While daylight brightens this Hallowed Eve, the six ghost stories that follow are transparent tales that cast no shadows.
While the sun shines, there could never by a Burning Island nor Haunting Globes, no Phantom Infant, no Hope House phantasm, no Corpse-Mother of the Forest, no Revenge of the Eaten Cats. Not while the light lasts. But sunset today comes at 5:09 p.m.
Around our 100-year-old house we used to have a ghost that we called "baby." It would cry late at night.
My father had found a half-finished painting of a baby in the attic. It showed only the head of the child. We hung it in the living room because it fit in with the Early-American furniture.
Oddly, not everyone in the family could hear the ghost, and although it was frightening, it didn't seem harmful. The three of us in the family who could hear it eventually learned to shrug it off.
One day, while I was home alone, I thought I heard something in the cellar. It sounded like a heavy weight being dragged along the floor. I was very young; as the sound was very loud, I called the dog into the house, for support. The dog began barking furiously.
I grabbed my air pistol and crouched in a corner, pointing it at the cellar door.
Something started to come creaking up the old narrow stairs, one step at a time. It sounded like it was dragging a heavy weight.
When it got to the top step, I yelled, or rather, barely whispered, trying to yell, "Come on out, I've got a gun!" The air pistol in my hand was shaking badly now, and the dog was whining, not barking.
The knob of the cellar door started to turn, then stopped. Whatever it was, it went back down the stairs slowly, and things got quiet. A minute or so later, my parents got home.
As they came in the door, I let the dog in the cellar. He was barking loudly.
I yelled, "I think there's someone in the cellar!" and followed him down. But we never found anything. The cellar has only the one inside exit. "Baby" shrieked on and off for hours that night.
Now, whenever I look at the painting of the baby in the living room, I think of the noise, and of the cellar. The unpainted portion around its head looks strangly like clouds.