Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Day 2: Ghost in the Machine by Joel Caplan

The Ghost in the Machine

I shall preface this by saying that I am an honorary member of the Mojito Literary Society, being a man, and am only granted this privilege as I house and feed the other members, on occasion, and also do my best to get them drunk.  I have photos of multiple women writers, all writing, in my living room.  I could say that’s a Halloween horror story, but it isn’t:  I love and cherish these women and am honored to have them in my life.  So on to the story.

It isn’t a horror story.  It is a ghost story.  There is very little drama.  This is a small account of a very timid, but effectual ghost.  It is mostly silly, but definitely real.

I run a gelateria in the historic part of Savannah, Georgia.  The shop is in a four story building, which includes a basement.   My shop is on the first, ground level, floor.  What is interesting about this particular building is that the top floor of it was used as a slave auction house during the rain, and until recently, the trappings of the slave trade were still there (raised floor, hooks in the wall to attach shackles to, etc).  The outdoor slave sales happened about about a block away.  

Two blocks away from me is the First African Baptist Church, which was a major link in the Underground Railway, the delivery system that rescued slaves and propelled them north to a hopefully better life.  Visitors today can see the floorboards, with air holes, that hid the slaves sheltered underneath.  What is interesting here is that a school had been constructed for slave children, and that school was in the basement of the building where my gelateria is currently located.

To put it succinctly, my business is in a building that witnessed the sale of slaves and the education of escaped slave children.  All at the same time.  You may draw your own conclusions about how this energy may have affected my space.

Over the past ten years we have experienced multiple odd phenomena, all of them having to do with screws and bolts.  All manner of things come unscrewed, and the screws themselves disappear.  I have seen screws come out of place from mechanisms that do not experience vibration.  Screws come loose from internal mechanisms that cannot be accessed without significant dissection.  One evening a screw came loose from an ice cream cone holder, and the plate that the screw held in place, about 16 inches in diameter, flew across the store.  It did not hurt the employee that witnessed it, but she was surely spooked.

We have learned to live with and accept this ghost.  We have music in the store, and if we leave on jazz, all thru the night, the spirit seems to be content and leaves my machinery alone.

Tag, you're it, Leah.


Joel Caplan is the owner of Cafe' Gelatohhh in Savannah, GA and an honorary member of the Mojito Literary Society.


Tina said...

You should have gone first, Joel -- now we know that jazz might help to appease unrestful spirits.

PS: As one of the women writers you have fed, entertained, photographed and inebriated, I am most grateful for your presence in the MLS. Please consider it more honoring than honorary as you truly exemplify the ideals we cherish.

Susanna Ives said...

Everything Tina said! And what an amazing history in that building!

Laura Valeri said...

The ghost is truly unique, and I love that he likes Jazz.

Annie said...

You have a better quality of ghost, Joel. AND a gelataria. Lovely. Play Misty for them.