Thursday, January 10, 2013
Creepiest Blog EVER
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Okay, Hallie, it's a COINCIDENCE. Sure, fine, think of it that way. But remember how Monday's post was kind of about the controversy over whether there was ESP? Whether there were ever times our minds connected with somene else's. Right?
Well, first, here's some inside scoop--these posts are often scheduled before the actual day they're up. Imagine that! We're sometimes organized. So. Point is, Julie Hyzy sent me her post a couple of weeks ago.
But because I'm not THAT organized, and because obviously if the amazing and fabulous and successful and beloved Julie Hyzy sends me a post, it's going to be great, I didn't even read it until yesterday.
And--ta dah: look what it's about. HAH.
THE CONNECTION WITH ROBERT?
by Julie Hyzy
Thank you so much, Hank, for inviting me here to guest blog today!
This past December, my husband and I spent a couple days in Key West (Yep, the gorgeous setting for Lucy Burdette’s Key West Food Critic Mysteries!).
One of the highlights of the trip was the Ghosts and Gravestones Frightseeing Tour where, after dark, we visited the Fort East Martello Museum and Gardens. A caretaker carrying an old fashioned oil lamp appeared as we disembarked from our trolley. He opened tall, creaky iron gates and invited us into the museum’s dark courtyard. “I’m Grimsby,” he said and he led us in to meet…Robert the Doll.
Robert was given to young Robert Eugene Otto in 1906 by his family’s Bahamian servant—a woman schooled in voodoo and black magic. The little boy loved his doll so much (it’s about the size of a four-year-old) that he gave it his own name, Robert, and from then on insisted on being called Gene. Robert the doll has his own website, here. Take a look.
Okay, so, back to the museum.
It was dark, quiet. Our voices echoed and our steps clattered in the cavernous museum.
Robert waited for us inside a Plexiglas case, perched on a small chair. He has coffee bean eyes, and wears a jaunty little sailor suit. Grimsby explained that if we wanted a picture, there were rules: We needed to greet Robert by name, introduce ourselves, and then ask permission to snap a photo. He warned us that if we refused to comply, Robert would become unhappy. He would curse us. Bad things would begin to happen. “He’s done it before.”
Grimsby pointed to a wall of letters from former visitors who’d ignored the advice and were now begging the doll to lift the curse—“He’ll do it again.”
Grimsby’s eyes glittered. “Who’s up first?”
I stood in front of Robert and regarded him for a long moment.
“Hello, Robert,” I said, “It’s nice to meet you. I’m Julie.”
I giggled a bit at the absurdity of it all. And at that moment, I felt a zing of connection. A weird one. As though Robert… liked me. As though he was lonely and appreciated the visit. But because there was a line of eager photographers behind me, I continued quickly, “Will it be all right if I take your picture? I promise, just one.”
Nothing fell from the ceiling, so I assumed it was okay. I snapped my shot.
There was something compelling about this doll, yet I’d be lying if I said he didn’t creep me out a little bit. I felt as though he was trying to communicate. And yes, I know how silly that sounds.
As we bid the lonely doll a fond adieu, I thought about how much fun it would be to include him in a future book. Not at the White House of course, but if, say, Grace Wheaton (Manor House Mysteries) happened to oversee a supernatural or paranormal convention at Marshfield, Robert could be a fun part of that story. Perfect, I thought. I have my next plot line.
Before I left, I took one last look at Robert. He seemed sorrowful and melancholy in his Plexiglas home. I wondered: Will he be upset with me if I include him in a book? No, I thought, it will be an adventure. I’m convinced he’ll be thrilled.
As I got back outside and took a deep breath of night air, it occurred to me to wonder why I was thinking about him this way at all.
I’m a skeptic. Always have been, always will be. But, Robert… He and I connected. Can’t explain it. Don’t think I want to try.
Have you ever felt a connection like this? Or am I just nuts?
HANK: I rest my case. (And you know, this was creepy when I first read it. Now it's creepier. And I hope Rovert thinks it's okay that he's on the blog. Did you guys see the Twilight Zone with the fortune-telling machine in the diner?)
Anyway--Let's hear your creepy stories, Reds! And I'll give Julie's brand new White House Chef mystery FONDUING FATHERS to two lucky commenters!