- Religion and Philosophy
A Haunting Tale
do you believe in spirits?
I was always on the fence when it came to the subject of the spirit world. Good spirits, evil spirits, Ouija Boards, mediums, card readers...so much information is out there that it's hard to sort through fact and fiction. I've been to tarot card readers...most made me laugh and roll my eyes, yet one made my hair stand on end because of her eerie accuracy and detail. I even went to a well-known psychic for answers in a dark period of my life and was shocked by her predictions. However, when I thought back on her statements at a later time, I started to wonder if what she said was true. Certain things she couldn't have known but yet she somehow knew them. Other things she said just didn't seem to fit. But this is my ghost story...what happened? Was it real? You decide...
a bit of history
My mother and my stepfather lived in a large, two-story home that was far too big for the two of them, but they loved it and decided to stay in it as long as their health permitted.
My stepfather didn't want my mother to work outside the home, so she stayed at home while he worked. He was a very controlling man and my mom was a follower, so he filled her mind with his interpretation of the news and world events. He also monitored how much she spent from her household budget, told her what to think and even instructed her on how to vote. As for me, the "other man's child", I was garbage right from the get-go. He despised me, even as a young child, and was never afraid to show his hatred. He and my mother had another child who was the apple of his eye and, later, his greatest heartache. Although he was always a very cruel man towards me, even years after I moved out of the house to flee his hatred and anger, he did love my mother and the two of them had a very close bond. Even when I used to come and visit, he made it clear that I was not welcome in their home and he tolerated my visits because they meant a lot to my mother.
Ten years ago, my stepfather passed away and, before he died, he gave my mom instructions to stay in the house as long as she was physically able to do so. Although my husband and I gently tried to talk to her about planning to move to a seniors apartment or condo, she was undecided and procrastinated about a move. She agreed to it in principle, admitting the house was too big for her and she couldn't keep it up, but because she had wonderful neighbors who were always checking in on her and helping her out, she believed she could stay there a while longer. It was always "next year" and my husband and I let her be.
And that was the story before the accident...
that started it all...
It was a beautiful, warm Monday morning in August and my husband and were just packing up the car to escape to our summer home for a few days when we got "the call".
It was my mom and she was crying. She had tripped going up her concrete stairs outside and was in pretty bad shape. Fire Department paramedics were with her - her neighbor had found her lying there unconscious and called for help - and they were waiting for an ambulance. My husband and I met her at the hospital where we discovered she had a severe concussion, a broken shoulder and her face was scraped up pretty badly. Because the hospital would not release her unless she was going somewhere with 24/7 care, we decided to move her into our home until she recovered.
It was at this point I told my mom that she could not live in that house by herself and was not going back. She would stay with us until she recovered and we found her an apartment for seniors to move into. She didn't argue at all and in fact seemed relieved that she didn't have to go back to the house. I was a bit perplexed at how easy it was to tell her she wasn't going back to her home, but thought nothing more of it.
We contacted a real estate agent and started the process of moving my mother from her home. At the same time, we began visiting seniors apartments to find her a place to live. Because of her injuries, she was basically housebound. Also, because we don't have any other relatives in the city, it was up to my husband and I to clean and pack up everything in that monstrous home she lived in.
And now the story begins...
what I discovered
As I mentioned, my mother had wonderful neighbors who always took the time to check in on her. When we first arrived at the house to take stock of what needed to be done, the one neighbor she was closest to came by for a visit.
As we talked, she admitted to some strange things about the house. She told us how she never quite felt comfortable in the house when she dropped by for coffee, but couldn't quite understand why. It was not like my mother was not a good hostess or welcoming...she just felt a sense of unease. However, what really got our attention was when she told us, without hearing our "ghost story", of how she would see my mother jump in her car and take off at 10:30 or 11:00 at night. There is nowhere my mother would be going at that time of night. Indeed, my mother is programmed to go to bed at 9:30 p.m. and religiously follows this schedule. So where did she go? Why would she leave so suddenly at that time of night?
The neighbor offered to help us clean up the house if we needed her. I said I was just taking stock of what had to be done and said I was going upstairs. She said "Oh, I've never been up there. May I come too?" I was quite surprised because this woman helped my mom with the housecleaning. However, she told me my mother would not allow her upstairs to clean. My husband and I were also not allowed on the second level. Not that we had a reason for being up there, but a couple of times we had picked up something for her and offered to take it upstairs for her but she always refused. She would not allow anyone on the second level of the house.
