“Yesterday, on the stair, I met a man who wasn’t there.
“He wasn’t there again today. I wish, I wish, he’d go away ....”
– Antigonish by Hughes Mearns
It’s the kind of thing most of us don’t want to talk about, except when we look at the calendar and realize All Hallows Eve (more typically known as Halloween) approaches.
Have you ever seen a ghost or an echo of what used to be?
If you answered yes to that question, how many times have you debated on whether you actually saw it, whether you should tell the story, make a joke of it, or just stay silent?
If you answered no, are you sure? Because, after all, how do you really know that stranger who walked by you last week and nodded wasn’t in actuality just an apparition?
They say you should trust that “sixth sense” that most of us try so hard to ignore (No, not the Bruce Willis movie, but nice try).
How often have those little hairs on the back of your neck risen up and the shivers started down your spine?
How often have you come to T-intersection and realized that the decision you made at that moment meant far, far more than whether you turned right or left?
How often has the thing you’ve been looking for turned out to be right in front of you? Are you sure it was “always” there? How do you know you didn’t get a little help in finding it?
Makes you wonder for a moment doesn’t it?
The past has a way of echoing through our todays and tomorrows from the old buildings downtown to the messages left behind on desks and pillars in the high school.
Today and tomorrow it’s time to think about just how close it comes to touching our lives and, of course, whether that’s a good or bad thing – all while offering a smile and trying to convince the kids or grandkids that Oct. 31 is just about how much candy you can collect.
I’ve been in a few of the truly old buildings around here that seem to hold the past within their walls waiting to tell tales once more.
But ghosts? It’s actually hard to say. I’ve met plenty of people here in El Campo, including the occasional ones who seemed to be there one moment and gone the next, sometimes literally, but should I or you be spooked by that?
Years and years ago, a few of us here at the newspaper used to routinely come back to the office in the dead of night (especially after late night wrecks or fire calls) to reload on film and prepare for the next call.
It wasn’t all that unusual then to see a well-dressed blond woman in a very expensive looking long, black leather coat (regardless of whether it was a frigid night or one in still in the high 80s) walking along Jackson Street between the police station and shortly past the intersection of North Mechanic.
No matter how many times one or several of us tried to catch up to her (because, that’s what news folk like us do when our “sixth sense” screams “story”), we were never able to do so. She’d always vanish (walking a well-lit straight road – sometimes right toward you).
We took to calling her El Campo’s vampire – largely because of the number of bats that fly around the area around that time of night.
But who was she really? A late night partier or office worker just trying to get home? A Goth before Goth became a thing? A ghost? A vampire?
Cue the spooky music here.
– Shannon Crabtree is editor & publisher of the El Campo Leader-News.