My Ghost Story

The eerie, whistling wind brings out the writer in me so on this St. Valentine’s Day I give myself an hour to write as a gift to myself.  The rest of my day will be spent enjoying chocolate, good food, white wine and my lovely family of two little and one very big man, my husband.  There are red hearts pinned all over my house and chocolate pretzels, hand dipped by my two little Valentine’s.  They have been extra sweet to each other today which is really the best gift I could hope for.  Sibling scobbles are a daily occurrence at our house.  But oh well, they will grow up just fine right?

But even with a house full of chocolate the wind is calling to me harder and I abstain from having one more bite of heaven.  I am reminded today of a time 32 years ago when out on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland the Ocean Ranger sank and took with her its 84 crew members.  I was only 7 years old and had a very active imagination to say the least.  I had not learned how to write stories the way I wanted to yet so I often invented them, even today I still have a hard time letting go of some of the stories I told.

My stories often bled into my dreams and I was plagued with vivid nightmares at least once or twice a week.  My mom and dad took turns helping me chase he hag away.  I swear I have a 101 nightmare stories that I am sure Stephen King would love to write about if he ever got a hold of me.  But on this one night on Feb 15, 1982 I had a dream that still haunts me every year on this date.

Inside my child like mind I saw and felt a raging presence that was only in black and white, there was a heavy fog and the wind was in my ear much like it is today reminding me of its power and strength.  As a child the blowing gales frightened the living daylights out of me but in my dream I only bared witness to it and felt nothing.  I was an observer watching over something deadly and heartbreaking but I never felt the ache from that until I woke up.

Before my tearful cries came to stir my parents I watched as the stormy waters washed over a strange platform.  I knew in my mind that it not a boat but something that was made to rest on top of the sea but I had no idea what.  The toughest part of my dream and the part that I can still see clearly in my mind was a man, wearing a grey sweater, his faced covered in a thick black beard that made him look like his eyes were missing.  I saw a look of death over him as he jumped from the bouncing platform into the hungry sea.  I screamed and then he was gone and I found myself wrapped in my dads arms under the bright light of our living room.

Through my tears and hiccups I told him my dream, in the same detail as above.  He rubbed my back and told me it was just a dream and that I was ok.  He tucked me between him and my mom and I slept the rest of the night in their bed while I am sure they slept very little.

The next morning my parents went about their usual morning duties, mom got the fire sparked up in the Woodchief while dad put on the kettle for their morning tea and coffee.  As soon as the kettle was switched on then went the little red button on the radio.  They both went about their days as per usual.  I do not remember exactly when my parents found out about the disaster but I do remember that when dad heard the news that he turned to mom and said, “My God, that was what she dreamt about last night.”

Dad went white as a ghost, as mom brushed it off as nothing, “just silly dreams is all.”

Either way, be it fact or fiction I still feel that night long ago out on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland.  The Ocean has many gifts to give but she sometimes takes back and unfortunately our hearts always go with her.  I cannot even imagine what the families who lost loved ones went through, it was a terrible disaster that haunts many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to this day.  It was February 15, 1982 but for some it still feels like yesterday.  I pray for them and I hope that you will too.

See you next Tuesday.

R.H. Downs


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4 responses to “My Ghost Story

  1. Kim Rosenberg

    Love your short stories Renee, Cant wait for your book xx

  2. Lora Lee Rowsell

    You are always amazing, you have been given a gift. I’m just so happy that you are now sharing it with us! Thank you!

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