(In honor of Halloween and my favorite show, “Ghost Adventures,” I detail my own brush with spirits.)
In the summer of 2007, St. Pauli Girl and I took a short road trip to get away from the headaches of running a restaurant. We discovered an interesting bed and breakfast housed in an old silo in the middle of an artist colony. Arriving on a Sunday, we found the colony deserted and the restaurant beneath the silo closed. No problem; having the place to ourselves seemed much more fun and enjoyable.
We took a bottle of wine and sat on the spacious patio as the sun set and darkness gathered. The old woman who ran the place eventually wandered by.
“Enjoying your evening, are ye?” she asked, her lips moving around the pipe in her mouth. “You like the room?”
“Yes, it’s very nice,” St. Pauli Girl said.
“I suppose you’re here for the headless artist.”
“What?” I asked.
“Mmm, oh nothing.” She took a long drag on the pipe. “You like the room?”
I became suspicious. “You already asked that. What did you say about a headless artist?”
“I didn’t. You misheard. This is an artist colony. Lots of painters, sculptors and welders. Accidents happen.”
“You distinctly said ‘headless,’” I insisted.
“Ye think so? Ye best be getting the wax blasted from yer ears sir. I be locking the gate now. Enjoy the night.”
We watched as she sauntered off and slowly slammed the iron gate shut. After she locked it, she puffed on her pipe and stared at us for a long moment. Then she got in her car and drove away. It was dark by then and getting chilly so we went back to the silo room. Before going up, I glanced in the empty restaurant and noticed a desk lamp lit on the hostess stand. I didn’t remember it from before but figured it must be on a timer.
We finally went to bed and had no trouble falling asleep. About 4:00 a.m., I suddenly awoke as the overhead light came on. St. Pauli Girl slumbered away. A shiver ran down my spine. Logic took over. I figured I must not have flipped the switch completely, and it just came back on. I got up and looked at the switch. It was still in the off position! More shivers.
“No need to panic,” I thought. “Somebody’s probably coming in early to work in the restaurant and didn’t realize anyone was up here.” I crept down the stairs and looked into the restaurant. It was now completely dark; even the light on the hostess stand was now off. When I heard a loud bang in the kitchen, I ran back upstairs and dove into bed.
“What are you doing?” St. Pauli Girl asked. “Turn off the light.”
“It is off. I don’t know how it came on. Did you hear the bang downstairs?”
We lay still and quiet. Everything seemed to return to normal except for the light.
“Maybe we should get out our EVP recorders,” St. Pauli Girl said.
I went to the suitcase, pulled out the recorder and turned it on. Suddenly, we heard a lot of noises coming through the recorder.
“Wow, there’s a lot of paranormal action in here,” I said.
“Really? Can you make out anything?”
“I think it’s saying, ‘Zak.’”
“Give me that!” St. Pauli Girl ripped the EVP from my hand and held it to her ear. “This is strange. I hear, ‘French toast.’”
Then we heard a knock on the door. We dropped the EVP and stared in horror as the dead bolt slid back by itself. Slowly the door swung open. We saw a pale head floating just inside the door. He had long hair and a drawn face with sunken cheeks.
“The headless artist!” St. Pauli Girl gasped.
“Mmmm, you mean body-less,” said the ghoulish voice of the head.
“But the caretaker said headless…”
The eyebrows on the head went up and down. “Headless ghosts can’t talk. They mostly just gurgle. So when I need to talk, I use the head.”
“What happened?” I asked.
“Are you familiar with Van Gogh?”
“Let’s just say I took bad advice from a friend who said I could be more famous than Van Gogh.”
“What do you want?” I whispered, trying to sound courageous.
“Well, this is a bed and breakfast. What do you want for breakfast?”
“It’s kind of early for us,” I said.
“I’m a ghost. I don’t do anything after sunrise.”
St. Pauli Girl and I looked at each other and shrugged. “Eggs and sausage would be nice.”
“Do I look like I can cook? Think continental, like muffins and cereal.”
“I like Cap’n Crunch. The peanut butter one, not Crunchberries,” I said.
“We don’t have Cap’n Crunch. We only have Count Chocula.”
“Count Chocula. It’s is the same thing except scarier and not as cuckoo.”
“Okay, sounds good. Goodnight.”
“Wait a second,” St. Pauli Girl said. “I want an English muffin, lightly toasted, not too dark with orange marmalade, a dab of cream cheese, not a dollop, but a dab, then on the side I want grilled jalapenos. Fresh, not pickled. Plus some butter.”
“How about a PopTart?” the ghost head asked.
“Sounds great! Goodnight!” I said.
St. Pauli Girl leaned forward and shook her finger at the head. “Only if it’s a real Pop Tart and not an off brand. Brown sugar cinnamon.”
“Geez, sorry I asked,” said the ghost.
With a woosh, the head disappeared, the door closed and locked itself, and the light went out. St. Pauli Girl quickly went back to sleep while I stayed awake until sunrise. By the time she got up, I had packed and was ready to check out.
“I put your clothes on the foot of the bed,” I said. “Get dressed, let’s get out of here.”
“Not until we get breakfast, or at least coffee.”
I looked at her and rolled my eyes. “Fine. I’ll see what I can find.” I opened the door to go downstairs and almost tripped over the breakfast tray on the floor. It held a big pot of coffee, a bowl of Count Chocula, and a bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon.
Remembering our last room service ordeal in New Mexico, St. Pauli Girl grabbed the salmon and bagel and said with a smile, “Ghost karma.”
(Note: Okay, maybe this was embellished a bit. But the lights did mysteriously go on and off in the middle of the night, and that was pretty creepy.)