Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ghost stories

I feel like I'm a month too late with this post, like it would have been a better Halloween post, but ce la vie. Kim asked to hear my ghost stories, particularly those from college, so here they are. But first, our lyrics for today. They come from Home by the Sea by Genesis.

Coming out of the woodwork through the open door
Pushing from above and below
Shadows but no substance in the shape of men
Round and down and sideways they go
Adrift without direction, eyes that hold despair
Then as one they sigh and they moan

Ghost Story # 1 - Sophomore year in college, October 1994

I was a very lucky college sophomore and drew the first pick in the housing lottery and selected the only single available for sophomores. Being an only child having a roommate was a huge change for me and I was looking forward to having a room all to myself again. The room was, ironically enough, directly next door to the room that I lived in my freshman (fresh woman?) year. It was directly outside the lounge on Main's second floor (the side closer to the dining hall), but on the side that had a window overlooking the courtyard.

On the night before Halloween I went into my room to go to bed, locking my door behind me. I don't recall what I did before bed, but I remember getting into bed and clicking off the light. I lay facing the window and listening to the wind blow leaves around the courtyard and rattle the fire escapes. I was still very much awake when I felt it. And by it I do mean the ghost. It sat down on the bed behind me. There was no mistaking the movement of the mattress for anything other than someone, or something, sitting down on the bed. All I could think to do was scream for help, but really what good would that have done with my door being locked? Besides all that would come out of my mouth was something quieter than a whisper.

Needless to say I was rather frightened. I have no idea how long it took me to eventually roll over and turn on my light, but it felt like years. Once I got the light on and asked the ghost to kindly go away and leave me alone I got up and went out in to the lounge for a while. I don't remember if I spent the whole night out there or not, but I do remember having to get out of my room for a while so I could stop shaking.

Ghost story # 2 - Junior or Senior year of college (can't remember which)

If you went to Wells you probably remember the tradition that involved making a class flag your freshman (fresh woman?) year in your class colors as part of the Odd/Even tradition. The flag was then hidden somewhere on campus. If you were an Odd you tried to find the Even's flag and vice versa.

The Odd/Even tradition was a big part of the Wells experience for me. I spent many hours searching for the Even's flags. I think I went into just about every nook and cranny of every building on campus searching for flags. There was a room in Macmillan that was, as I remember it, behind the projection room above Phipps Auditorium. One night I went up there flag hunting with a few other Oddliners.

There was a mirror on the floor that was leaning up against something and I happened to glance in it as we were rooting around and looking for a blue and green felt flag. In that mirror I saw legs and feet reflected which in and of itself it not unusual. The unusual part is that the legs and feet didn't belong to me or anyone else in the room with me. I remember looking at everyone's shoes to make sure I wasn't imagining things. The funny thing was that the legs I saw reflected were very much ghostly looking. The reflection wasn't in color, but rather in shades of gray. The shoes I saw reminded me of the first pair of Nike's I had as a very young girl. They were navy with a mustard yellow swoosh up the side. Besides the fact that no one was wearing the shoes I saw in the mirror, there was also the issue of the fact that no one was standing in the right spot for their legs to even be reflected in the mirror. I got chills up my spine when I realized that and I think I hustled everyone out of there pretty quick.

Ghost Story # 3 Saturday afternoon, April 26th, 2008 West Hartland, CT

It had been at least eleven years since my last encounter with a ghost. I hadn't really thought all that much of it really. It's not like you wake up one day and say "Hey, I think I'd like to have an encounter with a ghost today" and poof! it happens. Anyway, I had been seeing Five Months of Happiness Woman for about six or seven weeks. She had her house free that Saturday and we planned for Maggie and I to go over so we could spend some quality time together. See, FMHW has two young children (as in a six year old and an eight year old, both girls) and also has a friend who lives with her. So, an empty house is a luxury for her. I should probably also mention that her house is a 200 year old farm house.

That Saturday Maggie and I went over and FMHW was napping upstairs in her bedroom when we arrived. So, upstairs we went to wake her up. At some point Maggie went back downstairs to hang out with FMHW's dog or more likely to sniff around the kitchen to see what her kids may have dropped on the floor that her dog missed. FMHW and I were still up in her bedroom, door closed and, um, you know, we started off talking but it was a budding romance and one thing was starting to lead to another.

And that's when we heard it. The front door slammed open and we heard children running through it, laughing and talking and carrying on like they'd just gotten home from school. At this point, I didn't know her children well enough to know if the voices I was hearing were her kids. She jumped out of bed and ran to her bedroom door and started calling out "hello?" At this point I was thinking that her parents had brought her children home for some reason and was reconciling what that meant. I'd never met them and really how would we explain our being up in her bedroom?

