I’ve always believed that ghosts were very possible, but I’ve often felt that people made them out to be more than what they are. It was a way of getting attention or selling a book. I’m no longer so sure about that.
As a child, I believed I had my own personal angels who watched over me. I was around three years of age when my parents tore the first floor of the house apart and redid it. Walls came down and steel beams went up. It was so bad I was not allowed to walk through what became our living room. The problem was it impossible to get through the house without passing through that room to get to anything else. So I’d walk down the stairs from my bedroom and had to call for someone to get me from the bottom of the steps. Usually it was my dad who rescued me, but occasionally it was an uncle. (It was an uncle who was doing the construction.)
But something happened one night – I’d had a bad dream and wanted my parents. Their bedroom was down the hall from that living room, and to make matters worse, my father had carried me up the stairs because there was construction being done to open the staircase. Tools, sawdust, nails, electrical cords, and construction debris littered everything. I convinced myself that I could just jump the stairs and land at the bottom. So I did. Except my feet never hit the ground, I just floated. I floated all the way to my parents room until I landed on their bed. Right! Surely! Every child can float through the house!
My parents almost died when they found me in the bed with them. Guess what? Not a speck of sawdust on my feet, nothing. And apparently there was a barrier, I don’t remember what, that should have prevented me from making my way to their hallway. It would have been too tall for me to climb over and would have diverted my travel to them through even more mess. How did I get there? I kept telling them my angels brought me.
Don’t know what happened to those angels, I could have used them a few times in my life! Or maybe they were there and I didn’t know it, but they’re the reason why I’m still here. Anyway with that in my background, I’ve always had a feeling we’re not really alone. And that not every “whatever” is good.
So I’ll zip forward about thirty-seven years. We bought a tiny house. Our plan was to fix it up and use it for rental being our children, we thought, had flown the coop. The little place was solid as could be. In some ways, I still wish I lived there. One early evening, I was relaxing in the bathtub when I heard what sounded as though someone ran across the roof. It was a distinctive sound, the sound of someone in combat boots that were three sizes too big. I’m thinking what the heck? So I get out of the tub, get dressed, and look to see if there’s anything to see.
I’m a normal person. Things go bump and there are logical explanations for sounds. I even dragged the ladder from the shed and looked in the gutters. Nothing was out of place. No big pine cones lying around, nothing. Okay, we all know that squirrels can sound huge when they play on a roof. This was not the sound of their scamper. My darling hubby came home and checked in the attic. Nothing. Then one night, as we were going to bed, he heard it, too.
It became a normal, but weird, sound for that house. One day I said something to a neighbor, basically asking if she had ever had a similar sound on her roof. She looked at me appalled and told me about the young girl who was murdered by her boyfriend in our house. The man had chased the teen through the house and out one door. She ran in another door and locked herself in the bathroom. She was found wearing her dad’s hunting boots shot to death in the tub.
I’m a sane person. I didn’t have a ghost on my roof. It was a squirrel, right?
Our daughter, son-in-law, and their newborn moved in with us. We all moved to this big old house that dates back to before the Civil War. I wasn’t here very long when things started to happen. I lost my keys! Okay, I can lose anything! And to avoid losing my keys, I had a huge jailor’s ring that my keys were on. I’d come into the house and hang them on the doorknob. But one fateful day, they were missing. Grrr! I looked all over for them. I was in tears. I had to be someplace and I didn’t have my keys. What could I have possibly done with my keys?
Hubby promised they would turn up eventually. I’d do something and they would be there hiding under something. We all know these new car keys with the remotes cost a small fortune to replace. He gave me his remote to my car and took his keys to make copies of the other keys I’d lost. Six months later, I’m in the kitchen doing dishes and I hear the tingle of keys near the back door. I looked at the door and there was my jailer’s ring with the keys still swinging. “HONEY!”
About two weeks later, every tea infuser (for loose tea) I owned vanished. I tore the kitchen apart! If I had lost one, I would have chalked it up to maybe accidentally tossing it in the trash…but all of them? I had ones that fit teapots and ones for individual cups of tea. Every one of them was missing. After a few weeks, I wrote a check to my favorite tea company and had several new infusers shipped to me. When the new ones came, the old ones showed up in a much-used cabinet.
