Thursday, July 9, 2009

Theme Thursday: Ghosts, Three Viewings

Three Viewings is the name of a Jeffery Hatcher play that I worked on many years ago. The play is essentially 3 monologues given by 3 different characters at a funeral parlor. It doesn't contain any ghosts but I liked the title as my theme Thursday will consist of 3 viewings of ghosts.

Kids and Ghosts:
When I was young, I totally believed in ghosts. I wanted one to contact me in the worst way and yet I didn't because I didn't want to be scared out of my mind. Basically, I wanted to see a ghost and yet have the presence of mind to remain calm which was too oxymoronic for my personality. But that never stopped me from trying. My friends and I spent hours deciphering messages from the Ouija board. We held seances, swearing we could feel the spirit in the room.
My children have not yet been introduced to the Ouija board, I'm not even sure if they still make them. They do however have a healthy, childlike belief in ghosts. My 7-year old son brought a book home from the library about ghosts in the White House (he's a bit obsessed with Abraham Lincoln) and quizzed me on ghosts, what they do, how they haunt, etc. My 10-year old daughter has a slightly more creative approach to ghosts. According to her, a family of vampires lives under her bed. When I pointed out that there is no "under" her bed because it sits on the floor, she replied, "Oh, they're ghosts, they vanish into air." These vampires tell her to do things. Unfortunately, they don't tell her to clean her room.

My Dad:
As an adult, I'm not sure I believe in ghosts but something happened at my Dad's interment that gave me pause. My father died in 2000. He was cremated and his ashes hung around for 3 years while my mother figured out what to do with them. Finally, she decided to bury the ashes in Gates of Heaven cemetery where many members of both my parents families are buried (and quite a few of the New York Yankees, I might add). The date was set for June of 2003, and we all made our way to the ceremony. I knew he had died, had come to terms with it and never had any deep sense of "I can't believe he's gone." But, when I arrived at the cemetery, I had the strongest feeling that my father was there, in person. Every time a car pulled up, I thought, "Oh, that must be my dad now." Even though, I knew his remains were in the little box by the grave! I can't explain this absolute, positive belief that he was there in person. I'm not sure I'll ever explain but I've never felt it since.

Ghost Light:
In theater, we leave a light on after a show is over which is called a ghost light. Most often this is a bare bulb in center stage although at the Arden, it's some of the work lights (overhead fluorescents). This tradition dates back to Shakespeare's time when, it is said, a candle was left burning to ward off the ghosts of previous productions. Of course most of the theaters in his day were made of wood hence the numerous fires from the candles being left lit. In actuality, a light is left on to prevent anyone stumbling around in the theater after-hours from getting hurt. But I prefer the first explanation because really, what is a theater without a ghost?


  1. nice three views. as a kid it was much fun to day dream of ghosts. not at night mind you, too scary. tried my hand a quija as well.

    i wonder if your father was giving you a final peace that day.

    i think i like the first explanation for ghost light as well. especially the ghost of stumbling actors. smiles.

  2. I do like that third photo...

  3. Wow, never heard about the ghost light custom. Too cool!

  4. You can't deny that feeling you had...My mother came to me one night in a dream and it was so wonderful...

  5. My friend Doug's divorced parents died within a year of each other - he has both their ashes at home, but he keeps them on opposite ends of the room because he knows they'd prefer that.

  6. I never really thought about ghosts until in my adult years and visited a bed and breakfast in Missouri...I became a fast believer of them then!

  7. Thanks for all the comments. Kurt that is so funny. And yes, I think perhaps he did visit, maybe to say good bye.

  8. "Unfortunately, they don't tell her to clean her room" - hilarious!

    I didn't know that about the ghost light. You are going to have fun with next week's theme, methinks!