“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”
~Madeleine L’Engle

3 Reasons You Should Write Ghost Stories

From Joe: Happy Halloween! This post on ghost stories was originally published in 2012, and it was so popular I thought I’d share it again today. I’m looking forward to seeing your spooky story!

Ghost stories have a rich literary tradition, but for most of my life, I dismissed them. I don’t believe in ghosts, and I’ve seen enough horror movies to know I’m not interested in seeing another.

ghost stories

Photo by Matt Wilson (creative commons). Adapted by The Write Practice.

However, I just finished Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams, a finalist for the Pulitzer, and was surprised to see a powerful account of a ghost.

Humanity is Fascinated by Ghost Stories

It made me realize how many ghost stories are in the literary canon. There’s Poe’s The Raven, Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw, basically all of Nicolai Gogol’s work, and more recently Michael Cunningham’s Specimen Days, among many many others.

Humans have always been fascinated by ghost stories. (Tweet that!) So here are three reasons to write one:

1. Ghost stories are biblical.

While science is skeptical the Bible doesn’t seem to be afraid of ghosts. In 1 Samuel 28, King Saul consults a medium who brings the prophet Samuel back from the dead.

As you can imagine, Samuel’s ghost wasn’t too pleased about it, and he teaches Saul some healthy fear of the dead.

2. Ghost stories are spectacular.

I think of spectacle as the kind of thing you would talk about around the campfire back in Homer’s day. You would probably tell stories about things like war, adventure, the opposite sex, political intrigue, and, of course, ghosts. Of course, the campfire is where most of the best stories from history came from. If you want to tell the kind of story that could be told around a campfire, a story about spectacle, write about ghosts.

3. Ghost stories demystify death.

One of the most popular themes in literature is death. Each of the thirteen stories nominated for the Booker Prize in 2011 were about death. Death is universal. The unfortunate truth is that if you’re alive, you’re going to die (if you’re a zombie or a vampire, you get a break).

The problem is, no one knows exactly what happens when you die.

We all have our theories, but even our theories have holes and grey areas. (E.g. Will there really be pearly gates and streets of gold, or is that just a metaphor?)

Why We Love Ghost Stories

Ghost stories are about what happens after you die. However, the interesting thing about ghost stories is that while they remove mystery, they also heap a lot more mystery on.

How does one become a ghost? Do ghosts ever move on to the next life? What’s the next life they move on to? And then we’re back at the beginning.

Either way, they’re a lot of fun!

Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever written about them? Why or why not?


Write about a ghost.

Write for fifteen minutes. When you’re finished, post your practice in the comments section. And if you post, please comment on a few pieces by other writers.

Happy Halloween!

About Joe Bunting

Joe Bunting is a writer and entrepreneur. He is the author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller Let's Write a Short Story! and the co-founder of Story Cartel. You can follow him on Twitter (@joebunting).

  • ShelleyD

    This took me a little over 15 minutes.  

    Indigenous cultural groups world wide experience supernatural events on regular basis.  For instance, I’m Native American.  The traditionalist who follow the Long House religion will simply say these powers come directly from the Creator.  They may be in the form of blessings, curses, or warnings.  However, it’s not only the traditionalists who are privy to particular events.  Just as the presence of a born again Christian can bring blessings to those around them, so can a community of pagan believers release demonic powers to people in a community.   As a Native American growing up on a reservation, we accept these things as a natural part of life.  I haven’t had many encounters, but those that I’ve had weren’t really what you might consider scary.  They were just odd.  The first time, I was about 7 years old.  My mother and my little niece were in the living room folding clothes and watching television.  It was summertime and we always left the back porch door open to the screen door. My clan grandmother (a traditionalist) lived in a little house in the back.  She spoke very little English.  Often, she would come over to either ask my mother to take her to town, or use the telephone.  Grandma never knocked.  She would just come in.  This particular day, we heard the screen door open.  “C’mon in Grandma,” we all chimed.”We’re in the living room.”My little niece got up and ran towards the dining room where the black, rotary telephone was located.  “Grandma?”She wasn’t to be found.  I got up and went through the connecting hall thinking she may have gone around.  Nowhere.  I even went to the garage door to see if she’d gone the other way.The next day, Grandma Ida came by in her usual manner.  We asked her if she’d been over to use the phone and told her what had occurred.   She hadn’t.  At that point, we just figured a jis-ganh (ghost) had come to visit.  Opposites in the physical world exist.  No one would dispute that.  Why, then, is it so incredulous when it comes to the spiritual realm?  What people often attribute to the workings of God couldn’t be further from the truth.  In fact, in order to ascertain where the credit is due, one should know their Bible and know it well.  Even seemingly good things aren’t necessarily from the God of the Bible.  One thing I know for sure is Satan and his demons are real.  The only mistake I made was believing ghosts were unsettled souls roaming the earth. 

    • ShelleyD

      Sorry about the formatting (again).

    • Wow.  Is this true, Shelley?  Good work.

      • ShelleyD

        Oh, yes.  It is true.  Thank you.

    • Margaretperry839

      What you say is so true. Don’t you think that it would make for good stories?

      • ShelleyD

        You know, Margaret.  I really never gave it much thought.  There’s a book that was written about things like this from our reservation years ago.  It’s titled, “Listen to the Sound of the Lonesome Drum”.   There are other stories told to us by my mother as well, but you know how oral history goes.  I know many family members share the same stories.  I suppose I don’t like giving too much focus on the demonic realm.  I’d rather point people in the other direction.

    •  I agree Shelley. I don’t believe in ghosts, as such, but I do believe there are spiritual powers both good and evil. I also believe it’s important not to involve ourselves in things we are ill equipped to handle.

    • Very good post Shelley. I agree with you that our ultimate reality check is to be found in THE HOLY BIBLE. It is my greatest source of understanding for my life.

      When I write stories involving other worldly beings I do not do so to glorify the devil or his kingdom of darkness and death. I do so because those who I seem to be sharing my stories with need to understand that the realm of the spirit is real and they are burnt out on religious philosophies of men and therefore resistant to any mention of the name of Jesus Christ other than in jest or as a casual swear word.

      I seek to honor our Creator’s crown of creation, humanity and use these stories of unusual and unnerving events to cause people to think about the supernatural realm that surrounds us. If a person can first believe in a spirit realm, they can better consider and understand the GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom. Everything about Jesus from His birth to His death, to His resurrection is supernatural.

  • Marla

    The dream started like all the rest. There was my mother,
    suddenly awake in her coffin at the funeral home.  Not dead exactly, but close. The funeral
    director called and it was all up to me. I could ignore the call and they’d let
    her die.  Take action and an ambulance
    could be there pronto.

    In every dream I chose death.  A terrible choice, but I’d watched her die
    for two years.  I knew what lay
    ahead.  She wasn’t going to get over
    cancer, no matter how many pain pills she refused to take, no matter how many
    vitamins she managed to get down each day.

    I woke up shaking, again the same as always.  I hadn’t cried in weeks. When she died, I left
    the hospital, drove forty miles to a mall where I hoped no one knew me, and
    looked at appliances in Sears, a teenager burning for a new refrigerator.  When they closed the doors, they made me

    Now, six weeks later, the dreams showed up nightly.  I wiped my brow, rifled through my nightstand
    until my fingers reached the bottle of Tylenol #4’s, and got out of bed. The
    bottle was the size of a juice glass. My mother’s name was on the front.  I pried the top off and took two.

