Halloween is my Favorite Holiday

I had a dream about a month ago that we found my mother’s ghost. She was in a church, dressed for her wedding. She couldn’t see us or respond to us; it was more like a home movie, projected. We brought in experts to see her. We got independent confirmation.

I was so overwhelmed. I mean, I was seeing my mother again. And I was seeing her in this whole new way, from before I was ever born, this young woman reciting vows. And we had proof that she existed, and that the afterlife existed, and that we would all keep going in some way. I was trying to work out the implications of this when I woke up.

I have loved scary stories for as long as I can remember. I am mostly drawn to the supernatural ones, the hexes and voodoo and gates to Hell. I like the ones with elaborate mythologies, your rankings of demons and taxonomies of spirits. I like the hapless people who stumble into this new universe that has always, secretly, interlocked with their own.

I grieve with gore and terror. In the months after my stepmother’s death, I read A Good and Happy Child and The Ruins and The Hellbound Heart. Maybe it’s just a child’s fascination with death, inspecting the mechanics and the details for clues about what happens, how it happens, and why. Maybe it’s the closest my atheist mind can come to seeking spiritual meaning. Maybe fear merely distracts from sorrow.

I flirt with believing. A part of my brain says there can’t be an afterlife, and another part says there must be. My subconscious brings in the experts. It creates independent confirmation.

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