Byron, Carly packed her overnight case, reliving the events of the previous
night. Aside from the emotional speech she’d given before they succumbed to
blinding passion, there had been no talking at all.
What are ghosts really? True souls of the dead, unearthly entities, figments of the imagination or mere myth? Many people seem inclined to dismiss them as 'stuff & nonsense' yet most religious people believe in life after death.(Except Buddhism, Buddhists believe in reincarnation)
I am a Muslim and according to Islamic teachings, ghosts don't exist. But then, what do dogs howl at very late in the night? After all, animals see what we humans don't! In Islam, there are spiritual creatures that exist but are invisible to the human eye and made from smokeless & scorching fire. Instead of ghosts, they are known as Jinn and they can either be good or evil and can influence humans. By influence, I guess that just might mean 'possess'.
But the general conception of Ghosts, Phantoms & Spectres is that they are souls of the dead who wander the earth because of the manner of their death (usually murder or a ghastly accident) and they have unfinished business. This has been influenced by movies like the 1990 film GHOSTand classical literature like Shakspeare's Macbeth & Hamlet and Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Ghosts of the murdered usually tormented their murderers until they publicly confess their crime, punishing them by driving them to suicide or somehow even the score by killing them directly by literally scaring them to death. And there are the ones who stay because they need to watch over troubled loved ones until they have sorted out their problems for them.
Years ago, when I was a student at the Federal College of Education here in Nigeria; I came across this book in the school library; World Famous Ghosts by Nigel Blundell and Roger Boar. Through this book, I first heard of the haunted AMITYVILLE HOUSE (above) and read many bizarre ghost based stories which apparently are not fiction. On my first teaching job, I narrated some of the stories to my colleagues and they got very scared (we Africans are a tad superstitious); pleading that I stopped. I don't know if they actually believed the stories or they just reacted out of mere fright at the chilly nature of each tale but I have to admit that I wasn't just scared- I wondered more than once if the vengeful entities described were actually ghosts or malevolent Jinn. One particular story gave me the very chills...
Fanchon Moncare, real name Estelle Ridley; a jewel thief who usually posed as a little girl and kept her stolen loot in a china doll was squealed on by a woman vying with her over the same man. Thanks to Madga Hamilton, Ms Fanchon was sentenced to life imprisonment because of her long criminal record and she publicly screamed at Madga who was stupid enough to be present in court that she would get even with her in the worst possible way.
What happened next? Some time later, one night, Madga woke up to find a rather deformed Fanchon in her room holding her china doll and she had to lock herself in the bathroom. But when she confronted the police about not telling her that Fanchon had escaped, she was informed that Fanchon committed suicide in prison!
Magda decided to flee to Europe, the threat obviously heavy on her mind and prepared for the trip. But the following morning, she was found dead in her bed and the strange part was, it was as if something was forcibly rammed down her throat as her throat membrane was ruptured, causing her to drown in her own blood. The said thing was not found but in her mouth, strands of hair was found- not the hairs of a human being but the type on the heads of china dolls. *Shiver*
And there was a story acted out in a show I enjoyed very much- Beyond Belief; Fact or Fiction. A woman who recently had an eye transplant after being blind for some years decided to take a vacation to celebrate her restored sight. At a cafe, she happened to see a sullen looking man having a drink. She knew very well he was a stranger and she'd never met him before or know him but he was oddly familiar to her. She was not sure if it was a sense of deja vu; but he seemed liked she'd seen him before. The man, who turned out to be a wanted criminal, misinterpreted her curious stare and followed her to her motel, demanding to know if she was a cop. She denied it but he didn't listen; he tied her up and began to drink himself into a stupor. When he fell asleep, the woman untied herself and ran away; calling the police. The police officers, after making the arrest, told her to count herself lucky as the man was wanted for killing a nurse. When the woman heard the late nurse's name; she could only stare at the policeman in shock. Her new eyes from her recent eye transplant were eyes taken from a dead donor, and the dead donor was the nurse that man had killed.
And worse, at the end of the show; the host Jonathan Frakes announced to the viewers that the particular story was true!
How does one explain that? Eyes' nerves are connected to the brain; was it possible that the eyes somehow placed the nurse's last memory into its new brain which in turn made that woman indirectly expose the killer? Or was it the work of a benevolent Jinn? What's the real explanation?