    Back in bed, I felt more paralyzed than sleepy.  My skin crawled. I touched my breasts, my
    fingers hovering above them for a moment, sure that they were filled with
    lumps. They were not. 

    I did sleep eventually, without dreams for once.  When I awoke, the ceiling had opened, a wide
    swath of sky exposed. My mother was sitting among the stars, on a boulder as
    big as our front porch. She was dressed in the suit we buried her in: nubby
    brown wool, a mink collar. She didn’t have shoes on, a fault I placed on the
    funeral home that refused the sling-back heels I’d taken there on the day after
    her death.  Her auburn hair was flat and
    hung to her shoulders, an abomination to a woman who saw Maurice every Saturday
    for the Baptist special: teased hair swept back into a French twist, a half-can
    of hair spray, and orders not to run so much as a comb through it until the
    next time she sat beneath his capable hands.

    I sat up and reached my hands toward her, as if that one
    gesture I’d used since before I was a year old, could bring her back down to
    me.  She seemed distracted, looking at me
    and then the stars and then at me again. 
    I wanted to tell her I was sorry. I wanted to take back every hateful
    thing I’d ever said, but my throat was dry and I couldn’t find the words.

    Finally, I mustered enough courage to say this.  “How is it up there, Mama, in heaven?”  Mama ran her fingers through her long hair,
    twisting it behind her, and I knew is she had even one bobby pin, she’d be trying
    to pull it up off her neck.

    Mama sighed.  She’d
    always prided herself on speaking only good, even in the most dire situations.
    Her cancer was a problem, a glitch in the road. My father’s drinking was not
    out of control.  She seemed to be considering
    what to say, and she stopped to look at her nails, which were painted
    pink.  “Well, Little Bit,” she said.  “It ain’t everything it’s cracked up to be,”
    and then she let out a feeble little laugh.

    I felt as if all the air had let the planet. I tried breathing
    through my mouth and I heard myself wheezing. “I’m so sorry,” I finally
    managed.  “I’m so so sorry,” I said
    again, but she just shook her head.  I
    reached up again, this time perched on my knees amidst the tangled bedding, and
    called out to her, but already the ceiling was closing, and my mother was being
    pulled upward, boulder an all, back to heaven, where things weren’t what they
    were cracked up to be.

    Since then, I’ve tried to blame the vision on the pain
    pills, on a series of sleepless nights, on losing my mother when I was so
    young. It is not so. She was there, too far away for me to touch, but there
    nonetheless.  I hope heaven’s gotten
    better, like a new school you hate the first week but learn to love after you’ve
    been invited to join a club.  I hope somebody
    with some sense gave her some shoes.

    • Alishajoy

       Heart breaking and honest and beautiful.  I loved it.  Loved that last part about hoping heaven got better like a new school that you hate at first.  I could visualize every moment.  Excellent job!

      • Thanks Alisha.  It means a lot that you could see it. 

    • Deb Atwood

       Hi Maria,

      I also liked the school metaphor, and I enjoyed the part about the shoes. I just read  The Red Garden by Hoffman, which features a ghost without shoes, and your piece reminded me of that. I recommend that book, by the way.

      • Thanks so much Deb.  I haven’t read The Red Garden, but I just put it on my list. 

    • You manage quite adeptly to convey the daughter’s layered and complicated feelings toward her mother.  Well done!

      • Marla

        Thanks John!

    • Oddznns

      I loved the line “well Little Bit” and then “It ain’t everything it’s cracked up to be.” Your use of the nickname just pulled the whole relationship together. And the mother’s comment so sharply defined her personality too.

      •  Thank you so much.  I can’t tell you how much that dream haunted me.  You know how calm is so much more disturbing somehow? That’s how it felt.

    • Trish Barton

      I lost my mother at age 6, so I could definitely relate to much of this!  You are spot on with the mix of emotion.  I’m now 39, and I still have tangled dreams of my mother.   You have awesome storytelling ability.  Thank you for sharing!

      •  Trish,

        Thanks so much.  And I’m so sorry you lost your mother so early.  I’m older now than when my mother died, and that seems extraordinary to me, like it doesn’t fit somehow. 

        • Trish Barton

          I bet that feels really strange.  In two years I will be the age my mother was when she died.  It’s almost like it’s a rite of passage if I get there.  My older sisters have all passed that milestone and each claims how surreal to make it past the age of our mother.

    • Marianne

      That was excellent.  The best for me it just the sentence “She was there, too far away fro me to touch. . .”.  That seems to be the most poignant thing about death, that’s the reality of it.  I like the last line too.  

      •  Thank you Marianne.  Death is that way.  For months I found myself hearing something and thinking I’d tell her when I got home, but of course, she was not there anymore. 

    • I don’t know where to start. Posting late I get the benefit of reading all of the other spot on replies so anything I would mention would be a repeat.

      Suffice to say that you are a talented writer who as all great writers do, write from your heart.

      I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve copied it into a doc so I could print it for my wife to read. She is still dealing with the loss of her mother. I think it would comfort her. The mother character in your story reminds me so much of my wife’s mother that I found myself smiling through my tears in remembrance.

      Thank you for this story.

      •  Oh Doogie!  Of course I don’t mind.  Losing my mother was a terrifying experience, but over time the images of those last months faded and I remember things like us on a quilt in the yard looking at the stars, or my mom smiling and happy and well.  It takes so much time to work through all the emotions.  Bless your wife’s heart.

    • kim

      dreams are always a good cause for ghost stories

    • Ashley

      This story is so well written. I lost my mom in October of last year. I am being completely honest when I was younger I saw my grandmother after she passed and she hugged me. I sometimes hear my mom’s voice in the back of my head saying things I know she would say to me. I wish I could actually see her though like I saw my grandma. I know she is still with my, but in a different way. I just miss spending time with her. She was not just my mom, she was one of my best friends. She was actually one of the truest friends I have ever had. I miss her so much.

      • Marla4

        Ashley, I’m so sorry your lost your mom and grandmother. I was really young when I lost my mom and her mom, so I know how much it hurts. When my dad died, I felt him hug me, although I did not see him. Hang onto your memories. The veil is thin between this life and the next. And that love stays with you.

    • Cheryl

      Touching and relevant. I am pulled in by the imagery.

  • Several years back I wrote a short story about the ghost of Faulkner visiting New Orleans after Katrina. It was one of the hardest things I ever tried to write

    • I can imagine, Neal. That sounds fascinating and nearly impossible to pull off. Did the ghost of Faulkner come back and haunt you afterwards for getting him wrong?

  • Margaretperry839

    I write about ghosts. Perhaps it is because three of them live with me. Two men and one woman who manifest themselves at times when even my visitors can see them. On more than one occasion the military man has pushed my guests. It seems that he is moved to interfere when his peace is disturbed.  The other two are peaceful and have only made themselves known when their assistance would be welcome. Most of the time we peacefully coexist.  When I think about them which is rarely I wonder what they think about me.

    • Trish Barton

      When a ghost starts pushing, that would be my signal to leave! 

    • Very creepy, Margaret. I wish you well.

  • I am a ghost… writer.
    Just call me Nearly Headless Katie.


  • They said there was a ghost in the school. Back in the days where it was still a boarding school, a girl had fallen off her horse and now she roams the hallways, dressed in white.

