haunted lamp

Ashley Memory

lives in southwestern Randolph County, North Carolina, surrounded by the mystical Uwharrie Mountains. She’s recently written for Poets & Writers, NBC THINK, and Wired. When she’s not hollering for the dog, she’s meandering through an abandoned graveyard wondering about the lives of people sleeping under her feet. But she doesn’t wear sandals anymore because she’s disturbed too many fire ant nests.

Memoir

My “Haunted” Lamp: Murder, Mystery, and Remodeling

written by Ashley Memory

This story is the saga behind an elegant lamp Ashley Memory and her husband purchased for $15 at a secondhand store. It seemed to be the ideal addition to their new home until an investigation into the mysterious engraving on its base revealed a macabre history. As she discovered grisly details about the lamp’s previous owner, her home life became agitated, and she began to wonder… Could the lamp be haunted?

 

© 2022 Ashley Memory  | Recording © 2022 Rivercliff Books & Media. All rights reserved.

An internal whisper reminded me that most secondhand donations came from the estates of dead people, but I shushed it away. It was October 2018, and J.P. and I had been married just over a year. This lamp was the first one we ever bought together, and in my mind, it was perfect.

Google coiled like the snake in the apple tree, tempting me with the lure of new knowledge. So I flipped open my laptop, and to my shock, the search results for [the former lamp owner] filled the entire screen.

I tried not to obsess about the tragedy. But as everyone knows, trying not to think about something practically guarantees you’ll do just that. As I yanked up dozens of young blackberry vines outside, countless baby thorns pierced my hand. I wondered if Julia had even tried to defend herself? 

As I turned the light on and off each day, and my fingers rolled over the cord switch once used by [the former owner], I wondered aloud if its sinister past had seeped into our lives.

Our pastor, the young man who married us, held a master’s degree in divinity. Surely he would know what to do. But when he arrived, he chuckled nervously. “Seriously? You want me to exorcise a lamp?”

haunted lamp
Ashley Memory lives in southwestern Randolph County, North Carolina, surrounded by the mystical Uwharrie Mountains. She’s recently written for Poets & Writers, NBC THINK, and Wired. When she’s not hollering for the dog, she’s meandering through an abandoned graveyard wondering about the lives of people sleeping under her feet. But she doesn’t wear sandals anymore because she’s disturbed too many fire ant nests.

Q&A with Ashley

Tell us about your story...

When people fall in love, they tend to idealize not only their mate but also a starry-eyed version of themselves. My Haunted Lamp is a story about compromise and change.

 

What was the inspiration for this story?

My husband J.P. and I bought an elegant lamp for $15 at a secondhand store. It appeared to be the ideal addition to our new house until an investigation into a mysterious engraving revealed its macabre past. The lamp’s presence kindled an obsession with the tragedy, and the more I discovered about its previous owner, the more I questioned my assumptions about appearances, ambition, and happiness.

What are you most looking forward to, post pandemic?

Potlucks at my church! I’ve missed them so much, both the casseroles and the fellowship.

What have you read recently that you enjoyed?

“Annunciation” by Lauren Groff in The New Yorker (February 14 & 21, 2022 issue). Another spooky story that I can’t get out of my mind.

 

 

 

Do you have any guilty pleasures?

Chocolate-covered cherries. When I eat one, I have to do it alone. First, so that no one will see me licking my fingers, and second, so that I can fully surrender to the bliss.

Coffee or tea? Whiskey or Wine?

Tea, every day of the week. And wine, but not to drink, as it gives me a headache, unfortunately. However, I love the essence it leaves behind when I deglaze my pan with it while making a sauce for a chicken dish, for example.

Tomorrow, I absolutely refuse to…

…give up on another essay I’m working on. I am determined to finish it. So there!

Anything else you’d like to share?

Yes, a funny story. To save money, my husband and I are building own house, and five years later, we’re still at it. The other day we realized just why the bathroom floor is so slippery. We put wall tiles on the floor and floor tiles on the wall

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