If you gotta ghost, you know who ya gonna call. But how do you know if you gotta ghost?
You call Curtis, who drives this intense red-on-black 1996 Chrysler Sebring.
"You're not haunted until I say you're haunted,” Curtis told me.
I first saw Curtis tooling down a country road with his dog, Dixie. I swear the dog was smiling at me.
Curtis pulled out behind me, so I pulled over and grabbed my camera, to get a shot of him and Dixie driving past. He pulled up short and turned down another side road, avoiding driving past me, and it seemed deliberate. I whipped around to follow him, and saw him pulling into a driveway ahead. I rolled by slowly, and as I did, he started to back up. I hauled around and headed back just as he was stopping at the end of the drive and our eyes locked. He suddenly backed out of the driveway and turned towards me, crowding over the road into my path. Still staring at each other, we both rolled to a stop, driver to driver.
“Hey, man I love your car,” I told him. He looked skeptical. “Can I take some pictures of it? I do this blog…” I launched into my elevator speech. It seemed even more important than usual to be disarming at this point.
Curtis responded, “I’ve had people report me to the SPCA because they think my dog is in danger, but she’s wearing a harness. She can’t fall out. When I saw you get out the camera…” Now he smiled. “Sure, you can take some pictures”, he said, “go back to the highway and take the first left, where you saw me pull out. Go down that road, and I’ll meet you in front of the cemetery.”
"That’ll be a great background, because I’m a Paranormal Investigator”. OK, now this is cool.
At the cemetery, Curtis and I exchanged business cards (yes, he has business cards. If you want his phone number, just drop me an email.) Curtis uses the name Cemetery Gates Paranormal Investigation, and promises his service is discrete and confidential. He assured me he won’t roll up to your house in this car.
“Nine out of ten cases are just paranoia,” Curtis told me. “Those noises you here during the first night after moving into an old house? That’s the boiler. And when someone pulls out of that one driveway down the road, it’s that tree that casts a moving shadow on your window that looks like someone walking past.”
I asked him about the tenth case. “Well, he said, I definitely believe in an afterlife.”
He showed me some photos on his cell phone that he had taken in a cemetery the other night. Standing in the sun, the screen was pretty hard to see, but there were a series of images he taken by the light of a million candlepower spotlight. (Yes, they make those. My dad had one.)
In the first image, beyond some headstones, the spotlight was bouncing back into the lens off of some shiny object. In the second, which appeared to be aligned closely with the first, the bright spot was replaced by – a black hole. As if something was now absorbing the light. The third image in the series showed a whisp of smoke or fog emanating from the hole. It was weird, all right.
I decided to return the questioning to this life, and asked Curtis about his car. “You really like it?” he asked. Everything I did to it, except the logo, was to cover up some dent or ding. Like here, where I hit a deer,” he said pointing to a dent underneath a sticker on the front fender. Curtis designs and makes some of these stickers himself. “The wheels were rusty, so I pained ‘em red.”
“I’m a natural born skeptic,” he told me. I’m perfect for this job, because I don’t believe anything until it’s right in my face. My fiancé, now, she’s the sensitive one. She feels all kinds of stuff that you can’t see.”
At this point Dixie indicated to Curtis that she had grown impatient with this unexpected interruption in her joyride, so we shook hands, and the two of them rolled off.
All content copyright 2010 Jeffery Blackwell