Volume 14, Issue 43 ~ October 26 - November 1, 2006

Bay Reflections

Don’t Scare Yourself Silly

There’s enough spooks in Chesapeake Country for thrill seekers and the rest of us

by Stefani A. Hutchison

Around Halloween, there are two types of people. The first, spooksters, search high and low for a fright. Adrenaline pumping, these kids and adults alike thrill to haunted houses, scary movies and ghost walks. The scarier, the better.

The other category, myself included, take no fun in making themselves scream bloody murder. We steer clear of danger, stay on well-lit paths and prefer a comedy or love story to a thriller. There’s plenty in real life to make the hairs on your neck tingle, we say. No need to whip up fantasy fear.

I’ve had plenty of frightening experiences in my life without looking for them. I used to make house visits to an old acquaintance in Chesapeake Beach. Her home is lovely and she’s a gem of a person. But whenever I would cross the threshold, I got an uncomfortable feeling that I couldn’t shake. Though I enjoyed her company, I couldn’t wait to leave that house.

I could never put my finger on the problem until one day, in casual conversation, she said, “Yesterday afternoon, I saw a man dressed in full Confederate uniform walk up the stairs and go into my son’s bedroom.” Apparently she had followed him upstairs and found no one. Of course.

If I saw a phantom soldier, the last place I’d run would be up the stairs. I often wonder what she would have done had she met him at the top. Offer him a guest towel?

My friend went on, quite nonchalant, to say that the balls on her pool table in the basement have been known to roll around by themselves, as well. She and her husband can hear them bumping into one another on quiet evenings.

Now we visit at my house.

That’s not to say, however, that my life has been devoid of supernatural happenings. Long ago, I was driving with friends on our way home from the movies. The road was dark, narrow and lined closely with trees. Ahead of us, we spotted a young woman walking along the side of the road. Drawing closer, we saw that she was pushing what appeared to be an old-style baby carriage.

Suddenly, it occurred to us that we could see her.


In detail.

In the dark.

She was glowing. Almost as soon as we realized this, the car drew alongside of her, and she was gone. Poof! My friend hit the gas pedal. We made it home in record time that evening.

Maybe those thrill-seekers can’t get enough scares and tingles this Halloween. But I, this Halloween, will do the same thing as every year: Stay at home with all the bright lights on and hand out the candy. Real life has enough spooks.

Stefani Hutchison lived in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Saudi Arabia and Illinois before returning in 1988 to Southern Maryland with her husband and two children. This is her third reflection for Bay Weekly, following My Book of the Bay Has Many Chapters (Vol. xiii, No. 33).

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