Thursday, 30 March 2017

A funny thing happened. It might have been ghosts.

A ghost threw a bit of glass at me today. Allow me to elaborate.

A while ago I was asked to join an amateur paranormal investigation group in a ghost hunt at a local museum. I spent the night there with them and took readings, talked to 'ghosts' and did the whole bit with enthusiasm. There was no real evidence, but It was appropriately creepy at points and the wind knocked things around once or twice, which was a nice touch. I spent the next couple weeks doing independent research, the paranormal group was not following up with anything and seemed not to be well organised in regards to any future hunts, so I took the initiative to return to the site myself with audio and video equipment and I really sank my teeth in.
    Unfortunately it turned out to be a hoax perpetrated to increase tourism. My investigation turned up no evidence, but plenty of a lack of evidence. Their ghost, a purported serial killer, was supposedly hung by the province at the end of their life, and I found all the hanging records for that period, which contained no evidence at all of that person being hung, anytime in that century. There was no arrest documentation or contemporary newspaper records, or anything at all to indicate it had really happened. Likely if the subject ever existed at all, they were a perfectly nice person who didn't kill anyone and didn't get hung for it. Further investigation resulted in finding someone who had been "in on the secret" to some degree, ie, the perpetrator of the deception had confessed to them in private. It was a tourism scam. It was literally old man Jenkins the whole time, and he would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for me.*

*I don't have a talking dog.

**UPDATE:**
They are now charging people for the privilege of ghost hunting at that site. I would name them, but I don't want to give a museum a bad reputation.... 

I was disappointed in several ways. But, I did really enjoy the actual process of hunting ghosts, and the situation did not turn me off the idea of ghosts, it just made me wary of deceptive museum personnel. I hope to try my hand at it again someday. Which is what led to today's little occurrence. 
    I was in a local shop chatting with a friend who works there, and I had brought up the idea of ghost hunting with him, as I know he shares the interest. The conversation was unsolicited and spontaneous, no set up could have been done. During the conversation, a picture frame in the back room decided to launch its glass out of itself and across about two feet of space. The picture remained hanging on the wall, just the glass flew out. It had been hanging there uninterrupted for eight years. After inspection, the glass had not been particularly tight in the frame, and an identical frame below it seemed not to be abnormally pressurised. To be certain, the glass did not fall out, it launched itself two feet away and to the left of the frame, and broke in two pieces at some point, possibly when it hit the floor.
    A curiously timed occurrence no? "Hey chum, let's hunt ghosts!" - ghost throws bit of glass at us.
    Now there WAS someone in that room, and he has been known to joke around before, ie: it might have been him messing with us. But, he was seated in his desk at such a position that he would not have been able to reach the picture. I was in the room a second after the occurrence, and he simply couldn't have moved that quickly. He could have poked it with a stick, and the glass's trajectory would align with that possibility, but no stick appeared easily accessible enough to allow for this. Although there was a stick in the office, I don't believe he could have re-positioned said stick prior to my entry. And honestly, he seemed credible in his defence statements. I do not suspect the only possible suspect. 
    That leaves two possibilities. 1: Wild chance. A pressurised picture frame that had been sitting innocently for eight years suddenly popped out its glass at the moment of our conversation. 2: Ghosts did it, and I have been called to my life's purpose.
    My personal experiences indicate suspicion and rational objectivity are warranted, but maybe, just maybe, it was ghosts. And really, when we are talking about ghosts, isn't maybe worth looking into? 


Oh, and I think a ghost touched my butt once while I was brushing my teeth. Different story altogether. My room-mate at the time named him (the ghost) Aiden, and we kept him around.


Long story short: Anyone interested in paying me to hunt ghosts is encouraged to do so. I'll research your situation meticulously, and annoy your ghosts in various ways. I'm not an exorcist, I'm a scientist, so don't expect me to fix your problem, I'll just make it worse in all likelihood, but won't that be interesting? You can show all your friends the documentation and evidence I dig up. I won't come for free, because I've been burned before by fake ghosts. 


Ghosts annoyed, cheap and local. 
Contact this crazy person today by leaving a comment below!


