I love ghost stories. And they're even better when they're a part of your family history. I've  heard a couple of the following ghost stories my whole life. Another is of a more recent vintage. And another, still, involved me personally. It's Halloween. Let's get to it.


Nearly 100 years ago, in Bowling Green, there were two men fighting in front of my great-grandmother's house. The fight happened near a large stone embedded in the earth that was used to hitch horses. My great-grandfather got a gun and went to the edge of the property and told them to leave. They did not heed that warning and continued to fight. My great-grandfather returned to the house to notify the police. Before he could come back outside, one of the men shot and killed the other. He was taken into custody when the police arrived. But the dead man still lurks around that large old rock; since that day, no horse goes near that rock without getting spooked and running away.


When my grandfather was a young man, he had been in Florida working. One evening, when he arrived back in Bowling Green, he was walking back home along the Barren River on Boat Landing Pike. While he walked he noticed a neighbor boy named Benji, who was mentally challenged, walking toward him. My grandfather spoke to Benji, but Benji didn't say anything and kept his head down as he walked. Later, when my grandfather got back home, he told his mother he'd seen Benji and wondered what he was doing out so late. She told him that he couldn't have seen Benji since he had died just two weeks before. More recently, I've heard that he can still be seen walking through nearby fields. I have one rule about ghosts: it'll freak me out enough if I hear them; I don't want to see them.


Now, whether or not my dad wanted to see them is irrelevant. He did see them. A lot of them. Very soon after Dad returned home from heart surgery in late 1986, some strange goings-on began to occur in the master bedroom. One night, he heard a rustling sound and sat up only to see people all over the room. They were of all ages dressed in clothing from another time. He remembers two of them dancing. At least that's what it looked like. There were two children playing on an antique sewing machine in the corner. But the figure he described that made my blood run cold is the tall man with the cape whose face was obscured. He stayed in the closet. He seemed to be observing everything that was going on around him. This happened over a period of several nights. Dad would just sit up in bed and watch everyone. But, then one night, the tall, caped figure stepped out of the closet and gathered everyone into his arms and then lifted them all through a hole in the ceiling. And they never returned. Make of it what you will. We always have.


Finally, I have one that happened to me. Back in 1984, we built an apartment onto our house for my grandfather--the other one, on my dad's side, this time--that he lived in until he died in 1994. After we got everything settled and Mom and Dad were trying to figure out if they wanted to do anything with it in terms of renting it out, I was back there preparing to remove a book shelf. As I left the apartment, minus the shelf for whatever reasons, someone tapped on my shoulder. I wheeled around and no one was there. I think I stood frozen for about 15 minutes. I'm going on the assumption it was my grandfather, but I couldn't swear to it. Obviously. It never happened again. I didn't take the shelf. Just in case.