Adventures In Gay Dating's Ghost Story

In the fall of 1995, I was in love and rushing through my days working as a bridal-consultant and couldn't wait to get to Scott, my new boyfriend in the evenings. We had taken to doing that thing most new couples do before they actually move in together, the twice weekly sleepover at each other’s place. We both had roommates at the time and found it was just easier to stay at his place because Jeff, my roommate was bitter old queen who would complain about being able to hear us having sex or swear that we drank the last of his Pepsi or even that we flushed the toilet too often. Leon, Scott’s roommate was a 40-something, chubby, technical writer that always welcomed me into their home and jokingly let it be known on several occasions that if Scott didn’t do the job in the sack, I should give him a shoot, no one need know, he assured me. As far as him being able to hear us having sex in Scott’s bedroom, I think Leon would have enjoyed it, not complained. It was during one of these sleepovers at Scott’s house about six months into our relationship when I saw the ghost.

Before I go any further, let me give you some back-story and clear up a few things. Before this happened to me, I did not believe in anything occult or paranormal. I was one of those people that didn’t believe in anything he couldn’t actually see with the exception being that I most definitely did believe in God. When someone swore that they’d seen a ghost or UFO, I was the asshole in the group that would always roll his eyes and say things like:

“Good Lord, what the hell were you smoking?”

“Are you on any prescription medications right now?”

“Are you mental?”

“Were you drunk?”

“Are you sure you were actually awake and didn’t just dream it?”

“You’re shitting me, right?”

As a child with some gentle prompting on my part, my grandmother would spin her tales of the ghostly encounters she’d collected from friends and family around the fire each morning before anyone else got up, just the two us. I can still close my eye and be instantly transported back to that small, smoky room with the peeling, ancient wallpaper and the roaring, snapping fire. My grandmother sat in her old rocker; squeaking and squawking each time she rocked back with an old tin can clasped in her hands for a spittoon. I sat on the other side of the fire in a hard, wooden chair gazing at her reverently through the firelight as she spoke in her heavily-accented English. For some reason I have a really hard time recalling any of these tales except the  one about a friend coming across a will-o'-the-wisp (or imp-lights as some people call them) as she was  walking home from work one night at 11:30 pm. She thought someone was playing a joke on her at first, then she become puzzled and tried to catch the little ball of light but the will-o'-the-wisp would keep just out of reach and slowly follow her home hovering at waist height. She run into the house, bolted the door and slowly peeled back the curtains but the will-o'-the-wisp was gone. While tales like this scared and thrilled me, even as a child, I considered them to be fairy tales and I never believed them for a moment.

Scott was from Simi Valley, CA in the hills above Los Angeles. Six months earlier, He’d decided he needed a fresh start and decided to move out to North Carolina to be near his father, little sister and stepmother who’d moved here 10 years prior. Scott was very guarded about his past and very, very slowly began to feel comfortable enough to start talking about his life before me. He admitted that he’d been a major crystal freak back in California but luckily rehab had worked and he was 100 % clean by the time I finally met him. His mother had horrible mental problems and began to drink heavily after his father left her. One night in a rage over being abandoned, she drove her station wagon out onto a deserted beach as far as it would go until it became stuck in the sand and blew her head off. By this time, Scott was solidly in the throws of his addiction and all his family had moved out of California, so he was the one that had to go to the morgue to identify his mother and drive the still bloody station wagon back to her house.

But what shocked me most was when Scott confided that I was his first male lover. He’d been in a long-term relationship with a girl named Diane back in Culver City that was a practicing witch and in fact was just about to marry her. But only ten days before the big day he just couldn’t do it and told her he was afraid he might be gay. To say she didn’t take it very well was a huge understatement. Scott only talked about Diane now or the fact that they’d practiced witchcraft together during the course of their relationship if I kept pressed him for details. He seemed scared by the subject and quickly quashed any interest I might have shown in questioning him further about this subject.

The night it happened was very ordinary. I had left work around 4 pm, showered at home, grabbed my overnight bag and tried to beat the rush hour traffic as I maneuvered my new ’95 Ford Escort cross-town to Scott’s house. After hugs, we loaded Leon into the car and went out for supper at Maw And Paw’s Griddle, a favorite country-style buffet. Despite being a born and bred Californian, Scott really took to southern cooking like he’d been eating it all his life and always sought out restaurants with Southern, Maw And Paw, Country, Granny or Down Home in the name. We dropped Leon off at the house afterwards and went to the Cineplex to see some syrupy chick-flick. We returned home, still laughing at the corny lines in the movie and went to bed, too tired to make love.

