As part of the Haunted blog tour, we have a guest post from Jamila Gavin, who has a short story in the book, about Halloween and horror!
When I was a child I don’t think people celebrated Halloween in Britain or in India – except – at the American school I went to for one year in India; they celebrated Halloween. Certainly this was the first time I’d ever heard of it. I was nine years old living in Mussoorie, a hill station, and it was close on a mile walk from our bungalow, down a winding mountain path to the school where there was to be a Halloween fancy dress party. My mother got together odds and ends to create some kind of costume and I had to make the walk all alone, dressed up, and rattling with paraphenalia, as my mother had my younger sister to look after.
Halloween is all about being scared, but nothing was more scary for me than the real thing.
I’ve had some good frights in my life; I mean inexplicable ones. Like the time I stayed as a guest right at the top of a Victorian house. I woke in the night to see an elderly man coming into my bedroom wearing long johns. He sat down on the edge of my bed, flicked off his bedroom slippers and got in with me: not by me or on me but right through me. As I rolled away in horror, my brain was saying:”this can’t be real. This isn’t happening.” And my absolute belief that it had to be a dream meant that I didn’t rush screaming from the room, even though my heart was thumping fit to burst. When I had calmed down, I stretched out a hand across the bed to reassure myself I was the only one in it.
Next morning I said to my host over breakfast. “If I believed in ghosts, which I don’t, I’d have said I saw a ghost last night,” and I told her what had happened. When I described the elderly man, she looked very disturbed, and said quietly, “it used to be my father’s room when he was alive, and he wore long johns.”