There are many secrets of the universe we are yet to know or rather, we are not meant to know. To ponder too much on them gives room to paranoia and living in fear all the time. But since there is an after life and there are many schools of thoughts about ghosts, do Ghosts truly exist?
With so many books on my shelves, there are certain ones that I either opened and soon got bored with or never opened at all. When I turned out the bookcases that morning and thought about the years of avid reading, to my dismay I saw that there were many untouched books too!
Some people who left comments in my previous post; WHO COULD PLAY BO BRADY NEXT? and some Carbo fans on Twitter and Facebook are divided over the above question but the most insistent opinion is that only Peter Reckell can play this memorable character. But for how long can DAYS keep Bo 'abroad on some mission' and Ciara painfully pining for her Daddy? To be honest, if Bo should resurface, I want Carly Manning to be on his arm; their story was ended unfairly and I want it revived- then I will watch DAYS again.
But for now, one of DAYS most popular characters is sorely missed and this 'absent Bo' thing going on has to stop. I know most people don't want a recast, but once again let's not forget that there was a Bo Brady recast years ago, Robert Kelker Kelly; so if they could get a recast back then, they could do so again. Maybe when Robert is done terrifying Laura and Lulu in General Hospital, DAYS can recall him back to Salem!
My first possible was Lorenzo Lamas (Renegade, The Bold and The Beautiful) but later on I thought about my favorite actor in Desperate Housewives - James Denton who also played the sinister Mr. Lyle in The Pretender. I can really see him as Bo!
The fans who agreed DAYS should have a recast mostly rooted for Robert Newman who played Josh Lewis in Guiding Light. Hmm... actually, yes I can see him take on the role as well, with his long experience in acting (Guiding Light, General Hospital, Santa Barbara) and his somewhat resemblance to Peter Reckell, he's definitely suitable!
A visitor here left an interesting suggestion for a recast, James Hyde who played Chief of Police/Ivy Crane's obsession Sam Bennet in Passions. Yeah, he too can do it, if he can play an officer of the law in Harmony, he can do the same in Salem!
Another candidate in my short list is Clive Robertson who played my favorite character, Ben Evans and his evil twin Derek in Sunset Beach. At 47, he's rather young for the role and has a rather thick British accent but surely that can be taken care of by a skilled accent coach?
Last on my list is another English actor; James Purefoy and the only reason is that I found him rather masterful and dashing as Marc Anthony in Rome and he came so close at being James Bond but alas was beaten by Pierce Brosnan and later Daniel Craig. Also rather young- 48- and with an accent but an actor currently playing a serial killer in The Following; just anything is possible.
Today, after giving my bedroom a good sweeping, I turned out the book cases- three of them. As I brought out each cherished book for dusting and careful mending with the ever present reliable gum; reflection sank in over how many of them - and in different genres- I'd accumulated over the years. Reading has been a huge part of me since I was a child.
My late father- Allah rest his soul- was mostly responsible for this. He was an avid reader himself and when he went to England to study, he became a huge fan of British culture; including their literature. The first English classics I came in contact with while going into his bookcase were Great Expectations and Sense & Sensibility. I didn't go far in the book except for a few pages back then (I was 8 and cared more for books with pictures) but after watching the movie adaptation he rented, I got interested in the story but it was several years before I read the full version- I read the simplified version after seeing the movie. But it wasn't the case with Jane Eyre and Little Women(I
liked the T.V versions so much) that I insisted on reading the actual versions and I found myself really enjoying each page. But those were a few exceptions- Alice in Wonderland included. Dad did not want to rush us so until I got to secondary school, the classics I now enjoy in full version were the simplified ones- particularly Shakspeare (in the form of Lamb Tales from Shakspeare).
Primary school: Aside from the books mentioned above- my reading preferences were mostly Enid
Blyton's books, Nigerian folktales and non-african tales (Cinderella, Peter Pan, Beauty and the Beast etc.) including Macmillian's Pacesstters series'. But once I got to secondary school- I entered the full length era ; African and Non African. Chiamanda Adichie's Purple Hibiscus & Half of a Yellow Sun didn't exist then but there was Flora Nwapa's Efuru and Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart and I discovered the Nancy Drew books
(sometimes I secretly longed to be just like her).