    We never saw her, but no one liked wandering around the school after classes were over, much less at night on there rare occasion of a school event. Of course, there were always a few students who enjoyed scaring others occasionally, but mostly we just let the girl alone. 

    I could feel the vibe in the hallways but I never really believed the stories. I mean, horses in a boarding school? The grounds were large, just no so much.

    Until I day I was left alone in the library. They let us out early because the teachers had their monthly meeting. I had to work hours in the library for my scholarship, so I went down and the librarian told me to lock the door when I left. She had to attend the meeting as well.

    I was unnerved and I couldn’t say why. There was someone on the other side of the bookshelf, peering at me from behind the books, but when I went around, she was gone. I tried not to pay attention, to ignore the Bible on the stand whose pages everyone said she turned. I didn’t want to look at it and find out the truth.

    A while later I decided I had enough. I went to the entrance of the library, picked up my bag and then couldn’t stand up. There was someone pushing me downwards. I tried not to panick, to keep trying to stand up straight. When I did, I couldn’t open the door. Was it becasue now I was getting scared or was there really someone else in that library with me?

    • Marla

      This is so good. Especially the descriptions, like the pages of the Bible turning.

    • Creepy! I don’t do scary really well, I’m too chicken!

    • ShelleyD

      “I could feel the vibe in the hallways….”  I’ve often wondered how these types of vibes are transmitted.  They are real.  We can sense them.  Just like we can sense when someone has a dislike for us.  Eerie, to say the least.

      • tantei

        You’re brilliantly thoughtful.
        Ever heard of the morphogenetic field? It’s a nice theory. I think it could encompass intuition and ‘atmosphere’ stuff. Google it up.

    • Alishajoyk

       Creepy as all get out!  I like the detail about the bible.

    • Very well told, your narrative builds suspense nicely.   And I like the question-ending.

    • Marianne

      This is a frightening story.  Libraries with their code of silence and the way they block off vision with their big bookshelves are a good setting for something like this.  I like the Bible pages turning too. 

    • I agree with Marianne. Libraries are a wonderful setting for ghost stories. The Bible pages turning was definitely a very nice touch.

      I think we’ve all been creeped out when alone in large, quiet buildings. I know I have.

      Good job… keep writing.

    • kim

      good setting for a ghost story i have learnt something here

  • I felt the rustle of her nursery uniform and smelled the fragrance she wore on Sundays.  I swiveled away from the computer screen and stammered, “M-M-Mom?”

    I heard her steps cross my living room.  But how can this be?  Cancer claimed her twenty years ago. I asked uneasily, “W-What’s on your mind?”

    “Oh –”  The voice from beside me now as she seemed to pull up an imaginary chair — the rustle of the nursery uniform again; it suddenly occured to me that that  polyester must have meen unbearable in the summer.  “Oh, I just wanted to reassure you that I still love you, Mike, in spite of all our differences.  On the other hand,” her voice suddenly jagging upwards in tone and volume, her word gathering speed —  “I still get s’mad atchu I wanta snatchu bald-HEADED!”  I put my hands on the arms of my chair and prepared to bolt. 

    “But that’s neither here nor there, is it?” Back to the honeyed tone she’d used when I was four and afraid of the monster hiding under my bed, all the rage instantly gone.  “You know your father and I really, actually loved each other through all of those years we were together for the sake of you kids — although — ”  here came the jagged rage again, escalating pitch and volume quickly — “although there are still times if I could find that man I’d END HIS DAYS ON EARTH!”  The air around us seemed pregnant with pathos and anger and half-forgotten significance. 

    “Now Mom, you don’t mean that, Dad was a good guy, except when he — wasn’t.”  My voice wavered and I was ashamed at my own ambivalence.  We’d been no worse than the average family, the corporal punishments were standard parenting for those times, no dark secrets — but on how many occasions had we wished each other gone, how often had each of us wished we’d drawn another hand in this game?

    Softly, caressingly:   “Well, son, I just wanted to let you know I’m still here and I still care, but ‘f I catchu in that street again I’m gonna WEAR YOU OUT!!” 

    “Mom, you’re, uh, you’re talkin’ outa both sides o’ your mouth, you know . . .”

    “That’s because I’m only in your HEAD, silly, and you only think I’m a ghost when you’re PUTTIN’ ON!!  What’d I tell you ’bout PUTTIN ON ?!!”

    • I LOVE this.  I love the line about the father being good except when he wasn’t.  Aren’t we all. 

    • Marianne

      I love this ghost. She’s a great character.  My favorite part though is the in the forth from last paragraph.  “My voice wavered . . . another hand in the game?” That’s an interesting thought to introduce to a story like this.  Maybe you should run with this one. 

      • Thank you, Marianne, for the encouragement.  My long-deferred WIP is a memoir; the above exercise, for all its whimsy, could be considered part of the emotional re-telling; and the passage you indicate is at the crux of my problem with it — how to tell the story of a situation that was not “abusive” in any legal sense, but which created and perpetuated problems for all of us.
        This tells me not to give up on it.  Again, thank you. 

        • Marianne

          I’m glad I said something encouraging.  I hope you never give up on writing whatever you want to write. You are a very talented person.  

    • Thoughtful… very thoughtful, John. I am sitting here thinking that it might be the truest of ghost stories… memories laced with pain and angst. The guilt that such painful memories bring reminds me of the writings of Poe.

      I wish you well and much success in your memoir. Exposing ourselves, even if it is through the thoughts and words of others close to us or even characters is one of the most difficult things to do. But, it can also be most liberating and just what we need to do to become the best communicators, writers, and artists that we can be.

      Relax and let it flow; then polish it up in the rewrite and you’ll do just fine.

      • Thank you very much, and 10-4 on the Poe, I always identified with him on just that level. 

        Time to get back to work on it………

        Thanks and good luck to you too!

  • Alishajoyk

    Dead as a doorknob

    The cat stretches in the lawn and lazily swats at a passing butterfly.
    “Here kitty, kitty, kitty,” I say.

    She purrs to show me she’s heard.  I wish she was a dog, maybe then I could get
    her to follow me to the creek and dig up my bones.  But mom never let me have a dog, “too many
    fleas” she’d said.  I know exactly where
    my body is.  It’s right next to the stump
    that used to be the launching pad for the rope swing.  Only the grownups cut it down after Timothy’s
    baby cousin drowned in the creek. 
    Timothy’s baby cousin must have gone to heaven cause I’ve never seen her

    I’m not sure why I didn’t go to heaven… maybe It’s because I
    stayed around to see what he was going to do after he killed me. 

    The first thing he did, was wrap me up in a big green
    garbage bag.  Then he waited until it was
    dark to dig the hole.  The hole wasn’t
    very deep, even though it took him most of the night to dig it.  A dog could dig me up no problem, I’m sure of
    it!  Last summer when we’d had that big
    storm, the one that knocked the slats out of Mr. Foresters fence and drowned
    four of Mrs Lanstrom’s flower beds, I’d sat and stared at my grave, sure the pounding
    rain would pound my bones out of the ground. 
    The dirt turned to soup.  If I was
    alive I could have swam out of there, but I was dead and dead only sinks.  I’d have bet three weeks allowance I saw some
    of that green plastic garbage bag sticking out of the muck but when the sun
    came up a few hours later and turned the messy ground back to clay there wasn’t
    a sign of the bag or my body.  I guess
    I’d just be bones now.

