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  • Writer's pictureCourtney Heard

Atheist Life Hacks: How To Get Chills From The Supernatural

GM Note: In the spirit of Halloween, I thought I would tell you guys a more chilling story. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that I am an atheist because I have never had anything truly inexplicable happen to me that most would attribute to some supernatural force. I have. I have had plenty of strange and terrifyingly inexplicable things happen in my life, but it doesn’t and will never change the fact that just because I can’t explain it myself, does not mean it can’t be explained in scientific terms. Something that I always say to those who offer their own supernatural experience as evidence for belief, is that until the phenomenon has been tested in a controlled scientific setting and scientists conclude, “there is no explanation”, I don’t buy that there’s no explanation. I don’t think lay people or non-scientists are really qualified to make that call.

With that said, I give you my terrifying Halloween ghost story, which is true to the best of my recollection. Enjoy.

We moved to a new house when I was 17. It was a two storey house that sat next door to a park in a cul de sac. The house was just a block from school when you took a shortcut through the park. I didn’t mind the walk, in spite of the horrible Vancouver weather that you could count on every single day. Everything was always grey, gloomy and damp.

The first day at school since the move, I invited my friend, Beth, home for lunch to see my new house. We set out in our boots and umbrellas and rain coats and trudged through the utter misery. I led her to the park that our house overlooked and we continued to walk through puddles. We were approaching the playground when she stopped, having gone stark white, and looked at me in horror.

“What the fuck? What’s wrong?” I asked her.

“This…” She stuttered. “This playground… there’s something. There’s something…” Her eyes were wide and began to glass over. She dropped her umbrella and covered her now gaping mouth.

“What? What the fuck, Beth?” I was used to her melodrama. Reality often eluded her.

“I can’t explain it, but something… something bad happened here.” She explained removing her hand from her mouth. “Court, I saw a vision of you.”

“What?” I said, laughing. She had tried on numerous occasions to tell me she was a medium and clairvoyant. Claims which I heartily ignored. “You’re completely fucking nuts”, I offered and started to walk again.

“No, really! Court! Listen!” Beth chased after me after grabbing her umbrella off the ground. “Courtney! Seriously!”

I stopped and turned to look at her with a smirk. “Okay, fine, tell me your… vision” I lifted my fingers to symbolize quotes when I said “vision”. I may have rolled my eyes.

“Over there.” She pointed to the circle topped with grass and trees in the centre of the cul de sac. “On an overcast day, you’ll be sitting on the grass in that circle with a neighbour and you’ll find out what horrible thing happened in the park.”

I looked at her in disbelief. “You’re fucking insane, you know that?”

She landed a sharp, bony left on my arm and mumbled, “Bitch!”. Rubbing my arm, I glared at her and she glared at me.

“Well, show me your fucking house then, cunt.” She broke the silence. We walked on, I showed her my house and I didn’t think another thing of the whole conversation.

Until two years later.

It was the annual block party and garage sale. All day, the entire street would have a garage sale, and at the end of the day, the sales would shut down and we’d break out the beer and barbeques and get down to business. I still wasn’t much of a drinker, so I was stone cold sober.

Hungry after a long day of selling crap, I went to grab a hot dog. I loaded that fucker up and turned to sit on the grass and put it away. I found a spot next to my next door neighbour in the middle of the cul de sac and we began to chat.

She told me about how long they had lived there, and who had previously lived in my house. She told me that a family with a little boy lived there and they had been friends. Her smile sort of faded and she trailed off.

“Sad.” She said in a barely audible mumble.

“What is?” I asked, now curious.

“What is what?” She sounded confused.

“What’s sad? You said ‘sad’.”

“Right. I didn’t think you heard me.” She sighed. “It’s sad what happened to the mother who lived in your house.”

“You know you have to tell me, right?” I explained, feeling her reluctance to give me anymore information. “You can’t just say something like that and not explain it.”

“I suppose you’re right.” She reasoned. “Well, long story short, she hung herself. That’s why they moved.”

A feeling of shock and sadness overwhelmed me. I looked at her in disbelief. “In my house? She died in my house?”

“No, no… she didn’t do it in your house.” My neighbour assured me, clearly not wanting me to feel uncomfortable in my own home. “No, she did it over there.”

I looked in the direction that she was pointing and my mouth dropped open. The park. Exactly where Beth had stopped. I could feel water forming over my eyeballs and goosebumps coming up on my skin. A sudden chill swept over me and it felt it hard to breath.

Rubbing my chilly arms, I recalled everything Beth had said. On an overcast day, you’ll be sitting on the grass in that circle with a neighbour and you’ll find out what horrible thing happened in the park.

I looked up. Overcast. I couldn’t believe it. That crazy bitch was right.

GM Note: Since that day, I’ve been able to reason it out and come to the conclusion that it was just a big coincidence. I mean, every day in Vancouver is overcast, and bad shit happens in all sorts of places all the time. The odds that I would find out that something bad happened in our park, from a neighbour on an overcast day are pretty fucking good when you actually think about it. 

What do you think? How would you explain something like that?


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