The darkening was like riches in the room
in which the boy sat, almost hidden from sight.
And when his mother entered, as in a dream,
a glass trembled in the quiet cupboard.
She felt how the room betrayed her,
and she kissed the boy: “Oh, you’re here?…”
Then both looked fearfully at the piano,
because some evenings she’d play the child a song
in which he found himself strangely deeply caught.
He sat very still. His great gaze hung
on her hand, weighed down by its ring,
as if struggling through drifted snow
it went over the white keys.
~Rainer Maria Rilke
From The Essential Rilke
The St. Augustine Lighthouse is known to be haunted…and an amazing tourist attraction besides. My father, who just turned 79, boasted of climbing a few years ago the amazing spiral staircase (a Wit favorite!) within this cool historic tower.
I asked my dad, who has a yen for the creepy stuff as well, if he felt any ghostly specters about after that 100+ step climb… He said he had a strange feeling up there, a chill on his shoulder…but he didn’t see anything. A great shot was taken of a specter peeking over the upper banister, one of many photos of apparitions in this historic dwelling…
Montparnasse inhabitants can be ‘reawakened’ with a little help from a smartphone
Paris is well-known for its cemeteries, the most famous being Pere Lachaise, where tourists seek out the tomb of Oscar Wilde. But I live next to another great 19th Century cemetery in Montparnasse – and when I go there I always take my phone.
It is funny how we love a graveyard…
Read more about the fascinatingly creepy yet beautiful Montparnasse Cemetery in this article by Hugh Schofield
So I finished this book over the weekend with all the rain keeping me tucked in, and after decorating the Christmas tree, which is really bringing the spirit home.
And thankfully it is not the spirit that haunts this book. I didn’t read The Time Traveler’s Wife, and from what I’ve read in reviews of Her Fearful Symmetry, if you’ve read Time Traveler you’ll surely be disappointed with this one. Since I am new to Niffenegger’s novels, this one was a fine read for me, though strange at times.
We find some unique character building in the chapters, and I sometimes did wonder what was connecting them all, aside from where they lived, but that aside, a guy with an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder who incessantly cleans with bleach and won’t leave his apartment, and mirror twins who dress alike and are 21-years-old was enough to keep me going. Though I do find the twins’ lives implausible, except perhaps in a fantasy world unlike our own, I bought into it for the story’s sake and went on. The ghost who ends up haunting them is at first a delight to get to know, and the author’s take on the afterlife is quite thought provoking, but the spirit in question turns a bit weird and egoistic, and without giving away the story, well, she becomes sort of creepy, which would be right up my alley, if I thought the story was supposed to be really scary, but it wasn’t. In any case, one would have to read this one to get their own final take on the ending, which I think was appropriate for all involved. I am left remembering these characters; they are visions in my mind, and somehow I know they will never leave. This is a compliment to Audrey Niffenegger, which I hope she’d appreciate.
“A cognate of “guest,” the word ghost is rooted in Germanic Geist, originally a spirit of a dead ancestor invited to tribal feasts on such occasions as Samhaim, or Halloween, and other solemn ceremonies. Many European peoples preserved the heads or skulls of the dead, which were set up, painted, and decorated, in a prominent position at gatherings of the clan, and were consulted for oracles after being offered their portion of the collation. Hence the saying “Death’s-head at the feast.”
During later Christian times the custom was discouraged, for the church’s doctrine of resurrection of the flesh forbade burial of bodies without heads. Nevertheless, the visiting ghost was an ineradicable belief. Ghosts were supposed to haunt all the scenes of the former lives, especially if they died violently or unhappily, or were buried in unconsecrated ground, or had possessed evil spirits. The earlier, more benevolent type of family ghost is still suggested by the identical pronunciation of “ghost” and “guest” in northern England. The anger of ghosts was most feared by people who refused to honor them as guests. “
Text source: The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets
Images: in ghosts by mOthyyku and All the Ghosts will Come Back by Scheinbar