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How to Write a True Ghost Story

January 30, 2015

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1) Identify an eerie or unusual occurrence.

2) Write down the facts in a logical order.

3) Add an introduction to set the scene.

4) Get liberal with the descriptors. Adjectives, adverbs, additional sentences to enhance the mood, you name it.

5) Add a final sentence or paragraph speculating on whether the ghost does or does not exist. (optional)

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A “haunted” art gallery.

Once, when I was a child, I stayed the night at some friends’ of my parents. Because it wasn’t a large house and couldn’t accommodate four extra people in beds, my sister and I were given air mattresses in the basement. Once the lights went off, it was absolutely pitch dark. Even with my glasses I couldn’t seen anything.

Now, it could be the unfamiliar old house, or the darkness, or my poor choice of reading materials—I was going through a Titanic phase—but I found myself suddenly awake in the wee hours of the morning. Someone was watching me. Standing in the darkness, watching me, and it wasn’t my sister because I could hear her breathing beside me. The worst of it was, I didn’t even know where in the room the presence was. It was just … there.

I don’t know how long I lied awake, telling myself I was imagining things, that there couldn’t be anyone there, that I really needed to get back to sleep, but eventually I managed it because I found myself waking up to a one hundred percent not haunted basement in the morning. I didn’t say anything to my parents, or the family friends, and I won’t bring it up with them now because it’s been too long, but I wonder … was I the first person to feel someone down there when no one was around?

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