Monday, April 30, 2012

Scariest Ghost Experience

What a silly title. Its true though, there might be other stories that I will include that will be more scary for the reader but this one is the one that , pardon the expression, haunts me. This is the one that is in some log for proof of After Life Communication and warranted a contact from the Discovery Channel to share my story. I wasn't chosen for their show and probably with good reason. For this very person of passing that I am writing about would want it that way. They don't want to be remembered they want us to move on with our lives and true to his wishes , we have , for the most part. With the exception of a few, we have all lost contact with each other. Even the magic powers of facebook have not rendered results in online searches for our friends of that time back in 1995-1996.

It was Modesto, California and Turlock too. Two towns in the central valley dessert that by the grace of man and aqueducts have turn it into fertile ground for growing many crops. There are many orchards , good for kids to run around in. I hadn't heard many ghost stories there. Not like the ones we had from the Bay Area but sometime my friend's mums would share stories of ghostly animals. All us would run around all those trees, something I could never quite get used to all that open space. Or the heat , not so great for the little death-rockers in the making , excited by a club that would play our music where we could dance in basements and waterproof eyeliner that wouldn't run.

By this time I had already graduated from High School and already knew what I wanted to do with my life. I was going to community college to further my art instruction and to be able to stay in dance class with my favourite teacher and be a part of her dance company before moving back to the Bay Area to play in my band. I was lucky that I was accepted , I turned it around in high school. During this time I had did my first solo on stage in front of the whole crowd about being a multi-cultural person in a one race world, the longing to feel roots and pay homage to them when they were being whitewashed. I was lucky enough that a friend of mine Chris, a very talented but haunted individual created 6 min of music for me to express this. I have since lost the music tape, but I still have the video somewhere.

I dated Chris's best friend, but given how things go, I felt closer to Chris. We both had horrible insomnia and manic periods. I was would often use these to my advantage and write for 3 days at a time or draw and feel like I was doing something divine straight from God or High Power or something. He was often along for these journeys ,  while I was planning the future or going along with some epiphany that I felt I was being contacted by the heavens. When I was diagnosed with Epilepsy, it is found that these things are common. Little did I know I would have so much in common with his favourite singer Ian Curtis of Joy Division.

Chris would tell us that he would someday be gone and that he would put on repeat Joy Division while he left this earth. Its one of those things that I think a lot of spooky kids say, "this is how I am going to go when I die", and Chris was no exception, after all Ian Curtis hung himself at 23 so we only had some much time. 23 came and went for Chris and I thought we would be safe and he would outgrow the depression like most of us had.

I saw some signs, I usually do, but I never had anyone commit suicide close to me , not yet. I had elders die of ailments and age, but never someone so young and on purpose. When we would go to cemeteries , I would often take pictures of the interesting and old head stones when I had film or do rubbings when I didn't. Chris went with me even when he heard the dead yell at him to leave. The graveyards were so peaceful, I was surprised he went places with us, even when it tortured him.

An aside: Chris had a weight on his conscience, he was plotting his death (I learned later) and was doing this behind all our backs, he was the nephew of Charles Starkweather the serial killer. He felt the evil was in his blood, it's all he could do, he would complain to me "I see cross-hairs" like the scope of a gun. He was afraid if he didn't take himself out, he would take others. He came from a nice family, a little conservative , but they loved him. They didn't so much care for us but they were nice to us. They thought we were soiling their Eagle Scout. I think now we were keeping him alive.

Then we heard he was dead. I thought of all the nights we hung out with his sister and how they would joke about who would go first in the dark humour of the damned. We found out he had been plotting everything about his death, getting a new suit from Macy's with one friend and not telling him it was for his funeral, going through each and every music mag , making notes for his bandmate/best friend to go on with their work. Making lists of everything that he wanted each of us to have and leaving notes for all of us. Letters we never got to see because his Mother wouldn't allow it. He covered the floor with plastic so that he wouldn't soil the carpet and so his nephews and nieces would never be afraid to sleep in his bed.

He didn't listen to Joy Division when he died. He listen to "Obssesion" by Clan of Xymox. Curious.

After the funeral a group of us were hanging out at the driveway of another friends house, staying together to to keep ourselves together, not knowing what to do with ourselves. We , in our grief, listened to the tape and the very song on repeat , making promises to one another we would not follow in his footsteps, each of us pleading to the Universe that we would give up most prized possession in order to have our friend back. My now ex and best friend of Chris vowed he would give up his virginity, I, my talents and so on...we cried and we talked while the music played on, blaring out of our friends car, her windows and moon roof open so we could listen..over and over..

I looked up into the sky, thinking something strange was going on with the light, I was facing my best friend who was leaning against the car. Funny I didn't remember that the moon was a harvest moon,I thought it had turned a fiery red, when I focused my eyes on it I saw I wasn't looking at the moon but a face, the face of Chris wordlessly screaming in anger and it was directed at us. I heard his anger in my head and I started to yell "turn it off!", meaning the radio, but before I could get the words out a sonic boom noise happened, the car shook and all 4 doors opened all at once, throwing my friend into me.

At that moment she looked into my eyes as I felt the most ice cold ...something..pass through every cell of my body, she watched as I , like a cartoon turned white as a sheet and my eyes opened to a full dilation. When I could get my breath I yelled "Turn it off! He wants to be forgotten , he killed himself to put himself out of pain and we are keeping him here!" Afraid to move after what we just witnessed it took a second before anyone would approach the now open car, when they did they shut the tape off.

We broke off our mourning and decided to call it a night and respect his wishes.

Year later I ran into another mutual friend of ours that we used to drive out to shows in the city. We recounted how things had been since Chris had left us and I mentioned that night, before I could tell him the crazy story he said he had had a dream that night, of Chris as an angry red face yelling at him, saying "Forget  Me! Forget me!" I was chilled to the bone, he recounted he wished he was with us that night and sorry he couldn't be with the rest of us so we could grieve together. So I told him what had happened. "You were with us, in a way, you saw what I saw in the sky!"

I couldn't bring myself to visit his grave that experience so scarred me, seeing the bruises on his neck from where he tied the bag to suffocate if the pills didn't work that were so visible during his viewing , and later when I was able to help with my makeup on my best friend Heather when she passed in a car wreck I remembered those bruises and how they scarred the people left behind. When Heather's sister and mother asked that I do Heather's make up I did because the viewing is for the people left behind, to get one last look and that last look, when not done well can have lasting effects.

Since Chris many friends, amoung my best friend and roomates, brother, brother in laws and many loved ones have past. You never get used to it, but it is a fact of life that this happens. You never quite get over when someone is so young and takes their life on purpose. Such is life is death. I feel I have been "Born to Mourn."

Christopher Wayne Noble Starkweather, I sincerely hope you found the peace you never could in life. I still miss you, but I am doing as you asked and making sure to live.

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