The winner of Linda's book is: Vijaya Schartz. Congratulations, Vijaya! Send me your contact information and I'll pass it along to Linda. Thanks to everyone who participated.
To Believe or not to believe? That is the question.
Shamelessly rephrasing Shakespheare aside, I am referring to ghosts and the belief in whether or not they exist. Certainly believing is seeing, even when there's nothing to see. Studies have shown that the mere idea of a haunting makes people more susceptible to encountering spooks and phantoms. The common term of the phenomenon is mass hysteria and like fear and sneezing it is contagious.
But what about the other group, the nonbelievers? Is believing seeing? Nope. But it may nudge them in the direction of belief or at least shake their non beliefs.
Case in point: My sister, her husband and their son went to Scotland to visit a notorious haunted castle. My sister and her son are open to the idea of ghosts, her husband humors her.
The afternoon was waning by the time the tour started. Long shadows added to the spooky atmosphere and there was a palpable expectation, a breathless anticipation of an encounter to come. In one windowless room, the tour stopped and the guide told of the tragedies that unfolded. Voices from the group behind them echoed in the cavernous room but after a while, my sister and her family were able to ignore the murmurs and focus on the story.
It was then my sister and her son noticed the shadows on the rugs. More silhouettes than could be cast by the small tour. Some vanished while others appeared, yet the people stood still. When they moved on, my sister mentioned it to her husband. "A trick of the light," he assured her.
Cold spots aside (it is a drafty, old castle), the tour ended with no other supernatural phenomenon. A little disappointed, my sister and her family prepared to leave. As they thanked their guide, her husband quipped that perhaps they should space the groups further apart because the talking from the tour behind them had been so loud that he had a hard time enjoying the retelling of history of the place.
With a start, the guide told them that their group had been the last one of the day. There had been no one behind them.
Did my brother-in-law change his beliefs? Nope. He's certain there's a rational (read non-spectral) explanation, but, maybe, just maybe...
In Ghost of a Chance, the hero Everett Grey is of the same rationale. A no nonsense former Union spy, he knows there's always a human culprit behind every bit of mischief. But doubts undermine his certainty when he hires Brighid Garvey as a wet nurse. Brighid knows the living and the restless spirits of the dead coexist, the constant presence of her Gran's spirit won't let her forget it.
And Gran is going to make certain Everett learns that death doesn't stop some folks from protecting their loved ones.
Ye be thinking of her, right, boy-o?
The faint words swept over his ear. White flashed in the plate glass window. Fear pricked his flesh, straightening the hair in his follicles and bubbling under his skin. He whipped about. A woman appeared, as substantial as the tulle in a bride’s headdress. He blinked, and she disappeared.
Everett sprinted to the corner. No woman in white strolled down the avenue. Had she vanished into the ether? White blobs danced on his lids as he rubbed his eyes.
“Steady on. Don’t give anyone a reason to toss you into an asylum.” He returned to the window. No white shadow floated next to him. He smoothed his tie flat, reassured by the pressure of his fingers against his collarbone. Wool scratched the pads of his fingers as he pinched the edge of his jacket and jerked it flat.
His Adam’s apple throbbed. Everett glanced at his neck. His tie tilted. A woman’s laughter, carried by the cool breeze, trilled in his ear. He straightened the tie and swallowed a few times for good measure. The tie bobbed but did not tilt.
The excerpt is just one of many encounters that convince Everett of a world beyond the veil. What about you? Was there any one incident that made you believe in ghosts?
Linda will give away a copy of her book to one commenter. Her winner will be selected and posted on Tuesday evening. Stop back by to see if you won.