.