The Ghost in the Machine

There are several stories told over the years of the fusion between the spirits of the dead and the technology that surrounds us all.  A number of horror writers have made careers out of haunting a simple device such as a car, a plane, or a telephone, but what about the very computers we sit at every day?  Is it possible for the same electromagnetic impulses picked up by EMF detectors wielded during ghost hunts to influence our computers?  One Urban Legend making the rounds in Australia tells the story of just that happening.

The legend goes that a young girl was sitting at home sometime in June of 2005 playing a paper-doll type game when suddenly she felt an incredibly cold presence over her shoulder that froze her to the bone.  Suddenly the mouse curser on her computer clicked away from the game she was playing and she lost control of it entirely.  It logged into a  local interests chat room and began chatting with people around the room randomly.  She didn’t stop to see what it was saying, as she became terrified and fled the room screaming.  As her parents looked at the computer they found absolutely nothing wrong with it.  They asked her if she was sure of what she had seen.  She was, but her parents didn’t believe her.

Later, she would be the only one in the house and would walk into the room where the computer was to find it on with a search engine displaying cartoon images.  Whoever this strange spirit was, it seemed to be of a child’s temperament.  As the girl approached the computer it suddenly shut itself down.  As the whirring of the computer sounded and it shut down the girl was once again terrified and quickly left the room.  She didn’t share this experience with her mother, but what happened next she would not be able to keep to herself.

The following morning she got up early and went to use the computer and found a detailed picture of a cartoon cemetery in a painting program.  An unmistakable image of her was depicted with the Grim Reaper over her shoulder.  Her mother didn’t know what to say.  No one had been at the computer that day.

And if the story is disturbing enough to this point, you may not believe what happens next.  As she was waiting for a bus, her thoughts turned to the events of the ghost and the computer.  As she waited she became frightened suddenly and decided to return home, unable to face the day.  And she felt a strange presence with her that morning.  As she started on her way back home and was just about to turn the corner, a car skidded off the road and smashed into the bus stop where she had been standing.  The uneasy feeling, whatever it was, had saved her life.

After that there were no more incidents with her and the computer, though other variations of the story say the ghost did appear one final time to say goodbye to her and reveal its true identity as either a relative or a well meaning stranger, but always a child.