April 13th, 2008 10:30 EST
Popular Social Networking Site Reluctantly Needs a Ghost Hunter
So many people in this day and age spend so much of their time on the Internet. Some websites like MySpace have even crashed due to the number of people logging on and talking with people they do not even know. As much as I like being an individual, I too have a big portion of my life centered around the internet; as a matter of fact, I am posting this in my blog as well.
Some of the most popular and some of my most personal favorite things on the Internet are social networks. The word ‘social’, of course, implies that the users are supposed to socializing with each other over the Internet. Chatting with others and even trading e-mail addresses with each other is also common, me included. One of my best e-friends was this guy about my own age named Galileo, like the famous historical figure.
The two of us would message each other back and forth for hour after hour, we had so much in common. Similar tastes in music, movies, literature, the same hobbies-- it all seemed much too good to be true. One day, he sent me a chain letter-- I know, silly; but, they are still fun to read through and fun to send out, and deep down nobody believes in them. This one, in particular, went something like this:
"Now that you have opened this message you can make one of your wishes come true. Just follow the steps below.
Step 1: Close your eyes.
Step 2: Count backwards from 50.
Step 3: Make a wish, any wish.
Step 4: Forward this to all of your friends within 1 hour.
Step5: DO NOT OPEN THE FILE ATTACHMENT OR ELSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Lame? Of course, but I sat through it and read it all, so why not just go through with it? So I sent it to everyone in my e-mail contacts list after following all of the steps perfectly. I clicked send and off it went.
One thing still had me asking the question, what was in the file attachment? I at first, thought that I should just ignore it, like it said, but I laughed that off all too fast. In my mind, nothing was going to happen to me. I brought Galileo’s letter back on screen, I looked and saw an e-mail attachment, and there was a little icon that was shaped like a paperclip, which meant there was one.
I clicked it, but when I did, all that happened was the monitor went black for just a fraction of a second. After that, everything went back to the way it was. At first I waited, but nothing else happened. I shrugged it off thinking I did not have the right software, so I just gave up on it and got back to the real world, my life offline, my schoolwork, my living as a high school student with my family and wanting to find a way out.
After school the next day, I was carpooling with one of my friends. I did not have a driver’s license. I was riding shotgun, my senior friend was in the driver’s seat.
“I hate chain letters.” she said.
I did not understand, so she explained.
“You know, like the one you sent me last night. Chain letters are pointless and you shouldn’t send them because they count as spam.”
We were getting up to speed on the road, but almost out of nowhere a girl in a white tank top and bleached jeans dashed out into the road in front of us. She stared up blankly for a split second, her long, dark hair blowing in the wind behind her. Mona, the driver, took a sudden turn trying to avoid her. She pulled over into the opposite lane, which seemed deserted at first, but an eighteen wheeler truck made its way fast coming toward us, and we collided and blacked out.
I woke up in a hospital room many hours later; I was aching all over, so I was hit pretty badly. There was a nurse in the room holding a clipboard. She told me that I had been unconscious since the afternoon until late at night.
It was then that I remembered something, “Where’s Mona?” I asked.
“Who?” The nurse did not know Mona by name.
“I was in a car crash with a friend.” I explained, “Where is she?”
“Oh, her.” she understood now. “She’s still alive, but she took more damage than you did, she’s getting some treatment for pain right now.”
The nurse gave me a new pillow and left, turning of the light. I was all alone in the dark room. I was tired, but I couldn’t fall asleep no matter how hard I tried. What has always worked for me was counting backwards, but whenever I finally found myself getting tired then I was awaken by sudden crashing and banging sounds. They began and kept on going, they grew in volume by the second. I covered my ears, but I still heard everything as if it were inside my head. It was really pushing me to my limits.
I did something that I knew I shouldn’t do, for the sake of my health. I tried to force myself to get out of bed. I sat up and tried to get out, one foot at a time. I tried to stand on the floor, but I wobbled back and forth and, eventually, I collapsed on myself. The fall was even more painful, but I wanted to keep going. I tried to crawl toward the door in a pitch black room. I inched forward, literally by the inch, until I hit a wall.
I felt around for the door, when I found it the sounds I was originally hearing turned into a loud and high-pitched white noise ringing in my ears. I tried one more time to get back on my feet while I was feeling for a door handle, I had no luck.
Suddenly, I felt the door open; a hand reached in and flipped a light switch. The room was illuminated. In the center of the room, I saw figures for a brief millisecond, and they faded almost a quickly as they appeared. I was unable to see details, but the figures looked like people to me. A middle-aged man and a teenage girl-- the girl was in a chokehold from behind, the man doing the choking.
