You know me well enough by now. You probably saw the title of this post and assumed that I’m about to get all philosophical about my divorce or the ghosts of my past …
But no. Not this time.
Today I’m actually going to tell you about the ghost in my house.
Full disclosure: I’m a bit of a paranormal geek. I’ve paid to go on overnight ghost hunts in supposedly haunted places. And yes, I have an active imagination. If it were just me having experiences here, even I would wonder if it was all in my noggin.
But it’s not just me.
Mystery in the can
It all started within days of us moving in. It was the middle of a bright, sunny afternoon and I was still trying to unpack and get us settled in. I was dealing with emotional fallout from The D-Word and I was frazzled. We were all beat.
Megan was in the bathroom right off the upstairs hallway. When she was done, she came to me with very wide eyes. She looked scared. She said, “Mommy, while I was in the bathroom the door opened all by itself.”
OK, then. Megan wasn’t prone to making things up, so I assumed it happened. But we were new to the house and didn’t know its quirks yet. So the question was why?
“Do you think the door wasn’t closed all the way and then it just came open?” I asked.
“I think it was closed,” she said.
“Did it just sort of drift open? That happens to some doors sometimes. We don’t know this house very well yet so we don’t know what’s normal and what’s not.”
She then told me that it opened pretty quickly. “It scared me to death,” she said.
“OK, then. I’ll look into it,” I said. “Let me know if it happens again.”
The last thing I needed was for Megan to get the idea that there was something to be scared of in our new house. Figuring that she was going to take her cues from me, I knew that I had to downplay this.
I waited until she went downstairs and then I started messing with the bathroom door. It was definitely a solid-closing door. That is, there didn’t seem to be a way to “kind of” close it. Once you started closing it, the door thinger went firmly into the wall thinger. (Please, allow me to dazzle you with my extensive knowledge of hardware terminology.)
A day or two later, the next thing happened. It was Benjamin’s naptime and I told Megan that she and I were going to take a nap as well. I was just starting to doze when I heard the bathroom door close.
From my bed, I could see into the hallway to the bathroom door. It was closed. Must be Megan, I thought. A minute or two later I heard the door open.
Less than five minutes after that, Megan came in. “Mommy, can I get up now?” she asked. I told her to go ahead, figuring if I didn’t she’d just come back in and ask again in another five minutes.
She replied, “Good, because I have to go to the bathroom so bad.”
“Didn’t you just go?” I asked.
“No,” she said. “I had to go really bad but I was afraid to because I thought there were monsters in there.”
“Did you get up at all?” I asked.
“No,” she said. “I was too scared.”
OK, then. What to think, what to think …
A few nights later the kids were in bed asleep. I was in the living room watching TV by myself. Suddenly, the big antique lamp I’d just bought at a thrift store came on by itself.
Well, it is a really old lamp, I thought.
Then I tried to write off the fact that I’d only ever seen a lamp turn itself on one other time. That was during an encounter with a lady ghost in a hotel room at the Sheraton Read House in Chattanooga, TN.
Name calling isn’t nice
Within the next few weeks, we had another incident. This time it was less ambiguous.
Megan came into my room one morning close to the time she usually gets up. “Um, mommy? Someone just whispered my name in my ear and woke me up.”
“OK,” I said, while doing a great act of remaining calm on the outside but freaking the fark out inside. “Are you sure you didn’t dream it?”
“I’m sure,” she said. “It woke me up.”
I was trying to figure out how to reply when she lost the puzzled expression that had been on her face and switched gears entirely. “Maybe it was my guardian angel,” she reasoned.
“Maybe,” I said. “Great idea. Maybe it was your guardian angel. Do me a favor, though, would you? Let me know if it happens again.”
Ghost bustin’ momma
So. Something unseen was talking to my kid.
Momma wuddn’t so happy about that.
Was I scared? Not as much as I thought I’d be. I’d say I was more concerned.
Yes, I have gone looking for ghosts on many occasions. I have sought them out. However, because I’m a paranormal geek, I’ve read a lot on the matter … enough to know that while there are some friendly ghosts out there, there are some things that you just don’t want to mess with. And these things, while rare, can do a great job of pretending that they’re nice, little friendly ghosts and then turn around and fuck your shit up.
That bothered me. But I also tried to cool the momma panic level and remember that if this was paranormal, it was most likely just a garden-variety ghost.
And I live in a townhouse, fer cryin’ out loud. Who ever even heard of a haunted townhouse?
Also, I knew I had to stay cool for another reason. This is going to sound weird, but there was no man in the house to “protect” us. As if the mere presence of a dude was going to matter a ghost … I know. But I was very aware that I was the Sole Grownup in the House.
The buck stopped here.
I had to do something.
So I did what I’ve read in a bunch of books — which is also the same thing that they tell you to do on the ghost shows.
I claimed my space. And Hippie Trish also kicked in with a few other ideas.
So first, I prayed in my hippie way. I sat quietly and asked to be surrounded in God’s white light. Then I asked that the house be infused with that white light — that every space, including every dark, forgotten corner, be filled up with the white light to drive out anything that might be negative.
Hippies of the world: How ya like me now?
Then, next time the kids went to daddy’s house, I got all Momma Bear on whatever/whoever is here.
I walked around the house and I laid down the law. “I don’t know who you are or what you want, but this is our house now,” I said to … the air. “I don’t care if you stay here, but you can’t contact us. And you especially can NOT talk to my children. You are NOT allowed to do that. So … leave … us … alone!”
I felt like a doof, for sure. But I also tried to be formidable. I wanted to show… the air … that I meant mother-effing business.
And it actually worked.
For a while.
To be continued …
I’ll finish up this little tale on Friday, peeps. Come on back, woncha?
Read the next post here.