Quantum Echoes – Word of the Day – Animus

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“Ghosts don’t exist! They just don’t. To believe in ghosts is the domain of children, the religious, and idiots.” I was being harsh and I knew it.

“What if I told you I could help you see them, with an app for your cellphone?” The woman looked completely rational, if a little silly, talking about ghosts in a fairy-tale worthy ball gown.

I adjusted the top of my dress self-consciously; I shouldn’t have worn a strapless dress. I didn’t have anything to keep it up and it was tight enough to make me feel suffocated but not to stay in place. With my clothes back in place, I snorted derisively, “Are you, a scientist, going to tell me you actually believe that the souls of the dead wander the earth? Must be awfully crowded. Is this app going to cost me a dollar and then show me cartoon Caspers in Augmented Reality?”

I’m not sure where my animus was coming from. I didn’t believe in ghosts, but I normally didn’t try arguing with people about it. Maybe it was the golden award for innovation that she held or the fact that she wasn’t just successful but wealthy and ridiculously beautiful. I wanted to be her and be with her all at the same time.

“Tamsym. I’m serious. This is going to change the way we see well…” she waved her perfectly manicured hands around, “everything.”

Sighing and wishing I’d stayed home instead of coming to this stupid gala, I said, “Fine. What’s the app?”

A mad glimmer flashed in her eyes, something better suited to Doctor Frankenstein, and said, “Give me your phone and I’ll install it.” I gave her my work phone and she talked while she did something to it. “I’m not saying they’re souls in the biblical way. I think they’re quantum echoes, a copy of us that is emotionally embedded into the fabric of the universe.”

It sounded like a bunch of technical terms smooshed together, but I wasn’t the award winning physics scientist that she was, I was just a lowly biologist. “What?”

“When something happens that is extremely emotional, it leaves a mark on the physical location. It’s an emotional quantum echo. Like a double exposed photograph.” I should have known something odd was going on. The woman in front of me shouldn’t have remembered a time before digital photography. “The most amazing part is that the echoes aren’t necessarily from the past or our reality.”

Giving me my phone back, she smiled. It was halfway between the smile you give a lover and the smile a cartoon cat gives a cartoon mouse. I looked at my phone and clicked the Quantum Echo app and looked at the screen.

It activated my camera, and as with every other augmented reality app, it showed the world as it is with an overlay of something else. In this case, it showed a ghostly outline of myself and the beautiful woman walking away hand in hand. “Is this a joke?” I asked.

“No.” she continued to smile.

I followed the shadows through the halls of the meeting hall until they walked through a door. I followed into the large closet and gasped at seeing myself in the screen of my phone kiss the other woman. I walked into the closet and heard a small click as the door closed behind me.

The me in the screen turned to look directly at the camera. Her face was twisted in terror with large eyes. She was saying something but the app didn’t show audio. She continued to try and say something and I started to try and read lips. She gave me the finger and pointed behind me. I tried to turn around and see what was behind me, but I never finished the turn…


If you enjoyed this word of the day story, you can find more on our stories page and catch up on this year’s serial story, The Database of the Ageless Kings.

Fandom Guest Post: Hauntingly Entertaining!

With Halloween right around the corner, is there a better way to get in the spirit of ghosts and ghouls than The Haunted Walk of Ottawa? Grab your lantern – let’s go for a walk.

You may not know it, but we live in city which offers amazingly rich history filled with scandal, scariness, and intrigue! We are even more fortunate that there is a business to tell these stories in such an engaging and vivid way. The Original Haunted Walk of Ottawa is a 90 minute tour, led by lantern light to some of Ottawa’s well known haunted spots, including: the Bytown Museum, the Fairmont Château Laurier and Ottawa’s haunted high school.

Since this was our first time taking one of their tours, we opted for the ‘Original Haunted Walk of Ottawa’. Louie, our tour guide, was fantastic; he related the tales with confidence and flair and kept the entire ninety minutes intriguing. I’m fairly used to ghostly tales and can be somewhat jaded, however, with the combination of the locations and the stories, the story telling was truly goose bump inducing. A few of the younger participants even seemed genuinely creeped out. The tour was not all serious the entire time; the walk was spiced up with occasional stabs at humour which also kept things interesting. The outing was a great way to share some history, campfire tales and get a wonderful tour of a truly beautiful city.

Image result for haunted walk of ottawa
Image from The Haunted Walk of Ottawa.

I will admit, before we started I was unsure if this tour really was for me. I’m not particularly superstitious and paranormal stories had never previously caught my full attention. The Haunted Walk has now changed that for me. The combined atmosphere of being on location and the expertise of the tour guide make it an exciting experience for anyone involved.

If you are looking for something to bring you straight into the Halloween spirit or you have never experienced The Haunted Walk – we highly recommend that you enjoy one of their tours (before it gets too cold!).


