I was eight, and years ahead of M. Night Shyamalan. I was convinced that my grandmother was a ghost. And not only was she dead, but she didn't know it. In the world I imagined, she was beside me while I was setting the table, wondering why I was ignoring her. She was in the bathroom when I accidentally walked in on her. She was ironing, and that's why the iron was still hot. She probably was mid-shirt when I turned it off.
I was nine when I became obsessed with ghost stories. Baby Sitters Club stories about Dawn's Haunted House didn't phase me- my favorites were eerily haunted, where the alive character didn't know they were dealing with the paranormal. Where a couple's car breaks down on a small country road, and another couple offers them refuge for the night in their home. They leave coins on the bedside table. The couple comes back a year later to find out the home burned down a hundred years prior, and see their coins sitting on the bedside table, with decrepit ruins surrouding. Yes, those were the good ghost stories.
I was thirteen, and I was in my third and final play at Quincy Music Theater when I was finally old enough to comprehend the rumors that the eerie shadows that danced on the third chair on the right in the very front row... The ghost of an old director was there. Funny, because I had always thought the Green Room was haunted.
I was seventeen when I saw the Friends episode where Joey is in the movie with the girl ghost. He goes on a date, drops the girl off at her home, but when he returns for the second date, he finds out, "Betsy's been dead for thirty years...." I still get chills when Matt LeBlanc says that line, and it's not only because he's so beautiful.
I was twenty-three, and the boy I was seeing was obsessed with ghosts. Or rather, the show GhostHunters. We would watch it, he would get really involved. I would be nonchalant to the whole situation, and perhaps even joking. He called me a skeptic. This is a great word in the Ghost-Believer's mind, and one to be used as often as possible. He said that as a skeptic I might be in harm's way. I said I wasn't a non believer, I just simply wasn't a believer. He still thinks the ghosts are out to get me.
I'm still 23, and still ambivalent. The afterlife is incapturable to anyone with an open mind.
...but if you don't vote for me, I'll haunt you.