But there were also what I called the 'more grown up books' which I had to hide from my parents. Well actually, I didn't have to hide my first romance book ; Barbara Cartland's Love in the Clouds because it belonged to my mother, hence it was lying around for all to see. (Presently I have over 40 second hand Cartland novels).
The one I'm talking about is the Mills & Boon & Mills & Boon Temptation romance novels (more known as Harlequin these days) and before you judge me for reading such stuff at the early age of 13; the girls in the senior class made me read my first Mills & Boon on a dare/bet. They heard that
I was a fast reader so they wanted to see if I could finish it by the next morning (I'm happy to say that I did) and I got a few more from them until I saved up my allowance to buy my own. In between there were also comics- mostly Beano, Whoopee & Chips, Superman, Batman, Tintin, Asterix and Archie. But comics were more to have a laugh and not actually while away the time (well, except Tintin & Asterix) so I stuck to books instead. Alas, against my better judgment I lent my classmates a lot of my precious Mills & Boon romance books and never got them back. When I began putting my foot down; my books began disappearing from my school bag and no one came forward to expose the thief. It was one thing for my property to be stolen from me but being ganged up against was simply foul. Embittered, I kept my books at home and stopped lending them (a regime I still practise today), in a bid to rebuild my library and show I will not be taken for a sucker again.
But I didn't limit myself to fiction; I discovered Greek myths in the World Books in the school library which in turn led me to The Iliad & The Odyssey much later and write a folktale based on one of them (which is one of the stories in my own book- The Medicine Girl & other stories). I also paid more attention to Daddy's favorite magazine, Readers' Digest and one of his condensed books- Great Lives; Great Deeds where I read up on very interesting people from the past, most especially Helen Keller. And I then discovered Danielle Steel through, (funny enough) the DSTV movie guide
when most of the adaptation of her novels were aired. Reading the summaries, I was not inclined to read any of her books since I felt most the plots were rather sad- Fine Things, Kaleidoscope, Heartbeat, Palomino) but I changed my mind after reading Jewels and I'm a huge D.S fan now.
Over the years, my library has grown bigger; more classics (both English and American) and more up to date books like Dan Brown's Angels & Demons, The Da Vinci Code etc. The Harry Potter books of course and others like John Grisham, Barbara Taylor Bradford and I even dared to venture to the horror books- starting with Stoker's Dracula then Dean Koontz's Phantoms. When I began reading Stephen King's The Tommyknockers I was very bored so I discarded it, along with Dreamcatcher. But Misery, Pet Semetary, Skeleton Crew, Different Seasons, Green Mile proved more promising so I'm a King fan too.
I read mostly because I like stories and knowing more about people and it long inspired me to become a writer myself, (a picture of my two books are in this blog) and I'm currently working on my first novel. When I get depressed and feel I won't be a first rate novel; I pray and then I remember another writer whose dreams of becoming a journalist was never realized- Anne Frank- who kept a riveting diary the whole time her family were in hiding from the Nazis. I first came across her name in the World Book so I was happy to find her published diary in a book fair. If she could keep on writing the way she did in spite of living in fear every day; I should stop being such a whiner and keep trying- despite a certain non-supporter of my writing keeps saying!
When I was still a teacher, I did my best to make my students understand that they would get higher grades in English Language; especially in essay writing if they read more but unfortunately very few of them paid any attention and I was made out to be the bad guy. And some people I know seem contemptuous when they see a book in my hand, making the word 'novel' seem like the word 'Hustler magazine'. What exactly is their problem; their lack of interest in books shouldn't be spread to others, should it? And alas, most kids in my country seem more inclined to read comics and watch movies instead of reading, even with this digital era of
e-books via Kindles. I don't own a Kindle by the way; hardcovers and paperbacks are more of my thing still.
Sorting out my books this morning, I gave a silent thanks to my Dad. He was not exactly an easy man to live with and hard to please but I'm glad he made us understand the pleasure of reading. If I wasn't an avid reader like him, I wouldn't be a writer today. Reading will always be a part of me. And my library will- God Willing-keep getting more additions. After all, one can never have enough books!
(except for the image of Nancy Drew & the Kindle; all the images of the books in this post are from my bookshelves)