I'll also happily join any group seriously interested in producing a ghost hunt web series or television program in British Columbia. That's a career path I could really dig. I have film experience, tons of research experience, and unusual amounts of experience with various branches of the paranormal. 





Thursday, 16 March 2017

The Dragon - short story

I wrote this as part of the 2014 Halloween short fiction contest. As a judge I am not eligible as an entrant to the contest, but I want to participate and encourage participation, so I posted this.


Entries must begin with those fated and potent words "It was a dark and stormy night."
Entries should be 500-1000 words in length
Entries are due by October 30th.



Visit  www.southcariboowriters.com  for more details! 


The Dragon.
By Samuel Blondahl.



    It was a dark and stormy night. Two men sat on a grassy hillside overlooking a small rural town. Thunder broke in the sky above, and cold rain beat down in furious torrents, but neither man seemed disturbed by the foul mood of mother nature. Around them, the trees bent in the wind and dropped their remaining leaves in cascades. The storm was late in the season, coming in October, on the brink of winter. Below them, the town lights went dark as the storm knocked out power lines feeding electricity to the distant homes and businesses of the small hamlet they dwelt within.
    The first man, dressed in a t-shirt and jeans with heavy looking black boots, pulled a can of cheap beer out of a small canvass bag laying beside him, and passed it to the other. This man, bearded and wearing a beige wool sweater and black jeans, took the offering and opened it unceremoniously. 
    “I used to be a dragon,” the first man said, his voice rich with sorrow. “I remember what it was like to fly, and to burn from within.”
    The bearded man shook slightly and huddled up against a hard burst of wind. “I know how you feel, but we can’t speak of it. Even here, it’s not safe.”
    “Damn it, it will never be safe. I need to talk about it, I am going crazy Richard.” The first man opened his own beer.
    “I know Charles,” Richard sighed. “Alright, I can’t imagine anyone will overhear in this rager. What happened today?”
    “Elliot was sick, so Principal Hawthorn asked me to cover Phys ed,” Charles said.
    Charles drank again. “I thought it would be fun you know, throw the ball around for a while, then the damned rain started and we had to use the gymnasium. Inside that depressing brick cube with a hundred of those snivelling brats…”
    “More like twenty,” Richard interrupted.
    “Whatever,” Charles snarled. “I made them do a few laps, warm up you know? Then dodge ball. I’m not sure if we are allowed to teach them dodge ball anymore, but I’m just subbing right?”
    “Sure,” Richard agreed, drinking from his can again.
    “Anyway, when it’s all done and the bell rings, they charge out like stampeding elephants into the change room, and this one girl comes up to me and she has blood all over her shirt. I didn’t even notice it, but one of those little buggers put a ball right into her nose, the thing broke like it was made of glass.”
    Richard laughed suddenly, beer spilling from his mouth. “That’s why they can’t play dodge ball. Those animals can’t go five minutes without breaking something.”
    “Yeah, well here I was, having no clue how to deal with it. Jeez, I used to know what to do with a helpless bleeding maiden.”
    “Wow Chuck,” Richard said, still giggling. “That could be misconstrued.”
    “You know what I mean. I used to eat these lowborn beasts, now I have to teach them how to do addition and clean up their bloody noses. What happened man?”
    Richard sighed, and his expression fell. He drank again before answering. “The modern age. We demons are the useless ones now, immortal but aimless, kingless and powerless. I am just glad I have some authority, teaching English might not be as good as commanding the legions of the damned across the ravaged plains of Pangaea, but at least I have some authority and a decent enough home to crawl back to.”
    “You were always the content type,” Charles scoffed. “I was a dragon Richard! Can you imagine for even one second what it’s like for me? I have been here since the late Precambrian period, ruling with impunity all that crossed my path and leaving nothing but chaos in my wake! For millions of years!”
    “And then..” Richard threw his now empty beer can in the general direction of the town below.
    “And then one day the Gods make peace and retreat from the fertile soil to their sterile heavens! Only guess what? They leave us the hell here!”
    “Preach it sister,” Richard cheered sarcastically.
    “They leave us here, bound to this stinking flesh! Weak, soft, tiny, always hungry and cold, or too hot, or….”
    “I was a demon to be feared once!” Richard raised his voice. “I was a burning ogre, thicker around than a redwood and taller than a ship's mast. My blood was lava and my eyes glowed with the very embers of Hades most fearsome realm. I know how it feels to be confined to weakness Charles. I may not have been a dragon, but I know.”
    Charles drained the last of his beer, and stared out over the town. The rain seemed only to grow heavier, and the sky darker. Finally he sobbed, and turned his head down to his chest. “I remember flying,” he said through his tears.
    “I know Chuck.” Richard sighed, and put a hand on his friends knee in sympathy. “But now you are a high school math teacher. Honestly, in the end I think that’s more terrible and loathed than a dragon could ever be.”
    Charles laughed, and hiccuped. Then wiped his face, the rain and the tears were so mixed that the effort was futile, but it made him feel a little better. “I just wish I could fly again. I wish I felt the heat of my heart again, burning like it did.”
    “Maybe someday Chuck,” Richard said.
    “Maybe someday,” Charles agreed. “Every religion has an apocalypse right? They can’t all be wrong.”
    “Yeah, Ragnarok, Armageddon, maybe a nuclear winter. Something will bring the Gods back, and when they come, I will teach them proper grammar and how to punctuate.”
    Charles laughed again, harder this time. “I’ll terrorise them with geometry and algebra! They know not what they unleashed upon the earth when they abandoned us!”
    Richard clapped his friend on the back. “Lets get Chinese food tonight Chuck, I’m sick of your cooking.”
    “I’m sick of my cooking too,” Charles agreed. 