    He must have been worried too, cause he came back to check
    on me first thing the next morning.  He’d
    sat on the stump and thrown rocks at my grave. 
    He even waved to Mrs Landstom when she came out to check her
    flowers.  “Need any help?” he’d called,
    jumping off the stump.  “Aren’t you a
    sweet boy,” she’d said, waving him away, “there’s no helping these, the rain
    got em good,” Mrs Landstrom had said.

    He isn’t sweet, he’s a cold-blooded killer but only me and
    him know it.  And I didn’t know it until
    he had his hands around my neck.  “God
    damn it! God damn it!” he said over and over squeezing and squeezing.  His eyes bulged and his “God damn it!” spit
    splattered my face and the back of his strangling hands.  I fought; you better believe I fought.  I kicked and clawed and tried to scream.  I was still fighting even when I didn’t have
    any bones or skin or muscles left to fight with, when I was just a shimmering
    silvery shadow that even I couldn’t see. 
    Clive seemed as surprised as I was to find me dead.  “God damn it!” he’d yelled one last time in
    this horrible scratchy whisper.  He
    pounded my chest with his fists, but I don’t think he actually wanted to bring
    me back to life and if he did, it didn’t work. 
    I stayed dead… dead as a doorknob only I was invisible and a doorknob

    What I wouldn’t give to be a doorknob!  At least then I’d get to feel my mama’s
    touch.  If I could choose, I’d be the
    doorknob inside her bedroom, cause that’s the one she holds onto every morning…
    talking to herself.  “You have three
    living children who need you to be their mama. 
    So you need to stop crying and walk out of this room and make them
    breakfast and for God’s sake try and smile!” 
    She could hold me all day and I would just sit there and listen.  But dead is all shadows and mama can’t touch
    a shadow.  I should know. 
    And guys who are supposed to be the towns hero, just back from war, kill boys who accidentally throw a ball in their yard and wake them from their nap.  

    • This broke my heart! It is so sad and the imagery is powerful.

      • Alishajoyk

         Thank you.  It broke my heart too.  When I started writing I thought it would be funnier but that’s not what happened.  Crazy the places free writing take you.

    • Great writing.  Such vivid detail.  This reminds me of The Lovely Bones, which I think is one of the greatest books ever.

      • Alishajoyk

         Thank you.  Love the book Lovely Bones. 

    • Vivid and heartbreaking!  Which is what a good ghost story should be.

      • Alishajoyk

         John, thanks a lot.  appreciate the feedback.

    • Hal

      Interesting story. I like how the time frame is undefined. It’s been long enough that the body’s decomposed, but it sounds like it’s been a while since the tree was cut down. Could be interesting to have the main character watch his parents age, wondering where their little one went. Something like that could add serious poignancy to the story.  

      • Alishajoyk

        I agree, I kept messing around with it last night and found that his family had decided to move away because it was too painful living there and he (the ghost) knew he wouldn’t be able to follow and the idea of being trapped
        “in between” and alone was too horrible so he was looking for ways to get his story told and hopefully move on.  That’s where I left him.  Never written a story about a ghost before and now I feel that I can’t leave him in limbo.. gotta write until he finds some peace. 

    • Oddznns

      This is very well written Alisha. The story’s like “Lovely Bones” but I like how you’ve written it more.

      • Alisha Knight

         Wow, thanks so much for the fabulous compliment.  I for one, would not want to live inside the head of a murdered child long enough to write a novel about it… 

    • Trish Barton

      Loved this!  It, too, reminded me of The Lovely Bones.  The last line really got me, and makes me want to know more about the war hero/killer and of course the boy who died.  Great imagery, wonderful suspense!  

      • Alisha Knight

         I felt the last line was the opening to a whole new story… I kept writing to find out what had happened and who this killer was since I didn’t feel he was an evil man.  I see this as a PTSD kill with multiple victims.  Glad you picked up on that.

    • Very well done as so many of these 15 minute practices are. Like the others I salute you. I love the flow of your words; childlike innocence and wonder.

      It does remind of “The Lovely Bones” but it also reminds me of the narration in “The Hunger Games” even more. Right after I read this all I could think about was Katniss and her matter of face style of expressing herself.

      Thank you for posting.

      • Alisha Knight

         Thank you thank you!  really appreciate it!

    • Yvette Carol

      Geez girl, the spit on the back of his strangling hands was tough! Phew you’re brave. Good work. And I was going to mention The Lovely Bones too but it’s already been said…

      • Alisha Knight

         I thought that spit on the strangling hands was one of the most horrifying lines as well!  Glad you picked up on it.  Never written about ghost before and gotta be honest, I kind of creeped myself out!

  • At first I wasn’t sure what I was seeing; a shadow that moved while the only source of light in the room did not. I was never one to give into superstitions or spook stories and dismissed it as latent floater in my left eye.

    I continued reading in the soft light of the oil lamp sitting on the mantel to my right. How I love to come home from working the afternoon shift at the steel mill and after a good shower and some chow, nestle into my favorite ugly as ugly can be wingback chair, light my antique glass and brass oil lamp, trimming the wick just so; no need for the added smoke that blackened the egg-white ceiling just above my chair. I did not have a smoking jacket but I did have a couple of favorite pipes. One was new to my collection. It was an old meerschaum pipe carved in the face of Zeus with rich dark red accents in all of the deeper grooves. I had acquired it from an shop specializing in antiques and tobaccos. It was my first time trying it out and it felt right in both my hand and in my mouth.

    I had wondered about its history but the shopkeeper knew only that a young woman had inherited it from a great-great uncle and decided that she did not care for it. 
    The rich turkish blend that I was smoking filled the room with a fragrance both exhilarating and relaxing; just strong enough to overpower the odor of the burning oil. I was most pleased.

    As I thought about how content I was feeling, I saw it again. This time there was no mistaking it. Someone or something was moving about the room just out of my full visual range. Annoyed, and a bit frightened, I stood up and turned about doing a 360 turn. Nothing looked amiss, but something just felt different. I blinked and then rubbed my eyes just to make sure they were clear and everything looked as it should so I sat down shaking my head at myself for being such a ninny. 

    Then I heard a whisper…

    • So good.  I love the ending. 

      • Thank you, Marla. I am glad it worked out the way it did. When I sat down to type it out I had no idea what I was going to write.

    • Great ending!  Very skillfully told.

      • Thanks so much John. It is funny how it worked out like that. I was just being anal and following the challenge time constraint and I quit when the 15 minute buzzer went off.

    • Alishajoyk

       What did it say????

    • Deb Atwood

       Great opening. It would be fun to read more of the story.

      • Deb, thank you. I did this on a whim for the challenge but I think I will do my best to complete it. My wife wants me to finish it and she asked the same question that Alishajoyk did.

        What did it say?

    • Oddznns

      This is interesting. Why is the ghost attached to the pipe? Good plot line.

      • I am still wondering myself. This is all I wrote while adhering to the 15 minute challenge time constraint.

    • Marianne

      I like your description of the chair and the tobacco and the pipe. That is the kind of setting we expect to see ghosts in, very Victorian. 

    • Yvette Carol

      Hey Doogie, (love the name!) I felt your details really gave it a sense of time and place.

  • WFMeyer

    I finished Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, just yesterday. I became a paranormal investigator, at first to try and understand some of the experiences I had years ago. Now I’m one to help people get a handle on what it is is they think they are dealing with. There are many stories…so many experiences. 

  • Deb Atwood

    I love this post! I definitely write about ghosts. My forthcoming novel is a ghost novel, and I do ghost reviews on my blog.

