October 30th, 2003


Ghost Story #2.


My girlfriend and her sister live in a pretty big apartment on a quiet street lined with restored Craftsman homes. But the rent's pretty low. The only reason why you'd want to move out of that great deal is if you died ... which is how my girlfriend got the place.

Of course they didn't know this, or they wouldn't have moved in. See, my girlfriend is so insanely superstitious that when I brought back an antique vase for her from my trip to China, she refused to put it in her bedroom. Crazy woman thought it might contain spirits from past owners. That's right. Possessed pottery.

So you can imagine the hairs standing on the back of her neck when she had the following conversation with an elderly neighbor, who like everybody else in the building had lived there for decades.

"She had the most beautiful voice," he said as they waited for an elevator.

"Who?" my girlfriend asked.

"Elaine. She used to live in your apartment. She was an opera singer, you know. She'd retired a long time ago, but she never stopped singing, thank goodness. I'll miss her singing "Carmen" in the late afternoons."

"Is she in a retirement home now?"

"Hmm? Oh no, she's dead," he replied. "Her maid found her in the living room. She'd been there for two days."

I never did figure out why my girlfriend didn't move out that day. I mean this is the same person who was spooked by a fricking vase. But then again, the vase wasn't 1500 square feet for $800 a month.


"I saw her," she said.

We were eating lunch, and she told me that last night she saw Elaine. Or at least she assumed it was the previous tenant.

She'd woken up at around 4 AM and saw an old woman in a nightgown standing at the doorway of her walk-in closet. My girlfriend blinked hard and shook her head, desperately trying to make sure she was dreaming. But when she opened her eyes, the woman was walking toward her.

My girlfriend's a casual Buddhist, so she reached for the prayer beads. When she looked up, Elaine was now right next to the bed, standing over her. At this point, my girlfriend was out of options.

"Listen," she said. "Just leave me alone and let me go back to sleep."

Then she closed her eyes and turned around with her back to the ghost. Somehow she eventually fell asleep.

The former opera singer never made a sound.


Even after that, my girlfriend still never moved out. Though I wish she did, because after "The Sixth Sense" came out, I'd get a little nervous walking from her bed in the middle of the night to her bathroom. Because the last thing I wanted to see was a gray-haired lady silently standing there in the shower as in "The Shining." Or maybe jumping out of the toilet to see if I pee all over the ceiling.

My buddy T was even more spooked after watching "The Sixth Sense." Dude had to watch "Sportscenter" 'til 6 AM. Anyway, one day he stopped by to pick us up at my girlfriend's place. By then, I'd already told him the story about Elaine and how she likes to hang out around walk-in closets.

As we were waiting for the elevator in the dimly lit hallway, one of the neighbors on the floor, an elderly woman, came and stood next to us. I guess T didn't see or hear her coming, because I saw him turn his head and - for some reason - he assumed the old lady was Elaine. He jumped so hard, his shoes almost came off. I practically tore my spleen open from laughing so hard.

The man obviously believes in ghosts.

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Happy Halloween.

Well I finally figured out my costume, and it's neither the pirate or the old humpy lady. I'll tell you when I post pics from the party some time next week. In the mean time, here are some other costume ideas I threw around. As you can tell, they're catered to the lazy:

1) Angry Exploited Employee of a Major Supermarket Chain.
For those of you outside of SoCal, the workers at almost all the supermarkets have been on strike for a month. The beauty of this costume is that the only thing you need is a picket sign, which are free if you ask politely and pretend to care about their cause.


2) Quatto from "Total Recall."
For those of you not familiar with Schwarzenegger's second best movie, Quatto was the mysterious leader of the Mars rebellion. He was also a wise old midget who just happened to live in a guy's stomach. To make a Quatto costume, all you need is a Cabbage Patch Baby and put him inside your shirt with only his head and arms sticking out. When anyone asks what the hell you're supposed to be, simply groan "Quaaaid."


3) Santa Ana Winds.
Like the striking supermarket worker, the Santa Ana winds are a local thing. During autumn or winter, the Santa Ana's blow through town and make everybody unexpectedly sweaty. For the costume, all you need is a sombrero and a poncho - but the clincher is one of those electric hand fans. In a flame-free year, this might've made a decent costume. But now that Santa Ana winds have achieved major notoriety with the current fires, it's not the most appropriate thing to wear in LA.


One last ghost story:

I got this email from a coworker today. Apparently the owners of this house had been seeing images and hearing voices for quite a while.

They did some research and found that a lady once lived in the house who lost her husband during World War I. According to the story, she used to sit at the table and look outside waiting for her loved one to return home. He never came. So, they say she still waits.

They caught this photo of what they claim to be her. This one was amazing and a little unsettling once you find the ghost in the picture. It took me about 15 seconds to find it, but when you do it just stands out. Like one of those optical illusions. Really freaky shit.

1) To save you some time, concentrate around the table. Best not to focus too much on one spot.

2) Look around the table and toward the window.

3) Click on the link below for the picture.

4) Maximize your browser since the photo is pretty damn big.

Click here to see it.

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