Bodies of Art & Sing for your supper - Short stories


 


South Cariboo Writers Guild challenge: Writing prompt.

"You are travelling through Europe on a long dreamed of vacation. You find yourself at The Louvre close to closing time. The crowds are slowly filtering out of the building, but something holds you back. You linger, even though a security guard will surely arrive soon to usher you out. But the guard never arrives, and you wander lonely, dimly lit hallways in a daze, feeling as if you have somehow strayed into a dream. A thump echoes behind you. Then another and another. You whirl around to see a man lying prone on the floor. Beyond him, more human figures dot the expanse of the wide corridor. In horror, you realise that the paintings are now empty of personages, and they all lay as if dead on the floor around you....."
Leonardo da Vinci - Louvre version

Bodies of art.
Samuel Blondahl

    I stood aghast and stared, my jaw open and my eyes wide. Shock held me fast. I tried to explain the scene before me to my own mind, tried hard to rationalise what I was seeing, “It’s a prank.” I said aloud. Then, too loud and sudden, I laughed. “You guys really got me.”
    None of them moved, not even a twitch. I looked around in confusion, trying to spot a hidden camera crew or find the pranksters that surely had to be laughing at me from the shadows. There were none. I was alone in the hall save for the bodies sprawled on the floor. I stood and waited another moment, still confused, and becoming more frightened. For a flash, I felt guilty, like I would be blamed for the destruction of the paintings. I laughed again, nervously and shaking. The bodies remained still.
    Slowly, I knelt and reached out to the closest of them. Leonardo Da Vinci’s Virgin of the Rocks, a painting of the virgin Mary kneeling beside an angel and two babes. Mary in dark blue, with an orange sash, and the angel draped with a red cloak. One could assume that the babe nearest Mary was Christ, the other apparently John the Baptist. Now the four figures lay at my feet, still and quiet as they had ever been, but now tangible and real. I knew the painting well, and these bodies were perfect replicas. The clothing, and the features. The strange proportions of the children, the masculine hands of the angel, the thin blonde curly hair of all four. Their positions were a mockery of the master’s painting however. Instead of a frozen moment of life, these things were clearly dead. I would have called it sacrilege, some demonic treachery assaulting the divine work, but around me were dozens of other such paintings in equally horrible truth. Secular and religious alike.
    I thought again, this must be a trick. I reached out and gently touched the hand of the angel. It was greasy, slick. The texture was inhuman. My heart cold and my breath still, I pushed my finger into the hand. It was oil paint. The body was thick, wet oil paint. I am not ashamed to say I screamed then. They seemed so real. This thing before me was no more alive than it had been in two dimensions hung upon the wall. It was still essentially a painting. A painting somehow filled out to three dimensions and extracted from its canvass. But it was fresh. No ancient work, but wet and new.
    I stood abruptly and ran. I ran fast and blindly, dodging or leaping over the bodies of art laying all throughout the gallery until I reached the nearest exit. Without thought I crashed into the emergency door and out into the darkening evening. Behind me alarms sounded, calling for the gallery guards to secure the door. I pitied those guards the night ahead, the confusion, the media that would surely descend upon the Louvre. The effort of trying to explain to anyone that which surely could not be explained.
    Light rain fell on Paris, and the world turned. I would soon come to learn that this strange phenomenon was not limited to the Louvre, nor even to France. All over the world, paint had grown an extra dimension. Not landscapes, not abstracts, and not unrealistic or poorly painted works. Just the masterpieces, just the beautiful, and just the painted people.



