Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ghost Story

Before I moved to Spirit Creek Farm, I owned and lived in a haunted house. Oh yeah, buddy, it's true. The activity there eventually became so overt and disturbing that Indians had to rescue me, a descendant of cowboys.

In 1991 I bought my first home, an old house built in the 1880's. I fell in love with it the minute I walked in. Though it was old and very plain, I was so excited! I could not have been more proud of the place. I had no bad or frightening feelings about the place during the purchasing process.

A night or two after moving in, I was watching television in the living room and it was late. My son was asleep on the sofa beside me. I heard the side door leading up the back stairs close. My cat heard it, too. I was a bit concerned even though I knew I had checked and double checked the locks for every outside door earlier that evening. The house was located in a pretty rough part of town so I was not taking any chances. My first thought was someone who still had a key had come in through the side door.

As I went to investigate, the door at the top of the back stairs slammed shut. Earlier that door had been shut tightly and bolted securely from the inside. It was a stop on the nightly rounds.

"Impossible!" I thought. I looked at my cat and his ears and eyes were focused in the direction of the upstairs door as if he was still hearing something up there. Adrenaline shot through me and I headed for the phone to dial 911. Before I could reach the phone, the door at the top of the front stairs slammed shut! That was the last straw and I grabbed my son, fleeing the house in a panic. Sorry to say I left my poor cat there to fend for himself.

We spent the rest of the night in my car in the driveway of my daughter's apartment. It was so late I did not want to wake her up. I knew for certain those doors at home were all locked. Being away from the house, it was easy to tell myself I had only scared myself with noises in the dark, so I did not call the police. But, I also did not go home until full daylight.

When I returned, my cat was fine. All the doors were still securely locked and there was no sign of anyone entering the home. The upper door on the back stairway was still bolted shut. The upper door of the front stairway was still wide open. New carpet had just been installed and all the interior doors had to be forcibly dragged across the carpet to open or shut them. The nap of the carpet showed no signs of the door being moved whatsoever.

That was the beginning of nine years of creepy stuff.

My little son would scream in terror at night because he could hear someone walking past his bed. He claimed he could hear someone speaking to him, but he could not understand them. He said they were speaking Spanish. I did all I could to help him not be afraid. I moved his bed to the other side of the wall from my bed and left both bedroom doors open. I allowed him to sleep with the lights on. I gave him prayers to say and various talismans in an effort to help him be unafraid. Most nights he ended up in my bed because it was the only way either of us could get any sleep.

The bathroom was located at the top of the back stairs. Whenever I was in that room, I felt as if someone was watching me. Sometimes the feeling was overwhelming and I would have to get the hell out of there. Every time I walked downstairs, the feeling on the back of my neck was most unpleasant. It felt as if someone was shouting or angrily calling to me, though I could never hear anything. It just felt that way. One day I became angry at being afraid in my own house. As I reached the bottom of the stairs, I turned and gave "the finger" to the unseen presence. I angrily shouted "Leave me the hell alone!" And it did - for a while.

My German Shepherd, Nuke, was glued to my side whenever he was in the house. If I was soaking in a hot tub, he was laying on the floor as close to the tub as he could get. One day he began acting afraid of the clothes I had just taken off and tossed into a heap on the floor. He approached the clothes to sniff them but became too afraid and cowered back. I thought there was a mouse in the clothes, and started laughing at my big tough German Shepherd for being afraid of a mouse. I quietly leaned toward the clothes and jerked them off the floor, fully expecting a mouse to run out. Nothing - but my dog hit the floor, cowering on his belly, trying to hide beneath the bathtub! I ran out of that room buck-naked and my dog beat me down the stairs. Way too creepy!

Sometimes I would experience a feeling of dread and heaviness in that house. If I was in the kitchen folding clothes or doing something quiet, I would hear the microwave timer "dinging" so softly that it was only just audible. It was as if it was being powered by a fading battery. The microwave only did that when the heavy feeling was particularly palpable. One evening my grown daughter dropped by for a visit. She had gone into the kitchen for something. When she returned, she asked, "How can you stand living in this house?!" The feeling was particularly heavy that night, but I had not mentioned it to her. She felt it for herself.

The lights would flicker sometimes, different times, different rooms but I did not give that much thought. It was such an old house and the electrical system was substandard. Over time, I noticed the flickering always coincided with conversation of the strange happenings in the house. It was uncanny. If we were actually discussing a "ghost", the lights would actually go out for a brief moment in the room of the conversation. If we were in the kitchen, or in the dining room, or the living room, the lights would flicker out in whatever room we were in at the time.

The first crisis happened one night when my son was asleep beside me as I was reading. Nuke always slept on the floor beside my bed, so he was familiar with all motion and noises of a water bed. That night as I shifted in the bed, the "wave" lifted my son's sleeping body up. Nuke jumped up, growling ferociously, the hair raised on his back. He loved my son, who was just a little boy at that time. Nuke had never growled at him before, ever, but there he was barking like mad at something. The next day I called some Native American friends to see what they knew about getting a ghost out of my house.

The first man I contacted came with his wife. He did ceremony before he came and then smudged the interior of the house. He said he could not compel the spirit to leave, but he assured me it was "under strict orders to leave you and your son alone." As soon as they left, my son looked up at me and said "Momma, that spirit is still here." And so it was. The activity and strange things seemed to temporarily subside for awhile, but before long it was back at previous levels.

