Being that Halloween is one of my most favorite holidays, I have quite a fondness for ghoulish things and Goosebumps-esque stories. Every time this holiday comes around, I must refrain from buying all the skulls and ravens to decorate my house with. But there was a time when I encountered something ghostly. That event remains to be one of the spookiest Halloweens of my life.
Do you believe in the afterlife? I sure do.
It is said that nearing the time of Halloween, the barriers between the physical and spiritual worlds become thinner.
Before I was born, my mother lost my brother, Joseph. He had been named after one of her two brothers, both now deceased. Uncle Joey died when he was 20 at the fault of a drunk driver. So it became a common custom during her youth to visit the graveyard where her brother was buried on Halloween because it was his favorite time of the year.
Therefore, our family has always held this time of the year as a special time when we can think about our loved ones that have parted from this world for the next and remember their presence.
For me, I think about the brother who I have never met. Or at least, in the flesh. Around Halloween, I tend to get dreams about a boy who ages a little every year (and is now a young man), who I am sure I have never met in real life. We never really talk, but we seem to know each other’s spirit. I have reason to believe it is my brother reaching out to me.
But there was one time he seemed to cross over into this world – during the time of Halloween.
I had gone into the woods one evening with some friends. It was preserved marshland, close to the New Jersey Pine Barrens, which has already been evidenced to have volatile spiritual energy and is the rumored residence of the Jersey Devil. For me, the woods have always been a magical place. But when we entered that night, I felt something different.
It may have been because we were purposely trying to psyche one another out, but I knew someone was watching me.
A dense mist was draped around the spindly trunks of the evergreens. Not even our flashlights could pierce through it. We trekked up towards the abandoned buildings, talking about what people have reported seeing in the area. Keeping my eyes peeled on the path in front of us, I tried not to focus on the hair that had risen on the nape of my neck and goose pimples running down my arms.
There was a crackling in the woods, far beyond what our flashlights could illuminate. My friends and I stopped.
“It is probably just a squirrel or something,” I said, trying to sound brave.
Aside from that rustling, there was no other sound. Not the wind, not the brook, and not even the cars passing by. We turned to look up at the abandoned building behind us, where a red light shined through the top window.
“What is an exit sign doing in there?” one of my companions asked.
Answered another with a tinge of panic, “That is not an exit sign. No one should be in there.”
We all exchanged nervous glances then decided to head back to the car. There was another car that had parked near ours, and mind you, it was way after hours. That was when I saw him in the mist. He was on the fringes of the densest trees, staring out from the gloom with solemn eyes. Another path into the woods started near the ghost-boy, but he seemed to be warning me not to draw closer. He shook his head once then faded into the unknown.
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I said nothing about the ghost, but I did say, “You know, I don’t think we should go over there.”
“Good idea. Who knows what this other guy is up to?”
“Maybe he is burying a body,” my third friend quipped. “There is a graveyard nearby.”
I never got into a car and buckled my seat faster than I did on that night. As we drove back to civilization, I gazed up at the dazzling starlight set and at the bloated orange moon. The naked branches of the trees seemed like skeleton fingers reaching hungrily for the light. I closed my eyes, sending a thought into the night, “Happy Halloween, brother.”
Do you have similar Halloween experiences? I’d love to hear about them.