I’m the Only One in My Family Who Can’t See Ghosts
As the youngest in a family of witches, I interpret the world my own way
I call it “spook.” To get technical, spook is a sixth sense, but they don’t treat it with any kind of reverence. It’s not special. To hear them talk about it, spook is as unremarkable as a lazy eye or the state of your digestion. It’s just part of who you are. Spook isn’t a mystical female thing, either. Anyone can get spook, and no one makes fun of it. Spook does demand a healthy dose of respect, however.
My mother has it, and so does her sister. People call them le streghette, the witches. Their childhood stories include late-night encounters with the specters of dead ancestors on moonlit paths and houses where the spirits made too much clatter and kept everyone up all night. When my mother dreams, it will contain at least one dead grandparent, one biblical animal, and a vague warning that leaves her edgy until something occurs that justifies the warning. And something always occurs to justify the warning.
My mother is also the one everyone calls to lift the evil eye. Even if she’s feuding with someone, the moment they call to ask her to sfasciare il mal’occhio for their grandchild, Maria drops everything to be of service.
It’s not surprising that spook exists. The setting demands it. My parents grew up in the velvety green hills that carpet the calf of the Italian boot. The region was settled by the Piceni tribe before the founding of Rome, and you can feel its venerable age in the travertine marble rippled with time; the bridges on the ancient salt road; the rotten stink of the thermal springs percolating under the rock; the isolated villages so discreetly tucked under cliffs that you can only spot them in your rearview mirror as you drive past. If it weren’t for the clothing, the cars, and the devices, you could easily imagine you’d stepped sideways in time.
I like to imagine I’m seeing expressions of energy in the air. Not ghosts or spirits, but just energy.
Remember how easy it was for your young mind to imagine monsters hiding under your bed despite the night light’s comforting glow? Some villages in the region didn’t…