My House is Haunted.

I have found that when purchasing real estate, the house with the graveyard out front is usually a real bargain.

I have found that when purchasing real estate, the house with the graveyard out front is usually a real bargain.

My house is haunted.

And yes, I know me writing that and you reading it may cause you to conclude that I am, indeed, nuts because we all know there are no such things as ghosts. Or maybe you have decided that I worship Satan. Well, I’m not a Satanist, and I’m reasonably sure that I am as sane as the next person. So, I will type it again—my house is haunted. You don’t have to believe me.

When we first moved here six years ago, people would ask me if we had a ghost and I would blow them off. “Of course, not. Not every old house is haunted! Geez, what’s wrong with you people?”

And just as often, I would hear, “Your house. It has this feeling to it, doesn’t it? It’s a very happy place. You can just tell that everyone who has lived here has been happy and loved. It’s very inviting and warm.” I’d agree. I might even add, “We’ve always felt that it chose us as much as we chose it.”

But then, things began to happen. I’d hear a voice very close to my ear. I’d feel a hand on my shoulder. I’d hear footsteps or just the rustling of papers in the next room.

The most compelling evidence of other worldly beings came from my daughter who has twice seen people. I write people, not ghosts because she described them as people. Had she used the word “ghost,” I would have been convinced that she had seen too many Scooby-Doo episodes.

The first time she saw someone, she was about two and a half. She and I were in her bedroom, and she looked right past me into the hallway and said, “There is an old man in our house. ” I knew no one was standing behind me. This is an old house and the wooden floors creak–a lot–especially upstairs. No one sneaks up on anyone in this house. Yeah, and no one sneaks out–that’s going to be a real problem for my kids once they are teenagers—unless my hearing is completely shot by then, and hey, considering my age, it might be!

I turned around and said, “Well, he’s not here now.”

“I know! But he was right here!” she exclaimed running into the hallway. “He was standing right here next to your laundry basket!”

And so, I started apologizing to all the people I had previous dismissed as having over-active imaginations. I started with my friend Julie who a year earlier had reported to me that when she and her son were in my daughter’s bedroom, he had seen a ghost. He had pointed towards the open door leading to the hallway and said, “Grandpa! Grandpa!” He was quite young and going through that phase in which all older men are “Grandpa!” Perhaps he and my daughter saw the same old man.

About a year later, I found my daughter sitting wide-eyed on my bed. “Mom, did you see her? There was a lady standing by your dresser and she was carrying tea. But she didn’t spill any.” Phew! I hate it when ghost spill their tea in my bedroom.

“What did she look like?”

“She was a brown person (non-white). She had black hair in a bun and a purple dress.”

I don’t think any of the previous owners were brown, but I do know that the house was once used as an “old folks home.” We live in an area with a large African American population, and it stands to reason that a black woman might have worked here and would have likely carried tea to an upstairs bedroom.

Despite all this, I don’t find anything about my house to be creepy. I would maintain that the house has that warm, inviting, happy feeling that I mentioned earlier, and if you don’t believe me, just ask someone who has been here.

Additionally, my house is a bit of a landmark. When I tell locals that I live in the Peggy Graham House, they all know it. They can usually tell me about one or more of the families who have lived here and they all seem to have wonderful memories. The people here were happy and loved and warm and inviting—just like the house itself!

One woman, who was born in my house in 1937, told me that people always ask her if my house is haunted. “I tell them, goodness no!” she said. “Nobody but good Christian folks ever lived or worked in that house. Their souls are all in Heaven where they ought to be, not scaring the livin’ daylights out of the likes of me and you. I never heard such a foolish question.”

I didn’t share any of my supernatural experiences with her. I didn’t want her to think I was one to entertain foolishness. And I didn’t want her to call my own Christian beliefs into question.

I am challenged to reconcile my beliefs, however. Like most Christians, I believe that when I die, I will go to Heaven. I don’t believe our bodiless souls get trapped on earth, and yet, I’ve had these experiences—in my present home and in other places—that have led me to believe that there are just things about the after-life that defy explanation. I accept that. Faith doesn’t mean having all the answers. It means being comfortable with not having all the answers.

When my mother-in-law first came to live with us, she often said that she saw my father-in-law, her late husband. She would ask me why Bob wasn’t joining us for supper and get angry with me for not setting a place for him at the table. Sometimes, she would ask about the tall man who was with him. I have no explanation for the tall man, but she seemed to see him as much as she saw Bob.

I know that in many South American cultures, people believe that a soul will stay close to a loved one, lingering on earth before going onto Heaven. Perhaps, that is what Bob was doing in my house—just hanging out and making sure that his wife was being well cared for.

After a few months, she stopped talking about seeing Bob. She almost never mentioned him and eventually reached a point where she stopped recognizing him in pictures. That part is sad for me and especially sad for my husband.

Then, earlier this week, she went from being only semi-conscious to being very alert, very talkative, and even somewhat lucid. During those days, I presented her with photo albums and together, we flipped through the pictures. I would narrate and ask her if she remembered my wedding, my daughter’s birth, her oldest grand-daughter’s wedding, a family vacation in Florida. She did remember! And while she couldn’t recall the names of everyone in every picture, she remembered Bob.

