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Ghost Brother Angel: A Book Excerpt

In my teenage years, my friends and I began to toy with the paranormal and actually tried to make friends with the "ghost." We held a séance, and nothing happened at that time, but soon afterward we felt we had made contact through a very peculiar means. My parents had bought an old RCA record player, which was mounted on the wall in one corner of the room. When we played records in that room, we noticed that the ghost liked certain songs and didn't like others. With some songs, the presence would become very strong, almost to the point of appearing. On the other hand, when we played songs the ghost didn't like, the room filled with agitation. For instance, the ghost liked "Tuesday Afternoon" by the Moody Blues. It hated "Wild Thing" by The Troggs. There was an electrical short in the record player, so that occasionally it would give out a loud, screeching noise through the speakers. It seemed to happen randomly, but then we realized, in our innocent—or should I say ignorant and childlike?—way, that the screeching wasn't always random. Sometimes it was, but sometimes it was purposeful and creepy. If the ghost didn't like a song, it would make the record player screech. When it screeched, we'd yell, "Shut up!" And it would stop right on cue. This happened time and again. It was sort of a game. The ghost seemed to play with us, and we played with it, through the stereo.

This came to a head one day when my friend Mark and I were sitting next to the stereo listening to "Wild Thing." The 45 RPM record of "Tuesday Afternoon" sat right above it on the disc, ready to come down and play next. To our amazement, the room suddenly filled with agitation. Something moved in the direction of the record player. Both of us watched from less than two feet away as the arm of the record player rose. "Tuesday Afternoon" was lifted up in the air and the needle raced and scratched across "Wild Thing." Then the "Wild Thing" record lifted off the player, flew across the room, hit the fireplace, and broke into pieces. "Tuesday Afternoon" gently came back down onto the record player, the needle set onto the record, and the song began to play. We screamed. We ran. We cried in terror as we told my parents. But, like many ghost stories, there wasn't much we could do about it. We weren't hurt, so we sort of forgave the ghost and let it go. We stayed away from the room for a few weeks, but eventually went back in. I remember saying to myself a hundred times, maybe even a thousand times, that this couldn't have happened! But it did. It defied all the laws I had been taught, but it happened, and all I could do is accept that some weird things happen, and that we just had to live with it.

Living with it became fairly easy. In fact, my best friend and I spent so much time in that room, doing homework, listening to records, watching television, or talking, that we both became skilled at knowing exactly what part of the room the presence was occupying at the time. In our college years, one student came in and did a study of the room. In a controlled experiment, my friend and I were able to independently pick out where the ghost was in the room nine out of ten tries.

The presence wasn't all bad, either. My youngest sister and I both agreed that when we were sad about something as teenagers—perhaps over a lost love, or some conflict with a friend—and we'd go into that room to listen to music and lament, the ghost would come and try to comfort us. It seemed as if sadness was its specialty, and if we were sad, it was there to empathize and even to console.

Whatever the ghost was, whatever it wanted, the scariest thing about it was that we felt it was always just on the verge of appearing. It would often concentrate its activity near the doorway. Twice in my later teen years I saw it open a door. Once I informed my mother I was going into the New Room to play the guitar. She told me not to play too loud because the neighbors had complained. I smiled, pulled the hall door shut behind me, walked down the hall, pulled the second door shut behind me as I entered the New Room, turned on the amp full blast, and began to play. I stood in front of the door with a big smile on my face, knowing my mother would soon enter to tell me to turn it down. I watched as the doorknob turned, and I watched with a smile as it swung open. But my smile slowly faded into puzzlement and concern. No one was there. The door had opened itself—or something other than a living human being opened it.

A few years later, the same thing happened in a different circumstance. I was expecting a friend to come through the door, and I watched the door open, but there was no one there—at least, no one living.

At one time I actually thought that maybe I was causing the paranormal phenomena. In the two cases I just described I was expecting the door to open. I had heard somewhere that usually when there is a poltergeist in the house, you will find a disturbed adolescent living there, and that there is some sort of energy given off by this adolescent. Since I was getting in trouble with the law at that time—breaking into houses, drinking, smoking, that sort of thing—perhaps I was unconsciously moving objects with some sort of psychic power stemming from my repressed anger. I was definitely running from something at the time. Alcoholism in the family? Parental discord? The loneliness of that house? Maybe I was the one disturbing this home.

10/1/2012 4:00:00 AM