A Place by the Sea

by Rosalie Kicks, Old Sport

I know I’m going to haunt someday.

Being a ghost is in my DNA. Given the opportunity to have a ghost life, I have yet to discover the downside. I was raised by wolves. Therefore, I had to rely on movies to teach me about the facts of life. The movies have only helped prove: A ghost life is a good life. So when it comes to afterlife planning, I have found no better tutelage than my film library. Take, for example, Beyyyla Lugosi as Dracula. If it wasn’t for him, I would never know of the various bunks that are available when it is time to go sleepies. One needs to make sure their coffin is velvet lined for comfort. May even be a good idea to try it out beforehand as a bed. Take it for a test spin...before it is too late.

To help me prepare for my life as a specter I have viewed a slew of ghost films. Throughout this education, two films have stood out to me, Lewis Allen’s 1944 The Uninvited and Joseph Mankiewicz’s 1947 The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. Both movies have given me invaluable advice. Some viewers would classify these as mere ghost flicks. Me - Nah. I see them as training videos for the afterlife, possibly even promotional videos. They are inspiration - get the gears churning.

When one talks of death, they speak about permanency. Forever. This isn’t like a birthday party you are planning for. This is your death. There is a lot to think about. These movies have assisted me in obtaining the essential knowledge in order to live a superb haunting life. Here are some of my key takeaways:

  1. Location, location, location

  2. Wardrobe: you gotta look good

  3. Your purpose: don’t wanna get bored

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Location, location, location

The location is a crucial detail for a life of haunting. This was probably one of the most important lessons learned. Who wants to be stuck ghosting at a 7-11 or a DMV. Nah. I want to have a calming and relaxing afterlife. In the The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, after the passing of her husband, Lucy Muir (Gene Tierney) decides to move out of her mother and sister in-law’s home. She finds a place by the sea. Upon arrival, she learns there is no other place she rather be and that she is not alone. The home is inhabited by an uncouth dead sea captain, Daniel Gregg (Rex Harrison). It doesn’t take much time for the two to strike up a close bond. Daniel is protective of the home, but he likes Lucy and allows her to stay there. It was understandable to me why Daniel didn’t want to leave his home...it’s perfect. The soothing sound of the sea and the picturesque view, there is nothing more you could ask for, alive or dead. I believe this is why in The Uninvited, Carmel and Mary Meredith never left their seaside chateau. In this flick, two women haunt a former residence, due to a hidden family secret. But hey, let’s be honest, I think it is pretty clear why they didn’t leave. Who in their right mind would leave a seaside front property behind. If you’re going to be stuck somewhere it might as well be beautiful.

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Wardrobe

As I sat lazing around in my sweatpants watching these flicks, it really got me thinking: what if I died. Obviously, yes, I am going to die, I’m not a vampire (as far as you know). But, like, what if I died right now. This would be my ghosting outfit. A pair of sweatpants and a United States Postal Service Frankenstein T-shirt (Google this, NOW!). Is this how I want to be remembered...in sweatpants?! Nah. What if Ray Milland showed up and purchased my seaside home, like he does in The Uninvited? I would not want Ray Milland to see me in sweatpants. I would need to be in something classy. Something to charm him...like a tux with tails. Picture it! Tails flowing in the breeze as I swoop by and hand Ray his cocktail or place him in my arms. Ghost clothes are very important. Just as in Men in Black, these clothes are the last you’ll ever wear. Only on this occasion, you truly never know who you are going to meet.

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A Ghost’s Purpose

A ghost life could be a boring one, especially if you are living in a remote cottage by the sea. It could be years and years between haunts. So you need to have things to keep you busy. In the The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Daniel understood this. He didn’t spend his downtime sulking, instead he was brainstorming. Daniel knew once he had able hands, he would be able to finally pen his novel of a sea captain’s life. He might have been dead, but he didn’t let this stop him from fulfilling his creative endeavors. He also had plans for his house, plans that could not be completed by just anyone. His experience as a ship’s captain taught him that he needed to find the right first mate.

This made me realize I will need competent house guests. I need standards and will refuse to shack up with any Tom, Dick, or Harry that walks through the door. I will not allow my spirit life to hinder my life as a filmmaker. If a person wants to live in my home, they will have to be someone that can take direction and notice when my finger is pointing, listen when I say “action”. I can’t make a movie with a clown. I have to be prepared to release the bats and go to extreme measures if the person is inadequate. Hey, this is the fate of my motion picture we are speaking about, it is worth a little bloodshed and tears. Alive and, even more so, when you are dead, having a purpose is extremely important. Otherwise, you may end up like Carmel in The Uninvited, crying yourself to sleep night after night.

I hope this gets you thinking and maybe even planning your afterlife. Ghosts don’t have to float aimlessly around in bedsheets moaning. They can have a life by the sea or maybe somewhere exotic, like Hawaii. Even as a ghost, your life can still have meaning.

***For more ramblings from your favorite Old sport about ghosting, listen to Episode 009 of the I Saw it in a Movie podcast, available on iTunes and for download at Moviejawn.com/i-saw-it-in-a-movie/ — featuring MJ’s WitchQueen of Darkness and Judson Cade Pedigo.