Sunday, October 2, 2011

Hello, Ginger Simpson

I'm pleased to join the MUSE authors this month on Ro's blog, and I'd like to thank her for inviting me.  When I think about October, I always think of Halloween and scary stories.  I'd like to share one with you today.  Okay, so it's my version of scary.

The Empty Chair

Several years back, my neighbor, Hilda, had just returned from her brother-in-law's funeral. She and husband, Troy, had traveled from California to somewhere mid-US and the week had left both of them drained. They were a large family, and the sudden death of her sister's husband came as a shock to all.

I didn't see Hilda for a while, while she recuperated and rested, and I figured I should give her time to grieve her loss. When we finally did get together for coffee, she greeted me at the front door with a puzzled look while holding a photograph.

"What's wrong?" I asked, her confusion apparent in a raised brow.

"This. It can't be real." She handed me the photo, her hand trembling.

I stared at the images, but noticed nothing uncanny. A woman sat in a recliner, a rather sad smile on her face, while family surrounded her.

"It's a nice picture, but..." I handed the snapshot back.

She shoved it back at me. "You don't understand. My sister bought that recliner for her husband. It's practically new. All weekend, no one sat in it out of respect for him. When we got ready to leave, I wanted a picture of everyone, and I insisted she sit in the center.

"So," I held up my palms, waiting for the rest of the story.

"Look at my sister's face...the one sitting in the chair." Hilda's face paled.

I inspected the images a little more closely. Sure enough, superimposed, but oh so faintly, over the woman's face was that of a man's. I shrugged. "A quirk of development," I said, unfazed.

"B-but...that's my brother-in-law."

Not getting the inference, I continued with my uneducated guess. "Probably from another picture you took on the same roll. It happens often, or so I hear."

Hilda swallowed. "You don't understand. This is a new camera, and my brother-in-law was dead before we arrived and started taking pictures."

A chill ran up my spine. I finally got why she was so upset. The grieving wife sat in her deceased husband's chair, and had no idea she shared it with her beloved. Sort of a eerie romance tale, don't you think? True, too! Yep...Ghosts are around us. 

I'd like to write spooky stories, but I think the coward in me keeps those ideas from cropping up.  Although the theory of a dead husband hanging around his wife might be considered romance, I prefer my men real and not see-through.

Do I believe in ghosts?  Yes, I do.  I suppose it stems from when my grandmother passed away.  I spent the evening with my mother, just the two of us in the house...or so we thought.  We were watching TV upstairs in the den and I decided to go to the kitchen for a bowl of ice cream.  On the way downstairs, I passed through a vapor of "Bengay" so heavy it made my eyes water. 

 "What are you putting Bengay on?" I called back to my mom.

"I'm not using it on anything," came her response.

My poor, arthritic grandmother used it all the time before she passed.  I knew then it was her way of letting me know she was in the house and watching over us.  I slept in her bed that night, as I had many nights before with her, and I never felt as safe or loved as I did then.  I can still see her in my mind's eye as we played our usual, "Give me a kiss or a dollar."  She'd dig in her pocket and hand me a buck, and we'd laugh.  I made a ton of money the times I spent with her, but I never once doubted how much she loved me or I her.

Hmmm, how romantic do you think a story would be about an arthritic ghost who haunts a woman he loves? corny.  I'll stick to what I know, although at times, that's entirely up to the voices in my head, which is another frightful story in itself.  *smile*

You can find out more about me on my website at or on my blog,  As they say on let's make a deal, "C'mon on down."



Jolie said...

I really liked the ghost story. I would think it would be comforting to the wife, after the initial freak out of course that love does go on. I believe in ghosts too. When my grandmother was dying, many years ago, I asked her to send me a sign there was an afterlife and she promised to try. I was holding her hand after she passed and I felt a charge shoot up my arm. Was it the sign I asked from her? I don't know, but I like to think so.

Roseanne Dowell said...

Before my dad passed away he kept looking up in the corner of the room and nodding. I asked him who he saw and he mouthed "Mother" I asked if he saw my brother too and he nodded yes. So I asked if he wanted to go with them and he nodded yes. My mom passed away 3 years before my dad and my brother two weeks before. Yes, I believe in an after life. I've heard if you dream about that person, they're visiting you. Often times they're younger and healthier. I believe that's how we are in the afterlife, free of pain, beautiful and health.

Tricia McGill said...

That's a great story, Ginger, and to me very feasible. I've seen all the members of my family after each died. A few days after my hubby passed on he was sitting in the lounge room with me in his usual clothes and looking his normal self. I felt his presence in the house for a long time then a few months after he died he came to me in a dream and clearly said, "I'm going now." After that I never felt him around me and never dreamed of him again. I know he went back to London where he truly belonged. It was my idea to move to Australia and he always went along with my plans and dreams.As for writing a scary story, I wrote one, and even though I've had many ideas for horror stories can't bring myself to put the thoughts down as just reading through the one I wrote scares the pants off me.

Karen Cote said...

Ging...okay! I got a little spooked. I think you should write scary stories. If anyone could write a scary scene with emotion and elements of actually feeling like I'm there, you can. Of course, if you did write one, I'd be so scared to read it, I'd probably have nightmares. Shoot, I might have nightmares just reading this. LOL. Hugs!

Ginger Simpson said...

Sorry I didn't make an appearance yesterday...hectic day. I appreciate Ro showcasing my story. It's true, and I witnessed the picture and the wonder on my friend's face. I can't smell Bengay to this day without thinking of Granny. I hope she doesn't need it anymore and is living pain free with God. :)

Anonymous said...

Great story, Ginger! I think the hubby was saying a final goodbye to the family; that happens alot with pictures taken after a death. My mother temporarily came out of a coma to talk to an unseen person at the foot of her bed before she passed. She asked how she would pass and was apparently told that she'd take one last breath and that would be it. She repeated the words and then went back into the coma. When she passed, she took one last loud breath and that was it.

hugs, Kari Thomas,

J Q Rose said...

Right before my friend died, he opened his eyes, reached toward heaven and said, "Holy Cow!" He must have had an amazing view. I know you could write a hair-raising story, Ginger. But it might give you nightmares. My book, Sunshine Boulevard, was not written at night...oh, would keep me up!