I ain't afraid of no ghosts, I hear it likes the girls, I ain't afraid of no ghost, (yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah) Who ya gonna call? GHOSTBUSTERS!!!
(Ray Parker, "Ghostbusters")* Sigh.... I truly don't mean to keep ragging on poor Blaine, but Wednesday night was such a..... a typical Wednesday night. As usual, Blaine wrapped himself up in one of the tattered afghans I've either knitted or crocheted for him over the years, and then as I knitted on a psychedelic shawl monstrosity, we watched two solid hours of the television program "Ghost Hunters"--- and gag me! Two. Solid. Hours! Okay, it's not that I don't like the genre of science-fiction, because I do. In fact, I absolutely love science-fiction. Right now I'm waiting impatiently for Blaine to take me and see "Star Trek" at the IMAX on Saturday night, yeehah! And I love lots of science-fiction television shows--- like the darkly melancholy "Supernatural" (where, as you know, I'm totally enraptured with the Angel Castiel), and also the silly comedy about souls indebted to the devil, "Reaper". I also frequently re-watch wonderful sci-fi movie classics such as "Twelve Monkeys", "The Time Machine", and "Total Recall"--- and I also like past and present TV fantasies like "Star Trek--The Next Generation", "Babylon 5", and "Smallville". (Okay, not to take anything away from the object of my adoration, the Angel Castiel on "Supernatural", but have you checked out The Green Arrow on "Smallville" lately?.....Good Lord, have mercy--- oh baby, oh baby....) Where was I? Oh yeah--- that stupid program "Ghost Hunters" drives me absolutely bonkers with boredom. Okay, the premise is that the "Ghost Hunters" team is supposedly going around to different locations which are purported to be "haunted", whereby they then set up all sorts of special sound and video equipment in order to prove or disprove the reported paranormal activity, which usually consists of witness reports of someone having seen a ghost, having heard unexplainable noises, having seen objects moving by themselves, or other spooky, unexplainable events. And with all their impressive equipment, you'd think they'd be able to detect whatever phenomenom the witnesses are either "seeing" or "hearing", right? Not. For all their danged "special" sound and video equipment, all I have ever seen them do, hour upon boring hour, is stumble around with the lights out while whispering urgently to each other: "Did you hear that?" or "Did you see that?".... ...and yet whatever it is that they claim they "saw" or "heard" is absolutely NEVER caught on their audio system or their camera! I mean, come on! I get so dadgummed tired of hearing them exclaim "Did you hear that?" for two durn hours! Hell, the so-called ghosts they're chasing appear to be as elusive as my neighborhood's Ice Cream Man! "Did you hear that?"--- "Did you see that?"--- "I thought I heard something!"--- "I thought I saw something!" Puh-leeze!!! But over and over, week after week, Blaine insists upon watching this stupid show. He says that he finds it "interesting" because they go to so many so-called "haunted" places like spooky old abandoned mental hospitals, historic military prisons or forts, ancient antebellum mansions-- and even public places like The Queen Mary, Wright-Patterson Airforce Base, or the traveling museum exhibit from the Titanic. But I say BIG WHOOPIE. Because no matter how supposedly "haunted" the location they explore is reported to be, it's still going to be two long hours of them repeating over and over to each other "Did you see that?" or "Did you hear that?" while Blaine and I sit there arguing--- as Blaine strains his eyes and ears toward the television set trying to "see" or "hear" whatever it is that the Ghost Hunters saw or heard--- all while I'm sitting there sighing heavily, rolling my eyes, and saying things like: or "I didn't see a dadgum thing!", or "What shadow? It's totally dark in there!", or "All I heard was stupid Tango bumping his damn head on the kitchen cupboard!" God, just once I'd love to see those two bumbling screwballs suddenly get confronted by a giant hideous ghost clutching a Sprint cell phone while screeching: "Can you hear me NOW?" (But I know that will never happen.) So I'm going to tell you what I told Blaine.... If you would like to hear a REAL "ghost story"--- an authentic one--- then I've got one for you..... Yes, I actually do. Oh, hey--- by the way--- four days after the baby birdies flew away and I had that confrontation with the rude chipmunk, guess what? You guessed it---she's got two new eggies! Lordy mercy, that Mama Birdie is a veritable egg machine. (I wonder if the poor dear ever gets tired of sitting there on those eggs while getting blinded, day after day, by my camera's flash?) (She'll probably need eye-glasses by the time spring is over...) Where was I? Oh yes--- the REAL ghost story. And before I tell it to you, let me tell you I was always a confirmed disbeliever about so-called "paranormal" activity. I have never believed in ghosts. And never, in my whole life, would I ever have thought I'd ever personally experience anything remotely "unexplainable".... Until what happened at my nursing school... It was a very old, historic nursing school--- in an old, historical hospital. And if I hadn't experienced what happened there for myself, I would have told you that whoever was telling this story was lying through their teeth. Okay so here goes... A long, long time ago.... in a nursing school far, far away.... I went to a "diploma" nursing school, which is the old way that nurses used to be trained in the United States, before the proliferation of nursing programs at universities and junior colleges. Diploma schools were always based in Catholic hospitals, and were usually two or three-year programs where the students boarded and trained at that hospital for their entire nursing education. And diploma schools were notorious for turning out an extremely skilled and high caliber of nurses. The students boarded at the hospital, ate in the hospital cafeteria, attended all classes at that hospital, and received all their patient-training "clinicals" in the hospital's wards--- and were completely and utterly controlled by whichever Order of Catholic nuns ran the school. These nuns were usually the meanest