on Tuesday, April, 13 2010 @ 04:39:58 am (1318 words)
In Uncategorized [ 120732 views ]
"I do believe in spooks. I do believe in spooks. I do. I do. I do." Hmm, well, though I'm not nearly so adamant as the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz, I too DO believe there is really something to the existence of ghosts. Look at any Yahoo!Answers question relating to the subject of ghosts, however, and you'll notice that at least half of the respondents state that they do not believe in them; moreover, it seems that most of those persons feel compelled to ridicule the subject ad nauseam. Quite a few who pooh-pooh the existence of ghosts point to the Bible as their source of non-belief (and some even take issue with the translations of Luke 24: 37-39, arguing that "ghost" is not the right translation). One barrage on Answers led me to simply respond "I think you can see why people who have seen them don't answer such questions!"
Anyhow, I love ghost stories, not the stuff of novels, but stories of sightings: you know, the "true" ones. I have quite a collection of books which relate such stories. The primary reason for my fascination with the topic is that, well, I have seen them---yep, first-hand experience. I'm not a sensitive, or a medium, or a psychic (or whatever), nor do I petend to have any powers that are in the least of a paranormal nature, but when I was a very young child, I had two encounters which I cannot explain, except to say that the manifestations I saw were ghosts.
The year was 1956. My family lived in Angleton, seat of Brazoria County, Texas. My father worked in operations in a chemical plant in a nearby town. I was just a bit over three-and-a-half years old when, about mid-summer, my mother opened her business, L&M Washateria, at 115 S. Velasco Street. As I recall, the building which housed that business (and which has long since been torn down) consisted of two large rooms. The back room being rather large (or so it seemed to me) and most of the time empty, my brother (three years my senior) and I would occupy a great deal of our time riding our tricycles there. Though my brother usually kept his trike there at the business, mine was often brought home where I'd play with it even more. As long as I didn't get it muddy, the trike would be carried back the next workday to keep me from getting bored. Consequently, at home I often played with it indoors.
Our residence on Plum Street was a one-story, two-bedroom, frame house with green asbestos siding. I remember it very well, chiefly due to the incidents that I am about to describe. The house faced Plum Street to the north. Another road ran along the east end of the lot from some railroad tracks that ran behind the house and parallel to Plum. At night, a street light near this corner lit up the bedroom in which my brother, my little sister (fifteen months my junior), and I slept. The north end of the bedroom abutted the living room / dining room that ran across the northern portion of the house. The door of our bedroom was on the north end of the wall that partitioned the room from the hallway and our parents' bedroom. The hallway was rather small, and the doorway accessing it and the living room was very near the doorway to the bedroom in which I slept. Straight across the living room, from the doorway to the hall, was the front door of our house. At the center of the east wall of my bedroom was a window. My bed was next to this window, with its "head" toward the north (or front of the house). Lying on my back, head northward, the doorway was to my right and across the room. In an open space, between the head of the bed and the wall that separated the room from the living room, I usually parked my trike. On one particular night, it was positioned practically beside my bed.
Late that night, while the entire family was sound asleep, I awoke with a bizarre feeling that I was being watched. I slowly turned my head to the right and there, standing silently in the doorway was an elderly man wearing a blue, long-sleeved work shirt and khaki pants. He was looking straight at me! Needless to say, I was startled and extremely frightened---I wanted out of that room, the sooner the better! Trouble was...there was one scary obstacle in the way. I slid out of bed, and in doing that, my arm grazed the tricycle. I latched onto it and, with the "scariest" and most determined voice I could muster, I squeaked "You better get outta' here, or I'll run you over with my trike!" Quite to my surprise, the man did begin to turn, but oddly, no part of his body moved for him to do so: his body rotated to face toward the front of the house and slowly began to float (no footsteps being taken) into the front room.
I hesitated for the slightest moment, amazed at what I was seeing, but still the urge to get out of the room compelled me to run for the door---THAT door. There I stopped to lean from one door jam to another and watched as the visage traversed the living room and then "melted" through the front door. Again I hesitated ever so slightly, trying to process what was going on. As soon as the stranger slipped through the door, I snapped to my senses and lunged across the hallway and into my parents' room. I jumped into their bed screaming "Somebody's in the house, somebody's in the house! Hurry get up and see!": to which my mother simply moaned "No, there isn't; the house is all locked up. Lie down here and go back to sleep." (Incidentally, my father used to sleep more soundly than a rock!)
Over the years I had begun to think that I had simply had a very bad dream, but over a couple decades later I asked my mother if she recalled the incident. She did indeed remember, and she told me exactly what I had screamed and what I told her that I had seen that night. She told me everything exactly as I had remembered it. Yet strange though that incident was, an equally bizarre occurrence took place all those years ago in that same haunted house!
It must have been near Halloween of that same year when this second incident occurred, for two papier-mache figures---one, a jack-o'-lantern and one, a black cat---were involved. My dad and his younger brother were seated on a couch that was placed about two feet from the wall that partitioned my room from the living room. They were watching the television that was at the east end of the room. My siblings and I were playing when I decided to reach behind that beige, vinyl-covered, paisley-embossed couch to retrieve the black cat figure (I assume it was intended either for a lantern or a candy container). It was situated top-up, and as I leaned behind the couch to pick it up, I looked down into it where I saw a disembodied adult hand (as big as a man's hand) that was making repeated lunging grasping or clawing movements at me. In retrospect, my reaction was calm and rather funny. I remember standing up, startled and dumbfounded, looking at my dad and uncle (who were talking there on the couch), and wondering who would believe what I had just seen. Nonplussed momentarily, I simply decided that THAT figure was not the one I really wanted to play with. I then simply reached and picked up the jack-o'-lantern figure. (The ghost or ghosts in that house must have thought "This kid's a regular killjoy!")