“Mom, who is this handsome guy in this picture?”

“That is Bob, my husband.”

Then, without explanation, she slipped back into the earlier pattern of eating very little and sleeping 18 hours a day. When she was awake, she didn’t say much. And she had no interest in the photo albums.

Today, I would describe her as mostly being non-verbal, but at one point, she called me to her, and spoke very clearly. She said, “Bob is upstairs. Go get him.” Deep sigh. “Mom, Bob is not upstairs.” And then, she said the most interesting thing—and perhaps I am reading too much into this—she said, “When you see Bob, tell him I am ready to go home.”

I took her into her bedroom and put her down for a nap, and then returned to the living room to write. As I sat in front of my laptop clacking away on the keyboard, I heard footsteps upstairs even though my husband and children were gone for the afternoon. So, I spoke. “Bob, if that is you, your wife is in her bedroom and she says she is ready to go home.” I felt a little silly saying that aloud because I do truly believe that my father-in-law is in Heaven, and not in my bedroom hanging out with the old man and the brown lady. In fact, I want to believe they are all in Heaven.

It makes me wonder if God allows the deceased to visit Earth—for whatever reason. Maybe they aren’t ghosts, but angels.

In any case, I am not crazy.

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8 thoughts on “My House is Haunted.

  1. Josizzle

    I definitely think this is my favourite post so far… 🙂 I love your honesty. I, myself, have had quite a few experiences that have no “rational” explanation beyond “ghosts”… my, personal, belief on the whole thing is that they’re not, necessarily, the soul of the person (I don’t, personally, believe in “souls” in that sense) but are an energy memory of some sort… I believe that our senses are not fully accounted for, yet, and that science is starting to understand that there’s a lot that we don’t understand. I think of these “ghosts” as lingering memories… like the way someone who wears a strong perfume will “stay” in a room (olfactory-speaking), I believe that when someone has a strong “presence” or a frequently repeated presence, then that which we sense of them can remain… I think it’s a physical phenomenon that we haven’t fully understood. Also… I love you.

    Reply
    1. peanutbutteronrye Post author

      I’ve received a lot of positive comments about this blog post–people telling me that it is their favorite. I’ve reread it a few times and I’m glad people are enjoying it, but I’m not sure what makes it better than the rest. I guess people like ghost stories! Shrug.

      Thank you for reading my blog! I love you, too!

      Reply
  2. Lisa

    Have I ever told you the story of the “haunted house” in Madison? I believe you toured it with me once. Remember the painting of the woman with 2 parts? In one room, people have reported strange sensations. They know that a young mother died in that room of a fever, and there is a mysterious mark on the hearth, people reported hearing a baby cry, feeling really hot, etc, etc. I toured the house 2-3 times prior and felt nothing, personally. Then one day, my dear friend Jack came to visit. You may remmber him, he and Jeff came to my wedding and stayed what they dubbed the “Anne Frank room” in Eliza’s uncle’s b&b on King. When Jack and I entered the house, I told the docent that I’d personally been in the home a few times with other visiting friends. She told me I was probably “qualified” to give a tour myself, and as they were very short staffed that day, and she’d appreciate it if we’d wing it. Fine by me. I loved this house and I liked the idea of setting our own pace. Here’s what happened as we came up the stairs to the “haunted” room: we quite busy were having a grand time Jack is one of those friends who can truly make me laugh. By the time we reached the top landing, I was so busy giggling and smiling and enjoying my friend’s company, that I temporarily forgot i was the tour guide. I didn’t have time to tell Jack, “Ok, this is the room that’s supposed to be haunted, blah blah blah.” Instead, Jack walked into the room blindly. And he abruptly turned on his heel and ran out of the house. When I caught up with him on the lawn he was beet red and out of breath. He looked at me crazy eyed and said, “Oh, my God. Did you FEEL that?” He went on to tell me that it was crazy hot in that room, that he had trouble breathing and that he had to get out of the house asap. So that’s my story with the paranormal. If I hadn’t seen my unsuspecting friend’s reaction first hand, I would never have believed there might be some truth to the whole legend. I guess one day we’ll find out for sure…

    Reply
  3. katieadams5

    I’m a little delayed on reading this post. I loved this so much because when you hear “haunted” you think “scary”. This was quite the opposite. I don’t believe in ghosts, I believe our father in heaven allows angels to visit the earth every once in a while, and for some, the veil between worlds is thinner than for others. This is so respectful of those peaceful spirits and gives a whole new meaning to “haunted”. Beautifully written!

    Reply
  4. Noel

    This was so interesting. I can relate this to when i was working as an aid for an elderly man. He lived with his oldest daughter and her family in a very old house. The house was huge. I remember i used to hear all sorts of things while noone was home but me and him. At times i would ask him if he heard the same things i was hearing and he would tell me “oh dont be scared they always come to visit” or ” its ok my wife comes all the time” ?????? ( his wife had passed away years before)

    Reply

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