So I just finished reading Redirt’s new post about ghosts. Every once in a while I’ve considered posting some stuff on here about that, but I don’t like being called crazy. However, since Redirt already took the plunge and started talking about it, and since it’s near Halloween, I thought I might share some of my own stuff.
My first experience with scary stuff was when I was around the age of four and lived in Bay City, WI. We lived across the cemetery, which was spooky enough. Then my parents let me watch Night of The Living Dead with them one night. Then Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video came out (and before you start laughing, that video is scary as fuck when you’re only 4 AND live across from a cemetery). Oh, and did I mention that my room was on the end of the house where our front door was and my parents and brothers’ room were waaaaay towards the back of the house? Yeah, guess who knew whose brains were going to be eaten first if there was a rising of the dead….
I’m not sure why, but most of the stuff that happened to me didn’t really start happening until about two or three years ago. While I don’t think that this is the reason, it was also around the time I started working for B.
Every so often, B would kind of hint at some stuff, but I always kind of thought she was joking. Oh no. She wasn’t. Here’s something you have to know about B and her whole family – they are dripping with stories. In fact, ghosts and other freaky occurrences are so commonplace that when they talk about it, they’re not, “Oh my god, you will never believe this!”…no, it’s more matter-of-fact, like “Today I went to the grocery store, picked up some milk, and when I came home there was the ghost of a little boy standing in the corner of the kitchen.”
And they have PICTURES. PICTURES. They have PICTURES! This is what solidified it for me…the pictures. Pictures taken with Polaroid cameras, pictures taken with digital cameras, pictures taken with broke-down cameras. There is one in particular that is my favorite: It was taken in their old house in Rice Lake, and in the corner, above their grand piano, is this white outline of a cowboy. It almost looks like someone drew a picture of him on the wood-paneled wall in white chalk – that’s how defined he is. He looks like the KFC guy – huge white cowboy hat, suit…you can even see the tips of his cowboy boots. He has hair down to his shoulders, a mustache and beard, and he has his arm around his lady-friend, which you can’t make out very well except for the bouffant hair-do and the womanly form. And he has this smile that seems to say “Why hello there! Take a picture of me and my lady-friend, will ya?”
That’s a fun story. Here’s some not so fun stories –
* B’s sister, W, gets the worst of it. Including the bed-shaking. Sometimes she’ll wake up in the middle of the night and it will feel like someone is pushing the mattress back and forth. Her husband always kind of blew her off when she would mention this…until the night when he woke up and felt it. “W, stop shaking the bed.”
“I’m. Not. Doing. It,” she replied.
Yeah. He doesn’t blow her off so much anymore.
*B’s mom lost her keys once. She had gone to the grocery store, purchased her groceries, and was ready to leave when she dug into her purse and realized her keys were missing. She did a full run-through of the grocery store and parking lot, and they were nowhere to be found. She even ripped out the lining of her purse to see if they had fallen through a tear in the lining. Nope. So she had to call her husband for a ride, and eventually had to have new keys made.
A month later, she walked into the kitchen one morning, and there, in the middle of the kitchen floor, laid her old keys.
*One time when B and R were trying to sell a house, they had taken some pictures of it to put in a real estate flyer. It was then that they realized that most of the pictures of the vacant house showed a little boy standing in an upstairs window.
*B’s husband, R, is kind of like W’s husband, where he kind of blows off most of the B’s experiences. However, after we had left him by himself for the weekend, we came back to B’s place and he just kind of looked at us and shook his head. The night before, he had been sitting at the kitchen table with his laptop, and saw this misty form walk up and down the split-level stairs that led from the kitchen to the basement. He said it just kept going up and down, up and down the stairs for about an hour.
I told you I would also tell you my own stories, so here goes –
It kind of all started at the place I used to live in at Rice Lake. It was an old cabin that had been winterized…small, on the lake, kind of rustic. And I never felt comfortable there. I don’t know how to explain it…but I always felt a sense of unease, like I always had to have the TV or the stereo constantly on, some noise going on in the background. It wasn’t until I moved out that I realized it was because I was always a little scared of what I would hear if I let total silence happen in that place.
The first night I lived here, I had slept in the living room on my blow-up mattress because I didn’t have my bed set up yet. There was something about the wall-to-wall windows…in the day, they looked really pretty, yet never really seemed to let that much light in. That night, though, I just got this really weird sense that someone was looking in at me. And then I woke up in the middle of the night and felt like someone was standing over me, watching me sleep, which totally freaked me out, because all of a sudden I got what I would call a “mental snapshot” of this really haggard looking guy…he was wearing construction boots, dark blue jeans, a red flannel, and he had really stringy black hair. His face was very tan, with a lot of lines and wrinkles, as if he had been in the sun for most of his life. It wasn’t a scary image, but it was so…foreign?…that I felt weird, like it hadn’t come from me or my own imagination.
And I started to get a lot of those weird mental snapshots in that house. The thing is, they were so unexpected: I would walk into my kitchen, look in the corner, and get a snapshot of this little old lady with white curly hair and a green and yellow flower-print shift dress standing in the corner. And she did not look happy about the fact that I was there.
At first I just kind of played it off and tried to forget about it. But one day I said something to B about it, and she was like “Oh, you get those, too?” She told me that she sometimes feels her eyes drawn to a spot in a room for no reason…kind of that thing where you keep looking behind you, and nothing’s there, but you still keep looking at it every five minutes or so. And when I was listening to her, I was like “That’s exactly how it is, only when I look in that spot, I get this full picture of a person I’ve never seen before…like I can’t see them with my eyes, but I can see them with my mind.” B’s experiences help me feel like I’m less crazy when I have my own. I’ll mention something to her, and completely expect her to be all “You’ve got to be kidding. You’re insane.” and she’ll just nod her head and go “Oh yeah…yep, that’s pretty common.”
