The first ghost story I ever heard was from my mother. She described how once, while sleeping in an upstairs bedroom in her sister’s house, she woke to the feeling of twin icicles curling around her ankles. They were hands, but she didn’t see a body, exactly. More like an abstract interpretation of a body, female, crouched at the foot of the bed. It yanked once, hard, and she opened her pink teenaged mouth and screamed, causing it to let go and vanish. The details shift uneasily when she retells this story—sometimes there is a horrible, unseasonal rainstorm beating the roof, sometimes she is 15, or 17. But these [...]
I do not believe in ghosts. That's the first thing people usually want to know, after I tell them about the-things-that-happened-that-one-summer. I'm a vegetarian and I sometimes attend sweaty yoga classes, but for the most part, I'm not superstitious. I'm a reporter. I like facts. I get down with climate change, Inspector General reports, and the pill. So let's pretend that the-things-that-happened can somehow be explained by warming weather, coincidence, and a yet-unnamed mystery particle that straddles the border between matter and anti-matter.
Or, you can just say I'm crazy. But I'm not, really. Probably.
The story takes place in my former childhood home, where my sister and I spent [...]
A Q&A with author, photographer, and ossuary expert Paul Koudounaris. I understand your great grandfather was a grave robber?
My family is Greek and they lived in Alexandria back when it was a Greek town. At that point there was a trade in mummy dust, which they called mummia, which was thought to be a cure all. Louis XIV actually used to carry mummia in a pouch and snort little bits of it. The problem was that by the late 19th century they didn’t have a bunch of old Egyptian mummies to dig up anymore. Instead, when criminals were executed, people would steal their bodies and take them to the [...]
We have all heard of ghosting (or the fade away, as some call it), probably – that thing when a person you're dating just disappears. But like real ghosts (which are real, as I just said), there are many different types of relationship phantoms. And fortunately for all of us, these types correspond to famous spooks. How lucky! Herewith, a breakdown.
1. Become fireworks. (This is on you, loved ones.)
2. Get on the Google News Alert for "ghost."
3. Ride Disney's Haunted Mansion (I had to be escorted out when I was twelve because it was "too scary," but I think I could handle it if I was already dead).
4. Possess the body of a famous person while they're doing a talk show. Maybe Ellen, maybe just for the dancing portion.
5. Spy on my ex-boyfriends' great-grandchildren, speculate about how much better looking our great-grandchildren would have been.
6. Window shop.
Maybe someone's skateboarding across the stadium rooftop and casting a shadow? Or maybe ghosts just love soccer games in South America. The Daily Mail informs us of a precedent: "Some Venezuelans believe the 'ghost' of their deceased President Hugo Chaves was responsible for saving an otherwise certain goal during an international match against Colombia."
My girlfriend and I were enjoying some beers (nice) as we made dinner together a couple of weeks ago.
"Hey," she says, and I look over from cleaning some dishes. "Did you do this?" Her beer bottle's label has been completely removed, not a rogue strip or glue remnant in sight. I say no, and she says she didn't either. We test another bottle to see if we can even recreate such a clean tear job. Not possible. But surely I'd done it, she's convinced. "This is the worst prank anyone could ever pull." OKAY, neither of us did it, let's put it behind us and enjoy "The Sopranos" like [...]