Oct 252011
Authors: Morgan Mayo

It was a humid North Carolina summer night during the third year at the rafting company I did seasonal work for –– yet somehow, I had still been assigned to the shack furthest away from civilization.

My roommate was staying with her boyfriend that night, and as I drifted off to sleep in my cozy attic bed, I was casually concerned about the bats and copperheads that periodically liked to pop in for a visit.

Turns out I should’ve been worried about the undead.

The windows were closed, the fans were off and yet, in the middle of the night, I woke up to all of my clothes falling off of their hangers at once. When I opened my eyes, I was greeted by the image of a tall, bearded young man leaning over my bed as if he wanted a kiss.

But when I screamed and turned the light on, there was nobody there.

Fearing that I was having a psychotic episode, I didn’t tell my roommate what happened. But a few nights later, I woke up to her screams downstairs.

Same story. Same mysterious man.

But it didn’t stop there. The door would creak open in the middle of the night, and the shadows of a tall man and woman would hang ominously in our doorway. Dark stains began appearing on our floor and walls that never dried.

And then there was the ever-present horny bastard of a ghost trying to kiss us in our sleep every couple of nights.

According to our HR department, they had conveniently placed us in a room where a raft guide had gotten too drunk and asphyxiated on his own vomit in the ‘80s. Brilliant.

It would be just my luck to be haunted by a 21-year-old drunk raft guide that wants to get in my pants.

They had also decided to build the staff housing units on top of a grave site from the 1800s.

Defacing cultural landmarks and bringing the wrath of the spirit world on my sleeping head is a double brilliant.

Now I know all of this may sound a little too “Pet Sematary” to be real, and I don’t expect any of you to believe it, but this story did actually happen to me this past summer. And as we approach Halloween, it’s always interesting to take a good long look at the human relationship with the occult.

Humans have always seemed to have a nagging habit of attributing events to the supernatural when they are unable to explain them with logic (Elvis, Loch Ness Monster, human existence).

Needless to say, it seems that our imaginations have been captivated by things that go bump in the night since the dawn of time.

Unfortunately, recently the convoluted yearnings of sexually repressed housewives have given rise to horror blasphemies such as “Twilight” and “True Blood” that leave Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley rolling in their graves. And while they may serve to fulfill the larger population’s masturbation needs, they leave the avid horror reader a bit unfulfilled.

So what do you do if sparkling vampires just doesn’t do it for you?

Go out and hunt the ghouls down yourself.

Fort Collins might seem to be a perky little Coloradan town with lots of Starbucks, dogs and bicycles, but it has its own dark haunted history.

There are whisperings throughout Fort Collins’s archives of apparitions appearing around the “Hanging Tree,” where an old farmer from the 19th century would hang his farm hands when they didn’t behave. Think about that punishment next time you text in class.

There are also reported sightings of an unhappy child spirit in a room in the Avery House, as well as encounters with the ghost of a little girl who fell down a fire escape at a local elementary school.

And then there are always rumors of the beast in the basement of the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park.

All local ghosts, yours for the busting.

No matter where you stand on the supernatural, our obsession with the occult at least serves to demonstrate the constant human battle between logic and imagination. And while it’s easy to attribute somebody else’s encounter with the supernatural to a cold draft or bad dream, things change when you have such an encounter yourself.

So for all you doubters out there, I’ll leave you with one more story before I go.

When I was a child I wrote a letter of thanks to God and a letter of admonishment to the devil (I was six and raised in the Bible Belt at a private Christian school, don’t judge me) and “mailed them” by throwing them in the woods in our backyard. The next day, the letter to God was intact where I left it. The letter to the devil was shredded and smoldering.
Happy Halloween.

Awkward times are ahead my friends. But until we meet again…Cheers!

Morgan Mayo is a junior natural resources major. Her column appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. She can be reached at letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 3:44 pm

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