Do you believe in ghosts? No, seriously, do you? I’d say I’ve always had an open mind on the subject but, I couldn’t say I believed because I’d never had a paranormal experience. (Didn’t want to either.)
Some of my friends did. One of them lives down the road from me in a well maintained two bedroom, brick ranch house built in the 1950’s. It certainly doesn’t look like a haunted house, yet she tells some odd stories about her kitchen. It seems that one Saturday morning her husband left to go hunting, and since she had the house to herself she decided to clean the kitchen. She mopped her floor and sat down in the family room which is visible from the kitchen to wait for the floor to dry. Fifteen minutes later she went back into the kitchen and found potato chips scattered on the floor.
That in itself wasn’t enough to convince her the house is haunted, but there are other things too. Frequently, she’ll go into the kitchen and find recipes lying on the stove. Her husband denies putting them there, and she knows she didn’t do it. They’ve decided the ghost of the former owner is still in the house, so they talk to the ghost and call it by name.
A few years ago I had a student who said that his house is haunted. It’s an old house that looks like I think a haunted house might look. It’s made of dark brick and sits in the middle of a grove of pine trees. It’s totally isolated from other houses, and frankly the shutters could use a coat of paint. According to John, a young child maybe around eight or nine is in the house. She has long blonde hair and wears a white gown. Sounds like a cliché to me, but he swears the entire family frequently encounters this little girl who stares at them before vanishing.
Okay, weird, but not enough to convince me. So, what’s my story? Here goes. Several years ago my cousin called me and told me she’s sure her house is haunted. She doesn’t think whatever is in there is friendly either. She said she was reading in her living room one evening. When she looked up, an old man with a bald head and gray suit was standing in her foyer. She jumped up, thinking someone had come into the house, and when she did he vanished into thin air.
Things started hopping after that. She was asleep one night and woke up when music started to play. She opened her eyes and saw a group of people clustered around the bed looking at her. The smell of flowers filled the room. She screamed and almost gave her husband a heart attack, but when he woke up the room was clear. After that she often heard music and the sounds of talking from downstairs. (Her bedroom is upstairs.)
She had trouble in her garage as well. After a particularly trying morning, she decided to go shopping to take her mind off ghosts. She got into her car and cranked it. The car came on, but so did the radio, the windshield wipers, and the horn. The garage door kept opening and shutting by itself. She tried to get out of the car, but the door wouldn’t open. Finally, she slammed her shoulder into the door, and it came open. She ran back into her house and avoided the car.
After this incident, she consulted a priest who came to the house and prayed and sprinkled it with holy water, but the hauntings continued with some being truly terrible, like the time she was going downstairs and felt someone push her from behind. She fell and broke her wrist. She said that even her cats saw the balls of light that floated in the air in the study. Their eyes followed the lights as they moved around the room.
Or did they? My cousin has a serious medical condition that causes her to take a lot of high powered pain medication. I began to wonder if maybe she was having hallucinations. Then, one evening she called me to talk. We were discussing her ghost problem when I heard someone say, “Who-oooo.” I’ve tried to phonetically reproduce the sound, but I can’t quite do it. I’ve heard my grandmother use the sound many times, though. It was definitely a noise meant to get your attention.
My cousin got really excited. “Did you hear that?” she exclaimed. I told her I had and asked her what it was. I expected her to say her husband had picked up the phone and was trying to get our attention. “It came from the filing cabinet not three feet away from me,” she said. I decided not to talk about ghosts anymore.
So, what do you think? I didn’t see any of the things she saw, but I heard that sound as plain as day. When I go to visit her, I think I’ll wear a cross. Maybe I should also take some garlic…no, that’s for vampires. She doesn’t have vampires. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. What’s yours?