April in the Back of Beyond is both a mystery and a ghost story, one of several books I’ve written that included ghosts. I have always loved ghost stories; I think it began when I was just a little girl and my older sister Susan would tell me ghost stories that had me scared half to death. My dad had a car that seemed to be all windows and we would sometimes visit his sister, which involved driving well after dark on winding, shadowy roads while Susan told her stories.
The first time I saw a ghost was when I was in bed with my mother, sister, and two brothers. I was about 5 years old, and she was reading a book to us. All the sudden, she stopped reading and looked at the foot of the bed. I followed her gaze and saw a man at the foot of the bed just looking at us. She called for my father and when he entered the room, the man disappeared. My mother found out two days later that a man she had dated for nine years had passed away that night. He’d never married, had always carried a torch for my mother, and he was alone when he passed. I will always believe that was him saying good-bye to my mother as he departed.
Other members of the family have seen or felt loved ones as well. My aunt was busy making breakfast for my grandfather when she felt his hand strong on her shoulder. He was blind and increasingly infirmed and she blurted out, “Daddy, how did you get in here?” But when she swirled around, he was gone. She knew in that instant that he had died. She was a nurse and she rushed to his room but he had already passed over. She said she would always believe he was saying good-bye to her.
I’ve seen many ghosts in my lifetime. I am often asked if they frighten me. I believe each one is the spirit of someone that lived here in the past, some of whom I know and some that are strangers to me. Whether they frighten me depends on the spirit and the situation. It’s much like walking down a street and seeing someone that appears friendly and you smile, while someone else might appear threatening by their expression or their movements and they are frightening. Since I’ve begun writing ghost stories, I’ve had many people tell me of their own experiences, especially of sensing or seeing loved ones that have passed over.