Monday, October 31, 2016

Nurse the Hate: The Ghost Story

A friend of mine went to school with someone that lived in an old farmhouse.  The house was one of the oldest in the community, built sometime in the early 1800s.  It had been updated over the years but retained its essential character.  The family had moved into it after moving to the area after years in New England.  The mother was very transfixed by colonial architecture and crafts.  A visit to the house was like falling into a Yankee Peddler warehouse.  It was very well done though and the family loved the traditional look and feel of the home.  There was only one real issue with the house.  They maintained it had ghosts.

I am a big fan of the idea of ghosts.  The idea of a time frozen apparition floating through the living room is interesting.  Who wouldn’t want some see-through hazy woman in an Elizabethan dress slowly passing through the room?  Ghosts are always distinguished figures from a gilded age.  Granted, it would be really disappointing if it were some white trash guy in overalls drinking a can of Stroh’s that passed through your walls.  Still, shouldn’t the law of averages dictate that some hillbilly ghosts are out there?  It’s always the sad and tragic figure when clothes were stylish.  No one has reported a ghost in a leisure suit that I am aware.  Over the years I have been exposed to numerous ghost stories and even requested “haunted” rooms at a hotel in New Orleans and Wilmington NC.  No dice.  I’ve never seen a ghost.  I still like the idea though.

So this farmhouse sat at the edge of town where it is still somewhat rural.  The family first became aware of the ghosts when they pulled into the driveway to see two children playing with dated toys in the front yard.  The boy had knickers on and the girl had a high collared dress that looked like a costume.  The kids would see the family pull in the driveway and then run off around the house with their toys.  This continued for months at random times with the same basic ritual.  They moved in a gliding type fashion that seemed odd to everyone.  It just felt “off” to everyone.  Still, the family thought it was just some weird neighbor family of home-schooled kooks.

Things ratcheted up to a new level when the lights kept going on and off in the hallway which was always preceded by a chill in the house.  The family called an electrician who found nothing wrong.  The lights continued to go on and off for no reason.  This is when they began to joke about the “ghosts” in the house.  Who left the light on?  Must have been the ghosts!  Ha-ha!  It was all a big lark until they started to see the children appear in the house running up and down the stairs.

I think if I was alone in the house as the teenage daughter was the first time it happened and two kids from the early 1900s appeared out of nowhere to run up the stairs in front of me I would either “freak the fuck out” or “really freak the fuck out”.  It would definitely be somewhere in that range.  She got past it somehow.  That’s when a funny thing happened.  The family just got used to it.  They even began to like it.  They would talk to the kid ghosts and tell them to knock it off when the lights started to flicker.  It was like they had cousins staying there that they got used to having around.  It had become so commonplace that they looked at it like someone would a temperamental toilet.  It was just more character in the house.  It was the ultimate Yankee Peddler purchase.

The only reason I know this story is my friend stayed there one night after a crazy beer fueled bender.  He stayed in the guest room, completely unaware of the story of the “ghosts”.  They had become such a part of the household, the family didn’t even really talk about them any longer. It had been going on for years.  My buddy was passed out.  He suddenly became aware of being really cold and woke up thinking about getting another blanket.  He opened his eyes and there standing at the end of the bed staring at him were the two kids.  He was startled obviously and said “Jesus!  You scared me!  What are you doing up?”.  He thought it was two kids that were houseguests.  “Shouldn’t you be in bed?”  They looked at him a second longer and then turned around and walked out of the room saying nothing.  He said it was just like having two kids in the room but dressed from 1906.  He went back to sleep thinking how odd the incident had been.  Why are those kids out of bed and in my room?

In the morning he woke up and asked about the kids that were staying there.  Everyone laughed and said “You met the kids!  They are our ghosts!” as you would if a cat had hopped on your bed in the middle of the night.  They filled him in on their history with the ghosts.  He was a little freaked out.  He ran the event over in his mind trying to remember all the details.  He became really obsessed by it.  He went back to the house a few times over the years.  Sometimes they would drink wine and try to talk to the kids on a ouiji board.  It never worked though.  He never saw them again.  I remember when he told me the story I didn’t believe it.  I still don’t.  I would have liked to have slept in that guest room though.           


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