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  1.  (10201.1)
    Memories are all that stand between us and Galvani’s frogs. Here is where we burn our anecdotes onto the face of the Interweb and persuade history we’re more than twitching amphibian meat machine.

    THE RULES:

    1. Recount a tale on the below topic. You have 300 words. Anything more than that will be flambéed with the righteous heat of Deletion. Repeat offenders will be banned.

    Linking to a longer version of the story, or posting subsequent chapters, or anything which indirectly pushes it past that 300 word limit, will be similarly nuked.

    2. Read – and comment on – the other entries, before you post your own. Partly that’s because you’ll look like a fucking plum if your story is a rubbish shadow of someone else’s. Mostly it’s because you’re not an impolite shit, are you?

    THE LEGAL CRAP:

    By telling us your story, it’s in the public domain. Don’t get pissy about that.

    Right now you’re in a pub, surrounded by writers, artists and socialites. If you recount an interesting tale to entertain and endear yourself to your fellows, you do not get to bitch about it if a twisted version of the same tale shows up 30 years later on the other side of the planet. Stories are contagious. My advice? Be honest. Don’t make shit up. Don’t treat this like a fiction thread. It’s a chance to entertain and move us with your life experience. That’s plenty good enough.

    THE TOPIC:

    "I'm not necessarily saying I believe in ghosts, but there was this one time..."
    •  
      CommentAuthortexture
    • CommentTimeSep 5th 2011 edited
     (10201.2)
    I'm so all over this.... give me 24H
    • CommentAuthorevilhare
    • CommentTimeSep 5th 2011 edited
     (10201.3)
    [Uh. Okay... I feel a bit shit deleting this, because it was a fun little story. But it had absolutely nothing to do with the topic, so... yeah. Urethral Attack Maggots are hatched and hungry. I'm not sure I can control them a second time. -- Si.]
    •  
      CommentAuthorsebfowler
    • CommentTimeSep 5th 2011
     (10201.4)
    Damnit, mine's not a ghost story or anything unexplained, but it does involve waking up screaming. Permission to post? I would have already, but I value my urethra.
  2.  (10201.5)
    Assume the topic is the title of a column article you're writing. If the meat fits the condiment, serve it.
  3.  (10201.6)
    That was an unncessarily wanky way of saying what I was trying to say. Thank fuck I'm not a writer.
    •  
      CommentAuthorsebfowler
    • CommentTimeSep 5th 2011
     (10201.7)
    Alright, I'll try my luck...
    I was living in Bali at the time, sharing a house with a friend. The bedrooms were upstairs and everything was tiled and echoey.
    One night, I’m fast asleep, when around 4am I’m woken up by the most horrendous, deafening screeching coming from INSIDE MY BEDROOM. I jumped bolt upright in bed, screaming involuntarily, almost having a heart attack. Two feral cats had burst into my bedroom mid fight and were trying to kill each other under my bed. By the time I figured this out, they'd chased each other out of my room and off the balcony, still fighting.
    You know those scenes in action movies where the cop is chasing a crim through a neighbourhood and they bust through someone’s house breaking shit, leaving the residents all flabbergasted and pissed off? It was like that, but at 4am with cats. It would’ve been a good hour before I’d calmed down enough to go back to sleep.
    •  
      CommentAuthorWaxPoetic
    • CommentTimeSep 5th 2011
     (10201.8)
    sebfowler, that is an unnatural noise - way to not have a heart attack.

    Here's mine:

    … things – happen – in libraries. Librarians are not terribly superstitious in my experience, but still. Things happen in those places. Working in the periodical’s stacks brought us into a world where dust smelled some days of lemon drops, some days of chocolate pudding and the shelves rearranged the letters of the alphabet.

    We joked that we could hear the volumes buzzing, shrugged and acknowledged that ‘knowledge is power.’ Not enough power to stop the stacks from the eventual 80% weed that has left the space empty and filled with horrible lights and training areas and walls that need repainting. Enough, though, to knock volumes off the shelves onto our heads as we muttered and grumbled and went searching for the titles that played hide-and-seek with our list-motivated weeding.