15 minute hat draw writing challenge.

We drew lots for character, environment, and mood.

Character: Lost child
Environment: Town square

Sing for your supper

Samuel Blondahl

     Daniel sat down on the edge of the fountain in the town square. Around him, people busily shopped and walked, laughed, and ignored him as they had for three days now. He looked around carefully for the constables. They would roust him if they caught him begging again, and might even take enough of an interest to drag him to the Boy's Home in uptown. He had heard stories about that place, the things they made children do there, most of it schoolyard lies and rumour, but surely some of it was true, at least the less supernatural stories. Some people thought that the boys were eaten, some kids at school thought they were forced to perform dark rituals after nightfall, and that they could be caught at the graveyard calling ghosts. Stupid, Daniel thought, but not worth finding out for sure. Confident now that the constables were nowhere to be seen, he popped his cap off and dropped it, then stood up on the lip of the fountain, and started to sing. “Sing for your supper boy,” his father had laughed only last week, it was always a bit of fun for him to make Daniel sing in the evening before supper. Now, somehow in this strange new life, it had become his sole honest means of feeding himself.
     As he sang, people went on ignoring him, and he went on watching for the constables. Occasionally someone kindhearted would stop for a moment, say “Tsk Tsk, so sad,” and drop a ha'penny into his cap, or a tuppence if they could afford it, but no one ever did more than that. A begging boy was common here, as common at least as horses on the cobblestone streets of Torquay. So, he sang and sang, and watched the measly pile of coins grow to something half respectable for an evening's work, then he stopped for a while and hid the coins away in his shoe, and started again until he had enough saved up for breakfast tomorrow, and maybe a croissant at teatime. Today, the constables were nowhere to be seen, and he was uninterrupted, that was rare enough to make for a decent haul. Tomorrow he might even have meat with breakfast. A sausage from the butcher would be a lovely change.
     Three days, and already he thought a sausage was heaven. Daniel finally gave singing a rest, and stole away to his hiding spot, a brick shack near the ocean that no one tended anymore. It was sturdy on windy days, and dry on wet days, but never really warm. Three days, and he was already thinking of it as home, that thought stung like a wasp. Three days alone, three days since Father had turned him out on his ear. Three days since mother had finally died, three years after she had fallen ill. Somewhere distant, he had an aunt who would take him in, he thought, but damned if he could remember the name of the town she lived in, or even her married name. Daniel knew he would never see anyone he loved again. Already, he was thinking of himself as an urchin, a lost boy, and thinking of maybe, just maybe, stealing from the people on the street.

     “Three days is long enough.” A voice said in a whisper. Daniel bolted up and looked around, but saw no-one, no -one except his own shadow. “C'mon Danny boy” it said. “Let's go on to Neverland.”

La Saveur de la vie 2020

 It has been a full year since I posted here, but yes I am still alive, and yes, I am updating  La Saveur de la vie  at its regular annual t...