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It’s the APPARITIONS giveaway contest!

by nickmamatas

Halloween is over, but the nights are growing longer and the trees are bare-branched and bony. It’s still ghost season, friends, and you’re in luck! I’ve got four copies of Miyuki Miyabe’s historical ghost story collection Apparitions to give away! See?

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Miyabe is already well-known to you, dear readers. We’ve published three of her fantasy novels so far, and her thrillers are also available in English. But Apparitions, a collection of ghost stories about the Edo period and its mercantile system, is different. It’s creepy and it’s kooky. And all you need to do to win a copy is to tell me of your favorite ghost story—a fictional one, something you experienced, a local legend—right here in the comments to this post in about 50-100 words. As always, we also accept senryu and haiku and other poetic forms, as well as entries in Japanese, Spanish, Chinese, Greek, and German. Then on Friday at around noon, we’ll pick the four we like the best and send out the books. We ship anywhere, so don’t worry about the cost if you live on some other continent.

Let’s get spooky!

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24 Responses to “It’s the APPARITIONS giveaway contest!”

  1. Chris says:

    A short one from an old family story!

    The accounts of Irish immigrants packed into the ships headed for the new world make for horrifying reading at the best of times. But there are also largely forgotten tales, dismissed as inventions of the Celtic imagination, of knocks, scrapes and unintelligible moans that kept passengers in steerage awake at night. Unsurprising in such cramped conditions, until you realise the sounds came from outside, and below the water line. Travellers argued over whether they were ghosts of departed sailors, family members left to the famine, or the one-armed Fomorian hordes that ruled ancient Eire.

  2. Greg says:

    My girlfriends younger brother still lives on the reservation they grew up in in western Washington. He has had some odd experiences ther and the oddest started whe he was home and his kids were all asleep. While watching tv he caught what looked like a kid at the top of the staircase looking at him playing peek a boo. He began playing back till he realized it wasn’t his youngest and it was no one he recognized. Going upstairs there was no one there anymore. The next day he heard that and been an accident the night before and the only casualty had been a child about the age of which he had seen. It s not the creepiest of his stories of the gateway he learned was on his property from a local shame but it was the one he chose to share.

  3. Ron Levy says:

    Shipbuilders working on the Titanic had many reports of strangeness with their machinery – machines turning off and on with no one touching them, welders catching fire untouched, then turning themselves off just as easily. They resolved themselves after the ship was built into an occasional, humanlike knocking sound inside one of the sixteen air compartments of which it was famously claimed that the Titanic could lose any four and still remain afloat.
    Since it would have required more welding to cut open the knocking air compartment for examination and then to reseal it, the attempted repair was put off until the end of the maiden voyage.

  4. ghg says:

    One of the scariest things I know is that a sculpture at Grand Valley State University in Michigan looked like a wrecking ball so it was taken down because students were getting naked and filming videos where they pretended to be Miley Cyrus.

    This is a happy scary story because the bifilar pendulum was reinstalled outside the Padnos Hall of Science because the school realized it was being stupid and that filming oneself naked pretending to be Miley Cyrus and posting the video on the Internet is an important part of the contemporary college experience.

  5. yoyogod says:

    A friend of mine inherited his grandparents’ house. The place was a bit of a dump, but it was free, and he needed a place to stay. The first night he was there, he heard weird noises in the attic. He assumed it was rats and bought some traps and put them in the attic.

    The next night, the noises continued just like normal. When he went to check the traps, they’d all been sprung without catching anything, so he reset them. This kept happening, and eventually he got fed up and called an exterminator.

    The next morning, the exterminator arrived. The guy said not to worry, there wouldn’t be any more problems in the attic and headed on up there. My friend was going to go up with him, but his phone started ringing and stopped to answer it. It was the exterminator calling to apologize because he wasn’t going to be able to make it.

    My friend was a bit worried that he’d let in a burglar or something, so he rushed up to the attic to confront the fake exterminator. When he got up there, he couldn’t find the guy. He did notice that someone had knocked a great big hole in the wall, and when he looked inside, he found a mummified corpse.

    It turned out that the body belonged to an exterminator who’d disappeared fifty years ago and who’d been having an affair with his grandma.

  6. Kenneth Hite says:

    A man comes home one night in a great sweat of fear and tells his wife what he saw:

    “I was walking through the forest and saw a procession of cats, carrying a small, cat-sized coffin with a crown on it. As they walked, they said ‘Hrrrow’ in a tone of low horrible mourning.”

    “Just like our cat Tom is now?”