    It got more and more difficult to find things after a while: short runs would go missing (not helped by us) and every now and again an unknown title with 5 volumes would just appear on the shelves, dusty and fading and fascinating. My co-worker is far more eager to play in dark places and chat with the shadows over hot chocolate than I, but even I started hanging back in the stacks, feeling like maybe I could help preserve something of what we loved, maybe I could hear or feel something that would be the right thing to do to save the periodicals.

    Nothing ever came of it and now the stacks are gone. I do wonder if maybe something was living there that has moved into an office or file drawer, wreaking havoc on invoices. I kind of hope so.
    •  
      CommentAuthorcurb
    • CommentTimeSep 5th 2011
     (10201.9)
    Our first family dog was a big old hound called Gemma. She was a little senile and I found her kind of frightening from time to time, but I loved that dog. She died when I was around 12 years old. A few nights after she died, I found myself dreaming that I was down in our cellar. Gemma was there, looking like a spectral, doggy Obi Wan. In the dream, I stroked her one last time, and said my goodbyes. I woke up feeling a little melancholy, but peaceful. I didn’t know what ‘coping mechanism’ meant at the time, but the whole experience felt perfectly natural. It felt a little stranger after I told my parents about the dream. My stepmum remarked that it was strange, because she was a light sleeper and she’d heard someone walking around the house in the night.

    Now, I know that several things could account for what my stepmum heard, and I don’t believe in ghosts, but I did sleepwalk a couple of times as a child. And the cellar, down three slights of steep stairs, was full of many sharp, rusty and pointy things that could have done me harm. But what really creeps me out to this day is the idea of me, stood alone and unconscious in that pitch black cellar, stroking a dog that wasn’t there.
    • CommentAuthoradrian r
    • CommentTimeSep 5th 2011 edited
     (10201.10)
    Aaah, small child stroking invisible doggy in dark cellar full of pointy things...

    youdothatvoodoo -- fighting the good fight
    • CommentAuthoradrian r
    • CommentTimeSep 5th 2011 edited
     (10201.11)
    hmm, next time I'll read the instructions fully...oops...
    •  
      CommentAuthorRobSpalding
    • CommentTimeSep 5th 2011 edited
     (10201.12)
    I retract my story because I was drunk and didn't read the topic properly.

    Sorry
  4.  (10201.13)
    The first prison I worked at back in 2000, when I was about 20, had this story about how when it was built, (by convicts) and during the cement pour, two of the inmates started fighting, and they ignored orders to stop firing, were shot, and buried under the cement.

    Many prisons have similar stories. It was also said, the spot in which the two inmates were buried eventually became Administrative Segregation, sometimes called Solitary or "the Hole."

    I was a rookie and supposed to work an overnight shift in the Hole. Now, the Hole had been converted, from a 30-cell unit, down to four. The four Segregation cells were blocked off from the rest of the unit, and the other cells were converted into housing for what we called Cadre, aka "Trustees." One of the four cells isn't locked; it just has a dirty old rag stuffed into the lock. They used to be electronic locks, but at some point, all the electronics had been removed. There's no power to the cells, and they are all operated by a key. So I saw the dirty rag and I removed it from the door, and locked it with my key.

    During the night, the cell began locking and unlocking itself. A very loud, CLICK-CLACK! CLICK-CLACK!! All night long. Eventually one of the inmates yelled "Who pulled the fucking rag out of the door??"

    Sheepishly, I put the jammed the rag back in the lock, and the noise stopped.

    Months later, I trained an officer to work in the same area overnight. I told the story of the dead inmates buried under Ad-Seg, but didn't tell him about the malfunctioning cell that nobody used. On my way out, I pulled the rag out without him knowing.
  5.  (10201.14)
    [brews cocoa, fluffs pillows, nails the door shut, loads shotgun and snuggles in to read another bed time story from gov spy]
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      CommentAuthorrazrangel
    • CommentTimeSep 5th 2011
     (10201.15)
    And there goes @gov spy winning at all things story-telling! Also, haha mean!!

    As for me, I don't have nearly so much fun but...

    I don’t disbelieve the possibility of ghosts, I’ve just never had the occasion to experience any such thing. I do, though, believe in a lot of things supernatural including the soul and ties that go beyond life and death. I also believe that grace and gentleness are not to be underestimated and I seek them out when I’m losing my shit and need something by which to get my bearings.

