Tuesday, July 6, 2010


I have a writer friend who has a poltergeist living in her house. Or at least she claims she does. In the past, I've been somewhat skeptical. It just seemed more likely that she was wrong about this than that she was right.

But here's what happened to me just now. I went to a meeting of my summer women's book group at church. My son Christopher handed me his copy of the key to the church so that I could open the church kitchen to get our stash of refreshments, and I put the key on my key ring. I used the key to open the kitchen. Other people saw me do it.

Then, when our meeting had finished, I tried to lock the door of the church. There were two keys on my key ring that I didn't recognize as keys to my house, car, mailbox, or philosophy department offices. I tried both. Neither worked. Other women tried both. Neither worked. I went back in to the church and tried to use both mystery keys to open the church kitchen, which I had opened so easily before. Neither worked.

In despair, I called Christopher and he drove down to church to tell me which mystery key was the correct one. His answer: neither. The church key is square. These keys are not square.

So where is the church key that I put on my key ring? What are these two other keys that I have never seen before?

Now, I admit to not knowing much about poltergeists. I think they live in someone's house. Could there be a poltergeist living in a church? It seems sacrilegious to suppose so.

Could these mystery keys be magical keys? Could the church key somehow have turned into two magical keys? I can see its turning into one magical key, but two? What secret doors do they open?

Right now I see only two possibilities: either I am losing my mind (but NOTHING else untoward has happened lately - nothing except the bizarre transformation of one church key into two mystery keys), or there is some magic operating somewhere. I have to confess that the second possibility, contrary as it is to the laws of science, is nonetheless the more likely.


  1. Suppose you were a ghost. Wouldn't your old church be a great place to hang-out? You might head first for your old house, but strangers would be living there, and that would just be awkward. However, your church would be a great place to see your friends and family. You could sit-in on the "Where the Wild Things Worship", choir practice, women's book discussion, or Boy Scouts. There is always something wonderful happening there! If I am ever a ghost, I'm totally going to church.

    The only question is: who is haunting St. Paul's?

  2. What a great story, Claudia. It gives me delicious shivers. After my mother died, a candle would light up in my office every Saturday morning. I like to think that with seven children, Saturday was her day to spend with me. That's just one of many things that I could share.

  3. Good point, Scott - I'm all set to haunt St. Paul's now when I die! And Clara, your story gave me a delicious shiver, too.