I can never tell this next part with being covered head-to-toe in goose bumps. At 2:20, I woke up for some reason at looked at the clock. I was just about to close and eyes and go back to sleep when I saw it at the foot of the bed. It was the size and shape of a man and seemed to be cloaked in darkness, if fact the darkness seemed to emanate from it in rays. I tried to rise up, but found that I was held fast to the bed and couldn’t move. I began to experience a choking sensation and couldn’t speak to call out to Scott; he slept on, deeply and completely unaware.

The ghost didn’t speak or make a sound but I knew he was here because of Scott. I don’t know how I knew that but it was made very clear to me. This spirit was very unhappy and he was mad because he was dead. Even though my eyes remained open the whole time, the spirit showed me ( I guess you would call it through a vision) a hillside cemetery with a black raw iron fence around it that ran up against a main thoroughfare in what looked to be a quaint, mountain town. He walked me through the graveyard quickly and stopped before a grave to point at a tombstone under a tree.

It was at this time, my Southern Baptist religious upbringing came back to me and I felt the peace of knowing God was with me. I was able to barely lift my right hand and point to the window and it was if God was shouting, “Now, do it, now, son!”

I mumbled through my paralysis as best I could, while still pointing at the window, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ Of Nazereth, leave!”

“I command you in the name of Jesus Christ Of Nazareth, go!”

“I command you in the name of Jesus Christ Of Nazereth, leave through this window now!”

I know, I know…that part sounds like something from the Exorcist but that’s exactly what happened, folks. When I looked back at the foot of the bed, he was gone and thank God, I could move and breathe freely again. How did I know the ghost was a he? Again, it was just made very plain and clear to me in the ghost’s presence, there was nothing gentle or feminine about this spirit. I woke up Scott and started to tell him what happened, but he was too sleepy to comprehend what I was babbling about and just pulled me into his arms, rocking me to sleep with him.The next morning as Scott was brushing his teeth, I told him about our visitor.

Showing no surprise, he said, “Oh, that’s just Steve.”

“W…. w…. what? Steve?”  I sputtered.

“Do you believe a person can be haunted, Ken?”

“I… I…I don’t know. Why?”

“I’m haunted, Ken. Just like a house can be haunted a person can be haunted. Trust me on this one, I know…”

Scott hadn’t always lived in the Los Angeles area; he’d lived in a small mountainous town in the Sierra Nevada’s called Placerville until shortly after graduation. Steve had been a distant buddy that had graduated the same year Scott did. They didn’t really hang out that often but their parents were best friends.

Almost ten years after Scott had been down in Los Angeles, gripped by his addiction and practicing witchcraft with his girlfriend, he received a phone call from his father informing him that Steve had been killed the night before in a car accident, the other driver had been drunk. His dad insisted Scott come home for the funeral but to leave that goddamn freaky girl he was dating in Los Angeles. Scott complained that he didn’t have a way there but his dad quickly offered to wire him the money for a bus ticket. It took him almost 18 hours on the bus, but finally he was there, strung-out, stinky and tired. He showered quickly at his dad’s house and joined then in the car for the ride to the funeral home but not before grabbing his deck of tarot cards. It was good seeing his old high school buddies again and before long he started bragging about his supernatural abilities. Of course, being guys, they wanted an example so Scott pulled out his cards and started doing readings for them on the porch of the funeral home. It was then that he looked up during a reading and saw Steve standing there watching them. He yelped in surprise and hurried shuffled the cards back into the box. Later that evening, Steve visited him in his bedroom at his dad’s house causing Scott to start screaming so loudly that his dad and stepmother thought he was having sex with some girl he'd sneaked into his room.The next day at the actual funeral, Steve didn't make an appearance but Scott saw several other ghosts in the graveyard watching him as Steve's body was lowered into the ground.