    So it was when I was falling apart horribly a few years ago. I was depressed and completely worn out by anxiety, unable to eat or sleep normally. For some reason I would regularly think of my aunt, a Franciscan nun named Sister Irene. She is my personal paragon of a sweet, giving person who could ride any trying situation. Well, almost any, she died of leukemia in 2003. I missed her like mad. I still do.

    It wasn’t intentional but I started thinking about how Sister Irene would handle the challenges I was facing. At times I would think as a nun she had sworn chastity and poverty among other things so that’s why she didn’t have the stresses I did and therefore in life she could be calm and generous. At other times I could remember the little pleasures she had to make it through each day like painting and her little dogs. I’m Catholic. On one troubled night I prayed to her in between sobs. (I’ll skip over the theology of this…I have a word limit!) Usually praying is a sort of alchemy that settles me, and I found I could finally relax. I was drifting off to sleep when I distinctly heard my middle name in her drawling, slightly raspy voice. Awake and alone in my apartment I was sure she heard me.
    •  
      CommentAuthorHEY APATHY!
    • CommentTimeSep 5th 2011 edited
     (10201.16)
    @ seb- the cats would have freaked me out right good!
    @ government spy- beautiful fun thanks for the weird tale!


    I had a shared artist’s studio in a small sort of dingy mall located in Toronto’s Kensington Market. While I worked there I got into numerous physical altercations with other tenants, other artists and a group of racist gangster drug dealers. I hadn’t been involved a fist fight and rarely even an argument since I was a young boy so I decided to move my practice out of that space. As I was leaving one of the elder tenants shook her head and said to me “So you are leaving too, everyone always leaves. I think something bad happened here a long time ago.”

    Since then most of the people I knew or fought with have also vacated the accursed strip, however the troubles have continued. The storefront has changed 4 times within a year, a meth lab was discovered in the basement, and three people were shot (one murdered) in the alley way behind the emergency exit.

    ( I'm not much of a story teller but every word of it's true!)
  6.  (10201.17)
    This isn't my story, it's my mother's. It plays out like the most clichéd ghost story you've ever read, but she swears it's true. Maybe it is - clichés have to start somewhere after all...

    My mother worked as a paediatric nurse. She did her training at the now long-gone Westminster Children's Hospital in London. As a trainee she got all the crappy jobs, including patrolling the wards in the middle of the night.
    This one night, early on in her training, she was doing the rounds. In one particular ward she'd checked that everything was OK, and was walking out the door when she heard a noise. Investigating, she discovered a tap in the sink at the far end of the ward running – which was strange because she'd walked right past it earlier and noticed nothing. She turned it off and resumed her rounds.

    At the end of her shift she reported to the supervising matron before heading home. Asked if anything out of the ordinary had happened, she mentioned the tap incident.

    The Matron's face fell and she blurted out “Oh no!”. She then explained that there was a ghost on that ward that would always wash it's hands if one of the children was about to die. My mother thought this ridiculous, as all the children on that ward were well and about to be sent home, but the matron refused to be reassured. My mother thought no more of it and left.

    When she reported for her next shift the following afternoon she discovered that one of the children in the ward had taken a sudden turn for the worse and passed away in the early hours of the morning.

    A coincidence? A prank? Or even a hand-washing ghost? I don't pretend to know...
    •  
      CommentAuthortaphead
    • CommentTimeSep 6th 2011 edited
     (10201.18)
    Okay, I'll give this one a shot.

    I was 12 or so when this happened. I was visiting my grandma in the country one summer, and I had the upstairs room all to myself, which, for a youngster who likes to read well into the wee hours, was totally awesome. My parents weren't with me on this trip and my grandpa had passed away a few years back, so it was just me and my grandma at the house.

    There I was, reading a book well past midnight. Grandma downstairs, sound asleep. The staircase leading upstairs had this slat paneling that I always liked to run my fingers against when going upstairs. So. All of a sudden, in the middle of the night there's this LOUD AS FUCK racket, like someone running their fingernails across the slats. TRATATATATATATATRATATA. This went on for 15 minutes or so, I can't say I managed to keep track of time.

