Call me Samantha.
Or if you’re much younger than me, you may call me Sabrina, if you wish.
But, please. Just don’t call me witch.
Since I was a little girl, I’ve been interested in the paranormal.
Because – weird things just happen to me.
I’d check out books from the library about ESP, ghosts, talking to dead people and Houdini. When I was stuck in the hospital for days and days, I even read the Exorcist. I think I was 10. I wasn’t scared. I played the Ouiji board a few times. I think I was 11. I wasn’t scared. I even participated in a seance once. – There, a girl had a seizure and I caught her head before it hit the ground. That freaked me out. – I think was 12 But the seance? No, I wasn’t scared.
Because – weird things just happen to me.
I’ve tried telling my weird-things-happenings stories from time to time. It doesn’t work. No one believes me.
Still – weird things just happen to me.
So I stopped telling my stories.
Even now – weird things just happen to me.
But now I’ll tell you two.
‘Cause – weird things just happened to me. This time – I have witnesses.
After a two hour visit to a museum one Saturday, I ask my friend, K,
“What are you doin’ for the rest of the day?”
“Nothin’. What are you doin’ for the rest of the day?”
“Let’s visit the Cemetery!” I say enthusiastically.
My friend, K, asks if I know of the cemetery where Marilyn Monroe is buried. I tell her, Yes! I scroll through the list in my head: Natalie Wood, Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon. Oh, and Dorothy Stratten. I didn’t know her, but growing up, she lived around the corner from me, just a few doors down from the ouiji board house, actually.
I bring my mind back to the moment.
While I convince K, “Let’s go!” she has already whipped out her Google Maps searching for where we should go. I can’t believe she’s so willing.
I’m so excited! This is the perfect day for a visit to a cemetery – dark and gloomy with the threat of rain looming overhead, when, oddly, there’s no such threat in the forecast. 0%, actually. It’s almost July.
My mind wanders. Oh, the cemetery. So beautiful. So tranquil. So challenging at times. Sometimes I feel like I may break my ankle. The ground is so loose. I think about all the stories of the lives I can imagine from merely the few words on some headstones. Glamor. Tragedy. Sadness. Fulfillment. Jail time. I’m really looking forward.
I bring myself back to the moment.
According to Google Maps, we have reached our destination. Where is this cemetery? All we see are buildings. We circle around the block twice. Anything? We just don’t see it so we park the car and set out on foot to find this place.
After scoping out the general area of where K’s Googler tells us, we don’t find anything but an alleyway that leads to – I don’t know – where? But it’s our last option. We walk up the alley. Kinda creepy. Kinda fun.
Deep into the alleyway, however, only about half-way down is a big banner, “PIERCE BROTHERS.” We’re in the right place.
Armand Hammer greets us as we walk through the gates. His gravesite is like a shrine. He’s got prime real estate, that’s for sure. As we walk up and down the aisles, methodically reading gravestone after gravestone, we notice big stars with cheap gravestones, little stars with expensive gravestones, and a lot of people with names who we know nothing about.
One of them is Steven Shortridge. Who’s he? I’m impressed with his grave. His gravestone screams “Architect” to me. I google him – Architect. He still has a Linkedin. Weird thing. I keep that to myself.
We see: Natalie Wood. Burt Lancaster. Jack Lemmon. Walter Matthew. Billy Wilder. Eddie Albert. Eva Gabor. Don Knotts. The list goes on…
As I approach Bettie Page’s gravesite, I see fresh flowers with an unopened card. (Bettie Page was the first pinup girl in the 1950s.) Ignoring my friend’s “leave her alone” advice, I open the card.
“You are Miss Everyday. Rob” Poor grammar yet the sentiment is sweet.
I leave the card open and secure it to the flowers so people visiting may see just how nice of a guy Rob is.
I snap a pic with my text machine.
The picture inverts – flipped – upside down. Weird thing.
I’m confused. I show it to K. She’s a bit puzzled.
