I was brought up with the strongest Christian beliefs so, no, I don’t believe in ghosts. But I’ve had some strange experiences that have no real logical explanation. Just before our son turned two, we were on holiday in India, spending a week in a huge, rambling house – and I mean huge. On our first night there, I was told that the place was haunted – but I was reassured that the “presence” was not malevolent in any way.
Did I see a ghost while I was there? No. I didn’t actually SEE this ghost. But try and explain this to me …
My son, a big fan of Thomas the Tank Engine, had brought some of the toy engines with him, all the way from Melbourne. One afternoon, I was with him in the huge room that had been set aside as his play room. There were only three people in the house – my daughter, my son and me. The servants had left the house after serving lunch and clearing the dining room. No one else in the house, right? No one.
Just the three of us, and we were all in the same room. My son was playing with Trevor, a little traction engine. He pushed it a long way across the smooth, cool marble floor and I watched it very closely. If one of the engines had gone missing, there was no chance of replacing it until we got home to Melbourne. The engine went all the way to the door, stopping right under the curtain that divided the room and the long corridor. He played for several more minutes and then asked me to retrieve Trevor.
I was talking to him while I walked over. Bent down. I was at the curtain. I knew exactly where Trevor was. Put my hand down. No Trevor. Felt around. No Trevor. Lifted the curtain. No sign of Trevor. The traction engine was nowhere to be seen. Not in the corridor. Not under the curtain. Not in the play room.
No one had walked into the house. No one had walked out of the play room. No one had walked into the play room.
You try breaking the news to a not-yet-two-year-old that one of his favourite engines is missing. I did it in a kind, caring manner. He just smiled, as if he knew exactly where it was. He walked out of the play room, down the corridor and asked me to open the heavy door to another bedroom. I did so, because the door was far too heavy for him to open.
He walked straight into the room without hesitation. Went to the double bed. And put out his little hand to retrieve Trevor from on top of the bed.
Remember, there was no one else in the house. You try explaining that to me …
David McMahon’s first novel, Vegemite Vindaloo, was published by Penguin in 2006. His second novel, Muskoka Maharani, is due out shortly.
A pictorial version of this article was first published on my blog on
28 August 2007, titled Ghost Of A Chance.
This spirit must have been a genuine “bogey” man.