It was almost a year later when I confided the haunting troubles to my friend, Leonard McKinney, a Potawatomi elder. He was concerned and explained that he could clear the house, if that was what I wanted. I gratefully accepted his offer. A few days later he came with feathers, cedar and sage, and powerful prayers. He went through the entire house, getting in every little nook and cranny, including the basement. His work made a marked difference. All the little strange things stopped and it felt much brighter in our house. In the long run, though, it seemed to either have made the ghost "angry" or something worse came in. Eventually my son began waking up, screaming in terror again. But in the short term, I felt as if the house was cleared and tried to ease his fears. I thought seeing adult men take the situation seriously had frightened my son rather than reassure him.

One day some friends dropped by. They asked about the strange happenings in the house. They specifically asked about the "ghost". I had just said it was gone for good when the front door swept open, the overhead fan came on, and a book laying open over the arm of my chair slid off, falling unnaturally to the "light side" of the book. It was one smooth string of events in perfect timing. We gaped at one another in astonishment, then started laughing like crazy.

Another unusual thing happened when my parents came to visit. Several times during the day, my step father heard water running in the kitchen or in the basement. The first two times, I checked but found nothing amiss. As the day progressed and he continued to hear something, I ignored him. I said he was hearing things. That night I had just dropped off to sleep when I was shocked awake by my stepfather shouting up the stairs. He was shouting "There is water all over the kitchen floor and spewing out from under the sink!"

I rushed down stairs to find the hot water line to the faucet had somehow come lose and was shooting hot water everywhere. I had to go down into the dark, creepy basement to shut the water off to the entire house. I could not reach the valve under the sink without being scalded by the hot water. It was a big mess. We all wondered about the "warnings" my step father had been given all day.

My daughter and I had been given Native American flutes made by our friend Ken. In the evenings, we loved to sit on the front porch playing them. They have a plaintive, lovely sound. Ken is a flute and drum maker, an artist, a Pipe carrier, and a Vietnam veteran. He is actually a medicine man - a spiritually powerful person. During that summer when we first got the flutes, my son woke up terrified one night. He dreamed his sister and I were on the front porch playing the flutes when a large, powerful, ugly man came storming out of the back of the house, enraged and evil, screaming "Those god damned flutes! I am going to kill you all!"

That was the absolute final straw! I called Ken and told him the whole story. He knew what to do. This time, we had a ceremony at my house. Ken smudged the interior of my home, and the exterior, and placed a medicine bundle in my home for protection. Other friends came to participate in the ceremony. We shared a meal and generated a lot of light and love that night in addition to Ken's spiritual work. The house was cleared at last. The energy of the house felt noticeably different. Something had shifted and I was thankful. The remainder of the time we lived there we experienced no more problems that were obviously "ghost" related, and my son's nightmares began to diminish in both intensity and frequency.

I had the distinct feeling that whatever had left my home was biding its time, waiting to return. I think it caused trouble for us in the neighborhood after that. (Well, my neighbors were already horrible, so it may be a moot point.) My cat, who seldom went outdoors, was poisoned by my evil neighbor lady. I had to have him put to sleep for liver failure. We learned of the poisoning later when the granddaughter told my son her grandmother had sprayed my gentle, loving cat with herbicide when she caught him in her yard. That same year (1999), I moved to Spirit Creek Farm, far away from all those crazy neighbors. Ten days after I moved, my dear German Shepherd Nuke died of unexpected liver failure. I suspect the grandmother from hell sprayed him with herbicide over the fence, too.

The bad luck continued even after I moved away. I had a dismal time renting the house while I tried to sell it. I made double house payments for four years. The house sat empty for most of those four years. I came home from an extended business trip to find thousands of dollars in water damage. It had to be repaired before it could be placed back on the market.

When my son was older, I hired him to paint in the house during the day. The first day he accomplished a lot, the second day, not so much, so I "fired" him. Later he admitted he heard a voice calling his name repeatedly. He bolted out of the house the second day and would not return alone. He confided this to his sister, so I believe he was telling the truth, and not merely making up an excuse to get out of work.

A very angry realtor called me one day. She was showing the house and discovered six dead birds! No broken windows. No open doors. No sign of the birds when I was there a few days prior. Many more things happened, too many to list here.

Last but certainly not least, I had decided what I wanted as a selling price for the home. Against my realtor's wishes, I made her list it at that price. I soon received a call from one very incredulous realtor telling me there was a legitimate offer on the house for my asking price. During the inspection, when the water was being run at full blast through all the sinks and the tub, water began pouring out of the newly repaired ceiling. This ultimately killed the sale. When I talked to the guy who had done the repairs, he was adamant he had checked all his work before he closed the ceiling up and that it was not leaking. The weather had been mild since he had done the work, and no one lived in the house, so it was logical to think he had overlooked something. I believed him when he said it was not leaking when he sealed the sheet rock. It was just one more instance of the strange circumstances in that house.

Some months later, at long last, the house sold for exactly what I still owed on it. I did not gain a penny in equity after a dozen years of payments. That house and the bad luck associated with it cost me a fortune. It strained and broke some friendships, to my regret. It cost the lives of two innocent animals, not to mention the emotional toll on my son, among other things. I was never so glad to be rid of something as I was when the place finally sold.

A young couple eventually bought the place - (they got a GREAT deal on the price!). They qualified for a program aimed at sprucing up older neighborhoods so they were able to make many improvements I could never afford. But, to this day, the house continues to hold bad luck. The young couple were only there for a short time, and the house has been empty since - almost seven years, now. I think the spirit moved back in as soon as I took down the medicine bundle Ken placed in there. I think the spirit is determined that no one else will ever disturb its domain again. I do not own the house any longer and have no emotional ties to it, so I am okay with that idea. Though I do think the best possible scenario would be if the spirit moved in next door with the herbicidal grandmother.

No comments: