A Beginner’s Guide to Hunting Ghosts

We went outside the walls of the house. Lit up a cigarette, the smoke mingling with the foggy breath protruding from our lungs. In and back out.
I had a lot of questions coming forth from the back of my mind but more than anything I wanted to understand how. How you go on living peacefully in this world when you’ve seen the darkness hovering over it. I mean, I have a hard enough time with bad people, let alone bad spirits. Does he pray? Meditate? Have an outlet for this spiritual toxicity?
“You don’t let it get to you,” he says. “You push it back; you push it away you shut off your mind.”
And I think he must be pretty tough. Because I’m shaking in my boots, and I haven’t even stepped foot inside. He takes another drag from his cigarette, inhaling deeply.
“What you’ve really got to watch out for are the demons. That’s what I specialize in,” he says, blowing out a stream of smoke. “Hunting them. You believe in God?”
I nod my head yes, slowly, uncertain.
“Well then you’ve already got one strike against you. Because when you believe in God, they know it means you’re open–that you believe in them. They’ll come for you.”
And I look around me nervously, scraping the boot of my toe against the cobblestone road, staring up at the threatening arches of black, shadowed boughs, like claws scraping through the air. At the dark corners of the great houses, rising proudly in the night, hiding secrets in their attics and bodies in their cellars.
“See, a demon will present itself as someone you love. As someone non threatening, like a child. You’ve got to watch out for the children. They’re the most dangerous of all.”
And I chuckle a little, thinking about the absurdity of this conversation, of his casual words used to convey something entirely abnormal. Mostly I’m just trying to cover up the fact that I’m scared shitless.
“Are there malicious spirits in this house?” I ask, but I don’t really want to know the answer.
“Oh, of course. We’ve seen people run screaming and crying from this place. One woman was a mediator from Spain. She didn’t speak any English and she was up in Molly’s room while the rest of the family made their way downstairs. Well, she flew down in a hurry, screaming in Spanish and punching the hard, stone walls of the carriage house over and over again to get the demons out. She said it was the only way to get rid of the negative energy, to beat it out of her. It took quite a few of us to hold her still and calm her down.”
He took another hit of the cigarette like it was no big deal. Like it was just a plume of smoke, an exhale of breath, one little Class A cancer stick from a pack of 20. 5%. In smooth, original flavor. The damned Marlboro Man, slinging his guns and fighting the demons like it was just another Saturday night in Savannah.
And the thing is, it was. It was just another cigarette it was just another day it was a statistic, a snapshot, a moment in time. Like all the rest. I guess when you live with all these ghosts, you just get used to it after a while. You stop jumping at the shadows and start diving into them.
But there was something I noticed in all these guys. A hardness. An edge. Say what they will but they’ve been changed by the heavy weight of spirits clinging to their shoulders. They walk a little more hunched over; their knees creak a little more when they sit down. Their eyes glimmer fiercely with a knowledge of something that most of us will never know. They are haunted.
But then again, they’re in good company here.

2 thoughts on “A Beginner’s Guide to Hunting Ghosts

  1. Interesting. I actually got one photo on my post yesterday joining the “Daily Post/Photo Challenge Inviting” that describe one eerily looking abandoned house. Please check when you have time thanks 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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