    The funny thing is that I don’t even know if I believe in them. For me, ghosts are a kind of metaphor about lost opportunities, regret and resolution. Probably the ghost novel I rated most highly on my blog was Beloved by Morrison. Really heady stuff. Intense, though.

    • Agree 100% that ghosts are metaphors:  lost opportunities, regret, maybe I would say lack of resolution, but I’m with you.

      • Deb Atwood

         Hi John,

        You’re right. I should have said a yearning for resolution.

    • I agree, Deb. I don’t believe in ghosts, but I appreciate them as a way to visualize the things your mentioned. I didn’t know Beloved was a ghost story! I’m so behind.

      • Yvette Carol

        Don’t you find it interesting Joe, that while most people are divided on the topic, this post got a heaping heap of replies!!

        • I know. It’s interesting that while we don’t believe in ghosts, it doesn’t stop us speculating about them. I’m convinced it’s tied to our fascination with death.

    • I agree with you Deb. This is the first post I have joined in on… and, the first post I replied to with a 15 minute story starter.

      I don’t know if I believe in ghosts entirely, but I have experienced”GHOSTLY” activity on and off over the years. Perhaps these manifestations were abetted by my active imagination… then again, perhaps not.

      Ghosts or no ghosts… ghost stories have been a mainstay of storytellers since the beginning.

      On a different note; I believe that the first person to tell a vampire story did so after a divorce. Like vampires, most folks ex-es won’t stay dead and they keep coming back for more blood… just a thought.

  • I’m not a big fan of ghosts. I think they’re interesting subjects, but only if they’re done right. Although, I suppose that’s true for any supernatural element. Just look at what’s happened with vampires in the last four years.

    I don’t think I’ve ever written a story involving ghosts, but I have read some really good ones. Maybe I’m being too hard on the subject.

    In terms of actual ghosts though, still not a fan. The ghost in my apartment keeps stealing my beer and switching the dehumidifier off when I’m at work. He thinks it’s funny. It’s not.

    • I like your honesty and humor!

    • Probably not funny, but he stills sounds like a friendly ghost. At least, friendlier than the one I encountered…

    • Alishajoyk

       There was a sneaky trickster ghost in the house I grew up in.  And he could definitely be a pain!

    • Marianne

      Ha! That’s funny.  Give the ghost a job. Then maybe it will leave. 

    • Trish Barton

      Sounds like something I’d do as a ghost…steal some beer!  ha!  Thanks for the giggle.

    • Have you tried switching brands of beer?

  • The pain was excruciating. It started with Nathalie’s disobedience.
    Nathalie was warned never to enter the attic. She was told a hundred times never to go up there. Nathalie, driven by curiousity, chose to disobey. She pulled down the steps. A damp smell drifted down from the darkness above. Nat started to climb up. Each step made the wood creak, each creak told her to stop and turn back. Nathalie was deaf to the warnings. She continued on.
    She reached the top. The attic was filled with boxes on both sides and on the other end was a circular window where sunlight poured in. Nathalie walked towards it. The stairs behind her closed with a loud thud. Nathalie shrieked with surprise. She turned around and saw a face flying towards her. It slammed into her and Nathalie fell on her back.
    She tried standing up but her limbs were stiff. Pain flooded her extremities and her head. Nathalie tried to scream but something was keeping her mouth shut. Tears flowed  down her eyes.
    “Mine!” She heard someone say. “…body’s mine!” It was coming from her own lips. Nathalie felt like she was slipping away. It was like falling into sleep except she knew she won’t be able to wake up again. She fought hard for control. “Mine!” She shouted again.
    Nathalie got on her knees. She was clawing the floorboards. Her nails started to come off and blood spilled on the wood. “Mine, mine, mine,” she wrote the words down on the wood.
    “No. Please, no, please,” she struggled for control but the other one was too strong. Nathalie forced herself to stand. Her body grew numb from the pain (or was it because she was starting to be pushed to the back of her consciousness?).
    Nathalie’s eyes landed on the window. An eerie scream burst forth from Nathalie’s lips. She ran.
    “Noooooooo!” She shouted as her body broke through the glass and out of the attic window. Nathalie was bathed with sunlight as she flew into the air. Gravity took effect. Nathalie watched as the grass grew closer and closer and then darkness.
    Nathalie woke up to the sound of a man’s voice. The man was dressed in white.
    “Stay with us,” the man said. “You fell down from a high place. You’re going to be fine. Stay with us.” The man had a syringe in his hand. “This will numb the pain.”
    Nathalie smiled weakly. She could taste blood in her mouth. “She’s mine,” she whispered.

    • Juliana Austen

      Very creepy!

    • Hal

      Fun horror type ghost story. I would focus (hard to do in 15 minutes) on more show and less tell.

      I’d also focus on holding off on the reveal until the end. The majority of the story should be the prestige 🙂

      • Thanks for the nice tips. Will do my best to incorporate them in the next practice 😉

    • Alishajoyk

       Glad I read that this morning and not last night! Sheesh.  Reminded me of Skeleton Key which still give me nightmares.  Creepy!

      • haha. thanks!! glad i was able to scare ya 😉

    • Marianne

      Oh JB.  You are going to give me bad dreams again!  Very well written!  I loved it.  

  • Juliana Austen

    She let herself in the door, her feet dragging. The clocked ticked loudly in the quietness of the room. Quiet and still – the very air seemed to be waiting. The phone rang and she jumped at its loud insistence.
    “Hello” she said.
    “Mum! Where have you been? I’ve been calling and calling”, her daughter Janet, a worried edge to her voice.
    “I walked to the shops, dear. Such a nice day.” she quickly looked out the window – yes the sun was shining.
    “That’s a long way Mum, you know I am happy to fetch your groceries.”
    “I know dear but its nice to get out of the house.”
    “Well anyway we thought we would come by after school – tomorrow? Its too late today.”
    “That would be nice dear.” she said. There were more words, cheerful – cheering, at last she said goodbye and put down the phone.
    The quiet enveloped her, she sat still, waiting. But he did not come. That was not him whistling in the garage, not him coming in from the garden with ripe tomatoes in his hands. He was not here. He would never be here again. There was only the stillness and the quiet and the waiting.

    • Marianne

      I like the last paragraph of this especially.  I like the way she waits to here him coming, like we all wait for the ones we love to show up.  

    • Trish Barton

      This is beautiful and hauntingly sad.  I appreciated the concerned daughter and the sweet, lonely mother.  Thank you for sharing.

    • If one is going to be visited by a ghost, having it be a precious love certainly must be the best ghost to have.

      Lovely story. Keep writing.

  • Hal

    There’s a sort of dusty humiliation in losing your skin. There he was, the watery and now flaccid collection of bones wrapped in an oddly shaped bag, staring blankly at nothing. I looked at him carefully, at first not comprehending what I was looking at. A reflection, certainly, but those dull and glassy eyes had never been mine. I moved to touch that waxen face, buoyed by the gentle currents and eddies of the James River. My hand, light as gossamer, glided gently through the water, untouched by the swirls and flow of the water, until my fingers rested against the his cheek.

    Donna, the thought came unbidden, floating through the shock and wonder of watching him float and sway gently. I could feel my face twitching, my lip curling back while the rest went slack. I stared through him, remembering Donna’s face. Every contour, every freckle. He can’t leave Donna, I panged, not yet. Not like this.