After my stepfather passed away, my mother started sleeping in the spare bedroom at the other end of the hall. At first I didn't think too much of it. It seemed quite natural that she avoided "their room" immediately after he was gone. However, 10 years later I was a bit perplexed as to why she never moved back into the master bedroom. As I wandered down the hallway into the master bedroom, I was surprised that all his clothes and personal items were still in his closet and his dresser drawers - my mother had not touched anything that was his. The master bedroom was coated in dust - she never went in there to even clean. When I got to the wing where her bedroom was, I stopped cold. The walls of the entryway were covered with crosses and icons of angels. Her door was filled with angels and more crucifixes. When I went into the room, her bed was completely surrounded with crosses, statues of the Virgin Mary and angels.
ghost? spirit? good? evil? you decide
My husband works shifts and has plenty of time off. I have my own business which I put on hold temporarily, so we spent day after day going to my mom's house to clean it out and pack up her things.
To be honest, I never felt comfortable in that house. I don't know why, but I never felt like it was my home. I always felt tense when I arrived and relief when I left.
My mother had recovered enough that she could go out with assistance, so the first part of the house I decided to clean were the clothes closets upstairs. I would take her into a room, hold out an outfit and have her tell me whether she was keeping it, donating it or throwing it out.
Now my mother is a very docile, soft spoken woman. Although she can be very stubborn, she is not antagonistic. So I was very surprised when she became snippy, angry and hostile when we were going through her clothing. At times she would flip through the clothes herself, throw them at me like a servant and bark out an order. By the time we got to the closets in the master bedroom it was really bad. She would throw an item towards me and say "here". I would ask "Well, are you keeping it or getting rid of it?" She would turn around, glare at me and talk to me like I was completely stupid. "I'm keeping it, of course!" It got to the point that I dreaded taking her to the house to go through the closets, and we had three bedrooms with double and walk-in closets that were packed to the rafters to sift through. Day after day I went through this with her. When we came home she was fine...just like her old self. When we went to the house, it was like I was with someone else.
After finally getting the upstairs closets sorted, I left my mom at home and my husband and I went to work on cleaning up the main floor. I decided to start in the dining room and he was in the basement cleaning out the laundry room that was full of shelves and other storage spaces as well as my stepfather's work area containing every manner of tool known to man.
One day my husband came upstairs and said he needed a break and was running to the store to get us something to drink. I stayed behind as I was packing up the china cabinet.
After he left I kept on working. It was early afternoon and I was making good progress that day. That was until I heard movement.
I stopped what I was doing and listened. The movement was coming from the second level. It almost sounded like footsteps in the master bedroom which was just above me. Of course, the logical part of my brain kicked and I thought "it's just the house noises". However, another part of my brain said "yea, but you know the house noises and this isn't one of them." I paused again, heard nothing, and went back to work.
WIthin a couple of minutes I heard movement again and I stopped. It was footsteps. There was no denying that now. They began in the master bedroom and continued into the hallway towards the staircase...a slow, steady tread that was coming closer to the main stairs and toward me. My heart started beating quickly and I could feel every sense in my body tingling. All I could think of was "get out of the house". If I went out the front door, I would have to pass the staircase, so I went through the back of the house out into the yard and stood there. All of a sudden I felt calm. Then I heard our vehicle in the driveway - my husband had returned. He came through the house and I came in from the back. He asked what I was doing and I said "Let's go sit outside for a few minutes and take a break". He agreed and I pondered whether or not to tell him what happened.
The first thing my husband said to me is "what's wrong?" I decided to tell him what I heard and hope he didn't think I was nuts. He stared me as I related my story and then admitted that he too had experienced "someone there" while working downstairs but was afraid to tell me because of what I would think. He said he was sorting through my stepfather's tools when he "felt" someone standing right behind him. He said it was so strong that the hair on his neck started to rise. He quickly turned around to see who was there but no one was. He said he sensed so much hostility that he left the area and came upstairs. He admitted this happened more than once in the workshop area as well as near the bar where my stepfather's old clocks and other memorabilia were. My husband was packing them up and again, he felt someone standing right behind him. He admitted that he dreaded going into the basement because there was something there that didn't want us in the house. He felt the anger, the rage and overall discomfort whenever he went into the basement.
The other odd thing was the door to the workshop...we always left it open when we were done working for the day, but whenever we returned it was always closed. The reason we used to leave it open was because there was an old trunk belonging to my stepfather in the basement that hadn't been opened for years and it smelled of mothballs, so we removed all the items and kept it open. The other reason the door was open was that it was hard to close - over the years it had warped and the bottom of the door rubbed against the carpet so you really had to give it a good shove to close it. However, whenever one of us would go into the workshop area, the door wold slam shut behind us.