Scott asked me to explain in great detail what all Steve had shown me and clapped his hands in excitement when I perfectly described the graveyard where Steve was buried even down to the color of the marvel used for his tombstone and the exact placement of the grave under the tree. It must have felt good to finally talk about his ghostly stalker

“B…B…Buttt, why?” I wanted to know. I was still very shook up and couldn't believe the ease in which Scott talked about this.

“I don’t know, Ken. I think it had something to do with me doing those reading at the funeral home. I opened some kind of door. Steve just latched onto me.”

“He followed you to North Carolina?”

“I guess he did.”

"Why did he appear to you as himself  but I got the whole, spooky figure cloaked in black treatment ?"

"He was trying to scare you off."

"So, he "liked" you ?"

"I think he did."

"Did ya'll ever do anything ?"

"No ! I wasn't gay then."

I sighed and rolled my eyes, "Yes, you were, you just hadn't acted on it..."

Scott rolled his eyes, "I'm telling the truth, Ken."

“Okay, okay...why didn’t the great and marvelous witchy-poo, Diane perform some kind of spell to get rid of him for you?” 

“That’s when we were breaking up; do you really think she was going to do anything to make my like better? Besides, I thought she was full of shit. I knew more about witchcraft than she did…”

Six Months Later

Scott and I were living in our own home on the south side of town and happily in love. But, something had shifted for me. I now knew that the supernatural world was real and I burned to talk about it all the time but how do you sit down at the break room table at work and casually say, “Guess what? I saw a ghost last night!” You don’t, if you know what’s good for you. Scott seemed spooked by the subject and had sworn off witchcraft when Steve started appearing.

Odd things began to happen to me regularly. One morning at 7 am before the store opened, I looked up to see a little boy standing by a display of curtains grinning at me. I knew I was the only one in the store because I'd locked the doors behind me. When I walked forward to ask him how he'd gotten in, he just simply vanished before my eyes. After doing some research, I later found out that a little boy had wondered onto the construction site while the store was being built and had been crush to death by one of those giant cement drainage pipes they use when they’re grating off land.

Several months later, a very handsome man walked up to me and asked for the time. There was something off about him but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I looked down at my watch for a millisecond and when I looked back up he was gone, vanished in thin air and the store was completely and utterly empty. I checked the restrooms just to be sure…nothing. Gone. Then I realized what had been off about the man. He’d been holding a brand new shopping bag full of merchandise from Ivey’s, an upscale chain department store that been in the very building I was now in but had gone out of business in 1985. It was 1996 at that time. It was as if seeing Steve had marked me as a “sensitive” somehow and ghosts started appearing to me during that time period. In the past I’d often joked about how cool if would be to actually see a ghost for real and now that I had, I hated it.

One evening when I’d driven the 35 miles to my parent’s house for a visit, I got a frantic call from Scott at their house soon after I got there.

“Steve…he’s back!” He seemed panicked and near tears.

I tore off home and calmed Scott down before we crawled in bed together. Instead of being afraid, I began to get really, really pissed off at all the interruptions and fear this ghost was causing. I really think he got off on it somehow. I was just spoiling for a fight and prayed he’d show up tonight so I could curse him out for scaring Scott. Can you swear at a ghost? Would it be a wise thing to do? I don’t know, but I was mad enough to try that night.

For the next month, I began to hang out in new age bookstores and reading all I could about ghosts and cleansing rituals. One evening when I knew Scott would be working late, I said a short prayer that God would forgive me for dabbling in witchcraft and took out some sage smudge sticks, lit them and went from room to room fanning the smoke and tried to project a brilliant, white light (almost like flash bulbs going off) from my mind’s eye into every nook and cranny of our house while singing Amazing Grace as I worked. The book had said that any religious text or hymn that I believed to be powerful and holy would work in this situation. This was the ritual that all the books said was the most effective if it could be achieved and somehow, I must have did it because we were never bothered again.  I was so completely exhausted by the time I was finished that I could nothing but crawl directly into bed with a throbbing headache. All this new age mumbo-jumbo didn't come easy to me, it was as foreign as speaking Swahili. I said another prayer and prayed that neither one of us ever see another ghost and for God to please shut any supernatural door we might have opened by accident.

And no, I never tell this tale because I know no one will believe me. How many of us walk around with these stories inside but never speak them because we’re afraid people will laugh? I'm here to tell you that I know ghosts exist.