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Erica Talks to Ghosts
by Shawna Black
Ever have that feeling that someone is watching you? Or that something is behind you? Under your bed? In the closet? Just get that weird feeling that you’re not alone? Well, according to my friend, Erica, it’s because we’re not alone. In keeping with the Halloween theme here at FTTW, I thought it would be fun to interview Erica and get her perspective on our ghostly friends. Monday I emailed Erica and asked, “May I interview you regarding your experiences with ghosts?” And she answered, “Strange request, but yes, you may.”
Q. How old were you when you first realized that you could recognize the presence of ghosts?
A. I was probably eight. My grandfather passed over unexpectedly - he suffered a heart attack while he was driving home one night - and he came to tell me not to be afraid and that he would protect me. He told me to listen with my heart and I would hear other spirits. And occasionally, I do hear them.
Q. What does it feel like to know that there is a ghost in your home?
A. Most of the time it’s comforting. David’s grandfather keeps me company a lot.
Q. Have you experienced ghosts in every place you’ve lived?
A. Yes. Whenever I move to a new place, I think they travel with me for a while until I’m settled.
Q. Why do you name the ghosts you meet?
A. Oh, I don’t really name them. I “feel” their names. You know, the name they had before they died.
Q. Have you seen these ghosts or do you only feel them?
A. What I actually see are orbs of energy that I believe to be spirits.
Q. Why do you think ghosts hang out with us? Why don’t they just move on to wherever it is that our spirits go after death?
A. I think it depends on the person and the spirit - maybe they are trying to tell us something, waiting for us to tell them something - trying to guide us, or maybe they are just simply lonely.
Q. Out of all of the ghosts you have experienced, which is your favorite? Why?
A. George was my favorite! He was a middle-aged slave in my renovated slaves quarters home in Charlottesville, VA. George would make noises, open and close cabinets, play with the dog and one day he actually left an imprint on the couch as if he had been sitting in front of the fireplace.
Q. Who’s been your least favorite? Why?
A. Nora - she was a dark spirit. When I was in high school, my friends and I would use the Ouija board and when Nora would make her presence known, she would tell of killings, wars, end of the world type stuff and we would ask Frank (my grandfather) to come talk to us instead. His positive energy would override her negative energy.
Q. Did you know any of the ghosts you’ve met before they died?
A. Yes, my best friend Michele - she said she would visit me and that I would know it was her. I keep cards that she had sent to me between the pages of books on the bookshelves - when she visits she drops the cards on the floor to let me know she’s around.
Q. What’s your favorite ghost story?
A. George and Bo (my companion dog) were playing late one night in the house in Charlottesville. Bo was pacing in circles around the couch, barking at George and pouncing at him in play. I was alone, laying in bed and told them it was too late to be playing and for everyone to go to bed. Then I heard the basement door open and I heard the footsteps going down; Bo hopped up on the couch and all became quiet in the house. I said “thank you”. It was only a two-room cottage so I could see what was going on in the house no matter where I was.
Q. Is there anyone with us now?
A. Mattie. I “felt” her when I first started working here. No real “details”… Ivy and I were talking in her office and I made a comment about her tree needing a name. At that moment, the name Mattie came to me. Ivy said, “No, that’s the ghost’s name.” For some reason I had a “feel” for that energy.
Q. Did you ever watch that old TV show, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir?
A. Yes, it was one of my favorites!
Erica and her husband, David (a retired pro baseball player who played 1st base for the Braves and puts up with Erica’s quirkiness on a daily basis, “And that’s some serious shit”, says David) live and work on the coast of North Carolina. Erica talks to ghosts and gives all of her plants human names.
My photo this week is another of my graveyard shots. I had another picture in mind for this story, but once I scanned the image and saw it on my screen, I realized it is quite boring. It’s a shot I set up with a wooden cross, barley, a woman kneeling by the cross and some well-placed hands creating the image of shadows reaching down to the woman. Sounds like a good shot, right? Well, it turned out very stiff and staged. This shot of the headstone I like for the shadows. And the composition. And the darkness of the background. And as in all of my graveyard shots, I wonder who was with me that day.
Shawna sometimes sees ghosts, but mostly when she leaves Scooby Doo on the tv.