So whatever, right? But then, I had two people stay over at this house at different times, and each person slept in the living room on my blow-up mattress. Later, at different times after I had moved out, both confessed that they had gotten freaked out when they slept over because they kept feeling like something had been standing over them, watching them while they slept. And I hadn’t even told them about my own stuff with this house.
Gradually, more and more stuff starting happening in this house. Stuff would get moved, like keys and picture frames. I would see these weird flashes of light outside my living room window – a mist of blue, green, and pink. I would hear someone knocking stuff around my kitchen, and hear my kitchen floor creak, like someone was walking around in there. I would hear loud knocks on my bedroom wall when I was reading in bed, and the knock would be in a location high up – like between the ceiling and door frame. Sometimes I would hear my name being called out.
The freakiest thing that happened though, happened in the place next to mine. The cabin was kind of like a duplex, connected to a cabin right next to it. Since these were cabins, they were pretty small and the walls were really thin, so you could hear everything. Late at night, I would be in my bed, reading, and I would hear someone walking around in the other cabin. Then I started to hear noises, like someone was moving stuff around, or banging on the walls, like someone was nailing something into the wall. Assuming that someone had moved in, I had actually started to get pissed that they were being so loud so late at night.
So later that week, when I spotted my landlord raking leaves in the yard, I went out and asked him who had moved into the place next to mine. He kind of looked at me with this blank expression on his face. “We haven’t gotten a renter for that place yet,” he replied. He kind of stared at me and was like “You hearin’ stuff?” And I kind of laughed and was like “Yeah.” He shook his head and just said, “Yeah, we’ve heard a lot of stories about these places.”
I learned to deal with all the stuff happening in that house, but I definitely wasn’t sad about moving when it was time to move to Spooner. In fact, the last morning I woke up in that house, I woke up and felt like someone had dipped me into a tub of old lady’s perfume – the smell of floral perfume (and it wasn’t any of my own, that was for sure) was so overpowering that I had to open my front door for a while to air out my house.
I moved into my place here, and I love it. I love it because it feels peaceful. I’m not afraid to have it be completely quiet here, and I never realized just how uncomfortable I constantly was at my old place until I moved in here.
But the stuff hasn’t stopped happening. Like –
* One night I was hanging out, watching a movie, and one of my huge framed posters fell off the wall in my kitchen (my apartment is two stories and fairly open, like a loft). It was late, the “BANG” was loud, and I jumped about five feet. No windows were open, so it wasn’t blown off the wall, and the nail that had been holding it up was still perfectly straight and intact inside the wall. The weirdest thing is that the poster had landed perfectly – like someone had taken it down and had just set it standing up against my counter.
* For two nights in a row, I woke up to my bed shaking. It felt like I was sleeping in a vibrating bed. The weirdest thing when stuff like this happens is that my instinctual reaction isn’t fear; I just kind of roll my eyes and basically say, inside my head, “Yeah, I know you’re there, you have my attention, now knock it off.” When I sense something, I find myself saying out loud, “I know you’re here, it’s fine if you want to hang out, but I don’t want to see you nor hear you talk to me.” If it’s something that breaks a boundary that I have, I almost instinctively get pissed, like “How dare you not respect my space. Shut the fuck up.” It’s only after I think about it the next day that I get a little freaked-out. So when the bed shaking happened, it had woken me up, and I kind of mumbled “Okay, I got it. My bed’s shaking. But I’m tired, so please stop it so I can go back to sleep.” It kept shaking for a few minutes after that, then suddenly just stopped. The next night it happened again, and I heard myself whine “I’m trying to sleeeeep! Stoooop iiiit!” And it stopped immediately.
Apparently even ghosts don’t like to listen to me whine.
After all this ghost this stuff started happening, I started to research it a bit. I found a really good website – Ghost Study – that had a lot of information and takes a fairly logical and scientific viewpoint towards this kind of stuff. That was big for me, because I think the imagination is a powerful thing, and when you sensationalize this kind of stuff, that’s when the waters get murky and you can’t be sure whether it’s coming from you or if it’s really something else.
The thing is, the ghost stuff just started happening to me a few years ago, but there’s other stuff that has happened to me my whole life. But I take the same attitude with all of it…I know it happens, it happens a lot, henceforth it’s no longer a big deal. There are a lot of things that have been validated by others, and while the validation is nice, you just know when this stuff happens…no one has to tell you that it happened, and no one can tell you that it didn’t happen. That, I think, has become the real trick for me and for a lot of other people I know when it comes to deciphering between what’s just your imagination and what isn’t.
And I don’t really talk about it a lot or with a lot of people because, frankly, I don’t really feel the need to prove to others that this stuff happens. It’s kind of like faith in God…unless someone has their own experience with it, little else can convince them if they don’t believe in it.
Another point of irritation with all of this stuff is also the same as with faith in God – I think sometimes that we, as humans, can be very small-minded and presumptuous to think that we know everything, that there is nothing out there that could be beyond our comprehension. I’m all for scientific methods of proving things, but at the same time, I hate the arrogance of the attitude that if we can’t explain it, then it can’t exist.
For instance, I can’t explain why all these guys keep falling into Paris Hilton’s vagina, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.
Written and published October 25, 2005
This post is featured in HOW I FEEL ABOUT STUFF: 10 YEARS OF AN AMBER COLORED LIFE, VOL. 2, available for purchase until Nov. 1st. Read more about it here, see who’s in it here, or order here.
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