Monthly Archives: October 2012

Ghost Stories: Part II

The house I live in now with my husband Dean and have lived in for the past 22 years has had its share of paranormal activities.  Our house was a Fannie Mae repo whose previous owner had died in a motorcycle accident.  His poor wife and children moved away as the bank foreclosed on the house.  The property sat vacant and vandalized for three years before Fannie Mae did a half-ass job of remodeling it.  It was a good deal, a fixer-upper, so we bought it.

Shortly after we moved in, I woke in the middle of the night and, as my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I glanced at my husband’s open closet.  A man’s bearded face floated above.  He looked at me and vanished.  I tried to brush the apparition off as my imagination.

Two years later, my youngest daughter Morgan was born.  As I sat in a rocker in her nursery in the wee hours of the night, breast-feeding her, I began feeling edgy in the dim glow of the night light, especially when she would stop nursing and turn her head toward her closet.  She would smile as if she saw an angel and then return to her midnight meal.  I was nervous, but rationalized she was having a bout of gas.  I reassured myself that if she was seeing a ghost, it had to be a friendly one like Casper or she wouldn’t have smiled.

Once she was old enough to stand in her crib and utter a few words, Morgan would awaken in the mornings and sing out for someone to come and get her.  She would list every name she knew until her father, sister, one of her grandmothers, or I appeared at her door.  One morning she pointed at her window and said, “Boos.  The boos.”

We questioned her, lifted her out of her crib and opened the blinds.  She pointed at the clear, blue sky and said, “Boos.”  A year later she scribbled a picture of a “boo.” It looked like one of those fuzzy balls with googly eyes attached to feet-shaped stickers that were once the rage; they were cute and kids stuck them on everything (I recently found out they’re called “warm fuzzies”).   Morgan’s drawings weren’t cute little fuzz balls; they depicted little fellows with mean eyes and jagged mouths.

Around this time, in the middle of the night, my husband and I woke to screaming.  Groggy, I ran to Morgan’s room across the hall.  She was asleep in her crib.  Another terror-filled scream rang through the house, but further down, past the den.  We ran to the opposite end of the house where our teenager Miranda slept in the so-called “Mother-in-law” room off the kitchen.  She was sobbing and hiding her face under the covers when we reached her and switched on the lights.  An orb-like mist had risen by her bed, taking human form as it rose like a cloud of smoke.  We tried to reassure her it was just a lucid nightmare, but she swore it wasn’t.

Sometime before or after this (it’s been so long ago, I can’t remember) my stepson Elliot came to visit and slept in that room.  The next morning he said he hadn’t had much sleep because something kept tugging at his blankets.  He thought he was dreaming and kept pulling the covers up when something would pull them off.  He did this for some time before whatever it was became tired of its game and yanked the sheets clean off the bed.  After that, Elliot remained awake, paralyzed by fear.  Needless to say, no one wanted to sleep in that room anymore.

My mother, who has had her fair share of bizarre experiences in the past with Ouija Boards and automatic writing, also experienced something weird in our house.  She and my father were visiting and she went to Morgan’s bedroom to check on her grandbaby.  When she came back to the den where my husband, father, and I were watching college football, she asked, “Who was that in the bathroom?”

We begrudgingly took our eyes off the TV and looked at her.  “What are you talking about?”

“I thought it was Dean or Wayne, but they’re in here.  There’s a man in your middle bathroom.”

Dean and I jumped up and ran to the bathroom across from Morgan’s room.  The door was wide open and no one was there.

“I swear a man was standing in there.  I thought it was Dean or your dad.”  My mother was clearly shaken now.  “I’m not making this up.”

We believed her.  I thought it was the past owner who had died.  Perhaps he was looking for his family.  He probably wondered what in the hell were we doing in his house.

I belonged to a meditation group at the time and told some of the members about the happenings in my house.  We spoke of ways to cleanse the house from unwanted energy and ghosts.  I had no idea there were so many rituals of exorcism.  I tried several.  I lit candles in front of all the mirrors because someone said spirits were attracted to light.  If the light drew them in, they would notice that their images did not appear in the mirror, which is supposed to help them realize they are no longer living, that it’s time to move on to the next level of consciousness.  I wasn’t sure about this method, so I settled on the Native American smudging with sage smoke.  Through this ritual, I walked through the house, holding a burning bundle of sage on a clam shell, praying, “God, cleanse and protect this house.”  And speaking to the spirits:  “You are not welcome here. Leave and never return.”

It seemed to work because nothing weird has ever happened again and our house feels homey, safe, and comfortable.  But I wonder if ghosts follow people or if my family and I are just cursed or more aware because later my parents bought a lake house in Brownwood, Texas.