    Then I remembered. I don’t get to make these decisions. I don’t know if they’re random, or if some sort of higher power ordains these things, handing out free passes like lottery balls, but it strikes me as a cruel sort of way to end things. Messy. I look back at those sightless glassy eyes and think He won’t miss Donna at all. He left all that, all the pain and regret, all the loose ends and unfinished stories, to me. It’s all pretty damn inconsiderate. With a last look at him, I turn away. It’s not for me to say when these things happen, but when they do, we all have to find a way to move past them, and deal with the shattered remains of the lives we still have to live. 

    • Alishajoyk

       Very vivid.  Left me thinking which is always a good thing.  Thanks for sharing.

    • Marianne

      That was really good.  It he the ghost. Is that why his hand is floating like gossamer on the water?

    • Great writing. Gritty and full of subtle angst. My impression is that the narrator is a ghost or perhaps a living psychic. Like Marianne, the description of “his floating hand like gossamer on the water” leads me to believe that the narrator is ethereal and floating in the air above the desiccated male body floating in the water.

      Either way, it is a good piece. Thanks for sharing it. Keep writing. 

    • Trish Barton

      To think of my own death is so surreal.  We all know our own death is coming one day, but we have no idea what it will be like until it happens.  You captured this crossroads with such exquisite wording.  I especially liked, “those dull and glassy eyes had never been mine.”

  • Plumjoppa

     When I pulled the rooster lamp out of
    the box, packing peanuts spilled onto the knotty pine floor. That’s
    when I heard the little voice behind me say, “Mommy?”

    “What are you doing down here?” I

    It was past midnight and my daughter
    had been put to bed hours ago after staying up late with the
    commotion of moving. I couldn’t see her over the boxes, but I heard
    her bare feet pad across the kitchen, through the front room and up
    the stairs. I stubbed my toe on the slanted floor that transitioned
    the two rooms as I chased her. When I got to the top step, she was
    gone, but I could hear the stairs creaking as she ran up the second
    flight of stairs toward her bedroom.
    My annoyance grew as I held on
    to the railing to climb up the steep captain’s staircase. She was
    going to wake the baby or the neighbors on the other side of the
    townhouse wall. Why wasn’t my husband waking up to help get her back
    to bed?

    I was surprised when I looked up and
    found my daughter’s bedroom door closed. I didn’t hear it shut, but
    I had to turn the knob to open it. My daughter was nestled under the
    covers, still holding the stuffed rottweiler puppy that I tucked into
    her arms before kissing her goodnight. I tried to prove she was
    faking sleep.

    “I know you’re awake,” I said.

    She moved her head slightly and hugged
    the puppy closer to her. I felt the rosy warmth of sleep between her
    cheek and pillow and sweat on her hair. Her blankets were settled
    and warm, tucked under her knees and elbows. My daughter had been
    asleep the whole time.

    • Trish Barton

      YIKES!  For some reason, child ghosts are the spookiest of all.  Great detail and tension.  I liked your description of how you knew she hadn’t left her bed.  Is this a true story?

    • I agree with Trisha, child ghost stories are the spookiest and I think the most believable… or at least they reach deep into the psyche of a parent more than some of the other types.

      Great job, hope it is just a story and not a real experience. If it was I hope you got things resolved or have at least moved to another home. 

  • Trish Barton

    I believe in ghosts, only because I’ve experienced them.  More than once.  The following is based on something that happened to me and my boyfriend, (who is now my husband), many years ago.

    My phone rang at 2 AM. It was a
    terrified Randy.

    “I just fought something for my

    “What?” I tried to rub my face
    awake so I could comprehend his words.

    His desperate scream warped into a
    struggling whisper, a squeezing strain through the phone. “Something
    grabbed my blanket and we played tug-o-war!”

    I moved in a week later.

    It was our plan to live together, so I
    took his first night’s incident and shoved it out of my mind. I
    chalked it up to pre-cohabitant jitters and brought my belongings in
    with confidence.

    We didn’t talk of the late night phone
    call again, and after nothing happed my first few nights, I was
    certain he’d imagined the whole thing. I figured this demonstration
    of vulnerability at such an early stage in our relationship was
    punishment enough. I didn’t need to embarrass him further by bringing
    it up.

    After a few weeks of living there, I woke up one night and had to go
    the bathroom which was straight down the hall on the 3rd floor of
    our gray condo. As I slunk down the hallway I felt something follow
    close behind. And again the next night. And the next. Each night,
    the trip from my bedroom to the bathroom became an experiment in
    stealth to see how quietly and fast I could get there. Quiet so I
    wouldn’t disturb Randy, and fast so I wouldn’t get touched by the
    long fingers that were always one knuckle away from touching my
    shoulder. The wisps of energy were there every time, and I was always
    a fragment ahead.

    I finally told Randy of the human
    semblance that mirrored my movement down the hall each and every

    He nodded slowly, his eyes widening
    with concern. “Did you feel a breath on your neck?”

    The next morning after little sleep, I
    sprinted the hall to the bathroom. I felt nothing. It had to be my
    imagination. We had let the darkness take hold and it played tricks
    on our minds. I let my boyfriend’s first night of terror mask my
    mind into believing. My mind became a playground for everything
    terrible, for everything I didn’t want to see or know.

    As I stepped into the shower, I laughed
    to myself how easy it is to fool oneself. I tilted my head back and
    let the warm water wash away my fear, my anxiety, my troubles. I
    heard the doorknob turn, saw Randy’s shape move into the room, and
    recognized this as an opportunity to get this whole matter off my

    “Randy, I’ve been thinking.”


    “We are letting our minds get the
    best of us. There is nothing here. I didn’t feel anything today, or
    any other day for that matter…only at night. You too?”

    “Mhm,” his shadow drifted and
    stretched among the curtain folds as he moved across the room to the

    “I really love this place, and I
    don’t want to be scared. There’s no point.”  The toilet flushed.
    I thought maybe he didn’t hear me over the flush. “You know I love
    this place. And I know you love it too.”

    The water at the sink turned on.

    “I just want to make the best of it
    and I don’t want to be scared.” I rinsed the last of the shampoo.
    My hair squeaked with completion.

    The shadow remained, but Randy didn’t
    answer. I know he was thinking about what I said and the weird
    feelings we both felt in this place. I let the warm water wash over
    me as the shadow and I stood in silence.


    He began to whistle then, a low
    indiscriminate whistle that was something he never did.

    “Randy?” I heard my heart.

    Stone still behind the curtain barrier,
    I watched the shadow move, heard the doorknob turn and the door click
    closed. My heart screamed through my chest. I ripped open the
    curtain, surges of electricity made every pore stand at attention.

    I hid myself shaking and wet under the
    towel I ripped from the rack. “RANDY!!!”

    The door flew open. “What?! Give me
    a chance to get here for god’s sake! I was downstairs.”

    “You were downstairs?”


    “This whole…the whole time I was in
    the shower?”

    The nod that came next filled me with
    the inability to stand.   

    • Alisha Knight

       I AM TERRIFIED!!!  For reals!!  It’s dark, I’m sitting in my room, my kids are in bed, and you just scared the SH*% out of me!  I’m going to need a shot of tequila to calm my nerves.  Please tell me you moved!  The whistling… that was the last straw! I grew up in a house with a sneaky playful ghost but he never whistled and he never flushed the toilet when was in the shower…. and those trips down the hall… WELL WRITTEN  AND  FREAKING TERRIFYING!!!

