Tales of Old Ghosts

Many, many months ago, the little museum I volunteer at added a ghost story-reading evening to their 2020 programme of lectures and events. The organiser – the poet, Deborah Tyler Bennet – asked if I’d like to be her co-host and as it was still some months away, I said yes.

Like many other items on the programme, the event ended up being cancelled due to Lockdown, but was penciled in for the 2021 season should the museum open up by then. Which it did, in July, when Deborah asked again if I’d like to take part. Again I said yes, though the idea made me a bit uneasy. I really don’t like ghost stories, don’t read them, don’t write them, never watch ghost films on tv. Still, I’m a grown up and it’s good to push yourself out of your comfort zone, isn’t it? Besides which I’d still got about four months to write something. I’d manage it at some point, surely?

The Ghost Story event was last Thursday. In a classic act of avoidance – and for reasons that’ll become clear if you listen to the piece – I put off doing it and put off doing it and …

You get the idea. I finally made myself sit down at 2 pm to write the story I’d be reading out at 7 pm that evening.

Luckily, I got it finished (at 6.20 pm, when I needed to leave the house at 6.30!) and though a ‘rough round the edges’ first draft, people seemed to enjoy it when I read it out. I’ve done a quick tidy-up today and you can hear me reading it below, if you like!

Happy Halloween, everyone!

The local Spiritualist Church looks little different to when I visited it with my grandmother in the late 60s.

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