Simply put, they don't exist.
To this day, I still believe that. In fact, I believe that the undead, in any form, is a complete impossibility.
And it is that belief that makes my little ghost story so interesting.
It was late in the evening on a Tuesday night. I had just left Hound Dog's Pizza, where perlgirlju and I had just had dinner. I think it was about 11 PM. I drove north on High Street, and turned onto East Weber Rd. I remember thinking a certain thought, one that occasionally pops into my head in passing.
Weber Road follows Walhalla ravine. There are loads of ghost stories about the ravine, and more than one house is said to be haunted. There is one house in particular where, when the full moon shines, the statues in the garden are said to come to life and dance until the morning light. A boy is said to have hung himself from the Calumet bridge after a spat with his lover's father, and he continues to haunt the areas under the bridge. Dark shapes are often seen in the woods. A brook runs down the ravine, following and sometimes running over or under the road, and this brook is said to be home to Native American spirits.
Perhaps some of it is true, and perhaps not. It doesn't really matter.
On that night, though, I came up Weber Rd., and I thought my thought:
"If the Ravine is haunted, I should see them tonight."
It was a quick thought. It had to be, for I came to the first road that crossed Weber, East Ave., I was confronted with the first (and likely only) ghost I have ever seen.
He was crossing the street, heading south. He wore a rain slicker and a rain hat, though there was only a light drizzle coming down, barely enough to get a person wet. Before him a child skipped along happily.
I took my foot off the gas and hovered it over the break pedal. I knew that there were stories about fatal crashes into the ravine, and stories of things "taking over" the wheel of cars on certain nights. So knowing, I was forearmed.
The ghost didn't have any transparency, nor did it float, but its feet were lost in mist. The child who was in front of him was no longer around, and he watched me drive past, a disinterested look on his face.
I drove past, turning my head for a moment to see him. He didn't move, but just watched. I jerked my eyes back to the road, and then flicked my vision to the mirrors. He was gone.
What makes the encounter interesting to me isn't the ghost; it's that my belief in ghosts, or should I say my disbelief, hasn't changed one bit. I know what it was, and I won't accept another explanation, but I honestly don't believe it was anything other than a ghost, and I still don't believe in ghosts.
I don't know what the child was. It didn't have the same ghostly quality, but it seemed that they were together. Perhaps it was no child at all? I doubt I'll find out.