“You just didn’t take the picture upside down?” she speculates.
“I didn’t take it upside down. Look where my feet are in relation to how the picture was taken. My arms aren’t long enough to flip my text machine and take it upside down.”
She’s baffled. I shrug it off and take it again. The picture is normal.
I take two. Just in case.
As I walk away from the grave, K and I start hearing noises. All my videos stored on my text machine are playing one after the other. There are about 10 of them. Weird thing. My first thought is Bettie Page is pissed. But my common-er senser tells me it’s my damn text machine acting up again. My friend corroborates my first. She thinks that pinup girl is pissed. I think K must have weird things happen to her too.
I shut off my text machine. My battery is now dead.
K Googles a Map of The (dead) Stars. “Who did we miss?” She’s on the hunt.
While I’m paying my respects to another corpse, she’s headed West towards the biggest tree on the lawn. I think it’s an Oak. She’s looking around.
“I can’t find Roy Orbison!” K yells out to me. The image that comes to my mind at first is Ray Charles. Wait, is he dead? I think. I walk over to where she’s searching under this huge tree. I look at the map. I keep bringing up Ray Charles in my mind when finally my thoughts auto-correct to Roy Orbison. I just can’t bring up Roy’s image. I don’t really know him that well. I don’t really know that I care.
I haven’t seen Jim Backus yet so I go pay him a visit, and to help K out, I start navigating from his grave.
My head begins to hurt. As I walk North, closer to the big Oak tree, my headache gets worse.
“K, I don’t feel too well here right now. I feel like I can’t be here.”
“Okay, we’ll go soon. I just want to find Roy Orbison.”
I walk around a bit…trying to walk off the pain and queasy feeling. I head East. My headache goes away. I feel better.
“I still can’t find him! Where the f*&% is he?” yells out K.
Hesitantly, I walk West, back over to her. Around and under the tree, I look at each headstone, examining every word and taking careful note of every name, gravestone by gravestone, so I know where I’ve been and know not to revisit them again. Because my headache is back and I, again, just don’t feel very well. It’s a little worse. I tell K that I must be allergic to something in this cemetery.
I head East. I feel fine.
“I still can’t find him!” She’s determined.
By now, I don’t really care about Roy but I feel like I gotta suck it up so I can find this little rascal. He’s gotta be around here somewhere. I go to the exact place where I think he should be according to the map. Standing there dramatically like I want to make sure everyone dead and alive knows that I am there, I begin spinning, making 360 degree turns. Slowly spinning to the right. Spinning to the left. I examine every gravesite within what my eyes will really let me see. I don’t move from that spot. Not once. I just…. spin. He’s got to be here somewhere, but I can’t find him.
My head feels like it’s going to explode and my stomach feels like its due for some Pepto Bismol. It’s either from the spinning or the potential brain tumor that I’m now thinking is growing in my head. Maybe it’s the tree that I’m allergic to. “I’m givin’ up on Roy, K. Let’s find Marilyn and Truman and get the heck out of here.”
We have been here for already 2 whole hours.
We pay Marilyn and Truman a visit. I now feel 100%. The brain tumor? Gone.
While I’m driving out of there, K just won’t let the idea of not finding that Roy guy go, and she can’t figure out why the symptoms of my “allergy” just suddenly go away. She keeps talking about it while madly Googling at the same time. Could the map she has be wrong? She finds more online maps. They’re the same. She can’t understand why in the exact same spot where I was standing a grave doesn’t exist. Google then uncovers the mystery for her. Roy Orbison’s grave – Unmarked. I had been standing, spinning on his grave, not 15 minutes before half sick out of my mind. Weird thing. K thinks that corpse may have been telling me something. She calls me a paranormal hero. She seems excited. Not scared.
Later that evening she finds this Facebook Page:
“Roy Orbison Needs a Headstone.” There had been controversy. He may have been pissed.
We kept this our little secret….
