Monday, October 3, 2011

Halloween Head

With everyone lamenting the final farewell of summer, I welcome autumn with open arms.  Don’t get me wrong, I love summer and all its deliciously warm, sunny days and starry nights but there is something so magical about autumn; it stirs me from within. 

Sure, it’s a precursor to the looming winter but let’s not think about that right now.  Let’s just enjoy the crisp weather, sharp scents of spice with a twinge of burnt leaves, Halloween and carving pumpkins, and who could deny the spectacular colored leaves that Mother Nature displays for us every year? 

But, for me, there’s something more to this season.  Not just Halloween which is fun for the kids and grownups who are still kids at heart, but there’s something in the air this time of year that gets me thinking about the mystifying and supernatural.  Maybe it’s the newfound chill in the air that gets my blood pumping, but I’ve always thought of fall as the time when the unusual occurs – the whisper in the wind that makes you turn to look behind you, the flickering light across the street that beckons you to stare into its glow, the eerie creak on the stairs that you’d never noticed before.

I call it Halloween Head.  Yes, stolen from the song by Ryan Adams (who was not talking about Halloween, but a much darker subject), the term fits perfectly with my state of mind in October.  Not that I want to have the bejesus scared out of me… but maybe I do, because there’s something so exciting about the unknown and inexplicable.  All that said, what happened last night was both terrifying and exciting and I’m still not sure which one wins. Maybe you should decide.

Thomas and I arrived at the A Room Studio, where he often has jam sessions with his friends.  Matt and Tony had not arrived yet so we were waiting by his car in the dark, lonely parking lot.   While I felt very safe next to Thomas, I couldn’t help but feel a little distracted by the solitary light over the studio sign and overall abandoned feeling of the parking lot and surrounding warehouses. Tony and Matt pull up, and we get ready to haul the instruments inside when Tony realizes he doesn’t have the keys to the studio (aces, TJ, aces). He manages to have another guy who works there bring a spare pair down, but it was going to take a while for Paul to arrive.  So, we’re hanging out by the door of the studio and I find myself staring at the window and the closed blinds.  Perhaps it was just some lingering creepiness I felt from before, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the blinds.  Next thing I know, I see two of the blinds part to reveal the blackness of the studio lobby inside.  I don’t see any fingers, any face, just parted blinds.  Naturally, I scream.  Well, it was more of a yell-scream, and I collect myself enough to ask the guys if anyone is inside.  No, it’s pitch black and there’s no one in there.  No one alive, anyway.

I tell the boys what I just saw (well, not tell so much as babble it out with wide-eyed fear) and the only one who seems to immediately believe me is Matt (he doesn’t want to believe it, but I can tell that he does).  Thomas seems to be having too much fun with it, and TJ would rather not believe it simply because he is employed there and is responsible for locking up.  I describe to them exactly where I saw the blinds open, and of course the initial reaction is that it must have just been shadows playing on the window from the overhead light.  OK, reasonable enough except I know the difference between a horizontal shadow and actually seeing two blinds being lifted apart!

After much speculation, we are all electrified by the experience and Paul has finally arrived with the keys. There was a lot of hesitation on my behalf before I actually walked inside, and I had to have Thomas accompany me, er, everywhere. Tony thought maybe we could catch something on the video monitors so we look at the TV that would display the appropriate footage and oddly, as far back as TJ rewound, it was static.  All the other cameras are doing their jobs, displaying the empty studio rooms they’re recording, but not this camera. This one is producing only static. The hairs on my neck officially rise.

After setting up the equipment and listening to the guys do their thing, I settle in and don’t feel as scared anymore.  I guess I just assume that ghosts or other supernatural creatures won’t make too much fuss when there’s  loud music playing.  But as we leave, I am once again filled with that giddy mix of fear and adrenaline, and as we drive away from the studio, I couldn’t help but feel immense relief to leave that place.  And yet, I can’t wait to go back.

“Here comes that shit again, I’ve got a Halloween Head. 
Head full of tricks and treats, it leads me through the nighttime streets” – Ryan Adams



  1. Just awesome Cheryl--I do believe in ghosts and the paranormal--so I do believe that the blinds did indeed separate and the only one that was meant to experience that was YOU! Why else would that one camera that could capture the separating of the blinds just produce static?? I love the way you write--keep up the great work!

  2. This is such a spooky tale! I totally believe that happened to you and the way you recounted the event gave me chills. I love Halloween and I am digging this crisp weather sneaking in. The vocab you use to depict fall made me feel it in my bones. Awesome entry!