Sunday, January 29, 2006

A true ghost story

I've always liked this house. It is a large older home, three full floors, and a basement. It's full of the beautiful oak woodwork that seems to be lost in these days of rapid home building. I came occasionally to visit my boss's daughter when she lived here, and it was then that I gained an appreciation for the place.

Fast-forward fifteen years. A divorce for me, and nowhere to live. The house was empty and my boss offered me the opportunity to stay here until I got back on my feet. I was very excited, this big beautiful place with all this antique furniture all to myself! It hadn't had a good clean for a while and I came over, arms loaded with cleaning supplies and got busy. I was scrubbing the kitchen down and got the distinct feeling I was not alone. I am no stranger to ghosts, I grew up with one in fact, and had heard at work various stories about the ghost who lived here, so the feeling wasn't uncomfortable and I continued with my work.

Towards evening, I was getting ready to leave, though I had some things to take up to the second floor for storage. The lights were on? I hadn't turned them on and assumed either my boss or her husband had left them on and thought nothing of it and went upstairs. The floor plan is a bit odd and after the steps, you make a turn to go down the hall to the rest of the rooms on the second floor. As I rounded the corner, the hairs went up on the back of my neck and I felt icy cold and was confronted with a feeling of malevolent anger like I have never experienced in my life. I could see nothing, but knew I had walked in to the ghost's 'lair'. I did what I had to up there and finally the feeling was too much even for me and I was running out the door when I left that evening.

Sitting outside in the car, my heart finally stopped racing to where I could think about what I had experienced. Ok....I had a ghost here. I knew this before. I can deal with this. After all, I have a background well steeped in 'other realms'. I am an astrologer, I read the tarot and have studied many different systems of magic. Why should I, of all people, be afraid of a ghost?

I wasn't able to get back to the house for about a week, having been out of town. My car had died on the return trip and I had to move in immediately on my return. I got my dog, went to the house, and crawled gratefully into one of the beds - I had forgotten about the ghost. But only for a moment. As I laid there, I could feel the presence in the room and obviously so could the dog, as my sweet natured shepherd stood up in bed, hackles up, fangs bared and emitted a long low growl I never thought possible to come out of her. I put my head under the covers, hoping it would go away, and spent a sleepless night listening to footsteps and bumps and bangs from the second floor.

There was much teasing when I went to work in the morning, "What's the matter, didn't you sleep well?", they chided. They had all known about the ghost and had been wondering how my first night was going to be, and my dishevelled look in the morning was the cause of a lot of laughter.

After I related my what happened, the stories of the ghost from my boss and her daughter began to come out, though nothing serious. Just general, harmless poltergeist activity. I started to feel a little better by the end of the day and my resolve renewed that this ghost wasn't going to get the better of me. I came home from work, all the kitchen cupboard doors were open, and the lights were on again on the second floor. Great. I tried to ignore it, turned the radio on, listened to the Christopher Freville show and got busy organising things.

There was a beautiful antique desk I wanted to use in my office space, and after I got it positioned, I went to open the drawers to put things away. None of them would open. I cursed and struggled with them and then gave up, figuring the desk was old, drawers sticking and went outside for a cigarette. When I came back in, all the drawers and doors on the desk were open. That got a chuckle out of me and I started to relax and see the humour of the situation. Until I went upstairs. The blasted lights were on again! I don't make very much money and the realisation that this would effect my electricity bill was not sitting well with me. I appealed to my email group for some help in dealing with 'The Spook' as I now had started calling him.

Confront him, I was told. Made a bit of sense when I thought about it. After all, here is this stranger in 'his' house, and I think I would be upset if the position was reversed? So I marched myself up to the first floor, introduced myself and threatened to remove the light bulbs if he kept playing with the switches. I told him I was living there and he had better get used to it, I would not bother him and I would appreciate him not bothering me as the house was big enough for both of us.

That seemed to work for a while. At night, there were still bumps and footsteps on the second floor, and occasionally he would open my cupboards, but I started to get used to his presence and it really didn't bother me so much anymore. In fact, now I wanted to try to make contact somehow, but with work and trying to be organised, I never really had time.

My kids didn't adjust so easily. They live with their father primarily and I only get them for long weekends because of the distance of our two cities. My daughter is very sensitive and I figured if anything, she would pick up on this ghost immediately and I didn't want them scared, so I went up beforehand and had another chat with the spook, hoping he could keep it quiet while they were there. My daughter walked in, took three steps, and declared the house was haunted. Great. I didn't let on what I knew though, knowing how young imaginations run away easily. My son, who has a very vivid imagination, and was now goaded on by his sister, refused to be upstairs by himself. I didn't push the issue and we all spent the night in the living room for their visits.

I knew I had to do some sort of cleansing and this 'spook', needed to be well and truly on his way, as my kids were too frightened. I tried to explain away all the bumps and footsteps, but they weren't buying my excuses. They were so scared they didn't even want to stay with me. My ex-husband came over during their next visit, and having heard all the talk about the ghost, marched up to the second floor and nosed around, making fun of the whole situation.

That night, my son, who decided he would stay with me instead of his grandma, came down with a miserable dose of flu. The 'spook', obviously upset by my ex's intrusion into his domain, was at his worst. Doors slammed upstairs and I have no clue WHAT he was using to make the bumping noises, but it was very loud. My son was terrified, and while I wanted to go up and have a late night chat with 'ghosty', my son didn't want me to leave his side. It was a very hard night.

In the morning, I gathered up my sage and sea salt and a crystal. My son was feeling a little better and my daughter was now back after breakfast with grandma. I felt it would be best if they were part of the cleansing, so they could also feel some power over the situation. I went through, cleansed the whole house, and tied a crystal on the one rafter on the second floor, though the crystal was more of benefit for my children, as they believed it was a protection barrier between worlds.

I am not sure if it worked. I haven't come home to any open cupboards. No more footsteps or banging. I haven't really felt his presence anywhere though I haven't been up to the second floor since the cleansing either. Maybe he has gone?

I hope he rests in peace.