Saturday, October 30, 2004

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Count me in as someone who always loved Halloween. As a child it was a fun day, an opportunity to eat candy and hear scary stories. As I grew older, my sweet tooth faded as did the opportunity to be scared in that fun kind of way that can only happen when you are young.

Years later as an adult, I stumbled on to the "Coast to Coast AM" show late at night. "Coast to Coast AM" was originally hosted by Art Bell, who retired and was replaced by George Noory. Here was a guy in the middle of the night telling stories about space aliens, witchcraft and government conspiracies. His show was a kind of permanent Halloween. It was fun and I listened on the occasions that I was up late. Being a natural skeptic, I knew these were just stories. After all, it's fun being scared late at night. Or so I thought.

A few months back, while driving home after a late night I listened in. George's topic was on an apparition he called "The Hag." I listened intently to what seemed to be a classic haunted tale. The Hag was a spirit, maybe a ghost and maybe a witch. She was ethereal, but physically aged and hideous. Caller after caller told George of the horrors of her visits. The Hag's victim would awaken in their bed in the middle of the night. They could see the Hag. Often they could smell her, a rotten musty smell. They could hear her banshee like voice shrieking. She would be sitting on their chest, riding them the way a witch rides her broom. They would try to scream, but they couldn't breathe. They would try to move, but were paralyzed. Finally, the apparition would disappear and they could move and breathe again. Needless to say, few of them were able to find restful slumber after such a haunting.

I chuckled at the stories as I drove home that evening. Then I forgot about it. Until this week. My wife and daughter took a short trip to visit my mother in law. The house was quiet, dark and a bit cool. The wind howled and I could hear the rain on the roof. I retired for bed early, hoping to catch up on some reading. Too tired, I soon gave up. I turned on the television, to see the last innings of the World Series game that evening. I drifted off to sleep before the game ended.

I suddenly awoke. There was the horrid apparition, straight out of hell. She wailed in my face. I knew it was the Hag. My mind flashed back to George Noory and his callers' stories. I tried to scream, knowing it would be useless. I drew a large breath and howled like a baby. Wait, I thought. That wasn't supposed to happen. Then I realized the Hag wasn't on my chest. She was on my television. The Hag was Patty Wetterling! It was just a commercial for her congressional campaign. I leapt from my bed and turned off the television. I had a hard time sleeping that night. I comforted myself with the fact that my ordeal was over. Then I realized it wasn't: she might actually win her election.


Blogger PKD said...

When the cities are on fire,
With the burning flesh of men,
Just remember,
Death is not the end.

4:02 PM  

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