Rebecca K. O'Connor Goes Looking For Ghosts


O'Connor explores a family mystery in the spirit world @ The Rumpus.

The medium sat down on the twenty-year old loveseat in my living room. She settled in like an old friend, without looking around, without working to read the weight of my eyelids, the twitch of my mouth. She just smiled, trying to explain the ground rules, but laughing because someone in her head was too loud to let her concentrate. She cautioned us not to lead her, to only answer her questions with “yes” or “no”, nothing more.

“There’s more I needed to tell you about how this works,” she said, preparing a stack of plain white paper and a pile of ballpoint pens to write with through the session. “I can’t concentrate though.” She shook her head.

“Alright. I hear you,” she said to someone other than us. “We’ll just get started then.” Some ghost wanted her to get on with this.

“There’s a woman,” she said.

There is always a woman, but this was why we were here, my mother and I side by side on the sofa. We wanted to hear something from my maternal grandmother. We wanted to know if 54 years ago my grandmother had truly walked into a closet, put a J.C. Higgens .22 caliber rifle to her head and pulled the trigger… or if my grandfather had shot her. We weren’t expecting answers, but we would take anything we could get. We would take it even though neither of us really believed the dead can speak. We just wanted a few more words to chase in a mystery, perhaps a murder mystery, that was quickly growing colder.

“When you hit a dead end, why not talk to the dead,” I had joked, although, I don’t think there are ghosts, at least, not exactly.

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