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Tricks, treats and spooks and beasts
Sunday, 09 October 2016 11:51
Special to the Daily Planet

I loved trick-or-treating. I still do. Most of the time, I dressed up as a witch. One year, my boyfriend’s mother helped me make a ghost costume out of white tulle. 

I found the directions in one of my Martha Stewart Halloween magazines that I collected every year. It was a billowy white cape with a wide hood that hid much of my long red hair and framed my face. My face was already pale, so a bit of smoky purple eyeshadow smudged on my lips and beneath my eyes gave me that perfect shade of Death.

Throughout the night, the neighborhood children stopped me during my Halloween march and asked in whispered awe, “Are you a bride?” “Yes,” I replied. “A dead bride.”  

My costume was so much fun! It trailed behind me as I walked and bunched around me when I turned. I left little pieces of me all over the neighborhood. As the tulle caught on twigs and bushes, it tore pieces of my wispy cape and held them within their grasp. Leaves gathered beneath my costume as I walked, announcing my presence with a rustling sound. The dirt I churned up stained the bottom of my costume and only made me spookier. For a holiday of death, I felt so alive!

No matter how many years go by, I still greet the Halloween season with the anticipation of a child. The air grows cooler, the leaves change to bright, bold colors, everything around me takes on a sharper focus and feels more real than any other time of the year. The smell of wood smoke and decaying leaves fills my nostrils and I breathe it in deeply. 

 For those of us who love exploring creepy places, especially during the Halloween season, remember that you have more fun if you know you’re safe. That’s one of the first rules in any haunted attraction and I’d say it holds true in your personal explorations as well.  

Always get permission from the owner to investigate, never investigate alone and always be respectful of the location, whether it’s a house, a field, a graveyard or Aunt Sally’s bathroom.

Recognize the limitations of yourself and the spectres you came to communicate with and know that if you have an accident, the spirits that inhabit that place probably won’t be able to set that broken leg, give you CPR or call for an ambulance. So don’t go alone and always let friends and family know where you’re going and when you’ll be back.

Another practical reason to get permission is that many of these creepy places have hidden dangers like asbestos or rotten floorboards. I can’t tell you the number of fabulously haunted places that owners have torn down because people kept breaking in and got hurt.

The insurance to keep these places up and the potential lawsuits far outweigh the coolness of the site. 

I have been attacked three times in my bed, each time was different and much more violent than the last. And, oddly, it was always around 7:30 in the morning on a bright, sunny day!

While I always got away and pretty much decimated whatever came at me, I wanted to head any other visitors who meant me harm, off at the pass. I have my talisman loosely wound around the base of my lamp on my nightstand and I haven’t had any other attacks since.

Anyway, however you choose to spend your Halloween, may it be delightfully spooky and may all your darkest desires come true!

Shelley Wright, an Asheville native, is a paranormal investigator. She owns and runs Nevermore Mystical Arts shop and works at Wright’s Coin Shop, both in Asheville. Wright also is a weekly participant in the “Speaking of Strange” radio show from 9 p.m. to midnight on most Saturdays on Asheville’s WWNC-AM (570).



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