      • Trish Barton

        Haha!  I freaked myself out while writing it…made me relive it all over again!  We moved out within the month of that incident.  A couple other things happened and we just couldn’t live their comfortably.  I’ve often wanted to go back and ask whoever lives there now if they’ve experienced anything.  Sorry to scare you when it’s dark and you’re in bed!  Thanks for reading though!  Cheers to a shot of tequila!  🙂

    • Chilling indeed. I have experienced some visitations similar to this back when I was much younger and studying witchcraft and occult stuff. I never thought to write about it because it took me so long to overcome the fear I had of the dark because of those DARK times in my life.

      As I said in an earlier post reply, I don’t know if I believe in ghosts but I definitely believe in spirits and spiritual activities that are occurring all the time. Children and critters seem to notice such things more often then we adults. Perhaps we’ve learned to ignore them or are just too caught up in our own stuff to notice what’s going on around us just out of our normal field of vision.

      Sorry you had to experience this… but it does make for a very good ghost story. Keep writing.

      • Trish Barton

        Thank you for reading Doogie!  I don’t blame you for not wanting to revisit dark times, but it would for sure make for some interesting reading.  Just knowing that you studied witchcraft, etc. makes me extremely curious.  

        I don’t know  if they are actual ghosts per se, but I do believe in something, whatever something may be.  I’ve experienced too many different things to write it off as non-existent.  I think as humans, we are rather guarded and not open to things we don’t understand.  And as you said, “chidren and critters” seem more open to all that stuff.  

        It definitely was a scary experience, but it was rather cathartic to write about because I have held on to this story for years.  Thanks again for reading and commenting! 

  • I lived in a haunted house when I was little, it terrified me. So many experiences happened that nothing else could explain it. There were at least four different ghosts living there with us.

    So when I was looking for a new book to write, I decided to base it on my real experiences. “Gifted” was the result, I think it added an authenticity to the tale of a haunted house.

  • Hey, Joe. You’re a ghostwriter. How come I don’t see your GHOST STORY in these comments?

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  • Yvette Carol

    I look out with new eyes, that see three hundred and sixty degrees. I’m weightless, lifting higher above the bed. The ring of people bent forward below look like a necklace of dark polished beads. They’re sobbing. Lights flash. Blue-garbed nurses dash back and forth in the corridor. I can see the doctor at the end of the hall close a folder with a snap, and now he’s barking commands at an orderly. I can see into the room next to me, the family holding vigil, the baby is wailing. The room beside that, there’s an old man reading to a comatose body, his voice makes melodies that take me higher, further, wider. I open my arms. And I fly.

    • This was beautiful, Yvette. I want to be this ghost.

      • Yvette Carol

        Aw, thanks Joe!

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  • His look fell short of a stare, but went well beyond a glance or a gaze. He was looking at me. No. He was looking into me. This little boy, probably no more than 8 or 9, was analyzing my thoughts – my whole being. I could see in him experience that exceeded his years. 

    Light came into the train car and quickly escaped from the same window it had used to enter. Ingress and egress, bringing this boy’s features to view. His face, neck and hands bore the darkness of a hard day’s play. He spoke. 

    “Have you found it?”
    “Excuse me?”
    “Have you found it?”
    “Have I found what?”
    “The light you’ve been searching for.”
    “I don’t know what you mean.”
    “I believe you do. It’s there. See.”

    But I did. I knew exactly what he was talking about. But how did he know?

    Light vacated our train car. The sound of steel wheels on steel rails on wooden railroad ties. Clack, whthwack, clack, whthwack. Our brief conversation had stirred a response from the railroad. I had spent the last year or so searching for meaning. I’d lost my faith in God, in mankind. I needed something to show me there was a reason to believe. 

    I closed my eyes. 

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  • Sophia

    My life is full of ghosts.
    The ghost of me as a child, awkward and wanting, needing a hug, needing
    a mother who loved to hug and whisper in my ear, “I love you to the moon and
    back”. The ghost of my father, who I swore walked across the living room floor behind me one night after he had been gone six months past to wherever unhappy, homosexual, alcoholic fathers go after they die. The ghosts of my grandfather’s
    both of whom died before I was born, and both – if pictures are anything to
    judge by – were very interesting characters. The ghost of my birth mother, who until recently was alive. Now that I know she has passed on, she haunts me no more. There are of course the ghosts of boyfriends gone away. Each onecomes around at different times – somewhat like my married boyfriends now. There are only three of those – each one fulfilling a need that cannot possibly be filled by one person with commitment in
    mind. The ghost of my mother who raised me (not the mother who squeezed me out into the bright, shiny world then continued on her way) only shows herself to me in my dreams and gives me thosehugs and words of wisdom that I craved as a youngster. I think she feels sorry now that she knows how much I needed her and now that she knows I wasn’t as strong as she always told me I was. There are more ghosts
    waiting in line, my aunt Lois, who will be a strong willed ghost that will interrupt my motherly dreams to tell me something important – my poppa Jack,who if anyone asked me I would say I loved him more than my own father – my best friend Michele, who breathes the same air and exhales with me – and last but not least the ghost of me. Who wavers between terror of the unknown and the overwhelming joy of life on this Earth. I will miss her most of all. May, 2014

    • Dizzy

      This story is… I don’t know how you would say it. Brilliant writing, something not many people have in my perspective. But it goes deeper, it reaches your soul, and leaves you with a feeling of happiness; happiness that someone feels you.

  • Dizzy

    She was a girl. What else was there to say? A normal girl,
    who like everyone else, loved the normal stuff. Not ghost stories, not fantasy,
    not even science fiction. Nothing book related really. But she should have read
    the stories, so she could have been prepared.

    It was a cool day, like any other day, and she was taking to
    her friends over the phone, in her bedroom. It was a Friday evening, so the
    parks and malls were crowded with people. Normal people. But she let the sun
    fall behind the treetops, before she even got to do anything besides paint her
    nails or talk on the phone.

    Her mother called her, saying that she needed to do her
    chores. She groaned. Her mother called again.

    “Coming!” She yelled through the closed door. Grabbing her
    phone, the girl made her way downstairs, where all the lights were already on.
    The hall lamp cast an eerie glow on the walls, and her shadow danced through

    When she reached the kitchen, no one was there. “Strange.”
    She muttered. Lightning flashed in the distance. “Ok, mother probably went to
    tuck Liz in.”

    The girl grabbed a dish from in the sink. It was already
    filled with water, and was overflowing. Turning the faucet off, she muttered; “Mother must of forgot to turn the water off.”
    She nodded, agreeing with her theory.

    As she finished drying the last dish, she noticed there were
    no other sounds in the house. It was quiet. Not a mouse climbing through the
    walls, not a single movement from upstairs. Putting the plate away, the girl
    dried her hands on her apron, and went to investigate. “Mother?” She called. “Are
    you up there?”

    There was no reply, only the everlasting silence of the
    night. The girl walked to her parents room, knocking, and again, receiving no
    reply. The door was already slightly opened. She pushed it. She screamed.

    • Great ghost story, Dizzy! Very eerie. I loved how you set her up as this very normal girl and then made us question whether SHE was the normal one or whether she was actually the ghost all along. Well done!

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  • Nancy Denq

    In the confines of that familiar space, she implored the dead walls for an answer. The inanimate surfaces stood mute, resolute in their beige indifference. She began counting the intervals between breaths, noting a dull hum that filled the hollow pockets of silence with a damp and heavy pulse.

