Haunting the Past

“In the early twenty-first century, with the proliferation of affordable digital cameras and voice recorders ‘ghost hunting’ reached an all time high as every yahoo with an interest in the subject began ‘investigating’ any old building they could find. Many recorded ‘evidence’ that was used for many years to bolster their belief in ‘life after death’.” The guide walked backwards down hallway projecting a viewing portal behind her. Two men could be seen through the portal walking in the same hallway in the dark. “Of course now in the modern era we can look back through time and see that there was nothing there.” One of the men turned to look back.

“If there was nothing there then what did they record?” a young girl asked from the tour group.

“Random sounds, video glitches. It really doesn’t matter because we can just look at what they were supposedly recording and find nothing,” the tour guide said turning off the projector as the other man also turned and began film the hallway. “This building has been ‘investigated’ by many ‘ghost hunters’ over the years. Your projectors are set to allow you to observe one such pair from the year two thousand and five. Wander around and see if you can find the ‘ghost’ they thought they saw.”

The tour group broke up and began walking in and out of rooms following the ghost hunters’ trail though the past. Except for one young girl. She stayed in the hallway adjusting her projector until she could see the two from the same point in time the tour guide had used during her speech. She followed them down the hallway until one and then the other turned to look back down the hallway. It looked like they were staring at her through the viewing portal. She paused the projector and turned around scanning the hallway behind her for something out of place, a stray shadow or light bouncing off a mirror.

There was nothing. She turned back to the ghost hunters, still frozen looking down the hallway at nothing. She restarted the projector and watched as they began filming in her direction. “What are you looking at?” she asked turning the projector away from them again hoping to see something.

“You won’t find anything,” the tour guide said from behind the girl, “This is one of the most looked at ‘ghost sightings’. There’s nothing there for us to see because there never was anything.”

“But they’re seeing something, aren’t they?”

“Just what they wanted to see. In the dark your mind begins to fill in details that aren’t there. Combine that with a desire to see something, anything, and voilà ghosts.” The tour guide walked back to the end of the hall near the stairs.

The girl looked back at the ghost hunters one last time before walking into a room to see more of their investigation.

***

“What did you see?”

“It looked like a girl.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes. Check the camera. See if it picked anything up.”

“Nothing that doesn’t look like a blur.”

“Let me check the voice recorder.”

::I heard something…..behind us…turn around..What?…Are you filming this?…Hold on……wha..are yo..loo..ng.at……………..It’s gone…What did you see-::

“Did you here that? That wasn’t us.”

“Come on, let’s check out these rooms.”