I stared at the now empty spot in the room; was I imagining it? I didn’t know, it could have been my imagination, for all I knew. At that moment I collapsed and was now laying flat, face down.
“Oh my god! Are you okay?” said a voice from behind me. I looked back the best I could; it was a nurse, the same nurse from earlier, to be precise. “What are you doing on the floor?”, she asked me with much concern in her voice. I couldn’t reply, I was breathing too heavily.
She helped me up and helped get me back in bed.
“I came in here because other people said that they were hearing loud noises, did you hear anything?”, she asked.
I shook my head and she left me, but I now had more on my mind, other people heard the same stuff I did, it was not just in my imagination and that much, at least, was real.
I was sent home the next day, but Mona was ‘supposed to’ be there for a little while longer. I put the emphasis on ‘supposed to’ because I found out that the night before, Mona disappeared after her treatment for the night. I was terribly worried about her; nobody was able to explain where she went. She was the only thing on my mind for a while.
I was still worrying while I was on my home computer, reading through all of the e-mails I got while hospitalized. One in particular that was a little bit happy was from my grandparents. They explained that they had just adopted a dog; there was a file attachment with photos. I clicked on the paper clip-shaped icon, but an error notice came up instead of the image file. It said that I did not have the right software installed to view the file properly; next it gave me links to websites where I can buy software. That error note refreshed my memory about that letter I got from Galileo. There was no error message; I must have opened up something, even if it was just a blackened screen. I went back to my inbox and pulled up that old message, but this time it was no longer the chain letter that I remember it being, it was just a few simple words that read “I am watching you.”
I read that line over and over again, but unexpectedly the screen went to a sudden, yet brief, black, just like last time. And from the sound speakers of the computer came the same sounds that I heard back in the hospital, but that, too, ended.
I did not know what to make of any of this, but it was all too hard to believe, yet there were all of these bizarre events. I tried to think of any possible logical explanation for it all, but nothing ‘logical’ seemed to fit. Could I really have been cursed just for opening an e-mail attachment?
I left my e-mails alone and opened up a search engine, shivering and shaking as I typed, I searched the word ‘curse.’ I sifted through pages on things like the FCC to foreign bands and found a forum on the paranormal. I leaned that most curses work like a typical ‘if…then’ sentence, if someone does something then they will be cursed.
I skimmed through more posts; the phrase ‘lift a curse’ came up. It caught my attention-- this was what I needed.
“Lifting curses is very difficult and almost impossible,” said one user’s post, “there is still the possibility of undergoing a form of exorcism to rid an individual of a curse.”
The only thing that came to my mind was Hollywood pea soup and speaking in tongues, but if I really was cursed I needed to try whatever it was that I could. I decided to continue reading.
“There are the typical monks and priests who can perform the ritual, but there are stories where they are opportunistic and just care about your business.”
Another user said, “A well-known exorcist who is always more interested in doing her job more so than the fame is Judyth Piazza, also known as the Reluctant Ghost Hunter. Because she likes keeping a low profile you cannot contact her directly, you must contact someone close to her and have that person contact her for you. I am actually one of those people you can go through, just e-mail me.”
When I first heard this I had too many emotions going through me to know whether I should just go along with it, or if I should stop trusting people on the Internet that I don’t really even know. After I thought about it a little more, I realized that if I really was cursed then this might be my only way to lift it, or I could let it consume me.
I clicked the icon next to this person’s username that was shaped like an envelope, to e-mail the user.
The next morning, I was going to meet this Ghost Hunter. I was on crutches, still in pain with my every movement. I was supposed to be meeting her in an alley near where I live. I saw someone there, just standing still. This had to have been the Ghost Hunter.
“Are you the Ghost Hunter?”, I asked.
She made eye contact with me and gave me a friendly smile. She chanted and I blacked out on the spot.
I found myself in a dream or trance of some sort. I was reliving the car ride with Mona, and she was sitting next to me again. I looked in front of us, the girl ran out into the road again, just as I remembered it, but this was a different girl this time-- it was Mona I was looking at in the road, and Mona was no longer in the driver’s seat, the car hit her and it stopped.
I saw Mona lying in the street, she was gone, and there was nothing I could do for her.
Once again, as I remembered it, the eighteen wheeler truck came head on approaching me fast. I was about to get a closer look at it this time, there was no license plate and no driver. It was coming at me fast, but before it hit me the second time, I felt myself getting lifted up into the sky. I opened my eyes, as if awakening from a dream. I was laying flat on my back; my crutches were lying next to me. I noticed a piece of paper taped to my chest, I grabbed it and held it up to my face, there was something written on it.
“You are safe now, but just you. Once something spreads virally, there is nothing anyone can do to rid everyone from it. In this modern age, uploading and downloading makes it impossible to track things down accurately.”