Monday, October 31, 2005

Ghost Story

I lived in Tacoma from October 2000 to April 2001, in a large one-bedroom apartment on the third floor of a historic building at 9th and J, in the Hilltop. The apartment was laid out along a long hallway that ran down one side. There was a bedroom in the back, but I slept in a small room off the living room because the heater in the bedroom didn't work, and because something about the back end of the apartment just creeped me out. All of the floors in the apartment were painted red, and in the dining room there were a couple of large splotches or splashes of something that had prevented the paint from curing right, and it was rough in those areas.

For music in the kitchen, I had a boombox with a CD player, and that fall I felt like listening to a lot of Hank Williams, so I did. But when I would play the first disc of Hank Williams' Greatest Hits, the boombox would just return to "Lost Highway" again and again. It would play a song or two, then go back to "Lost Highway." Then another couple of songs, then "Lost Highway." The CD player wasn't programmable, and for a long time I thought maybe the CD weirdness was just due to the same electrical stuff that caused the heater problem and that made the main burners on the stove function only intermittently.

Eventually, I started feeling like something else was going on, and as fall wore on toward Thanksgiving something in the song, and the lyrics about sin without redemption, and the splotches, and the coldness, and the weird smells in the kitchen, and the big deep chip in the big cast-iron laundry sink began to add up. I began to feel like something was there, and like it was male, and like it was trapped, and like it was trying to tell me about a murder-suicide.

At Thanksgiving, I left a piece of pumpkin pie and a glass of bourbon for the ghost, and I made a little speech to the effect that I knew, and I saw, and I believed forgiveness was possible. And all of the weird shit stopped.


I'm a rolling stone, all alone and lost,
For a life of sin, I have paid the cost.
When I pass by, all the people say
"Just another guy on the lost highway."

Just a deck of cards and a jug of wine
And a woman's lies make a life like mine.
Oh, the day we met, I went astray,
I started rollin' down that lost highway.

I was just a lad, nearly twenty-two,
Neither good nor bad, just a kid like you,
And now I'm lost, too late to pray,
Lord, I've paid the cost on the lost highway.

Now, boys, don't start your ramblin' round,
On this road of sin or you're sorrow bound.
Take my advice or you'll curse the day
You started rollin' down that lost highway.


At 9:22 PM, November 01, 2005, Blogger arguchik said...

whoa...that's weird. this is the second ghost encounter i've heard from a person i consider highly rational and not prone to new-agey fancy. the other one is my mom, who was "visited" by my sister about a month after her death. that was 20 years ago now. ask me--i'll tell you about it sometime, perhaps at thanksgiving...

and now i'm wondering if you could research the news associated with that address...possibly verify the facts...

At 9:23 PM, November 01, 2005, Blogger arguchik said...

p.s. thanksgiving would actually be a highly appropriate time. anne died sometime between november 17, 1985 (the day she fell into a coma) and november 30, 1985 (the day her body quit working).

20 is an unbelievable anniversary.

At 9:14 AM, November 02, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you-all read "Spook" by Mary Roach?

-- Mike


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