I’m a materialist, so I don’t consider in ghosts. I do, nevertheless, consider in ghost tales, and top-of-the-line is Shirley Jackson’s “The Haunting of Hill Home,” on par with Henry James’ “The Flip of the Screw.”
In these two tales, the emphasis is much less on the supernatural and extra on the psychological and emotional states of the principle characters. Are they actually experiencing contact with the spirit world or are they so emotionally broken and psychologically twisted that their purported ghostly experiences are merely delusions or hallucinations? In different phrases, are they psychic or just nuts? This conundrum is what provides these tales depth, thriller and literary richness.
I used to be lucky this Halloween season to have participated in a Readers’ Theatre presentation of the Shirley Jackson ghost story. The seven-person studying was carried out by the Portside Readers, a gaggle of native, enthusiastic, proficient readers I fashioned this previous spring in affiliation with Kennebunkport’s Louis T. Graves Memorial Public Library. In forming the Portside Readers, I used to be blessed to search out two theater professionals, Valerie Reid and Karen Stathoplos, who turned Jackson’s novel into an unique Readers’ Theatre script – a outstanding achievement achieved in just some weeks’ time.
Our newbie readers’ group had two rehearsals the place we labored out the blocking, character interactions and some items of “enterprise,” theater converse for bodily exercise carried out by an actor for dramatic impact. My greatest piece of enterprise was dropping an invisible glass that hits the ground and shatters (soundlessly) to point out my fright at a spooky occasion. I carried out this as Luke, whose aunt owns the haunted home, and described within the novel as a liar and a thief. He’s additionally a smartass and a coward. Secretly, I apprehensive that Val and Karen had typecast me.
The video recording went effectively, with few verbal flubs or timing miscues. The plan was to divide the drama into three episodes, with the primary two items ending on cliffhangers. When the primary episode aired on the library’s Fb and YouTube pages, 4 days earlier than Halloween, viewers response was enthusiastic. By the following day we obtained almost 350 views. Perhaps we had a success on our arms.
The evening after the recording, my mind nonetheless buzzing with tales of ghostly apparitions and manifestations, I had a dream. In my dream I used to be visited by my mother and father, each deceased. It wasn’t a scary dream, though my mother and pop are actually, by definition, ghosts within the machine, that mysterious mechanism we name our thoughts. Perhaps not corporeal existence, however actual sufficient to wake me from a deep sleep. I don’t keep in mind each element in my dream, however one factor survived into consciousness – my mom, as soon as once more younger and exquisite and glad, telling me to consider. Imagine in what, Mother? Ghosts? God? My goals? The longer term? If she advised me, I couldn’t recall.
I nonetheless don’t consider in ghosts, however now greater than ever I consider in ghost tales. The nice ones, anyway.