Tag Archives: ghosts

Family Traditions: The Knocking Ghost of Wilmarth Street

wilmarthstGrowing up, my father used to routinely beat me and my brother with spoons.

It started while we were on vacation in Gettysburg, PA. After driving from Massachusetts and spending three days crowded into the minivan visiting battlefields and taking in the oh-so-electrifying excitement of Amish country, we had all reached our breaking points. My brother and I were at that point in our relationship in which we couldn’t breathe the same air without fighting, which was making my parents crazy. Now picture all that built up angst, tension, and bad blood squeezed into the tiniest Amish buggy ¬†you can imagine.

After that we went to a restaurant to have some lunch. Still sniping at one another even as the waitress was trying to take our order, my brother and I were building up to an inevitable slugfest (which was really just a glorified slapfight because of our mutually agreed upon decision not to hit each other in the face), until my father took action.

He grabbed a spoon, held it under the table, and smacked me with it. And then he hit my brother. We were stunned.

“Did you just…did you just hit us with a spoon?” I asked.

“Yes,” said my father in a matter-of-fact tone. “Every time you guys argue, I’m going to flick you with a spoon.”

We were so stunned at the absurdity of it all, we stopped fighting and immediately started cracking up laughing. And from that point on, whenever anyone in our family was being a dick, they got whacked with a spoon under the table — an unlikely family tradition if ever there was one.

Recently, I’ve started a new family tradition all my own with my oldest son.

Continue reading Family Traditions: The Knocking Ghost of Wilmarth Street

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Scaring My Son on Halloween

Halloween is by far my favorite holiday.

Screams, scares and Snickers bars. Ghost, ghouls and GOBS of candy. People allowing their imaginations to run free with creative costume ideas, and women everywhere unleashing their inner slooze in the form of slutty cops, slutty beer wenches and slutty nurses.

Let’s face it, any holiday that simultaneously promotes the consumption of sweets, barely clothed women and riles up religious fundamentalists is my sweet spot.

But I digress…

Having Will just ratcheted up my love of Halloween even more. So far he’s been a devil, a monkey, a dinosaur and Spiderman. This year he’s going as Wolverine. But the coolest thing is he REALLY likes to be scared. We’ve taken great pains to explain what’s real and what’s made up, so he’s got a solid handle on separating reality from fiction. We probably let him watch a few movies most parents wouldn’t, but he takes it in stride and if it’s ever too much we just shut it off. No harm no foul.

But some things happen that are just out of our control.

I was down in the basement letting the dog out when I saw Will not-so-stealthily sneaking down the stairs in an effort to scare me. As I spotted him, he suddenly stopped dead in his tracks with a worried look on his face. He was looking past me, clearly troubled by something he saw behind me. I wheeled around quickly but there was nothing there. I asked him what was wrong and he told me one of the basement lights went on and off.

“Dada, the light just went on and off really quick. Why did the light do that?”

Glancing around at the Halloween decorations and knowing that we have had many discussions about what’s real and what isn’t, I decided to have a little good-natured Halloween fun with him.

“Well bud, I think you’re old enough to know the truth. You see, ghosts don’t like the light. So when they get really bothered by bright lights, they touch the light bulb to make it go out.”

I know what you’re thinking, but I swear on his life he knew I was kidding. He even started to smirk with that “you’re pulling my leg” look on his face. Everything would’ve been fine except —

At that exact moment, the light bulb made an audible buzzing sound and then went completely out.

Before I could turn to him and explain it was just a coincidence, it was too late. My poor son turned pale white, got the most scared-shitless look on his face I’ve ever seen, and flew up the stairs shouting “OH MY GOD THE GHOSTS ARE REAL! THE GHOSTS ARE REAL!!!!”

Happy Halloween.

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