Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I Ain't Afraid of No Ghosts - Oh, wait. Yes, I Am.

Tracy Kiely

To be honest, I never really considered this question until today. Of course, when I did, the first ghost who popped into mind was Cary Grant’s ghost from the movie Topper. If for no other reason than it’s Cary Grant. If I am going to be haunted, then I want Cary. Of course, he had his wife with him, and that might make things awkward.

Then I thought about Patrick Swayze’s famous turn in Ghost, but can I be perfectly honest here? I never liked that movie – well, except for the parts with Whoopie Goldberg. She is hysterical; the rest of it was kind of annoying. Particularly, that STUPID pottery scene. Ugh. Add to that was the sad fact that practically every wedding I went to for the next two years featured the bride and groom dancing to Unchained Melody – which only served to bring back unwanted images of Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore getting all hot and bothered with clay. Congratulations to the happy couple – now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go bleach my eyes.

So, I see that I’ve gone a bit off subject again. How odd.

Back to ghosts.

As a kid, I loved the tv show The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. I loved the two kids, mainly because I think there was a shot of them at the start in these great chunky fisherman sweaters. (Don’t judge me; I’m sure all of you have liked something for far stupider reasons.) I loved the feisty housekeeper, and, of course, Scruffy the dog. I even liked the ghost – Captain Daniel Gregg. There was something nice about his face, even though he sported that pointy beard, which I remember not liking. I did not like Charles Nelson Reilly because, let’s face it, I was eight. Charles Nelson Reilly is more of an adult attraction.

I thought Casper was lame.

Now, as for my favorite ghost – I have to say that it really isn’t a ghost, but a ghost story; Barbara Michaels’ Ammie, Come Home. Set in Georgetown in the late 1960s, it’s a story of a haunted house, a possession, and a tragic murder. Here’s the description from Amazon:

“It begins as a lark -- a harmless diversion initiated by Washington, D.C., hostess Ruth Bennett as a means of entertaining her visiting niece, Sara. But the séance conducted in Ruth's elegant Georgetown home calls something back; something unwelcome ... and palpably evil. Suddenly Sara is speaking in a voice not her own, transformed into a miserable, whimpering creature so unlike her normal, sensible self. No tricks or talismans will dispel the malevolence that now plagues the inhabitants of this haunted place -- until a dark history of treachery, lust, and violence is exposed. But the cost might well be the sanity and the lives of the living.”

Seriously, how awesome is THAT?

I’ve read it perhaps twenty times, and it still manages to scares the crap out of me. Barbara Michaels herself said that she’d stay up late into the night when she was writing it, and then would end up scaring herself. But she is a master spooky story teller. She hooks you into her supernatural web, slowly building the tension and the story, and, all the while, making it all very believable.

So, while Halloween is officially over, I would highly recommend this book for anyone who loves top curl up with a good scare.

Just make sure you leave the lights on.


Liz said...

Barbara Michaels’ Ammie, Come Home is a favorite but her later books, while good, were not as satisfying to me.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Dang, I'm ashamed to admit it, but I've never seen Topper or read Ammie, Come Home. I must remedy both!

Thanks for a great post, Tracy!

Kelli Stanley said...

Tracy, I LOVED The Ghost and Mrs. Muir TV show!!! I don't think I've ever met another fan ... it and Nanny and the Professor were favorite early childhood treats (I still get misty-eyed when I hear the "Nanny" theme song. And yes, I actually OWN the theme song. Don't say it ... I already know.)

Anyway, wonderful post and Ammie sounds terrifying. Nothing beats The Exorcist for me, but this sounds close!

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

I agree, that pottery scene in Ghost was lame! As for Ammie, Come Home, I've never read it and probably never will. I'm too chicken to read scary stories or to watch scarey TV or movies. The few I've seen have been watched during the day with other people around. Yes, I know, I know, I write a ghost series, but it's not scary. At least the ghosts aren't scary, just the live people.