Monday, June 15, 2009

Ghost Stories!

Antonia started it, but Alwen put my attention on it - ghost stories.

Unlike them, I am somewhat sensitive, but don't really see anything. I feel things, and get "that feeling" on occasion, but certainly don't walk around seeing auras and ghosts all day! But oh, that house in Indiana!

We bought an enormous brick house on Ohio St., in Terre Haute, Indiana in 2002 from the son of the owner. The owner, Virginia, had fallen down the stairs and died later in a nursing home. Virginia moved into that house when she was 9 years old, and lived there with her grandparents, and later her husband and children, until she died in 2001 in her 90s. Her son wanted nothing to do with the house, or the contents, and lived on the east coast. He and his daughters cleaned out some personal effects, clothing, and papers, but left everything else in there, and we bought the place, as-is.

This was an enormous house - 3600 sq.ft, not including the full 7' tall basement and the ballroom-like attic. And every inch of it was stuffed with the remnants of 90 years of one family living there. I found the grandmother's junk drawer and utensil drawer in the kitchen right next to Virginia's junk drawer and utensil drawer. Nothing ever got removed or replaced unless it was complete trash, and even then it might stay.

We knew from stories from the son, and from neighbors, that it was not always a happy house. Virginia's husband had died when he fell down the stairs some years before. Her grandmother had died in her bedroom on the second floor. (And if you're into architecture, this house was where I learned about the Coffin Door on Victorian houses, as it had one, as one of the FIVE exterior doors I was paranoid about locking every night.) I didn't get evil vibes from the house, though, and so we moved in. On top of Virginia's Crap, as it became known.

The first night I was in the house (my now-ex-husband moved down there 5 months before me to rewire and properly plumb the house) I was in Virgina's old bedroom, which we had decided was to be our room, and I was setting up the baby crib for our then-2 son. While I was working with the hardware and such I saw a bright light out of the corner of my eye, and then there was an explosion next to me. I screamed as bits of glass flew all over me, and he came running up the stairs to find that the ceiling fixture had "fallen" off the ceiling and landed next to me on the footboard of our bed where it shattered. We figured it was Virginia saying "hi."

Turns out it was her grandmother. Over the next two years we had many encounters with the grandmother, particularly in her bedroom, which became my sewing room. She didn't like my then-husband one bit, and would flutter in his ear and appear in the corner of his eye while he was removing the wallpaper from the walls (that was what passed for household division of labor in those days - he had to strip the wallpaper and wash the ancient paste off the walls, and I would repair the plaster, skim coat them, then finish.) She unnerved him a little, but never bothered me except for the one time when she fluttered in my ear. I said hello, and she left me alone after that, in what became my favorite room in the house.

The house had lots of walking noises, several roving cold spots, and eventually was the final straw in my already-failing marriage. The grandmother finally stopped pestering us at all after I asked my parich priest to come bless the house and he performed a release of spitits ritual and blessed the room.

When my step-father, Pop, died suddenly, I cried myself to sleep. The next morning I felt he was bugging, pestering me, and he wasn't stopping. Finally I ended up sitting at the piano, and he made me play Fur Elise for him, and I felt him leave about halfway through, after I'd played his favorite part. He used to sit and listen to me practice for hours on end, and would encourage and critique and be my number one fan, and I learned Fur Elise for him, and worked on getting the style the way he wanted it. I haven't played it since that morning. he has been known to play pranks and leave notes, too, like the time we came home to find the thermostat turned up to 90F right after we booked a trip the the Caribbean. And when Mom was having some woodwork done in the living room, she was worried about matching the stain since he had custom-blended it himself back in the day. And a ragged slip of paper showed up in his handwriting with the recipe on it, and nothing else.

I know there's more, but that's it for now. But if you think about it, pretty much every religion in the world acknowledges some kind of a spirit world with which we can communicate in one way or another. Just the fact that the priest was prepared and unsurprised, and had multiple levels of alternatives surprised me! I suppose it shouldn't have, but it did.

We don't know everything yet, but we sure like to pretend we do!

If you have a story of your own, feel free to add it to the comments! And Dan, if I missed any good ones about Virgina's house, please chime in!

1 comment:

Sara said...

LOL I like to save these stories for Halloween time. :) Great post. Especially like the note about the stain mixture. I live in the hauntingess town in Ohio. The stories locals tell are toe curling. My house may or may not be, we keep up the illusion and play tricks on the teen. :D