I have a confession: I am into ghosts. I love haunted houses, ghost stories, orbs in pictures, faces in windows, and everything. I have spent my fair share of afternoons watching those haunted marathons on the History Channel and have truly believed, at the end of the show, that I have seen ghosts. I get creeped out walking through cemeteries after dusk because I get the feeling there is “someone else” there. When I went to Washington D.C. in 8th grade, I was the kid who took pictures of the Arlington Cemetery on her disposable camera just to capture the spirits lurking about.

I know it’s illogical. The BBC has reported on studies that say ghosts positively do not exist. It’s all in the believer’s heart and mind. The “feeling” of being haunted is simply the body’s reaction to the spooky environment it’s in.

The best way to find out is to test it and visit the most haunted places in the world, which are all, curiously, in English-speaking nations. The two closest to us Isla Vistans are the Queen Mary in Long Beach and the Whaley House in San Diego. It is rumored that the ghost of a 17-year-old boy who was trapped by a fire and crushed to death in the engine room of the Queen Mary still roams the boat. In the Whaley house, patrons sometimes swear they smell cigars – which were supposedly Mr. Whaley’s thing – when nobody is smoking.

I’m from the Easy Bay Area, so I have of course made the trip down Patterson Pass to check out the gravity hill. I don’t care about the science behind it; I’d still like to think that there are child ghosts pushing my car around the curve. I’ve also run out of the cemetery in Dublin, convinced that an angry ghost set off my car alarm.

Despite all of my experience, nothing has frightened me as badly as this has.