Jill Zaheer's JAZWORKS: A Tapestry of Mixed Media, Painting, Collaborations, Photography, and Poetry

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Great Ghost of Fire!

The Ghost Challenge!

The talented Norma from TheFairyYellowBugQueen is hosting a Ghost Challenge this week. To participate, you just need to post on October 27 or 28th with the topic of Ghost!! Seemed easy enough until I started to think about ghosts and what they mean to most of us. Where do they come from and how is it that most of us still get chills up our spine when we  think about them or hear stories on Halloween about their presence. The  history of ghosts within all cultures, religions and across the globe can be read about in wikipedia here. Take a look, 
be brave,  and hope you  follow me into one of my favorite haunts in New York City,
Central Park.

From the front,  you are bestowed with the towering  entrance gate to the Conservatory Gardens at 105th Street.

 From behind,  you can't miss the  forbearing presence of  Terence Cardinal Cooke's Nursing Home- formerly Flower Surgical Hospital built in 1938.

Rumor has it that the ever popular socialite, Sonia Greensmith, a wealthy debutante from London, (and one of the original families to settle on the Upper  East Side of  Manhattan ) died a tragic death there at the age of 28 from a fire that started in the operating room.  Ever since, historians say if you listen carefully, you can hear her wailing at all times of the day and night although her name has never been mentioned in reference to these ghostly sounds.

Ms. Greensmith can be seen below from an old photo taken in  her London estate.

 Now, as we slowly take a walk further into the park, we start to hear the sounds of the  birds chirping and the garden brush moving  from side to side as if people in a movie theatre are saying Shhhhhh from every direction.

Looking upward- you can see  birds taking off and landing, weaving themselves throughout  the intermingled tree branches.  You can't help but hear the movement of the air- with burnt amber colored   leaves dropping  against the autumn palette of the  ground below. You can smell their crispness  with that ever so subtle decaying aroma that makes you want to inhale as deeply as you can.

 Yes, Autumn is truly in its  bash of color with flowers blooming in a celebratory renaissance everywhere you looked.

Lush and lavish, as if having a last frolic of the season!

And then silence.

A eerie quiet blanketed the gardens- the birds are still, the branches stop moving, the brush was no longer swaying...
It was like a moment frozen in time.

 There was a brutal  wave of cold air that descended from out of nowhere, as if painted across the landscape with one huge brush stroke.

A bright light  seemed to magically unfold-   translucent in nature- exactly as the stories of long ago   described....  and  then, there before my eyes appeared
The Ghost of CEnTraL  PaRK..

I was in a scared state of  awe.  Yet as  frightened  as I was,  I  crept  closer and closer to get a better look. I gained about 10 yards,  until I felt something stopping my legs from moving.  A barrier of some kind was in front of me, my mouth turned parched, painfully dry within a second, and my hands became frozen despite the fact that we were  in the midst of the warm autumn's early evening air.  A strange dizzying feeling crept  over me -   I was  now in an utter state of panic.

Then suddenly,
The sky darkened...

 Fear targeted my body as if it were injected directly into my veins,  my heart started thumping,  pounding wildly.  I turned around and started running as far and as fast as I could.  Exhausted, I started gasping for air,  as if in some sort of a  daze.  I looked up and realized that I had actually slipped and fell.  Laying on the cold wet ground apparently for quite some time  and unbeknownst to me,

  I had a Halloween nightmare -in January, on the coldest snowiest day of the year!

 Now I hope you enjoyed this short "tall tale"  - with  it  being as much a treat  for you to read as it was for me to create and write!***

***All characters, people and places are fictitious with the exception of the Conservatory in Central Park  and Terence Cardinal Cooke Nursing home.

HAppY   HALLoweEN!


TheFairyyellowbugQueen said...

Awesome, awesome story Jill. I'm sitting here shivering actually. I was taken to a marvelous place of inbetween reality and suspended breath-shortening wonder. I loved how you manipulated my emotions. I was sad for that poor girl. Amazed about how that could have happened. Now I'm chuckling in a kind of black humour vein, thinking of the setting of the operating room fire. You are very funny. You have a talent. I'd read anything you wrote honestly. Thank you so very much for creating this creatively brilliant entertainment for us all. You rock. Hugs, Norma, xo
p.s. spooky kisses to you

Seth said...

Now everybody knows that your writing is as good as your art, your poetry, and your photography. The perfect campfire story for Halloween in NYC!

Stefanie Seltner said...

wow, how I enjoyed that walk in the park - thank you!
very interesting, fantastic and spooky.
Best wishes,

~*~Patty S said...

ah you had me going...
I SAW the ghost and almost felt the chill it brought with it

well done you spinning your ghostly tale so artfully ...
your photography always adds to your written narrative beautifully

Muah ha ha haaaa
stay safe from frightful sounding Sandy!

susan christensen said...

Such an interesting pair of stories, Jill! I loved walking in Central Park - thanks for escorting us! Happy Halloween - sus

♥ w o o l f ♥ said...

hi jill!
thanks for this spooky walk through central park. never thought i was gonna land there this morning! ;)))

Ariane Reichardt said...

Hello Jill,
thank you for that spooky walk through the Central Park! I've enjoyed it very much.


renilde said...

you know how to tell and illustrate a story Jill, great walk! x

steen said...

A scary and awesome story Jill. Kept me on my toes from I heard of the poor Sonia and her ghostly sounds …were perhaps the shhh…..sounds from everywhere in the park... But then came peace, flowers blooming and silence – thought it was all over … but then the ghost - your horrible Gespenst…I understand that you froze in panic and then ran!! Happy Halloween to you and thanks Meistro for yet another great story!

mano said...

what a spooky walk through central park - great story!

Marit said...

It must have been ages since I heard or read a ghost story (we don't celebrate Halloween in the Netherlands) I enjoyed your story very, very much! You know I'm a reader and LOVE words so much more then a (ghost)movie! Thank you dear!

Marilyn Rock said...

What a brilliant writing! You had me :) I kept picturing being in a tent in the dark with a flashlight under my chin reading this to my grand child some day :) Loved it.

Your photos are comforting and wonderful especially after a frightening week with Sandy. I spent a frightening evening with my son, DIL, and grand daughter but we made it through ok. We never lost power.

My heart goes out to those devastatingly effected by this massive storm.

Love, Marilyn

rivergardenstudio said...

Lovely and spooky!