Donna Cavanagh's most recent humor book is Reality: Fantasy's Evil Twin.
Last night while flipping through the channels, I came upon the show Celebrity Ghost Stories. I have to say Hollywood’s stars have some pretty creepy experiences to share.
During this episode, I watched Christopher Knight, Margaret Cho and some unfamiliar actress tell their real-life ghostly encounters. Are these things real? Sure, why not? Who am I to judge? I plan on coming back and wreaking havoc on unsuspecting living people. Why? Because I can, and there are some people who I would like to drive to the brink of insanity – I think it would be fun.
Personally, I think ghosts are OK guests as long as they are not ghosts who insist on taking over the house or the person living in the house, as was the case with the unfriendly demons in The Exorcist and The Amityville Horror. The celebrity ghostly encounters got me thinking about house hauntings, so I have come up with a few rules which should help both celebrities and regular people avoid paranormal mayhem.
Don’t move into a house with a history. By "history," I mean “crime history." Murder, suicide, anything violent is a sign that this house may not be for you. OK, say the seller forgets to disclose the fact that 10 people were murdered in the house, and you move in only to discover that your five-year-old kid knows more curse words than you and his head now makes 360-degree spins. Should you be alarmed?
Yes, you should be very alarmed, and you need to leave. This is my problem with these shows. People stay in houses even after a once-sweet spouse grows horns on his or her head and displays glowing red eyes which were once baby blue. They blame the demon transformation on everything from the weather to eating bad fish. I am as skeptical as the next person, but if you are alone in a room and a loud and angry voice yells, “GET OUT!” -- do yourself a favor and get out! Get out as fast as your little feet can run. Those stupid Amityville people waited until blood started to stream down the walls and the husband started to turn homicidal before they abandoned ship. Here’s a rule of thumb: If your spouse is coming at you with a hatchet, you might have waited too long.
Don’t move into a house or apartment where the rent should be $4000 a month but the landlord charges you $200 per month. Let me just say this straight out: No one wants to give you a great deal on rent because you are special. You are not that special – no one is. A really good deal on rent is obviously a sign that the apartment was a site for satanic worship. I learned this fact from watching Rosemary’s Baby. If someone wants you to lease an apartment that badly, something is definitely wrong. That 80+-percent rent discount (I don’t know if that is the right percentage as I suck at math so all you engineers can figure that out for me) is not because there is a roach or rodent problem.
No, that big discount should be a red flag – a warning that you will be sharing that apartment with someone who is not of this world.
Do not buy a home that has had six owners in the past year. If a house spits out owners this fast, there is a problem. And while I thought that owners were legally supposed to disclose all problems with the house, they tend to fib a bit when it comes to ghosts. I guess since not a lot of people believe in ghosts, one can blame all unexplainable happenings on the old plumbing, or the house settling.
Don’t buy a house that sits next to a cemetery or was once a funeral home. I had a friend in high school who lived above her father’s funeral parlor (which now she owns). Did she have ghostly experiences? Yes, and she told us amazing stories, but they were all benign in nature. There were no mean ghosts who threw things around the room. Mostly, she said, the ghosts commented on their funerals and what their families made them wear.