So, FMHW goes down stairs and finds the front door tightly closed and both of our dogs staring at it as though they too had heard something. FMHW says she heard a baby crying but I didn't hear that. But we both heard the rucus and the laughing and the children's voices.

Those are my ghost stories. I have felt, seen and heard ghosts. I know there are lots of people out there who don't believe in ghosts, but if you'd experienced what I have I imagine you'd think differently. Feel free to share ghost stories of your own in the comments if you have them. I do love a good ghost story.


Kim Kenney said...

I don't have a ghost story, per se, but I do believe that after my grandmother died, she came to visit me.

See, my parents are divorced, and my dad was in and out of my life for years -- mostly out. So as a result, my sister and I didn't see that side of the family very much.

My gradmother had Alzheimer's and I didn't see her at all for the last few years of her life. My sister and I were consumed with guilt when she died, from practically a lifetime of "should haves."

So Chris and I went to NY for the funeral. My sister and I tried to reassure each other, and make the guilt go away. But I was still terribly upset.

The first night when we got back to OH, I was trying to fall asleep. I had a sense of a yellow light that completely enveloped me, kind of like a total body hug. My grandmother's favorite color was yellow. I knew that it was her, trying to tell me that she understood, and that I should forgive myself and let go of my guilt. And I instantly felt better.

I guess I do have one more story, although it isn't that big of a deal. When I worked as an interpreter at the Erie Canal Village in Rome, NY during summers in college, we would rotate the buildings that we were stationed in. I was told from the beginning that if I was in Hull House, the big Victorian, opening up in the morning, and I couldn't get the lock to work, I should just ask Anna Shull to stop playing with me and let me in.

On more than one ocassion, I couldn't get that door to unlock, and I would say, "Come on Anna, let me in!" And the next time I'd try the key, it would work like magic...

Jess said...

I often wish that my grandmother would visit me. I think about that a lot actually. I'm glad you got the closure you needed with yours.

Oh and when I was in 7th grade I think we went on a field trip to Rome and I think one of the places we went was the Erie Canal Village!

Kim Kenney said...

Are you kidding me? You actually came to Rome on a field trip? :-)

Actually, back then it was a really nice museum. Even when I was there, it was still OK. I went back a few summers ago and it was awful -- no live interpreters anymore, paint peeling. You couldn't even go in most of the buildings because they only had a rope across the door.

They are having a hard time financially, I guess. It is really sad.

Jess said...

I'm pretty sure it was Rome. I know we visited the Erie Canal. I think I even have pictures of it at home somewhere. I'll look for them and verify. Not sure I'll post any though. The 1980's were a very bad fashion decade....

It is really sad to see places that were once so nice fall on hard times. I always hate to see paint peeling in particular for some reason.

KK said...

Oh, Puck... and Kim... How interesting you wrote this last Fall.

The ghosts (and yes, that was plural) and spirits and what-have-you that I've been in "touch" w/... have been interesting, in deed.

Most o' the time, when I am in contact w/ them--it's often by surprise. Like, a "Holy sh*t, I didn't see you here" or, "What the... Hi!" I've only encountered a few... not so nice ones.

With that said... I wanted to share this one w/ you folks... this is post-college...

Before I was a Park Ranger, I was a "Jill o' all Trades" in this house in MD. Ironically, it was a sister o' one o' our fellow Wells sisters (my class). So, I didn't think anything o' it, when I'd moved in--to trade room & board for helpin' to fix up the house.

Well... come find out--the sister and her family went to CT for Thanksgiving (I think?). I'd gone to NYC the week before (my memory is failing me now about time..) and had come home to an empty house.

Just doin' my thing... I made some dinner and chilled out. Now, I'm all for being alone, but I could feel myself getting sick! A hot temperature and not feeling well. I didn't know too many folks yet, so I told myself I'd be ok--and, I would "get through it".

So, I laid down on the couch to nap. The next thing I know, I feel a cool cloth on my forehead and it felt like someone sitting next to me on the couch. But, I was so feverish... that I didn't open my eyes to see. And, I drifted to sleep.

In the morning, I woke up to no cloth... and no one in the house. This was a bit alarming to me... so, the next thing I know--the house phone rings and it's the family letting me know that they were stuck in the snow in CT--and, they'd be home later that nite.

I sat up (miraculously, I was better)... and, was like, WTF???? So, I was like--you're ON YOUR WAY HOME FROM CT???? They were like, yeah! I was like, NO WAY!!!!

And, when they got home later that day, I told them about what happened--that I thought it was one o' them... and, you know what the sister tells me????

"Oh. That must've been the house nurse. You see... we didn't want to alarm you, but when you get sick--she comes out to make sure you feel better." *shivers*

Thanks for the 411 AFTER the fact, people! LOL...

I silently thanked the nurse... and, prayed I'd never get sick again (which, I didn't, in that house)... and, let's just say... she's not the only thing that roams that dwelling...