Because tomorrow is Halloween and, on top of that, we are going to have a full, blue moon, I thought we needed some good old-fashioned ghost stories today.
Let me start by explaining that scary things have been happening in my house. I wake up in the morning and things that had been on tables and counters are now scattered all over the floor. Flower arrangements have been left in disarray. Garbage pails have been overturned and paper towels are shredded and left in a sad white pile. We hear thundering footsteps throughout the house all night long!
Is it a poltergeist?
An evil spirit?
A ghost of a long-lost relative.
Nope – kittens!
Don’t look at the picture and say “awwww!” They’re not sleeping – they’re recharging.
But what if these things happen to you and you don’t have two eight-month-old kittens in your house? (I’ll answer that at the end of my post.)
Yesterday, I read a Facebook post from a new friend of mine. She was putting together a list of things about herself, and one of the things she listed was that she didn’t like ghost stories. The reason? When she was a little girl, she was visiting her cousins’ house. She thought she heard them running upstairs, so she went upstairs to join them. Except, there was no one there. Then, the bathroom door flew open on its own, the light turned on, and the toilet flushed – all in an empty bathroom. She flew back down the stairs in terror. I can understand why she might not be excited to read ghost stories.
My favorite ghost story – and the very first Freaky Friday – is one I tell every time I get to tell stories to an audience. The story was told to me at least twenty years ago by a woman who had just come back from visiting her daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren in their historic home in Pennsylvania. She explained that they’d just finished eating dinner in the dining room and had moved into the adjoining living room to visit. Her chair was situated so she could still see the dining room on one side. As she visited with her family, she caught a movement in the corner of her eye from the dining room. She turned to see a little boy, dressed in period clothing, float across the room, and then disappear into the wall. She said that the surprise must have shown on her face because her four-year-old grandson came over to her, patted her hand, smiled reassuringly at her, and then whispered, “Don’t worry, Grandma, that’s just the attic people.”
Years ago, Marge, an elderly woman who used to be a librarian, told me a story from her youth. Marge’s father rented farmland and the whole family would help work the farm. Marge’s mother had passed away, so her older sister and husband lived in the house with them. The older sister would take care of the household jobs and her husband helped the dad work the farm.
Marge was the youngest in the family and, other than her older sister, also had several older brothers. She slept on the second floor of the house – it was more of an attic than a second floor. The staircase to her bedroom was in the middle of the house, with walls on either side of the steep stairs. She said that she would walk up the stairs and then hear them creaking behind her. Sure that it was one of her brothers trying to scare her, she would turn in the narrow space, but no one would be there.
Several times at night she woke up to discover someone standing next to her bed. Again, assuming it was her brothers trying to tease her, she would tell it to go away. One night when she was very tired and had lost patience with whoever it was, she knelt up in her bed and threw a punch to hit whoever it was in the stomach. Her hand went through the thing standing next to her bed. She screamed and buried herself in her blankets.
One day when her sister was home alone, the children were at school and her husband and father out in the fields, she heard some noise coming from her bedroom. Assuming her husband had come home to change, she called from the kitchen into him. He didn’t respond. She called again. But he still didn’t respond. Finally, still hearing noises coming from the room, she turned down the pot on the stove and hurried into their bedroom. She was shocked to find that all of the drawers in the room were open and all of their belongings had been strewn all over the room. But no one else was in the house.
Marge said that they finally moved out of the house because they couldn’t take it any longer. They found another house to rent while they worked the farm.
The house was in a small town close to me called Scioto Mills. A couple of years ago, I drove past the location Marge had given me and found an interesting development. An old farmhouse still sat on the property totally intact and ready for habitation, but obviously abandoned. And just a few yards away from the house a mobile home stood in the front yard for the property’s current occupants. I guess someone is still “living” in the old farmhouse and doesn’t like company.
My son, Dave, has several friends who are firefighters who all pitched in together a bought a house several years ago. Dave spent the weekend in the new house with his friends and, on a lazy Sunday morning, he and one of the owners were watching television in the living room while the other two men were gone. Dave was sitting on the couch and his friend was in a recliner across from him. Dave got up to get a drink from the kitchen, paused behind his friend’s recliner, and tapped him on the shoulder, “Hey, do you want anything?”
In the space between Dave’s question and his friend’s answer, Dave heard the distinct sound of a little girl giggling coming from the floor vent just behind him. He turned to his friend and asked, “Did you hear that?”
His friend nodded. “So, you heard it too?” he asked.
“Yeah, what’s going on?” Dave asked.
The man shrugged. “I have no idea,” he confessed. “I’ve heard her a couple of times in here and a couple of times in my bedroom.”
“How about the other guys?” Dave asked.
The man met Dave’s eyes and shook his head. “Do you really think I’m going to ask them if they heard a ghost?”
Dave said that the basement was finished, and the house was really solid, so it couldn’t have been just wind or a natural phenomenon. He said, “Mom, I heard a little’s girl giggle. It was like “ha-ha-ha-ha.” There was no mistaking it.”
So, to answer my question from the beginning of the blog “What if these things happen to you, and you don’t have two eight-month-old kittens in your house?”
It’s time to get some kittens!