Monday, October 30, 2006
Boo! A Ghost!
I suppose that it's the right time of the year for a ghost story. In my world, any time of year is usually appropriate. Allow me to explain. Home is the old farmhouse that I grew up in. It was built in/around 1902 and it's only had 5 owners since then. My parents bought it in the early 1970s and have lived there ever since.
We haven't talked about it much as a family - my mom has decided that my brother and I just have vivid imaginations, but some odd things happen in that house. For one thing, I'd swear that the house recognizes us when we come home. Scott and I have both noticed how warm and welcoming the house is when we walk in - regardless of the actual temperature. Both of us have had friends that the house didn't appear to care for as well - there've been several people that just didn't feel welcome in our home, and were always freezing the entire time they were there - again regardless of the temperature or time of year.
For whatever reason, I think the house regards me as a plaything 'cause it (or whatever's there) has always been more active when I'm there alone. Lights turn themselves on and off, the curling iron gets unplugged, things occasionally move around. One morning in particular, the coffee pot turned itself off every time I left the kitchen. You do not trifle with my caffeine. I don't care what plane you exist on. Finally, I got pissed off enough that I yelled something along the lines of "G*dd*mn it! Leave my coffee alone, or I'll exorcise your ass!" The coffee pot flipped back on, and it's never screwed with my caffeine again.
I could go on for quite a while about the oddness that is normal around our house, but I have one tale in particular in mind. For my fifteenth birthday, my dad gave me a set of house keys. This was a VERY big deal - entrusting me with the keys to the kingdom so to speak. (Scott still doesn't have a house key.) He put them on a brass keyring with my initial. It was quite the moment.
I was phobic about keeping track of those keys. I knew where they were every second of the day. Then, one night, I put them on the dresser where I always put them. The next morning, they were gone. I tore my room apart. Then I tore the house apart. I tortured my brother, thinking he'd snatched them to screw with me. Nothing. Nada. They were gone. Vanished in the night. Finally I told Mom and Dad that I couldn't find them. Whew, boy, did I catch hell! I had left the door open to potential home invaders. Psychic ones, that would get their hands on my keys and just know where we lived and when we wouldn't be home so they could waltz in and loot our stuff. And the insurance wouldn't cover it 'cause they didn't have to break in 'cause I'd gone and given them a key. *shudder* It was thoroughly unpleasant.
Months went by and we started the renovations on the former master bedroom. (We were turning it into a library, with a loft and everything.) I came home from school, changed into my demolition clothes and started in on one wall. Dad was working on another wall. We pulled down the plaster (which I regret now. It was original, with the horsehair running through it.) and the lathe boards to expose the joists. This was the first time that this wood had been exposed to the light in like 80 years. So, about half way down the wall, there was a huge nail spanning the joists about four feet from the floor. This nail was squared off, about 14 inches long and about 1/4" in diameter. Dangling from that nail, dead center between the joists, under the original lathe and plaster walls, was my key chain.
I'm glad that Dad was there when I was pulling down the wall, 'cause otherwise he'd have never believed it. Hell, I didn't believe it. I whirled around to him and demanded to know how he'd gotten the keys in there. It took us quite a while to move that damned nail enough to get my keys out of the wall, and I think that more than anything convinced both of us that it was real. I have that keychain today. It's still got my house keys on it. That nail is still in the wall, between the joists. And I still have NO idea how my keys came to be hanging in that wall. As Mr. Shakespeare said,"There are stranger things in heaven and upon earth, Horatio,
than dreamt of in your philosophy." He wasn't kidding.