Dylan McEvoy is a writer for Ottawa’s very own The Nerd is the Word (website, Facebook, Twitter). The Nerd is the Word is a fantastic place to catch up on nerdy news, indie spotlights, reviews, and local events! Follow them and bookmark their website for more awesome content.

Halloween fun

This weekend is Halloween, and if you’re looking for something last-minute to do, I’m sure there’s a Halloween party just around the corner. In Ottawa, Can-Con will have Trick-or-Treating in the vendor’s room all day, and it’s free to the public, so be sure to stop by!

But if you’re looking for something a little further from home and off the beaten path, here are some great last-minute options!

Ithaca, New York

Do you like Harry Potter? Would you be interested in visiting Diagon Alley? For five hours on Halloween, Ithaca NY is transforming Press Bay Alley into Diagon Alley and I desperately want to go!! There will be a House Cup Competition, a Horcrux Hunt, a costume contest, presentations on magical creatures, wizarding chess, Quidditch re-enactments, wizarding duels, and so much more! This is their first event, so maybe I’ll be able to go next year…

A real-life Diagon Alley in Ithaca! I want to go!
A real-life Diagon Alley in Ithaca! I want to go! Image from http://ithacavoice.com/

The Catacombs of Paris

You would have had to enter the contest with Airbnb, but two lucky (or unlucky?) winners will be the first people to spend Halloween night in the Catacombs under Paris – the home of seven million corpses. Dinner, a private concert, breakfast, and a storyteller will put them to sleep with creepy bedtime stories “guaranteed to produce nightmares”. Who would like to participate in this? Certainly not me!

Hope the winners never saw the terrifying horror movie As Above, So Below or it’s trailer.

Creepy! Image from www.i.telegraph.co.uk
Creepy! Image from www.i.telegraph.co.uk

The Stanley Hotel in Colorado

The Stanley Hotel is one of the most haunted hotels in the world. It was the setting for Stephen King’s “The Shining”. Reportedly haunted by Lord Stanley and his wife, as well as kids who run along the fourth floor halls at two in the morning, and many others, this would be the place to go to test yourself. It is open for business, and hosts a Ghost Adventure Package as well as standard room packages.

Just don’t order the Redrum…

The Stanley Hotel. Image from www.stanleyhotel.com
The Stanley Hotel. Image from www.stanleyhotel.com

If you are interested in going on any of these cruises, or others. You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Happy Haunting!


References

https://www.facebook.com/events/1633034433638155/
http://ithacavoice.com/2015/10/2400-harry-potter-fans-to-transform-ithaca-street-into-diagon-alley/
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/11929209/Airbnb-offers-Halloween-night-in-Paris-Catacombs.html
http://www.stanleyhotel.com/

The Haunted Walk – A Review

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A little over a month ago I won a facebook contest that got be two tickets to The Haunted Walk Ottawa. My wife and I had the chance to go with some friends this past weekend. Other than the free tickets, I have no association the Haunted walk.

I made the mistake of assuming that my friends would want the 8pm tour and when I found out they wanted the 8:45 I’d already booked the 8. I thought it might be a hassle to fix the tickets but a quick call and they fixed my mistake. No trouble at all.

“Haunted Walks Inc. was founded in 1995, and offers a variety of unique historical walking tours in Kingston, Ottawa and Toronto, Ontario. We are best known for our evening tours of local ghost stories and darker history. These tours take place when the lights are low and the atmosphere is just right for a good ghost story.  You may recognize our Tour Guides who wear cloaks and carry a lantern as they lead their groups through the quiet city streets.” The Haunted Walk Website

We got there fifteen minutes early and it was a beautiful night. Cool but not cold, the smell of fall all around us. It couldn’t have been nicer weather if we’d been in a movie. We waited until the tour guides called us. The area was crowded due to it being the weekend, the events of last Wednesday, and Poutinefest on sparks. Other than the smokers, the wait wasn’t bad.

There were two tours leaving at the same time. We took the Classic tour which went down to the locks and the Bytown museum.

The guide, Paul I believe, was a perfect combination of wry humour and informative. It shows that the tour has worked on their stories, they are good ghost stories, the kind you’d read under the covers with your flashlight. The guide was friendly, professional, and appropriate at all times. The stories weren’t gory and were mixed between sad, scary, touching, interesting, and just fun. The tour would definitely be appropriate for children who like ghost stories.

At one point a breeze (or Ghost) slammed a door while he was speaking and scared everyone. It was one of those perfect moments for a haunted tour.

Overall I loved it and would do it again. I would however caution that it is a walking tour and lasts around 90 minutes. It’s mostly standing and walking which can be problematic for anyone with injuries or chronic back problems.

I highly recommend going and I plan on checking out their Time Travel themed tours that restart after the Halloween season.

Éric