Mr. Grooism

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December 12, 2003 - 8:40 a.m.

Strangers In The Night

Much Ado about…something???

Ahhhh, North Arlington, New Jersey! Home of, uhhh, home of, ummm, well I remember a pretty decent Stewarts Drive-In Stand, but my year living in N.A. was pretty unremarkable, except for one particular night…

About, I dunno, 7 or 8 years ago I was living upstairs in a Two Family Duplex with a roommate from a previous residence, Jim, and a buddy of Jim’s named Paul. Both were cool guys, and I regret losing touch with them, but I guess I’m just an outta touch kind of a guy. Oh well!

Jim worked midnights, so I rarely got to see him. Paul was a nine-to-fiver like myself.

I had been out late and having trouble sleeping, as sometimes happens when work stresses me. It was around 3 am (these things always seem to happen around 3 am, don’t they?) and I was lying in bed facing the wall, hoping my troubles would fade into the ether and let me do the same, when Paul walked into the room and stood next to my bed.

At least, I thought it was Paul (who else would it be?) except he didn’t say anything, he just stood there. Now, my back was to him, so I only kind of felt his presence. I’m not getting mystical here, but you really can just feel someone’s proximity, whether it’s body heat or subtle sounds or whatever you want to call it. You get my drift?

Well, if he wasn’t going to say anything I’d pretend I was asleep and make him wake me (Bad Larry), but as time ticked by, I started to increasingly worry that it wasn’t Paul or even Jim, so I kind of mentally clenched and prepared myself to spring if anything weird happened.

Of course, then something weird happened; he sat down on the bed next to me!

Hmmm, I thought, maybe it is Paul and there’s been some tragedy he needs to talk about? When nothing happened, I resolved to attack whoever it was with my pillow (now that’s clear thinking! ) and suddenly twisted, grabbed the pillow and flailed around the dark room, hitting nothing. I stood on the bed, turned on the light…

…only to find an empty room with a closed door – and yes it had stayed closed the whole time! WTF!?

Rattled, I opened the door to my room and peeked out. I spied Paul in his bedroom across the hall staring at me with a funny look on his face.

“What just happened?” he said.

“I don’t know, nothing I guess” said I rather dubiously.

“Oh, okay,” said Paul, “because I thought I saw someone go into your room just now.”

PANIC!!!

We talked, we paced, we worried, and we agreed that neither of us believed (past tense) in ghosts, but damn, what the hell just happened here?

After a half hour or so the hubbub died down. The lights stayed on in the apartment all night, I curled up on the living room sofa and jumped at every little noise I heard. Paul went back to his room but kept the light on as well, if memory serves.

Jim wandered in around 6 am and wanted to know why I was sleeping on the couch.

“Well, we kind of had a visitor last night.” I said enigmatically, trying to figure how I was going to relate this tale without Practical Jim laughing at me and calling me a fool.

“Oh, you mean the ghost” Jim replied, matter-of-factly.

Another surge of adrenaline later, I stammered. “What, you knew about this!?”

“Yeah,” he said, “he’s been hanging around for a month or so. He’s pretty harmless, though, I think he just wants to talk. I first saw him out of the corner of my eyes lurking in the bushes outside, and when I approached him he was gone. Since then he’s been wandering the apartment. You should try talking to him.”

This was too much for me. Ridicule I could handle, but this matter-of-fact confirmation of something so extremely wrong staggered my fragile mind, yet oddly comforted me too. I figured this thing meant me no harm and had been around for awhile, so I was actually able to sleep (mostly) nights thereafter.

I never actually saw him, Jim only saw him the one time, but Jim and I both heard and felt him occasionally after that. I don’t know if Paul ever saw him after that first time, but he pretty much kept to himself.

Two months later I moved out, and lost touch with Jim and Paul.

Since I’ve started recounting this tale, I’m amazed at the otherwise practical-minded people who have told me similar stories.

My favorite story comes from my sister Linda’s friend M______., who says that (if I remember this right) when she and her boyfriend were sleeping together at her grandmother’s house, the spirit of her disapproving departed grandfather actually dragged the boy out of bed by the ankles!

I’ll have to see if I can get my sister to have M______ email me the story direct, and with her approval I will include it in a future post.

My mom also had middle of the night visitations; she would often wake up to see someone standing over her or watching her from across the room. One night, to do me one better, “he” climbed into bed next to her and lay down!

Plenty of you out there are snickering at this, and that’s fine because if I read this on another blog I’d snicker and call you gullible or a liar. Hey, I don’t want to believe in ghosts, but I’ve got no choice, do I?


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