So many things of mine vanished that it became a joke, except it really wasn’t funny.Every female has walked from the bedroom or bathroom brushing her hair as she answered the door, or phone. She puts it down and forgets where she put it. I’m guilty. Gone! I’d have to buy another and when I did, the missing one would turn up in the basket where I keep the brushes and other hair clips. All items were returned after I replaced them.
The other weird thing was if I followed my husband to bed instead of going to bed with him, or if I got up through the night and came back to bed, I always felt as though I was chasing something away from him. And there was movement – hard to describe, almost shadow-like but would block the light of the night that filtered through the windows into the room.
Then one night while clearing the dining room table I spotted my husband in a cabinet in the other room. Well, I didn’t see all of him, just his arm – that flannel shirt-covered arm. I stopped and looked, trying to decipher what he was doing in the cabinet. It’s a cabinet where I keep seasonal knickknacks, candles, china bunnies, painted wooden apples, lace doilies – you know the “little” stuff, certainly nothing that would interest my husband. “Honey, whatcha looking for?”
He didn’t answer and that’s not like him. So I put the dirty dishes that were in my hands on the kitchen counter, washed my hands, and walked into the other room. He wasn’t there. I could hear water running so I ran upstairs. “What were you doing in the …” Wrong flannel shirt! “Omigod! I think I saw my ghost.”
I was really upset and quite furious. I physically knew several of the past owners in the last 60 years. And I knew plenty about the one owner, including a physical description of the man who’d died in the 1950’s. Bingo! I had my ghost. I even knew his name. He loved flannel shirts and often wore them in the summer. He had a reputation for being very strange.
My stuff vanishing got to the point that I was going nuts. I also decided that my ghost didn’t like me, but he liked my husband, because only my stuff would vanish. At one point, out of total frustration, I stood in the middle of the living and screamed, “John Henley, give it back, right now! Don’t you dare take another thing from me!”
It stopped the theft.
And when my husband died, I never saw or felt the presence of John Henley, again. But about two years ago, I discovered something new. It’s tiny, maybe eighteen inches (1/3 meter) tall. It’s like a little dust devil, but there’s nothing. It dashes, spins, and vanishes into the fireplace. The cat even chased it one evening. I’ve never seen the dogs bark at the little spinner, but they’ll watch it. I’ve never seen it come out of the fireplace, only go in. Really too small to be a toddler, but there’s something happy or playful about it. It makes me smile.
I guess those of us who live with these things really don’t say much about them because people think we’ve lost our minds. But my little historic community is filled with ghost stories and things that go bump in the night, morning, or afternoon. Sometimes we can explain what caused it, but some are beyond explanation. Those of us, who live with them, just accept them as a quirky part of life.
An old friend bought and restored a house not far from here. The main part of their house dates into the early 1700’s. Their children wanted to know why they were moving into a house with people living in it. They went through all sorts of serious ghostly problems trying to restore the house.
They bought the house and put their things in storage, lived with her parents during the week. On weekends, sans their small children, they worked on the main part of the house until it was livable. Then they moved in. Like any young mother, by the end of the moving day, she was exhausted. With her husband’s help that evening, she unpacked her kitchen and set it up. She’d be able to fix breakfast for her family in the morning.
On her way to bed, she and her hubby walked into each downstairs room. The old family rocker in the living room was rocking. Her husband stopped it. But it started up again. He stopped it one more time and a moment later, it resumed its rocking. She told her husband to leave it. She had a box full of things for the mantle sitting in a corner. The dining room was filled with his grandmother’s dining room furniture including a beautiful china cabinet. She had her grandmother’s china and silver still in the boxes on the floor. Her hubby commented that he was thrilled that they finally had a place for all these wonderful family heirlooms and he couldn’t wait to see everything neatly arranged.
They woke up early and went downstairs. As they made their way to the kitchen, they stopped and gasped. The Styrofoam nuggets that had protected so much of their china and other things were scattered down the hall. The dining room looked like every box had exploded sending the packing material everywhere. But there in china cabinet was the china beautifully displayed. The silverware was in the drawers of the sideboard and the candlesticks decorated the room in all the proper places. She said she should have known.
Every night as they go to bed, the rocker rocks. She always stops to say goodnight. The rocker often stops for a moment and then resumes. She smiles and says, “Keep us safe.”
Do you believe? I have a lovely guest room complete with a fireplace.