My Father's Ghost
When I was a kid, I loved ghost stories, and so did my best friends. We were always telling each other tales about haunted houses, ghosts, escaped maniacs, and other spooky tales. Supposedly true scary stories were our favorites. As an adult, I outgrew most of this, although I have enjoyed reading a few so-called true accounts of hauntings and other types of paranormal activity as an adult. I must say, however, when I read such supposed true scary stories, I always take them with a grain of salt. It’s not that I think all these people are lying – I just think that the human mind is very susceptible to the power of suggestion, and it can play tricks sometimes. That said, I always tried to have an open mind about paranormal activity. I definitely believe that there are things beyond our comprehension, but I wasn't sure I believed in ghosts or spirits. In 2003, something happened to me that forced me to have second thoughts about my former assumptions.
Before I get into this first-person account of paranormal activity, I want to explain a couple of things. First of all, I’m a normal, reasonable person. I’m honest, I have a college degree, and I’m well respected in my community. I believe that Elvis is really dead, that man has walked on the moon, and that dinosaurs existed. I’ve never been abducted by a UFO, and in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a UFO. Before these hauntings, I had never seen anything that I couldn’t explain, except for some strange sea creature that was also witnessed by lots of other folks at the same time, including a park ranger. I’m telling you all this so that you’ll understand that I’m a down-to-earth person. Okay, on with the story.
I had always been very close to my father, and people always said we looked just alike. I adored my mother, but Dad and I had a special connection, which is often the case with fathers and daughters. In 2001, my father shot himself with his .38. He was 85 at the time, and had several illnesses that weren’t going to go away. The bullet didn’t end his suffering, however, and he lived for three weeks in ICU, hooked up to all sorts of machines that forced life into his time-ravaged body. The last words my father ever spoke were uttered in the emergency room. As I was walking into his cubicle, he asked, “Where’s Holle?” That’s me.
I went to see Daddy every day when he was in ICU. My family and I had a regular schedule for visiting. Mom would go in the mornings and spend most of the day with Dad. I’d take over as soon as I got off work at 3:30, and my brother would come when I left, at about six or seven. My sister-in-law was in charge of ICU, so she was in and out frequently to visit and check on Dad. My daughters also visited.
My brother and I were also taking turns staying with Mom at night. We knew the end was inevitable, and we didn’t want her to be alone when she got the bad news. One night when hubby and I were staying with Mom, I got the sudden urge to go see Dad. I had never gone to see him at night, but something was pulling me to the hospital. I was already in my pajamas, but I couldn’t ignore this overwhelming need to see my father. I started getting dressed, and my husband saw me and asked what I was doing. I told him I had to go to the hospital. He asked me to wait a few minutes for him to get dressed – he wanted to go with me. Once we were ready and were walking out the back door, we met my brother and sister-in-law. They were coming to tell us that Dad was gone. I’ve wondered many times since then if Daddy’s spirit had visited me as it was leaving. I don’t know how else to explain the strange feeling I had that night about going to him.
Fast forward to 2003, when my first grandchild was born. The day the baby and my daughter left the hospital, they came to my house for a family celebration. Everyone was coming over to welcome our new family member and enjoy a huge feast. Before everyone arrived, I was running around the house, taking care of last-minute stuff, and I noticed something strange. I kept finding pennies on the floor. I had no idea where they had come from, but I’d go through a room and pick up the pennies, and return again to the same room to find more pennies. When my oldest daughter arrived, I told her about the pennies, and she began finding them, too. She came and put her hands on my shoulders.
“Mom, it’s Papa,” she said.
“What? What’s Papa?” I asked.
“The pennies. They’re from Papa.”
“That’s silly,” I countered.
“Haven’t you noticed that the date on all the pennies is 2001 – the year he died? I read that a lot of times ghosts and spirits will leave pennies as a sign.”
“The date’s just a coincidence. Still, it is sorta strange that these things keep appearing,” I said. I was too busy getting everything ready to think much more about my ghost or my penny hauntings – at least until I went into my bathroom. There, I found a wheat penny that had 1916 on it – the year Dad was born. Okay, now this was very strange, indeed! It’s not every day you find such an old penny, and that, coupled with all the other pennies we’d found that day, really made me wonder…had Dad’s ghost visited us?
I tried not to dwell on this, and I didn’t experience any other paranormal activity until five years later. In 2008, on my birthday, I was sitting in my recliner in the living room. From my position, I could see the front part of the hallway. As I was watching TV, I saw a man pass by in the hall. I didn’t see his face, but he was short and stocky and was wearing a light blue shirt and jeans. I thought it was my husband, Johnny, and I didn’t think anything else about it until Johnny passed by, in the same direction, just a couple of seconds later. I wondered how he had returned to the kitchen and walked down the hall again so quickly, without my noticing.
“Did you just walk down the hall a couple of seconds ago,” I asked.
“No, I’ve been outside,” he answered.
Then I noticed that Johnny was wearing a red polo shirt. I asked him if he’d changed clothes, and he said he hadn’t. I told him that there was someone else in the house, then, so he began searching the back of the house. He didn’t find anyone.
Johnny has a strong resemblance to my father, and people have always joked about my husband actually being my brother instead of my spouse. I began to wonder if I’d seen Dad’s ghost. My logical brain dismissed this, but I couldn’t figure it out. We have a French door at the end of the kitchen that separates the kitchen from the hall. I decided that I must have seen Johnny’s reflection in the glass somehow. I got Johnny to walk past the living room door again so that I could watch closely. I was sure it was some trick the glass was playing on me. We tried the experiment several times, all with the same results – no image at all appeared. And even if it had, it wouldn’t have made a bright red shirt appear to be pale blue. Had my father’s ghost stopped by to wish me a happy fiftieth birthday??
I’ve pondered over these events many, many times. Was it paranormal activity - hauntings, if you will? My brain seeks a logical explanation, but part of me really believes that I had a couple of ghost adventures. And by the way, nothing remotely unusual has happened since – no more paranormal activity. I can’t explain any of this. Maybe Dad had visited me on all three occasions: as he was dying, when the new grandchild arrived, and on my fiftieth birthday. I don’t know if it was Dad’s ghost I was encountering, or some other type of paranormal activity. Maybe it’s not paranormal activity at all, but I don’t have any other explanations for these hauntings, as I’ve come to think of them. For an update on my real ghost stories, click the link.
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