What rumbles and shrieks in the night? Your modem, of course. Read on, if you dare, these (abbreviated) tales from the Web.

* Reader favorite “Out of Order,” from It was during finals week, and I was at school studying with a group of kids. We all decided to head home since it was getting late.

I had to go to the bathroom, so rather than waiting another half hour until I got home, I decided to go to the bathroom at school. There were a bunch of students at the fountain that was a few feet from the restroom, so I felt safe.

The bathroom was well lit. The room was extremely cold, cold enough that I could see my breath. I thought nothing much of it, since it was winter. I went into the last stall, hung my backpack on the hanger and did my business. One minute had not gone by when I heard a faint voice from the other end of the bathroom: “God, please help me.”

A gust of wind came through the bathroom, and the little hairs on the back of my neck stood straight up. I knew something was not good. I heard heavy footsteps approaching the bathroom, heavy boots, like those of a man. It came in the bathroom; the room filled with pure evil. I began to pray. One by one the bathroom stall doors were whipped open and the girl’s voice gasped, “No, please! No, please! I beg of you!”

The bathroom stalls shook. It was as if the person was hitting this girl and her body was being thrown against the stall, making the rest of them shake. There was a silence, a weary silence then the person began to open each stall. He came closer and closer, and then there at my stall door stood a pair of black boots. I thought for sure I was going to die, that this man was going to kill me, too. He just stood there for a couple of seconds, though, and then turned around and left.

I finally got the courage to get up and see what happened. To my surprise, the bathroom looked normal; it wasn’t even cold in there anymore. I went back to my stall to get my backpack and I was paralyzed with fear again. There on the door was a huge sign that read “OUT OF ORDER.” It was a sign so noticeable that I was sure it would have caught my attention when I entered the bathroom.

That group of students was still standing at the fountain; I asked them if they saw a man come out of the bathroom. They all shook their heads and said no.

The next day, I searched for the custodian. He told me that the bathroom was haunted with a girl’s spirit, and the evil spirit that took her away a long time ago. He said that I wasn’t the first to experience the spirits; they occurred pretty much every night.

He added that too many people were freaked out by them, so he just locked up the bathroom permanently.

* Contribution to We lived near the battle site of Pea Ridge (a famous battle in the Civil War). It all started when we moved there in 1984. I was 4 at the time. When we moved into the house, every time my dad would put a box down, it would pick itself up and put itself neatly in the corner. At first we were freaked out, but then we got used to it. We were even happy and called the ghost “our little helper.” When we were completely moved in and settled down, the ghost settled down, too.

Then my dad died and my family fell into in a deep depression. Then the ghost started up again. In the middle of the night he would walk up and down the stairs, slamming doors that were open and opening doors that were shut. It would scare the hell out of all of us. When we got used to it, the ghost started coming in our rooms and pulling the sheets off of us. He even sat on my mom’s head! We would sit things down and walk into the next room he would pick them up and go hide them!

One time my mom was doing her taxes and she got up to get a drink of water. When she came back, everything was out of order and thrown all over the place. My mom had to put every thing back in order and that took her forever to do. I can’t remember her ever being so mad.

She ordered the preacher of our church to come and banish the ghost. When that didn’t work, my mom brought a psychic over to hold a seance. I have no idea what happened there that night, but the next morning we moved. I now live in south Arkansas and have been there ever since. My mom never told me what happened that night, but if she does, I’ll let you know about it.

* “Ghost of a Chance” from My grandmother was dying of cancer. “The doctors are sayin’ she hasn’t a ghost of chance,” my grandfather said, his voice breaking on a sob.

My heart sank at his words and his terrible grief. I loved these two old people with all my heart. They were German immigrants who had lived and loved together for over 25 years. I’d known them all my life as my beloved Opa and Oma.

“Oma, I have a question,” I said as I kneeled at her side. I whispered so no one else could hear. “We both believe in the soul. When you cross over to the other side, will you please return to me and let me know you are over there? I mean, if it is possible and not against the rules over there, or any kind of hardship for you?”

“Yes, I will, honey,” she replied. She crossed over to the other side a short while later

Several months later, when I was back at Arizona State University, I awakened in the middle of the night to get some water. As I walked from my bedroom into the kitchen, I stopped dead in my tracks. Cold panic coursed through my body. I heard soft whispering. I had no doubt that there was an intruder in my living room. Sure enough, I could make out someone standing only a few feet in front of me in the center of the room. It was an apparition, a ghost! I recognized her instantly. It was Oma.

Twenty years later, in April 1998, I awakened from a dream. My Oma had come to give me a message.

“My Oma appeared to me early this morning,” I said to my wife Marilyn as we had breakfast. “Oma let me know in my dream that she was with Linda McCartney last night in Tucson, and she had helped her to cross over to the other side.”

Marilyn and I looked at each other, wondering what it all meant. “Let’s check the news on CNN,” she suggested. The lead story on Headline News confirmed my dream, but not until April 19 two days after the visit from Oma.

The likelihood of this being a random event? A ghost of a chance.