Image: Lake View Cemetery / MorgueFile.com
Yesterday’s Halloween post by Anthony Windram, about the top 5 ghostly settings from literature and film, got us thinking again about the ghostly and ghoulish, the mystical and macabre, the dark and demonic.
Our thoughts, however, did not turn towards the new and original, but to the jaw-clanging skeletons in the Displaced Nation’s very own Crypt.
At which point…someone (Kate Allison?) suggested that we pile all of our Gothic Tales of Old into a cauldron and chant “Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble.” All was going well until one of us—must have been the American—broke in with:
Stirring and stirring and stirring my brew…
Just as she screeched “O-o-o-o-o, o-o-o-o-o”, 6 apparitions arose from the pot: 6 terrifying tales from the Displaced Nation’s deep dark past. Each said they were there to teach travelers a lesson.
And here is what they told us:
1) The Ghost of the Mysteriously Misplaced Post
I am the ghost the represents the post titled The Displaced Nation’s Halloween post is…mysteriously displaced!, composed on Halloween night two years ago by ML Awanohara, whose blood was curdling because:
Kate Allison was supposed to post today, for Halloween…but then, pouf, she vanished without a trace!
As readers who are paying attention know, Kate has now posted 80+ episodes in the life of a fictional British expat family living in New England, called Libby’s Life. Two years ago she vanished before uploading the latest episode because of a freak snowstorm in Connecticut, her adopted home.
She finally resurfaced on On All Saint’s Day—in a MacDonald’s! (Has she gone native, or what?)
Travelers, here is the lesson I’m here to impart for your sake: Truth is stranger than fiction, where so’er you roam.
2) The Ghost of Quizzing Others on Their Supernatural Sightings
Hello there, I am the ghost that arises from THE DISPLACED Q: On your travels … have you ever seen a ghost?, which was composed by Tony James Slater just over a year ago. He impressed with his self-knowledge when he said: “I’m about as psychic as a cheese.” But then he went on to say:
And then, just occasionally, I have dreams when I’m visited by the spirits of people I’ve lost….
Is there any wonder there were no comments and no likes on his post? He scared the bejeezus out of most of his readers.
Still, point taken, and I’m here to impart an important lesson that you international travelers may not have fully considered: As you traverse the world, bear in mind that any ghosts you meet will be people you know (and left behind), not strangers.
3) The Ghost of Compiling a Master List of Grim Reapers
Greetings, I have emanated from the post called Grim Reapers around the globe: 7 creatures that say “Time’s up!”, composed by Kate Allison just over a year ago. Kate reported on the surprising number of cultures that maintain some version of the mythological conniving female who lures men to their deaths.
As frequent visitors to this site will know, Kate has a way with words. For instance, she described
Sihuanaba of Central America as follows:
Seen from the back, she’s an attractive woman with long hair; from the front, it’s a horse. (No jokes about Sex and the City, please.)
But even Kate’s rather offbeat humor could not dissuade from the freakishness of some of these figures.
As far as lasting lessons, this will have to suffice: Next time you get lost in a canyon, try blaming an ancient ghoul. Depending on where you’ve landed, as well as gender, you may just about pull it off.
4) The Ghost of Delivering a Screed against Princess Diana Dolls
A cheery hello to one and all, I am the ghost of Anthony Windram’s EXPAT MOMENTS: The Doll Collection, which he wrote almost exactly a year ago.
As anyone who came across it may recall, Mr. Windram was most distressed to find himself at a bed-and-breakfast in NEW England (he is from Jolly Olde) where the innkeeper has put her prized collection of “individually authenticated” Princess Diana dolls on display in the sitting room. He tossed and turned all night, even heard scratchings at his door.
Now, as regular visitors to this esteemed site know, Mr. Windram is no fool. On the contrary, he has has a mighty brainbox. Which is why I’m so stunned that he allowed himself to be frightened by a set of Lady Di figurines. I’m sure they were only there to cover up the fact that the house is haunted—by a young and rather vigorous ghost, which is how ghosts tend to come in America (just ask Libby). The real take-away, then, particularly for those who venture into the New World: Avoid American B&Bs like the plague if you want a decent night’s sleep.
5) The Ghost of the Expat Criminals Exposé
ML Awanohara showed some temerity in writing a post entitled What did Agatha Christie know? Expats make great criminals back when this blog first started.
As the ghost that arose from this post, I’m here to say she hit the proverbial coffin nail soundly on the head with this assertion:
Just as we don’t like to think of rats being part of the animal kingdom, we don’t like to think of conmen, pirates, gangsters, and terrorists being part of the group we have loosely defined as “global voyagers” … But trust me, they are a part of it — as are murderers.
Which leads us to the lesson I’ll impart today: Just because you’re in a part of the world where marrows tend to thrive, don’t assume the likes of Hercule Poirot will turn up and save you.
6) The Ghost of Finding Travel Inspiration in Margaret Drabble’s “Red Queen”
Not long ago compared to other posts in this collection, ML Awanohara wrote FOOTLOOSE & FANCIFUL: Margaret Drabble’s “The Red Queen”, explaining how her views of Korea had shifted after reading a book by Dame Drabble depicting a period of bloodshed and horror in the 18th-century Korean court. A real-life tale made more vivid by Drabble’s considerable fictional powers, in which the Prince is a homicidal maniac, and his father, the King, a stern Confucian. The King ultimately decides to murder his son in a style so dramatic that ML couldn’t get it out of her head next time she went to Korea. She remains haunted to this day.
As the ghost of this post about a ghost, I find myself torn. On the one hand, what kind of person would read Drabble—that serious, hip, intellectual British novelist, who likes to come across as one’s brainy, Cambridge-educated best friend—to get a handle on what the Koreans are really like? Apples and oranges—or marmite and kimchi, I should say.
On the other—and this is the lesson I’ve come to deliver: Never hesitate to use a Cambridge-educated Brit as a resource for novel sightseeing ideas.
* * *
Readers, have we got you thinking twice about those travel plans? Do let us know in the ca-ca-comments. Hey, at least we spared you the horrors of Sezin Koehler’s 15 films that depict the horrors of being abroad, or otherwise displaced; Tony James Slater’s 5 travel situations that spell H-O-R-R-O-R!; or Kate Allison’s Global grub to die for, including a rather scrumptious recipe for fried tarantula, which goes down a treat in Cambodia.
STAY TUNED for next week’s fab posts!
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