October 23, 2012 | by Amie Barrodale
The story so far…
Usually I go to bed early, but given all the recent ghost activity in my house, I was getting a little spooked. So I was still up at eleven P.M., in bed and on the phone with my husband, Clancy. While we were talking, something black circled my bed twice, so fast I wasn’t sure I saw it, and then flew into a storage area where I have been slowly setting up a shrine. I yelled out twice while it circled me, but somehow Clancy didn’t hear me and continued talking.
I said, “There’s a bat or a bird in my apartment.”
“Is it a bat or a bird?”
“I don’t know. It may be a bird. I think it’s a bat.”
It had flown through so quickly, now I wasn’t sure I’d seen it. I said, “I think he’s in my shrine.”
I got a broom and went to look. It was only my second experience with a bat, and I didn’t know if he would get scared and come flying at me.
On the far wall, hanging from a pipe, was a very small thing. It might have been a clump of dust, or a piece of metal pipe with a cap over it, or it might have been a very tiny bat, hanging upside down, wings folded.
October 3, 2012 | by Amie Barrodale
I rented my apartment, a large studio on the top floor of a three-story house listed in the National Registry of Historic Places, sight unseen, through Craigslist. When my mom asked me, months later, for its address, I had to do a Google search. Among the results was a mention of my place being haunted. I didn’t click on the link. I did mention it to my husband, Clancy, in passing.
On the day I moved in, without giving it any thought, we started to refer to one storage space—there are three, two low-ceilinged ones on either side of the pitch-roofed room and one closet—as “the bad area.” We had barely walked in, we (at least I) had forgotten the ghost, and here we were—“the bad area.”
In fairness to the rational-minded, the bad area was just that. It had a white door on hinges that came to my chest. The floorboards were unfinished. Brown insulation fiber had come loose in the ceilings and was all over the floor. It was dusty and full of cobwebs. An industrial, kevlar-and-aluminum fire-escape ladder was in one corner. The previous tenant lived here three years. I don't think he swept in there one time. I don't think anyone did. (The other storage area was half open, clean, with finished floors.)Read More »
September 6, 2012 | by Amie Barrodale
I have never said anything quite like that before. Now, I have unconventional beliefs. I believe when others tell me they have seen a ghost, particularly if they have details—say, a long nose and a tuxedo, or a suggestion from an old lady that we “touch now, dearie.” But it still sounds like crazy talk. I am aware of that.
“You’re right,” he said.
Then we were both afraid to turn out the light. We were in the Rajmata Suite, where the woman who lived in the hotel used to sleep, back when it was a home. Actually, the correct word is palace. When you turned out the light it was pitch black in the room. In that darkness, I felt—briefly—a unique dread. It was not a menace. Just a funny intimation. To put it into words is to coarsen what was fine: an intimation that one day I would die.
August 22, 2012 | by Amie Barrodale
The story so far: Clancy and Amie continue to struggle to obtain the elusive permit that will allow them to find accommodation in a remote mountain area.
We stayed one night in McLeod Gange. It might be called the woo-woo capital of the world. Woo-woos everywhere—frustrated, blissed out, on drugs—unwashed woo-woo land, with lots of coffee shops.
In the morning, we passed a black street dog with white paws. He limped on a hind leg.
Clancy said, “Hey, White Socks, how’s it going?”Read More »
August 21, 2012 | by Amie Barrodale
The story so far: Amie and Clancy find themselves stranded in a remote area, in need of a permit before they will be allowed to stay anywhere.
The next day, as we were heading out to get a car, Tenzin, the proprietor of the guesthouse, stopped us and explained that it might take us two or three days to get the permit. He suggested we pack our room, offering to sell it while we stayed in Dharamsala. He said, also, that we could stay until August 6—we could stay as long as we liked.
“I can shuffle rooms around,” he said once, and then later, “We have had a cancellation.” Still later he added, “You will have to change rooms, but your new room will be just as nice.” We shrugged our shoulders. So long as we had a room.
In Dharamsala, we were directed to “District Commissioner” office 111. We poked our heads into a medium-size room shared by four men. Their desks were piled high with manila folders tied together with tennis-shoe laces. We said, “Protected area pass?” in a tone that suggested we might be arrested for asking the question.
The administrators reacted as any American in her office might, should an Indian couple poke its head in and say three words in Hindi.
August 20, 2012 | by Amie Barrodale
We were on our way to a small Tibetan colony in Himachal Pradesh. I lived there for about a year in 2008 and wanted to show it to my traveling companion, Clancy. Also the house where I stayed is very peaceful and nice, and I thought it would be a good place for Clancy to finish the book he is working on. We had about ten days to spend there and were in agreement: no cars, no roads.
I wrote to the manager of the house, which is called Old Labrang. It is a guesthouse, but you can’t really stay there unless you get the okay from the manager. In the past when I stayed there, it was during the off-season. Since my last visit, the place had undergone major renovations and is now, by any standard, a desirable place to stop. Palazzo floors, an interior garden with flowers and orange trees. It costs eight dollars a night, and as a result I had a feeling that this time there would be a problem securing a room. I didn’t want to sit down and write the request.