    “Yes, just like. Then the lead cat stopped and looked at me, straight into my eyes, human as anything.”

    “Just like our cat Tom is now?”

    “Yes, just like. That cat said, in a growling, horrid but human voice, ‘Tell Tim Tom that Tom Tim is dead.'”

    And at that moment, the cat Tom leaped up from the fireplace and shrieked “Then I, Tim Tom, am King of the Cats!” He leaped up the chimney and was never seen again.

  7. Victoria Grimalkin says:

    The year 2000 ushered in the demise of two family patriarchs. My own father, the last of his branch of an old Indiana clan, died in April of that year. My husband’s dad began to waste away shortly after, making frequent pre-dawn trips to the Naval Hospital in San Diego. He was the final remaining male of his family tree.

    My spouse ultimately stayed with his parents as his father rapidly declined. Jason was a stubborn old man, who would refuse food and insisted on taking all of his medications at once or not at all. Finally, he had a major temper tantrum and died on the living room floor.

    Although it was a warm August day, the home had a good working refrigerator; yet the fresh, unexpired carton of milk went sour that day. Stranger still, the fresh milk in my mother’s refrigerator a few miles away also soured the very same day.

  8. BenjaminJB says:

    It’s stretching “ghost” a bit but I’m partial to Lovecraft’s “Rats in the Walls.”. What’s more ghostly than the return of an ancestral curse, the discovery of the past horror that’s still going on?

    I also have a special affection for “Rats” as the story of white people’s cultish horror (with just the cat’s name as the reminder of the usual source of racial horror in Lovecraft); I also enjoy it as the story that started off the correspondence between Lovecraft and Howard.

  9. StephanieF says:

    I have to say that I’m not a believer, but I do get sleep paralysis every so often, with accompanying hallucinations that, if I didn’t know what was going on, I’d swear were haunts of some sort. Footsteps nearby, mysterious figures in my vision, and the like.

    My most vivid experience occurred once when I was at my mom’s house. I woke up in the middle of the night, paralyzed in the way that happens. There was a small black figure with two small pointed ears–sort of like a cat, but not–with two red eyes, moving around restlessly at the foot of the bed. Before too long, it said “Coming through!” and leaped at me, jumping off of my chest and out the window over my head.

    If I didn’t know that it was my subconscious generating that, I’d have absolutely convinced of the existence of the paranormal!

  10. Nikki says:

    My friend James comes from an upright bass playing family. James played in jazz and rock bands. His more talented sister played with the Albuquerque Symphony.
    One night, driving home from the symphony, Sister was killed by a drunk driver. Her beautiful bass survived the crash and was given to James at the wake.
    James says that when her soul left her body it moved into the bass and she moves his fingers when he plays. You can hear her in his songs.

  11. Reyna S says:

    When I was brand new to mountains, their folklore was especially addicting. My favorite story was about a kid who’d wandered into the Blue Ridge Mountains, and didn’t come out until ten years later, though she hadn’t aged a day. Fair folk, they said, just as if it were an event of weather.

    Later, I lost my way in those same mountains at dusk, and saw a parade of flickering figures through the trees. Forewarned, I had a piece of iron in my pocket. None of those rippling lights came close, but I came home the same night at least.

  12. farklebarkle says:

    All righty, here’s mine. First Salem apartment, 2 bedrooms. Tried to use the second bedroom as an office, but could never get anything done. Always felt like someone was watching.

    When the SO moved in, we switched rooms, using the office as a bedroom. Hard to sleep there, though. Kept hearing voices — two women talking. Never mentioned it to the SO.

    When we were packing up to move out, the SO said, casually, “I’m kind of glad we don’t have to sleep in this room anymore.”

    “Why?” I said.

    “Because those two ladies are awfully noisy,” he said.

  13. Joe says:

    Our office sink was leaking so we put in a work order. They pulled a replacement out of the student housing surplus. Two days later, the new sink started leaking with the irritating *plip* of droplets hitting high-traffic carpet, even though the tap was off. I reached down to find the leak, and my hand came back covered in blood.

    Three years ago there had been a fight in housing and a freshman hit his head on the sink, killing him. His roommates wouldn’t say who pushed him.

    Maintenance won’t take the sink back, so we put it in the office basement next to the floor drain.

    But from time to time, I still hear the *plip*.

  14. PhilRM says:

    I am haunted by
    The ghost of a woman who
    Is not even dead

  15. Maria says:

    When I was 7 or 8, I went into my room one afternoon to find someone in the lower half of the bunk bed under the blankets. Believing it was one of my sisters, I tossed myself on the figure, but what emerged from under the sheet was a woman I’d never seen before with a large mole on her cheek.

