Our house... Dear God! Is that a withered old hand I spot pulling back a curtain in the attic?
The very first day we moved into this house a kindly gentleman from around these parts came over to help us hook up our washer and dryer. While screwing screws, tightening bolts and jimmying this hose and that clamp he casually informed me that the place is haunted. In that peculiar Pennsylvania accent that sounds like someone's talking through a mouthful of marbles, he proceeded to tell me about a friend of his who had a couple run-ins with the lady ghost of the manor.
This house is historic in this town. In 1918 the town experienced a disastrous fire sparked from a nearby bakery. No lives were lost but 75% of the town burned to the ground. Charred. Nothing left. The fire burned two churches, every business except the bank, 32 stables and 41 homes. Flames burned every house on Main street (our street) but stopped at our house which makes it one of the oldest in town.
One of the main reasons I like thrifted clothing is that every item has a story. Who wore it? What happened when they wore it? Maybe someone got engaged while wearing this dress, maybe someone else held their dying mother while wearing this shirt... Who knows? But I like the idea, relish the thought that I am linked to strangers from across the years. It helps me feel connected and part of a grand scheme of life on earth in a way that a new V-neck from Old Navy can't quite swing, you know?
Same goes for living in old houses like one finds out here in the country. People give birth and live and die in these kinds of houses. Hard living too. Up with the rooster doing chores all day kind of living. Farm folks who couldn't just hop in the SUV and head to the hospital at the slightest ailment. How many babies were born in the bedroom I sleep in at night? How many people whispered last words before drawing final breaths in my daughter's room? This is the kind of stuff I like to think about in old houses like this.
So word has it the place is haunted. As he was flipping switches and wiring wires and doing whatever it is that one does when hooking up a washer, my neighbor told me about the ghost. It seems a friend of his used to live in this home several years back. (Seems like everyone in town had a grandmother, aunt, or cousin that used to live in this home at one time or another.) This friend claims to have had a run in with a woman who is said to have lived here in the early 1900s. The man telling me the story couldn't remember the woman's name but said that his friend isn't the only one who thinks our house is haunted by her, that several people claim she is still around.
The gist of the friend's story is that he was bathing in our claw foot bathtub after work one day. He was relaxing in the hot soapy water when someone opened the bathroom door. Now, he claims the door was initially shut and latched so who knows? He apparently called the ghost he suspected opened the door by name and kindly told her to give him a bit of privacy while he finished washing up. That's when the door slammed shut.
Even with my bullshit meter buried firmly in the red after hearing that little ditty one still might think the story would raise a few hairs on my neck, especially in darkest of night when the wind howls in the trees next to my window causing branches to drag splintery fingers across my windowpane beckoning me to get up, get up and take in the night. But one would be wrong. Damn but I'd love to run into a ghost. I would be thrilled to run into a ghost, in fact. I don't have to see the full monty, I'd be happy with a door banging open or a chair tipping over, I'm not difficult to impress. I long for paranormal activity on the home front because it would prove to me that something happens after death, even if it's some sad, tormented spirit retreading familiar footsteps it's a sign of something, isn't it? And something, in my deathly scared of death opinion, is a whole lot better than ashes to ashes and dust to dust.
With this house being well over one hundred years old, chances are high that more than a few people kissed their earthly existence goodbye within these walls. Hell, maybe someone was even murdered here. I've got to think one or two angry wives slipped some arsenic in their fellas' dinner back before an autopsy would reveal the truth. And so, instead of fearing the dark basement or the rotting old stable that still sits on this property, I revel in the history that fills each room hoping that one of these days somebody from the other side decides to have a little fun with me.
What about you? Got any halfway decent ghost stories or unexplained happenings? Any spirits ever tried to tangle with you? Do you believe in ghosts or is it all ashes and dust after this?