School of Un­ex­plained Knocks

Life ad­vice from a pro­fes­sional ghost­buster

The Walrus - - MISCELLANY - Au­dra Wil­liams

Onc e in a while, I browse the Toronto Dis­trict School Board’s “Learn4life” guide and imag­ine my­self as a dif­fer­ent per­son. What if I de­cided to make all of my own clothes? Who would I be if I learned salsa danc­ing — or salsa cook­ing?

Most of the cour­ses have sooth­ingly in­sipid ti­tles and de­scrip­tions. “Com­puter Ap­pli­ca­tions for Ev­ery­day Life” walks stu­dents through the process of pur­chas­ing movie tick­ets on­line; “Cake Dec­o­rat­ing: Wil­ton Method–ad­vanced” ad­vises on the best method of mak­ing flow­ers from gum paste. Any would-be in­struc­tors can pro­pose a class, and if the school board likes the idea, it’s a go. For a few years now, it has of­fered a course called “Ev­ery­thing You Want to Know about Ghosts but Are Afraid to Ask,” which prom­ises to help rid the body of “un­wanted spir­its.” I’m not sure who ap­proved that one, but I was in­trigued enough to sign up.

I don’t be­lieve in astrol­ogy or nu­merol­ogy; I don’t think there’s any­thing to be gleaned from magic crys­tals or the leaves at the bot­tom of my teacup. But I’ve been afraid of ghosts for as long as I can re­mem­ber, so in De­cem­ber, I asked three friends to take the course with me at $21 a pop.

We showed up late, just as the in­struc­tor, Dawn Trewin — a spe­cial-needs as­sis­tant who moon­lights as a medium — was lec­tur­ing on mag­i­cal orbs and hand­ing out

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