…three months later. I find myself sitting on a train on my way up to San Luis Obispo. An uneventful ride, really. Except for the fact that Uber has me to my train just 2 minutes before its arrival and I get no WiFi. The conductor tells me, “Sorry.”
The train arrives on time. My friend is there to greet me. We make a quick visit with her mother who I haven’t seen in years. She looks exactly the same. All seems fine on the Central Coast. So far.
We walk around a small village, drop in on a friend of a boyfriend of a niece to say hi, and walk around the beaches a bit. Dinner will be “In” tonight so we pick up some groceries. Salmon, vegies and wine. Lots of wine. We’re on vacation.
We get to her cottage and she puts me in my own little guest house, separate from the main house. My own guest house!!! So cool, I think. It kinda makes me feel special. The evenings are warm and there’s a pretty little patio that we share, her and I, where we plan to eat dinner that night.
After getting situated in my little guest house, I meet her in the big house to drink wine, to cook and to eat. P, my friend, gives me one pour of the wine and takes a seat on a stool at the bar in the kitchen, her back to the t.v. hung on the wall. I perch myself on a stool, directly across from her.
The t.v. is hung in what seems to me an odd place, over the bar between the living room and kitchen. I can’t help but stare at it while I talk to P. I’m trying to figure out why they put it there.
“Oh, no,” I say calmly.
“What?” P asks.
“Oh, boy,” I say a little unnerved.
“Your t.v. is flashing on and off.”
“No it’s not.”
“Yes it is. It happens to me sometimes. Sometimes the t.v. will turn on in the middle of the night when I’m sleeping. Either it will wake me up and turn itself off. Or it will just stay on. It’s annoying when I have to get up and turn it off sometimes.” FYI – it’s now unplugged and stored away.
“No. That’s not true. Not possible,” P chuckles.
“It just did it again!”
“Karen, you’re freakin’ me out now.”
She decides that she has to see this for herself and trades seats with me.
Flash! Flash! Flash! Flash!
She sees it and she’s a little afraid. “A poltergeist!” She’s exasperated. A mention to her that I have more stories freaks her out even more, and she won’t have anymore discussion, explanation or examples of anything weird. Not until she’s home safe lying in bed next to her husband, anyway. This is a weird thing and it’s making her scared. It’s going to be hard to keep my lips zipped.
“Let’s cook dinner,” I say trying to distract her. We chop. We slice. We saute. We sear. We drink wine. And we’re catching each other up at 100s of wpm, 30% speedier because of this t.v. incident that just happened.
But this t.v. can no longer be ignored. The more we ignore it, the more it flashes. P comes up with a brilliant idea. “I’m just gonna leave the t.v. on.” On stays the t.v. and we continue to cook to weather reports.
“It’s only her thoughts that make her afraid,” I think as I watch her lock all her windows and doors.
Mine, I leave open. It’s hot inside.
The next morning I find her staring at the t.v. She yells out to me not once has it flashed. But after I open the screen and walk into the room…
I leave the room. P stares at the t.v. No flash. I take my text machine back to my room to make sure it’s not that. I walk back into the house. Flash! and Flash! Flash! Flash! Then the t.v. flashes on but it won’t turn back off. It’s frozen on some emergency warning signal page or something.
Days go by. I walk into the room. Flash! Flash! P gets more comfortable. More Flash! Flash! Flash! Flash! We don’t spend that much time at the cottage. We watch little kid surfer competitions. We walk on the beach. Go out for coffee. Hike. Wine at Happy Hour. Walk again on the beach. Vineyards. Walk through some stores.
Finally, on our last evening, P is determined to get this on video. She points the camera. Waits. No flash! Waits and waits. No flash! Tells me to go stand next to the t.v. No flash! Then…
One flash! Then Flash! Flash! Flash! She records it so she can have evidence to explain to the husband how this ridiculous story can be true.
On the last day, we lock up the cottage, drive back to L.A. – never to see that t.v. again.
Since then nothing weird has happened….
…until just last week.
Ciao for now!