Everyone likes a good ghost story, especially around this time of year. Dorothy Malone of Milwaukee shared a childhood encounter with the supernatural at Ex Fabula’s StorySlam ‘Identity’ event held in March 2020.
(The following story has been edited for brevity and clarity.)
I was a little girl and I was able to see ghosts. I could see them all the time, everywhere. Someone told me that if you throw salt over your shoulders, that would get rid of them. So I got every box of Morton Salt I could find and just toss — I’m tossing them.
[One time] I’m going down this dark hallway. I see a white, shadowy figure. So now I’m cursing, “Oh sh-t! Not again! Not again!” I’m trembling, at about ten years old.
I have heard that they cannot hurt you. You only get hurt yourself.
I was running into walls, falling down stairs — you know — outside at three o’clock in the morning.
So as time went on, I heard that poltergeists will leave children by the time they’re 13 years old. So I can’t wait until I’m 13. I just can’t wait. I mean, hurry up, you know! Because all this time these ghosts are effing with me.
Someone said if you curse them out, then they’ll leave. So now I’m having a field day. “Leave me the hell alone!”
My mother said, “Whoa, what’s going on in there?”
That didn’t last too long because I got spanked. I’ll be using that mouthwash with Ivory soap and all of that. But I’m thinking — this would have the ghost leave me alone.
Now, here I am at 13. No ghosts! I’m like, “Oh my God, they’re gone! They’re gone!”
Only to have one hovering above my bed.
I get the blanket, throw it over it. “Leave me alone! Go somewhere; I don’t want to see you no more!”
It was howling, too, while it was up there. I beat the sh-t out of him.
But, I learned I have a gift. And part of my identity is that I could — in Black terms — read people. I can tell a little bit about your spirit by talking to you. You know, you can’t play a player. I’d know if you tried to play me. I can tell that.
And I just have a way with babies. They would just look at me and like, “That’s a good person. That’s the good one right there.”
Little kids would give me compliments all the time. “I like your glasses. I like your wig.” I’m like, “Thank you!”
So going through that experience and always trying to find a meaning in life — or why I’m here — looking to the cosmos for my existence. I think that had a part in it growing up with these ghostly images all around me.
But today, I’m at peace with them. I don’t fear them as much. And that’s my story.