I did it again, folks.

Why, oh why, do I continue to watch televison shows focused on paranormal activity? It’s outright stupid, I tell you. I vowed, after my last bout of paranoid fear, that I would never watch one of these programs again.

And then I got all cheeky and decided that I would not let my fears overtake me. I would “wo-man up” and face my terror. I would get stronger by confronting the thing that scares me the most and conquering it (no, notthe thought of me attending my 20th high school reunionin a bikini…although that runs a close second). I’m talking about my fear and fascination with the paranormal. (Wait, now that I think about it, a scantily clad high school reunion definitely takes first place in my utmost fear category.) But, I digress.

I recentlynoticed that “Paranormal State” and its sister-show “Psychic Kids” were returning for a new seasonon A&E. My immediate thought was that, no, I would not be watching again. And I stuck to that decisionwith a resoluteness and underlying willpower completely uncharacteristic of me, until I checked my DVR recordings and noticed that they had already recorded! And, like a moth to a flame,in a move much more characteristic of me and my utter lack of willpower, I clicked ‘play’ on the remote control and settled into a new season.

Admittedly, I was a little creeped out after having watched both shows. And even worse than that, I realized thatwhile I was glued to the boob tube, it got dark outside. And everyone knows that all kinds of spooky stuff happens in the dark. Like ghosty stuff. And creepy stuff. And paranoid conversations such as:

Me: Jer, I swear I keep feeling a cold chill. Like, up my back. They said on that show when you have cold shivers it’s probably a ghost…or a spirit.

Jer: First of all, what’s the difference?

Me: Um, well, I think a spirit is nicer. Or, maybe it’s the ghost that’s nicer. But, anyway, that doesn’t matter. The point is, a cold spot could potentially mean there’s a ghost/spirit crossing your path. Creepy.

Jer: Right. Okay,a ghost.Or possibly a breeze from the window you opened behind you when you told me to stop touching you becauseit was “freakin’ hot in here.”

Me: Oh. I forgot about that window. Right. But, get this. I’m also feeling like someone’s watching me. It’s like me watching that show has opened up a portal or something.

Jer: Okay. Or it could be Lewis sitting outside the sliding glass door shooting daggers at the back of your head because you forgot to let him back in.

Me: Dangit! Sorry, Lew. You’re right. Why am I being so paranoid? It’s stupid. OH MY GOD!!! Jer, I swear I just heard my name. Oh, my God. Someone just said my name! I’m not kidding.

Jer (with what appears to be pity smothered all over his face): Yeah, that would be your daughter. Remember? She’s in the shower.

Me: Oh.

See what I mean? I’m losing my mind. And it’s all because of these ridiculous paranormal shows putting freaky thoughts into my already over-excitable imagination.

Rest assured that tonight I will be sleeping with my bedside lamp on high. I will also require Jer tolay on top of me creating a “human shield” potentially sacrificing himselfto any unwelcome nighttime visitors while saving me in the process. We both know that the kids need me. I mean, who would remember Avery’s orthodontic appointments and Jack’s obsession with S’mores Poptarts?

So,my paranormal paranoia is back with a vengeance. Is my new nighttime routine pathetic? You betcha. Is it necessary for attaining a decent amount of shut-eye? God, yes.

Say your prayers, Mindy

Spooky ghost story…the tale of the missing body

Admittedly, I am notthebravest chick in the coop. In fact, I’m kind of a full-on weinie when it comes to anything paranormal. Need proof? Read this. I kind of have this syndrome, if you will, that stems from watching “ghosty” storiescausing me to imagine hearing all kinds of spooky sounds at nightresulting in me forcing my hubby to sleep on top of me (and not in the good kind of way) in bed. I figure, if he’s on top of me than any “ghosty/ghoul” type will have to get through his body to get to mine, possibly buying me some time to plan an escape. Trust me. It all makes sense…in my head.

All that being said, I wanted to take a stab at telling a real-life ghost story. How do I know it’s real life? Because…it happened to me about 13 years ago. What I experienced was so terrifying I can say with the utmost of certainty that it changed my life. Here it goes…

My friend Sara(who now happens to be my sister-in-law) and her family lived outside of town on a little spread tucked inside a small grove of trees. There was one main road to get out to their place and as a young, single girl always looking for something to occupy my time I traveled that road often. One late eveninganother friend, Amy, and I decided to make the trip out to Sara’s to do some visiting.

That particular night there was a slight fog whichhad settled onto the road, making it a little difficult tonavigate.We both were concentrating on the road aheadof us watching out for deer or any other animal brave enough to attempt crossing in front of us.

I looked at Amy and said, “This is a crazy night. I’ve never seen it so foggy out here before.”

She answered, “I know. It’s like something out of a horror movie.”

We both laughed, albeit a little nervously.

Amy said, “Maybe we should turn down the radio a little bit. I don’t want you getting distracted at all.”

“Good idea, Amy,” I said as I looked down and reached for the knob.

Suddenly I heard, “MINDY!” screamed into my ear. I looked over at Amy who was pointing at the road ahead of us.

