Ghouls in them hills

Stranger things | by Ivy Wigmore

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“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” —Hamlet (1.5.167-8)

When I first started exploring the supernatural, I assumed that the vast majority of manifestations were the ghosts or spirits of humans and, beyond that, there might be animal spirits as well. I was quite skeptical about angels and demons, fairies and mermaids, elves and banshees and so on. Well, not really skeptical—I flat-out didn’t believe in them.

But then I started hearing stories about many of these and even stranger things. I also experienced a few myself and, one day, had a mind-blowing conversation with a paranormal expert who informed me that the supernatural world is essentially unlimited: If you can imagine its existence, it can exist—and those things you might never have imagined in your wildest dreams can pop up as well.

I also subscribed to the common perception of paranormal phenomena as things that “go bump in the night.” We often think that the spirit world is more active in the dark hours, but I no longer believe that’s true. Maybe we’re more primed for mystery when night closes in, vision is more limited and sounds more audible. Maybe we’re more oblivious to all but the most blatant of entities in the light of day.

In any case, I hear from people who have been going about their business in the middle of the day in a completely mundane frame of mind and come face to face with an entity that they might not have believed in five minutes beforehand.

Such was the case with the man in this story; let’s call him Tom. On a bright summer afternoon, Tom was driving in the Bonshaw area, on the Green/Appin Road towards the highway, when his peripheral vision caught movement alongside the driver-side window. The hair stood up on the back of his neck, and he stared at the road straight ahead, afraid to look, although he could not have said why.

For a few moments, Tom just continued on, hoping that whatever it was would just disappear but eventually he felt compelled to look. Slowly, slowly, he turned his head. And as he did, the face of an elderly woman turned to meet his gaze. She smiled. It was not a pleasant smile.

Tom was freaking. He was driving at about 80 kilometers an hour: How the hell was an old lady running alongside? Now he had looked, he could not turn away. In shock or mesmerized, Tom continued to stare at the old lady. Looking down, he saw to his horror that she was only an old lady from the neck up. Her body was that of a giant jack rabbit.

“Can’t be real. Can’t be real.” The words echoed in Tom’s head as he wrenched his gaze away from the creature and back to the road. He floored the gas pedal and didn’t turn again lest she still be hanging on. Before he came to the highway, he must have lost her, because he was unaccompanied as he turned off the old roads and headed for Charlottetown.

In need of a drink, Tom headed straight for Brennan’s and there he met the woman who told me this story. He was so obviously distressed that she believed him immediately.

Believe or not, Reader, but keep your eyes on the road when you’re driving through the hills of Bonshaw.

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