When my father passed away in the fall of 2015, I expected him to visit me in spectral form. He didn’t, and I felt cheated: not only by dad, who for ages claimed that my grandfather visited him on the night of his passing, but by my own imagination. Had I become so poetically bereft that even grief was to be rendered prosaic? It seemed so. I watched The Shining and contemplated ghosts.
Most ghost stories seem to have a similar arc: somebody experiences something traumatic and that trauma becomes externalized—written into the landscape. The story resolves when the trauma is integrated (when the split personality merges), or when the trauma consumes wholly (it’s usually a fight to the death). Hauntings are the imagination leapt out of the body to mock, trick and torture. The ghost is often you, and you’re out for blood.
This Halloween, we’re inviting friends of Rochdale to contribute their favourite ghost stories. Our preference here is for stories in which you, the contributor, are the protagonist rather than the typical urban legend stuff. We want to hear stories about shadowy figures, mysterious voices and murderous split personalities. We don’t care if it’s particularly literary or psychological—we want it to be spooky and we want it to be real.
The ideal contribution is 250 to 1000 words, short and not particularly self-serious. We’re happy to offer as much or as little editing as you’d like (collectively we’ve published with Maisonneuve, The Walrus, The Washington Post, Deadspin, etc.). Publishing in Rochdale comes with an invite to a private Slack channel where you can moan about Justin Trudeau along with a bunch of other Canadian fabulists. Everything at Rochdale is, for the moment, unpaid. You’ll get into all of our future events for free. Sign up below for more information about Rochdale, or read our post, "Write for Rochdale." Submissions close on the 25th of October, and will be published on the 31st.
Send us a story at firstname.lastname@example.org.