    When it ended, I was sitting in the opposite corner of the room from the door, I had the TV and radio on, getting mostly static at this hour, and clutching my dad's shotgun (empty).

    The options are: 1) I'd gone totally nuts, 2) grandma had gone totally nuts, 3) neither of the above.

    I still can't decide what the best option there is.

    (Did I go to look what was making the noise? OH HELL NO.)
    •  
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeSep 6th 2011
     (10201.19)
    @sebfowler: Always fun when you find yourself as "Bystander #3" in someone else's really interesting movie, isn't it?

    @WaxPoetic: Libraries are, almost by definition, where old things come to rest. Not surprising that they should make good ghost condos.

    @curb: I've had a few spooky, but not unpleasant, dreams about our dog, a Newfoundland named Mariah. Cats get all the credit for being able to see the dead, but it seems to me that dogs have an easier time looking in from the other side of the glass. That's probably for the best.

    @govspy: See my comment on libraries, only replace "old" with your favorite descriptor for prisoners. I have a sneaky suspicion it will also apply well to ghosts. Also, you bastard! That poor guy probably didn't piss straight for a week.

    @razrangel: Catholics always have the best ghost stories, in my experience.

    @HEY APATHY!: I've walked into houses, apartments, and schools where I just could not help but look over my shoulder or twitch at every little sound. Some places are just plain mean.

    @Purple Wyrm: I wonder why the ghost's M.O. was to wash it's hands... maybe an old echo of a doctor or nurse, cleaning up after post?

    @Taphead: Basements get a bad rap for being creepy places, but all the really, inexplicable scary things that have every happened to me take place in attics and top floors.

    For example -

    Back in The People's Republic of Cornistan, there's this ancient farmhouse. It's history matches the classic "farmer went crazy, killed his family during the Depression" story. No idea how true that is, as I've never done any concrete research on the place, but (like I said to Apathy just now), the house definitely doesn't feel like a nice pocket of space. It gave me the feeling, in fact, of a large, hairy spider scuttling in and out of a crack in the wall. The corn still grows there. No idea how, or who tends it, or if any of it ever gets harvested, but it's still there. Growing in the fields, in the front lawn, and poking up through the floorboards, along with a few gnarly-looking sunflowers. In the dead of night, with nothing but cold stars to see by, that is an unsettling sight. Shiver-city, my friends, Shiver-fucking-county.

    So, of course, my friends and I have to go visit it.

    It was the girls' idea, but they didn't want to go in. There were three guys - the Clown, an old friend of mine, the Vulcan, a fellow that one of the girls had a pretty big crush on, and yours truly. As the resident Sorcerer Supreme (for my ability to read Tarot cards and for having a few books on magic lying around my room... credentials for these sorts of things, and competition for the position, aren't too demanding in small-town Iowa), I was elected as the one who would step inside first.

    The house was obviously being worked on. There were floorboards pulled up, relatively recently, dust had been brushed off the old kitchen table, and there was a half-full can of Pepsi sitting on the counter. I sniffed the can. Still smelled of Pepsi. Yet, I could think of no reason why anyone would come around here, besides stupid kids looking for a cheap thrill. WEIRD.

    I go upstairs. The floors creak, but not badly. I guess they built these places to last, back in the '20's. At the top of the stairs, there's a little room, like maybe a kid's bedroom or nursery. Sitting in the middle of the room is one of these:



    ... full of rich, black, odorous Midwestern farming dirt. And a half-grown, dead sunflower sticking up at a jaunty angle, right in the middle of it.

    We left, fucking pronto, and made tracks for an all-night gas station. Nothing cures the creeping shivers like florescent lights and a Snicker's bar.
    •  
      CommentAuthorcurb
    • CommentTimeSep 6th 2011
     (10201.20)
    @Taphead

    That sounds pretty damn spooky, and reminds me of an old dilemma. If you think you see some hideous face staring at you from outside a window, then look again and it's gone, do you go out and investigate or choose to ignore it? Because kind of like you said, there's a chance that either you're being watched by some crazy person, or you are some crazy person.

    @Alan

    I'm sure it is for the best. If any of my cats could come back and see me, they'd probably just use the opportunity to shit me up good!