So what happened to us? I'm still not sure, but then we also have the visit to the psychic...
Five years after my stepfather passed away, and about four years before this last incident in my mother's house, I had been referred to a well-known psychic and decided to have a reading.
This psychic sees spirits and I was told these entities come through to her and she gets her information from them. She reads the past, the present and the future.
What initially made me believe her was the reading from the past. She detailed the death of my real father when I was two and also told me that my mother remarried and my stepfather was not kind to me at all. She further went on to say that he had a lot of time to reflect on his behavior towards me during the two years he was ill before he died. And this where I got caught up in her reading because my stepfather developed cancer and was basically bedridden, either at home or in the hospital, for two years before he passed away. How could she have known this without having some contact with him?
However, during the reading she told me that he was with us and was asking for my forgiveness. She said "Do you forgive him?" Without even thinking, I immediately said "No." That was my first reaction and, I believe, the truth at the time. The psychic then looked at me and said "God has forgiven him. Why can't you?" I had no answer. She then told me how sorry he was and then she went on to the next topic.
Her question, however, bothered me for years. Why couldn't I forgive him? It ate at my conscience until this incident in the house. Whatever the entity was, it was not someone or something looking for forgiveness. During his illness, my stepfather never apologized. Indeed, my mother told me he didn't want any visitors in the hospital so I was not allowed to come to see him. When he was bedridden at home, I would come up to the master bedroom to say "hi" and ask how he was doing. He would barely speak to me and it was very uncomfortable so I wouldn't stay too long. Although my mother told me he felt bad about the way he treated me, he never told me himself. So did he feel badly, or was she just saying this? Was the psychic correct in saying he was there looking for forgiveness, or was it all an elaborate scam?
Whatever was in the house was angry, hostile and full of rage...just as my stepfather was in life. So who else would it be? It was his house...it was where he was ill and bedridden...and it was where he spent the last 30 years of his life.
I always wondered if the people who bought my mom's house felt the presence, but it's not like I can ring their doorbell and ask them.
As time went on and our lives got back to normal, I started feeling very uneasy in my own home. Sometimes I would feel like someone was behind me and would turn quickly, but no one was there. Sometimes I would feel the hair on the back of my neck rise but I couldn't figure out why. There were two times that my dogs leaped up and started growling and barking. I was surprised because my dogs are very quiet - they rarely bark and never growl. I went to see what they were barking at, but they were sitting side by side just past the kitchen staring at nothing as they growled menacingly. There is also a lamp my mother gave me a few years ago that I put in a spare bedroom. Every so often, that light is on but neither my husband or I have turned it on. I told my husband and he said at times he feels a presence too, but thought he was imagining things. What we have been sensing is not nearly as strong as what we felt in the house, but it's here. Now I'm truly puzzled.
The psychic told me my stepfather wanted forgiveness. Yet the entity in the house was nothing less than hostile. So what do I believe...our feelings or the psychic?
And then one day I got my answer. I was talking on the phone to a friend of mine whose father is a medicine man and she also has "the gift". I decided to tell her what happened at the house and what the psychic told me to get her take on the situation. As soon as I finished my story, she snorted and said quite bluntly "He's earthbound because you haven't forgiven him and he can't move on." She then added, matter-of-factly, "He's pretty pissed about it." I told her I was feeling uncomfortable in my own home and asked if he was trapped in their house or if he could move around. She asked "Do you have anything from the house" I said I have some pictures and ornaments... not much because our tastes are not the same, but I have couple of things. She said "Get them out of your house...NOW." Why, I asked? "Breadcrumbs" she replied.
She told me that he didn't know where I was or where my mother was, but he could sense the energy from their personal items and follow this trail...just like breadrumbs. So now I had led him to where I was and he was back.
She told me that he was not as powerful as he was, but that could change. The first thing she told me was never to say his name. Ever. Saying his name would increase his power. Secondly, I was to remove everything I had from their house and put it outside for now and then give it away or throw it out. Next, I was to salt all the entrances to the house. And last, I needed to have my home cleansed.
To date, I have moved everything of theirs into the garage. I keep hoping to have a yard sale but every Saturday is the same - cold, windy and raining - so we have to keep putting it off until the weather cooperates. And that is where we are. Do we have a spirit around?
are you haunted? - you're not alone.
Many of us have experienced a presence, be it good or evil. Now it's your turn to tell your story...