    What a deception, she thought to herself. That this slight indicator of life, evidenced by the vibrational movement of atmosphere, could retain itself as the ultimate reminder of her wretched isolation.

  • Guest

    Night guard. When I wake I see her standing, staring. I feel the terror flooding through me, pull

    the covers over my head. Blink. She goes nowhere.

    “Can you please leave? You’re making me uncomfortable.” She never speaks. Just stands and stares.

    “Honey? Honey, please?!?!” I shout, blood chilling in my veins, and turn my head to the door. I

    search and pray for his figute, but I hear him shut the bathroom door. No help. My heart pounds as

    I turn my head back to my bed side – I know she’ll be waiting for me.

    But what? Gone. I shiver and roll over, clutching my blankets around me.

    A few minutes later he comes to crawl in bed with me. He wraps his arms around me and asks why I

    called for him. I tell him, “Nothing. I had a nightmare, that’s all.”

    “Baby, I’m so sorry. I thought you were just yelling for me to come to bed.”

    “Don’t worry about it. I’m fine now.”

    The anxiety slowly fades as I melt into his warm embrace.

  • Lyndsey DeBoard

    Night guard. When I wake I see her standing, staring. I feel the terror flooding through me, pull the covers over my head. Blink. She goes nowhere.

    “Can you please leave? You’re making me uncomfortable.” She never speaks. Just stands and stares.

    “Honey? Honey, please?!?!” I shout, blood chilling in my veins, and turn my head to the door. I search and pray for his figure, but I hear him shut the bathroom door. No help. My heart pounds as I turn my head back to my bed side – I know she’ll be waiting for me.

    But what? Gone. I shiver and roll over, clutching my blankets around me.

    A few minutes later he comes to crawl in bed with me. He wraps his arms around me and asks why I called for him. I tell him, “Nothing. I had a nightmare, that’s all.”

    “Baby, I’m so sorry. I thought you were just yelling for me to come to bed.”

    “Don’t worry about it. I’m fine now.”

    The anxiety slowly fades as I melt into his warm embrace.

  • Arthur

    The impact from the other car threw
    me from mine. I remember landing hard. Blood I remember blood. My head throbbed
    not only in pain but also from confusion. I could barely see. Everything was
    inverted and the world had a ghostly aura. Many thoughts flowed through my head
    in the time it took for the paramedics to arrive. I wondered how my family
    would fair. I thought about God, would he be real? Surely I wouldn’t die today.
    I couldn’t.

    I recovered consciousness in my
    hospital bed. I looked and saw my mother fast asleep in one of the chairs to my
    right. She must be worried to no end. The look on her sleeping face told me
    this. Starring up at the ceiling I began to feel the pain. I could feel it with
    every ragged breath. I called for a nurse. My ears began to buzz. It was that
    high pitched ringing noise you would often hear out of the blue. No nurse came.
    The last thing I remember is my mother crying. Why was she crying?

    I had grown accustom to mother’s
    sobbing. It was practically all she did. It was like she was ignoring me. She would
    walk right through me on occasion. The one time she did look at me it was as if
    she was staring through me. Almost as if I was a ghost.

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  • Alexis Nizzi

    It’s back again the furnace noise, we don’t have a furnace but the shadow at the top of the stairs makes a noise as if it were the furnace. My family and I just moved into a house that was built in 1943 and I’ve been doing some research because I’ve been noticing a few things that are a little off about this house. I know that old houses make noises but this is different, I hear whispers in my ears every night it’s a woman she says “come or go”, I see black shadows moving up and down the stairwell, I feel tugs on my legs at night it’s not normal.
    A few weeks past and things got worse, I’m scared to be alone in the house, when I’m alone the woman comes and talks to me, she says over and over “come or go , come or go, come or go” each time getting louder and stronger until all of my thoughts are drained out by the words “come or go” I try to figure out what she means by come or go but I can’t figure it out.
    Another week or so passed and I found out what “come or go” meant. The woman was part of a coven of witches, she died in this house performing a ritual. Her job was to get children to come and join the coven by manipulating them by chants. I was her new focus, I had to make the decision to come or go, you go you die, you come you join. Fearful of death I came. So my question is, will you come or go?

  • Jae Ram


    I’m so alone.
    I thought death would bring me peace but instead it is a constant torment. I
    thought finally after all my pain and suffering I could have an endless sleep,
    an infinity of nothingness. But no. I’m stuck, forever here to watch drones get
    married, start families, fall in love… Why am I here? What did I do to endure
    this suffering? I’ve been here for centuries. Watched the decimation of my
    family line, the rape of my sister, murder of my father, things I probably
    would have been able to prevent if I was there.

    It’s so
    lonely here on the other side, I haven’t spoken a word out loud for almost 80
    years. Because what’s the point? The worst thing about it is being able to see
    everyone progress and not being able to interact with them, or maybe the
    inability to have someone touch love and care for you. It’s just nothingness.

    Live your
    life to the fullest as this is what is in store for you, an eternity of torture
    and torment, oh well.

  • OMRicktatorship

    I set my foot down on the first step in the wind mill. I was dared by my friends to climb to the top of a so-be haunted wind mill that was abandoned in the 1970’s. Outside the clouds were gray and fluffy, blocking out any sunlight trying to make it’s way here. The step creaked and I jumped, clenched my fists in fear, and continued to the next step. Inside the wind mill there was a simple dark wooden spiral staircase that led to the top, nails poking out from every few steps. The concrete floor and walls had an eerie feel to them, giving you chills when touched. A single small window sat on the wall, with broken and stained glass. By now I was halfway up the staircase, and nothing had happened yet. As I walked onto the next step, out of the corner of my eye I saw a flicker of movement near one of the giant wooden gears. I jerked my head in that direction with wide eyes and a gaping mouth, but nothing was there. I shook my head and continued my ascent. When I finally reached the last stair, I opened the trapdoor and entered the circular room sitting at the top. Now I just had to wave to my friends I made it and run back down. The room was dark and musty, the only light coming from a huge window overlooking the field around the windmill. Boxes were scattered everywhere and more huge wooden gears to work the mill sat unmoving. All I wanted to do was get out of here so I quickly rushed over to the window and started waving frantically at my friends staring up at the window. They saw me and cheered, waving back with huge grins on their faces. Then a couple of their smiles quickly formed into frowns, and soon all their eyes were wide, their jaws dropped open. They were now pointing at me with screams, but since I was inside I couldn’t understand their muffled words. I felt a swish of air behind me. Sweat started pouring down me. My stomach lurched. I slowly turned around, my eyes bulging out of my head. Behind me stood a ghost. He was tall in height, holding a translucent tool in one hand, lantern in the other. It opened it’s mouth and roared, pointing the tool at me. Then a deep, vibrating voice filled my head, “Leave now or suffer.” I didn’t have to be told twice. My whole self shaking violently, I raced over to the trapdoor and started running down the steps. They were weak and because of my feet pounding hard against them, one broke and I fell face-forward down a few steps. The step was sturdy enough to hold my weight, so I quickly stood up again and continued my descent, ignoring the searing pain in my wrist and ankle. I reached the bottom and busted open the doors and raced over to my friends. I collapsed on the ground clutching my ankle, most likely twisted. I could feel my heart pounding and thundering against my chest, my breaths coming in rasps. It was over now. I did it.