This small house was built by a World War II veteran.  His buddy built the house next door where the two men shared a lot.  Mom always felt uncomfortable there and wanted to sell it.  My sister and I made a deal with her and took over the place.  For awhile there was a strange aura about the place, draining energy out of anyone staying there.  One night, my sister reported her window blinds flapping violently, but the window wasn’t open.  Then another time while I stayed there alone, I had a lucid dream.  A hand started caressing my face and then my breasts.  It wasn’t unpleasant, but I couldn’t make myself wake up.  The next thing I knew someone was kissing me.  I fell under its spell and returned the tender kisses.  When I touched the person’s face, I felt a man’s unshaven stubble on his cheek.  I kept murmuring, “Who are you?”  When I wrapped my arms around him and touched his head, I felt something like hair, except it was bristly like a steel wool pad.  I opened my eyes and saw a man wearing goggles, his eyes clear through the glass, and on his head looked like an army helmet with leafy camouflage.  This time I screamed, “Who are you?”  He vanished and I was wide awake.  This encounter frightened me more than all the others because I was no longer a child and it was so damned vivid.  I will never forget those eyes.  I think the man may have been the World War II veteran who died many years ago.

You’d think I’d be scared to go back in that house, but I, along with my sister and daughters, smudged the place while also using a crystal singing bowl to change the house’s vibrations.  I know you’re probably thinking I’m crazy or weird, but the smudging seemed to work.  I am no longer afraid of being alone in the house.

All these stories are true.  Ask my family.  Believe them or not.  I was there.  I believe earth is a place of limbo; people who die suddenly may not know they are dead and are walking around this planet in another dimension.  It’s up to those of us who see them to help them cross over, to move on, in any way we know how.  Am I afraid of ghosts?  A little, especially if I’m alone.  Would I like to see some more again?  Yes, but not in my house.  I’d like to encounter them elsewhere and not have them follow me home.

If you have any interesting ghost stories, feel free to share.  I’m not the only one who enjoys a good ghost story or two.  I believe in ghosts.  Do you?

 

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Ghost Stories: Part I

I haven’t posted a blog in over a month.  I’ve been busy working on the ending of my novel.  Why are endings so difficult?  I’ve also been researching and writing my critical essay on Pat Conroy.  Both are due in November.  I can’t believe I have one more semester to go before I graduate with a MFA in Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University!  Since Halloween is just around the corner I thought now would be a good time to share some ghost stories.  Because I have several, I will post them separately.

After listening to ghost stores at Caswell Cemetery on Star Island this past June and not having the guts or the time to tell, I thought I’d share them now.  I’m a better writer than a public speaker, if that’s saying much.  I have a few stories that are true, though some skeptics might not believe.  So be it; that’s their problem, not mine.

My first experience with a ghost occurred when I was in elementary school.  I shared a room with my big sister Dee Dee.  We were chatting late one evening in the darkness, each of us in our own twin beds.  With her knees bent and feet planted on the mattress, out of nowhere, she screamed and scrambled out of bed, running to the light switch and flipping it on.  I sat up, clutching my sheets to my chest, “What?” I asked, too startled to say any more.

“Something with four legs just jumped on my bed and crawled between my legs,” she said as she tried to catch her breath.

I don’t remember how the rest of that night went, but after that I had similar experiences.   I would often awake to the feeling of something jumping up on my bed.  Once, while my arm was dangling off the side, something scratched my hand.  The fear lessened after talking with my mother about the strange happenings.

She had recently buried her old dog Prissy, some type of long-haired terrier, in the back yard.  We had no other pets at the time.  Mom admitted having similar encounters, and afterwards, my big brother did too.  Everyone in the family felt Prissy’s presence jump on their beds, everyone, that is, but my dad.  He was the skeptic, thinking we were all going crazy.   We moved not long after that and we heard from neighbors that the family we sold the house to had not lived there long before they moved out.  Prissy must have chased them away.

I also remember two occasions where I heard something that gave me the creeps.  The first time I heard it I was living in the same house on Apperson where our dog haunted the place.  It was a late summer night and my bedroom window was open.  I woke to a crashing sound of lawn chairs being knocked over on the front porch.  Following the crash, there was a noise that sounded like someone taking heavy steps and dragging a wounded leg (or maybe even a body).  I heard the same thing again, months later, while spending the night, in a sleeping bag on the floor next to my cousin’s tall brass bed in El Paso.  I could see under the bed which made me a bit nervous, but thankfully I didn’t see any dead bodies.  It took me awhile to fall asleep, but when I finally did I was awakened by their old grandfather clock.  I don’t remember if it struck midnight or what, but it was late and everyone in the household was fast asleep.  The sound of the wounded leg (the only name I could think of to call it) started making its way down the long dark hallway, heading in my direction.  I held my breath as I listened, staring at the darkened open door.  It reached the doorway and stopped.  There was nothing there as far as I could see.  I told my family and cousins, but everyone said I had an active imagination.  Thankfully, I haven’t heard it since.

(Stay tuned for more ghost stories.)

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