Which leads me into saying I do get new paranormal boarders travelling through now and then. Sometimes one will stay around. I do believe ghosts are lonely souls, and they gravitate to somewhere they feel recognized and perhaps welcome. I include the perhaps here because any ghost I allow to hang around is only welcome so long as he or she abides by the rules, the same as Alice demands in my Dead Man Mysteries. If I have time, I'll try to get to know the new ghost and see if he or she wants to cross over. If I don't have time … well, a lot of time I don't.
I'd been seeing this new ghost often, but he didn't seem to want to sit down and visit, even if I had worked out some extra time. I only glimpsed him: not tall, wearing a white shirt. A definite apparition, not a trick of the eye. Since the first time I noticed him well enough to realize there was definitely someone new here was in October, when The Veil starts to thin, I assumed he had wandered in then. Perhaps he was "scoping out" my paranormal abode. However, I run into so many ghosts, I can't sit down to coax each one into chatting.
Aunt Belle visits monthly, and during October, she also mentioned the new guy floating around.
"You see any ghosts here yet?" I always ask her at some point during her visit.
"Yes, a guy in a white t-shirt," she replied. "But he just sort of blips in and out."
"Yeah, he's been here a while now. I don't know who he is, either. I thought maybe you'd get some clearer information on him."
"Nope," she said.
After she left, this guy kept appearing, even more often than he had during October. The week before Aunt Belle came for her yearly Black Friday visit, I saw him quite often. I recall one evening in our bedroom, I noticed him at least four times in various spots. He didn't confine himself to one room, as the little lady in the kitchen and Marsha, my office ghost, do. He wandered around more like Howard, my Head Ghost.
Aunt Belle arrived on Wednesday morning, and first she spent some time at her daughter Sammi's house to shop and plan the Thanksgiving meal the next day. I was happy to get out of another cooking marathon. I'd saved a pumpkin pie and pumpkin roll from mine and Sis's cooking spree the previous week, since we'd already had our family gathering. However, I did agree to cook some fresh homemade noodles Thursday morning. Wednesday evening, Aunt Belle came over here, and we rested to prepare for the next day of eating and shopping.
Since Sis moved into my guest bedroom to escape those cold Minnesota winters, Aunt Belle stays in my office on the daybed here. She came out into the living room after she'd put on her jammies, that frown on her face I knew meant she had encountered something.
"What's up?" I asked, always interested to see what she finds around here. She has more powerful abilities in some areas than I do, one of them being the fact she sometimes sees ghosts more clearly.
"There's a really strong smell of cigarettes in that room," she said. "Very strong."
"Any idea who it is?" I asked. She knew I quit smoking eight years ago.
"Maybe that new guy," she said. "The one in the white shirt. But I'm not sure." So she hadn't seen him clearly … yet.
We watched the new Christmas movie I bought for the occasion (Santa Paws2, a wonderful, heartwarming show), then called it a night. The next morning, my alarm woke us at 5 a.m., so we could be out shopping by 7 a.m., when some of the stores opened. As usual, I asked Aunt Belle how she slept. That's sort of our code for: "Did any of the ghosts disturb you?"
"That new guy was in there. I saw him sitting in the chair beside your table, and I smelled cigarette smoke several times. I think his name is Roy."
"Did you get an idea of what he looks like yet?"
"Uh huh. He's short, just a little taller than you and me."
She was silent for a moment, thinking, I knew, to recall what she'd seen.
"And?" I finally prodded. "Is he rather chubby? Like Howard?"
"No," she said. "He's pretty buff, but not over-muscular. And he's sort of balding."
"Interesting," I replied. "A bit older but he kept himself in shape."
I went in to check my email, and Roy announced his presence with that smell. I also felt his energy, and murmured, "So you're a smoker."
Smoked, he told me mentally, emphasis on the past tense.
But we had a busy day, so I hurried through the email, reported the short conversation to Aunt Belle, and we got on the road. We'd promised to stop by Sammi's and see if she wanted to shop with us before she started cooking, but we flat forgot on the first trip. So we went by before we headed to our next stop. Aunt Belle went in by herself, while Sis and I waited in the car. She came out alone … without anyone visible, anyway.
"Pee-yew," I said when she got in the car. "Everyone in there must have been smoking."
"No," she denied. "In fact, no one was."
"Well, you sure brought a load of cigarette smoke back with you. Do you smell it?" I asked Sis.
"No," she said. "I don't."
Aunt Belle and I looked at each other. "Roy's coming shopping with us," I said, and she nodded an agreement.
We smelled Roy off and on after that, so he stayed with us the entire trip. However, after we got home, I noticed another smell.
"Pee-yew," I said again. "That's Juan."
Aunt Belle laughed. "You sure are smelling things today. More than me."
"Well, he's being faint about the fart smell," I assured her. Juan crossed over, but he does still drop by now and then. I guess he decided to get my attention and differentiate himself from Roy, although for some reason, Aunt Belle didn't smell Juan this time.
Friday night, we were dog tired from our most-of-the-night shopping, so not even a ghost could have bothered us. I didn't have the next experience until after Aunt Belle went home. In fact, it was on Saturday evening.
Angela is working on a new cover for me, a short story for Christmas called To All a Good Night. It has a ghost in it, too, and I'm aiming to get it up by next weekend, hopefully. But she told me the picture I wanted to use needed something in it, perhaps a fireplace in the background. Since I'd just finished decorating my own fireplace, I offered to take some photos and email them to her. I'm so not the photographer Angela is, and I took quite a few; I counted them, and there are fourteen pictures.
Number ten came out with some orbs in it. Since the prior nine were all orb-less, and all taken within about three minutes, there shouldn't have been any disturbance to stir up dust … nothing I'd seen. Then I took another picture, and there was a flash of light so bright, it faded the picture nearly white. But only on the screen. When I looked at it on the camera, there was the fireplace, perfectly clear. The three photos after that also at first appeared washed out on the screen, but fine on the picture card. Huh. I didn't have time to manipulate them with the software to see if I'd captured anything else. Maybe later, but there's still a lot of decorating to do.
Here's the orb photo (a little crooked):
I'll get To All a Good Night up as soon as Angela finishes the cover. Like me, she's got a whole lot more on her plate now with the holidays on us. But it's fun, especially the shopping!
Have a wonderful time during the upcoming weeks, but be sure and take out some stress-free time for yourselves. I will, too.