It’s not like I attend séances trying to visit past relatives or old loves. I do not go chasing after them or watch TV shows about ghosts. Mine are incidental encounters.
I believe in ghosts because I believe in the hereafter. And because I believe that there is better than the right here, I think the ghosts we do encounter have a reason to make themselves known in this realm.
I have no explanation why they want to visit with me but I wish they would do it in the daytime, but that is never the case. My ghostly visits have always been at night.
Everyone in my family thinks I am afraid of the dark. Not so. I am fine with the dark. It’s the night that scares me, and I have my grandmother and my dad to thank for that.
My grandmother raised us and she kept us in line with the whole array of Mexican folklore about the llorona (pronounced yorona), the Cucui (the boogieman), the Diablo, and an assortment of other scary stories. When we got older (and properly scared straight), she confessed that Mexican moms tell those stories to help keep naughty kids in line without having to resort to punishment each time.
My two sisters and I loved when our father tucked us into bed each night. To keep him near us for a while longer, we would beg him to tell us a story. Some of the tales came from his mother and some he made up on the spot. None of them ever ended happy. After scaring us to pieces, he would tickle us, make us laugh, and bless us before planting another kiss on our foreheads.
By then I was afraid of the night and along with that, I was afraid of the dark.
In my grandmother and dad’s defense, their retelling of Mexican spooky stories was no different than how the original fairy tales were formed. Almost all of the modern fairy tales once had scary and sad endings. Their original versions were not necessarily for children. They were not G-rated or the sanitized and Disney editions we learn today. They were intended to moralize or scare or scandalize the reader.
Because I am afraid of the nighttime (ergo the dark), I totally understand my grandchildren’s need for a nightlight. While everyone else dismisses their need to keep a night on in their bedrooms, I provide them with an excuse when they sleep over at my house. I plug in “safety” lights or leave a closet door cracked open a bit with the light on, just in case they need to get up and use the bathroom.
They are in a new place and we don’t want them to stub a toe, do we?
(Whisper) Besides I have never encountered a ghost on nights I left a light on in my bedroom.