    After a couple moments of awkward staring, I went off to get my dad, thinking it was one of our relatives on an unexpected visit. But when we got back, the bed was empty and no one in our house of 12 people had seen anyone come or go.

    Fast forward 8 years: our family immigrated to the States and we stayed at our uncle’s place. He told us about his childhood home, the house I grew up in, and told us the story of how our grandmother’s maid had died from yellow fever back when he was a child. He didn’t remember her face much save for that prominent mole on her cheek.

  16. Joseph Tomaras says:

    Meghan McCarron’s “Swift, Brutal Retaliation,” originally published on Tor.com and now anthologized in Rich Horton’s “Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2013”, is a rare example of a ghost story that I’ve enjoyed. By telling the story of a poltergeist in a tone of voice that would not be out of place in a domestic realist New Yorker story, it exposes the limits of both domestic realism & horror by making visible the seam between them. What could be more horrifying, after all, than your average suburban family?

    “God wasn’t listening, and she had to mop the floor.”

  17. Jeridel says:

    Ghost stories haunt Okinawa as much as the apparitions they’re about. Okinawa, an island graveyard to the last World War, breathes many chilling tales. One story kept my eyes open in the bustling capitol of Naha City. I was there, standing in a doorway, as an Okinawan woman peered at me through pleading black eyes. Her deadly-white skin and long shaggy hair made her yellow robe stand out. I opened my mouth to speak. She walked on—walked through me—and disappeared. I waited. The taxi driver came to me. I pulled out my wallet. Every night, my wallet emptied.

  18. quinden says:

    branches in her hair

    floating down the concrete trough

    staring up from the bayou

  19. ben says:

    I always liked the one about the sleepy New England town, founded on the stolen gold of an adjacent leper colony, where the land itself began to speak through that trauma a hundred years on. I don’t know much about the revenant dead, but I figure when a land becomes linguistic it does so through what’s buried, to reclaim what was expropriated.

  20. Austin H. Williams says:

    In the middle of play rehearsal, a boy killed himself. On stage, he put a shotgun to his head, pulled the trigger.

    At some point after that lights started turning off and on. People feel spaces of cold air. We started keeping a seat down for the boy. We spoke nicely of him.

    More recently, they stopped all that though. Now, the theatre program struggles where it once won competitions, and at least one girl nearly got a light dropped on her.

    I wonder if they’ve started putting the chair down again yet. I wonder if anyone remembers.

  21. PhilRM says:

    “Someone’s at the door.”
    “No. It must have been the wind.”
    But the dog cowers.

  22. Brandi Weed says:

    No stories that happened to me, but I’m of the opinion that some of the weirdest ghosts in fiction are the ones in the stories of M.R. James. Sure, he had skeletal apparitions but also a creature (possibly a demon) described as “one of the awful bird-catching spiders of South America translated into human form” (“Canon Alberic’s Scrap-Book”), one which “might be described as a frog – the size of a man – but it had scanty white hair about its head” (“The Haunted Doll’s House”), something like “a great roll of old shabby white flannel about four to five feet high” with a face– and a venomous bite (“The Uncommon Prayer-Book”), another like a giant saw-fly (“The Residence at Whitminster”) and most famously, a sheet apparition with “a horrible, an intensely horrible, face of crumpled linen” (“Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to You My Lad”). Memorable stuff!

  23. Shannon says:

    I was about ten and traveling through England with my mother and three younger siblings. It was late at night and we were lost in the Chester train station, unsure of where to go to catch our connecting train. An old man saw us and showed us the way to our platform. He knew a lot about trains: “My wife and I used to ride the rails all the time.” My mother insists he was a ghost/guardian angel. I don’t know if he was ghost or not, but I do feel sorry for that old man, traveling alone, haunting the stations he used to visit with his wife.

  24. NF says:

    A ghost story? Well, I got one.
    I had a boyfriend once. Oh, my dear readers, we might have even lasted, if not for his unfortunate curiosity.
    “And what’s down there?” he asked me one day out of the blue.
    “Dungeons.”
    It went downhill after that. Next thing I knew we were descending down the stairs, spiders running away, cobwebs abandoned. Then the heavy door closed behind us…
    “Oh my God! Look, there’s no handle!! You’ve locked both of us here!”
    “Both of us? No…”
    I’ll spare you the unpleasant details, my dear readers, but you must be wondering if he still haunts me now…
    Let me assure you. He doesn’t. There can be just one ghost in this house, and that would be me.

    //inspired by I.A. Ireland//


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