Ghosts are experts at gaslighting. You quickly begin to question your eyes and ears.
When the door to our bedroom creaked open on its own during a 3 a.m. feeding, I figured the door, like the baby, had trouble latching. I sensed someone had entered the room, though, wagging a finger while I fed the baby from a bottle. Then, suddenly, the television went off, as if to say, “If you aren’t going to breastfeed, can’t you at least pay attention to her?”
I brushed it off as bad wiring combined with sleep deprivation. A few months later, though, the “bad wiring” grew more audacious. I had decided to put the baby to bed a little earlier that night, turning the light off as I entered the room. But as I lay her down, the light switched back on. Puzzled, I walked over to the dimmer switch and found the knob turned to the “on” position. That was odd. I turned it off, but as soon as her back touched the mattress, the light snapped on again.
Instead of feeling scared, I grew angry. This ghost’s maternal judgment had crossed a line. She was arguing with me, saying it was too early for bedtime. Didn’t I know better? Well, I had been a mother for six months. I did know better. And I gathered myself and announced to the room: “This baby is going to bed. Right now.”
As the words escaped my lips, we were thrown into darkness.
I screamed and bolted down the stairs with the baby and into the waiting arms of my partner, who’d heard the commotion. She soothed my fragile nerves, checked the room and came back down to explain, calmly, that I was out of my mind. Ghosts are not real.
She was right. It was probably a slippery knob. A blown fuse. A coincidence. I was a fool to doubt her.