I peered out the windshield and screamed, quickly slamming on my breaks. There was a figure crossing the road right in front of us and I was about to hit it!

We screeched to a halt and quickly collected ourselves, staring out the windows to survey any damage.

“Where is it?” Amy asked, looking out the front, back and sides of the car.

“I-I-I don’t know. What happened?” I asked.

“Mindy, it’s gone. There’s nobody out there.”

“But there was. I saw it. We almost hit it. It was there, wasn’t it? You saw it, didn’t you?” I asked.

“Yeah, I definitely saw something. It was a person. They were right in front of us. Where’d they go?” She continued to search around all sides of the car, her confusion growing.

At this point in time we were stillsitting in the car, parked in the middle of the road.

“Amy, I think we should get going. There’s nobody out there. What if someone drives up behind us?”

She agreed and I quickly accelerated, anxious to be away from the spooky scene. Neither of us attempted to speak for the rest of the trip, both deep in our thoughts of what we swore we had seen.

After that night I purposed to never travel that road again after dark. Even in broad daylight I rarely passed that section of road without feeling shivers down my spine. And I stuck true to my word for about a year. One night I decided enough time had passed and agreed to drive with Sara out to her family’s house. As we approached that dreaded section I couldn’t help but remember that fateful night. I started to say something to Sara when all of a sudden my headlights shut off. I quickly worked at the knob, attempting to revive the lights so we wouldn’t careen into a ditch. Fortunately, Sara had traveled that road so often she knew that there was a driveway just up the road and was able to guide me to it, all the while engulfed in total darkness.

I slowly pulled off the road and parked working out a plan in my head.

“What happened?” Sara asked.

“I’m not sure. The lights just turned off on their own. I wonder if we blew a fuse or something?” I said. And then, for some reason, I decided to try the lights again.

They worked. The headlights worked.They had darkened out as soon as we crossed that section of road but now they worked.

We took off and quickly made our way to Sara’s house in case the lights decided to fail again. They didn’t. In fact, after that night I never had a problem with my headlights again.

So, there it is, folks. My real-life ghost story. Spooks me out all over again. I can say I have traveled that road many, many times after these incidents happened and I haven’t seen the figure or experienced failed headlights again. I choose to believe that whatever was haunting that section of road has sinced moved on.

Nevertheless, that was a terrifying experience and one that I’m sure has shaped the way I feel about the “paranormal”. I imagine it also has something to do with my preferred position of sleep…directly underneath the hubby (again, not in thatway.) Gosh, get your head out of the gutter, people!

Happy Halloween!

Love to all, Mindy

I really need to stop watching “Paranormal State”

“Wait…shhhh….did you hear that? I’m serious…just a minute. Can’t you hear that? It sounds like scratching or something. Go check.”

What you’ve just experienced is what has become an almost nightly occurance in mybedroominvolving me (the freaker) and my hubby, Jer (the checker-outer). I’ve always been afraid of the dark. Ever since I was a teenie weenie Mindy I would imagine I heard things in the dark. My sister and I used to share a room and we had a nightlight located in the hallway right outside. My sister would want it turned off. I would want it turned on. Fighting ensued. I’m the younger sister. I usually won. So, anyway, I’ve been battling the boogeyman for as long as I can remember. In fact, last nightIactually had to stop reading a romance novel with a stalker/serial killer subplot becauseIthought I remembered seeing a particularly friendly guy on a bike the other day who may justpossibly bemy stalker. I mean, itcould happen.

So, it would seem thatsomeone so naturally inclined to find the creepy in life would shy away from anything spooky, right? Wrong.Ihave recently begun towatch a television show which documents real-life ghost busters who also happen to encounteran occasional poltergeist or demon now and then.I know…smart, huh? It sure makes a lot of sense for a bonafide chicken-sh*t to find entertainment watching educated people sit in a dark room with night-vision cameras and attempt communication with the dead. But I continue to do it…every Monday night on “Paranormal State” (A&E). Paranormal is described by Wikipedia.com as “a general term that describes unusual experiences that lack a scientific explanation, or phenomena alleged to be outside of science’s current ability to explain or measure.” Okay, that’s really creepy. And I’ve tried and tried to talk myself out of believing in this particularly controversial topic of science. But what if all of it is real? Isn’t it a better strategy to educate oneself in this issue than toturn an unbelieving eye away altogether? I mean, if I happen to encounter a scary figure of the dead-variety on my midnight trip to the potty I want to know exactly what to do. I might have to pull out all the stops…some bad ass ninja stuff or some kind of hocus pocus chanting. Unfortunately, allthis education comes atthe expenseof my already frayed nerves.

So, should I stop watching this fascinating television show or “man-up” and get some cojones – that’s Spanish for “balls” and I’m not talking the sports-equipment kind. I know what the right answer is but I also know what the real answer will be. I’ll keep watching and keep imagining scary things in the night. But I’m seriously considering a purchase of some holy water, just in case.

Love to all, Mindy