Gather 'round, friends, and, in the spirit of Halloween, I will share some ghostly encounters with you. I assure you, they are all true. If you are not inclined to believe that those who have passed on sometimes come back to visit, I will not try to convince you. I will only say that you've obviously never been to my house.
A little background for those of you who may not know. The house my family and I live in was built around the time of the Civil War. We don't have any records that reflect the specific date it was built, but it was some time in the 1860's. It was moved to it's current location, but we don't know exactly when or from where it was moved. I suspect it wasn't moved very far as it's a two story house and I would think it would have been difficult and time consuming to move it even the shortest of distances. The portion of the house where the kitchen, laundry room and half bath are located was added on to the house in the 1920's. While we know it has had many occupants over the years, we don't know much about them. I have speculated about them, and you can read more about that here if you're interested (there's also an easy, delicious recipe to be found there).
Shortly after we moved into this house, we noticed an odd thing. From time to time a strong smell would suddenly be present. It wasn't a bad smell, but rather a sweet, perfume like smell. It would just seem to waft through the room, linger for a few minutes and disappear. It was February when we moved in, so we certainly didn't have any windows open. There was no chance it was coming from outdoors. It still happens once in a while, but not as often as it used to. It was never frightening. Quite the contrary, it was rather pleasant.
We didn't notice anything else unusual until after we renovated. That was when we started to see and hear things we couldn't explain. Of course there were the squeaks, creaks, and popping sounds common to every house, but we also started to hear footsteps and doors closing. It's also become common to hear someone talking in an empty room. I often turn around to answer what I think is one of the kids talking to me to find I'm alone. It's happened to all of us at one time or another.
During the day, while the kids are at school and Mr. Willoughby is at work, I'm home alone. There have been plenty of times, though, that I've heard footsteps in the upstairs hallway and the sound of doors closing. Once it went on for so long that I was certain someone had broken into the house and was ransacking the bedrooms. I called Mr. Willoughby at work and had him stay on the phone with me while I investigated. I was scared out of my mind, sure that I was going to walk in on a robbery in progress. I tiptoed up the stairs and the noises stopped. I went quietly from room to room, looking under beds and behind closet doors, but I couldn't find anything out of place.
The kids have heard strange things, too. My son and his girlfriend once heard all the drawers in my daughter's room slamming repeatedly. When they went to see what was going on, they found nothing. My daughter hadn't even been in her room.
My son's room also has it share of unexplained incidences. His bedroom door and his closet door both open by themselves regularly. Once, after his birthday, he had some helium party balloons in his room. They were hovering near the ceiling in the corner when suddenly the string became taught on one and it floated through the room as if being pulled by an unseen child.
The first time I caught a glimpse of a person was in the upstairs hallway. I was getting the basket of dirty clothes out of the bottom of the linen closet at the time. I saw something move on the stairs, so I craned my neck to see what it was. There, on the landing, where the stairs turn toward the living room, was a small boy dressed in blue. He was looking down the stairs and didn't seem to notice me at all. Startled, I took a step back where I could no longer see him. When I got the courage to look again, he was gone.
Mr. Willoughby saw someone walk through the house early one morning. It was dark and quiet and he had just finished making coffee. He was standing at the kitchen island, looking through the dining room when he thought he saw me cross the entryway in the living room. He realised immediately that he could still hear the shower running and that it couldn't have been me. He checked the living room and found no one.
There have been many instances like that. Never, though, has the person we've seen resembled the sort of ghosts you see in movies. They are not transparent, glowing or surrounded by an eerie light. They are solid and three dimensional.
The most recent incident happened last week. Mr. Willoughby and I were sitting in kitchen when I heard one of the kid's footsteps and I felt that sort of "presence" you feel when someone is standing behind you. Before I could turn around to see who it was, I noticed that Mr. Willoughby had an odd expression on his face. "That was really strange," he said. When I asked him about it, he said that he had seen the reflection of a person in the glass on the framed prints in the dining room, which was to my back. If someone had come up behind me, as I had felt they did, they would have had to pass the prints on their way into the kitchen.
Again, I swear to you that all of these stories are true. You can be skeptical if you want to, I won't hold it against you. You may wonder, too, if we're scared or put off by the strange events. The answer is no, we're really not. It's all part of living in an old house for us.
Have your own ghost story to share? I'd love to hear it!