By Noreen Wise, author of The Secret Tortoise of Sleep Hollow SAGA I
Are ghosts real, or just our freaky imaginations?
Can we interact with a ghost through multiple senses, or just our 6th sense?
How do we develop our 6th sense and become good at relying on it? Is our 6th sense ever wrong?
Does someone have to die in a house for it to become haunted, or can a house just be the ghost’s home, a favorite spot perhaps, maybe a special place that it wants to protect… or possibly it’s simply trying to stay connected with friends and family members?
I lived in a haunted house for three long, frightening months. It was extremely terrifying despite the fact that it seemed like a friendly ghost. I doubt I would have lasted a week if it had been an evil, spiteful spirit.
On the legitimacy scale of 1 – 10 , this ghost was an 11 or maybe even a 20… seriously, and you’ll see what I mean in a minute.
The old, red New England saltbox house loomed at the top of a notable hill on Main Street in one of Connecticut’s charming historic villages. It had been one of the first houses built along the Connecticut River in a town that was first settled in 1636. I was a little fearful about signing the lease – I’d noticed over the course of a year, that just like clockwork, every 3 months the “FOR RENT” sign reappeared in the house’s front yard. I couldn’t help but have a creepy, nagging feeling in the deep recesses of my mind that perhaps the house was haunted. I even asked the landlord whether or not the house was spooked when I scheduled a walk through.
“Why do tenants move in and out every 3 months?” I asked.
“Oh, they’re buying a house and just need a short term rental,” the landlord assured me.
Hmm, maybe one tenant would rent for that reason. But every three months, really? I couldn’t help but feel a little suspicious. But the enormous weeping willow tree on the western side of the house, along with the real life wishing well below, tucked beneath the sweeping branches, seemed like a good luck sign. Basically just the kind of sign I needed to take the risky plunge. I definitely wanted to stay in this beautiful historic village. So without many other options, and feeling my choice was endorsed by a good luck sign, I signed the lease, despite my apprehension, and booked a Uhaul.
Upon my 5 year old son and I moving in, I was startled to see that the back door along the kitchen wall had been nailed shut. How peculiar I thought at the time, annoyed that I couldn’t open the door to move our furniture into the house, but instead had to use a very inconvenient narrow door that led through a screened porch along the back of the house.
A few weeks after we were settled, on a dark, moonless night when I was sitting at the kitchen table working late. Completely engrossed in what I was doing. Suddenly, at the stroke of midnight, an unexpected THUMP, THUMP, THUMP of heavy booted footsteps, clomped at the back door behind me that was nailed shut. I glanced at the clock as I hustled to the blocked door, shrieking, “Who are you? Go away! I’m calling the police.” I was now intensely grateful that the door was barricaded (it appeared that there were at least 100 thick, heavy, two inch nails hammered around the frame in regular intervals). And now I knew the reason why.
The noisy stomping was not responsive to my threatening warnings. The more I screamed, the more the heavy Thump, Thump, Thumps became. I finally had no choice but to call 911.
As I heard the police officer’s car slowly inch up the hill, and looking out the window and watched the police car stop next to my car, underneath the massive branches of the old Weeping Willow, a few yards from the back porch door, the boot steps abruptly halted. I was in disbelief. The bizarre part was that the heavy footsteps did not run away and grow fainter with distance until they eventually disappeared into the night… but rather they simply evaporated into the cool autumn mist, like a flip of a switch.
I was perplexed. How was this possible?
The police weren’t eyeing me as if I was nuts the way I expected they might, as I described the alarming details of getting spooked. Oddly enough, they seemed to totally get it and understand what I had just gone through. They asked multiple probing questions, just as one would expect after calling 911. In fact, they spent upward to thirty minutes investigating the area that surrounded the house using their big, powerful flashlights.
“I found this,” one of the officers informed me after reappearing from his roam around the deep, dark, tangled back yard. He handed me my wallet. “It was on the driver seat of your car; the door was unlocked.”
I was baffled. How could my wallet have fallen out of my handbag without my knowing and land on my front seat? And yet I could actually picture myself being that distracted when I arrived home with my five year old son after school that day.
“You’ve been here before for the same reason, haven’t you?” I blurted. “It’s a ghost, isn’t it?”
The two police officers stood in silence neither confirming nor denying. Finally one admitted, “Weeelll, we’ve received similar calls before. But hey, you found your missing wallet. That’s a good thing.”
I nodded, stupefied. Yes, it actually was a good thing.
The officers soon bid their farewell and rolled back down the hill.
My son and I became very busy in our knew home. He’d just started kindergarten and the class was studying monarch butterflies. He brought home a cocoon one day and we placed it in our den and were monitoring it daily. The spooky encounter was quickly forgotten.
But one dark, moonless night, when I was sitting at the kitchen table working late again, which I did every night, to be honest, my heart jumped when I heard the… Thump, Thump, Thump, over my shoulder at the nailed-shut back door.
I scrambled from my seat, ran to my handbag in the den. My wallet was there. The Thump, Thump, Thump continued. I darted to the back door that led to the porch to see if it was locked. Yes it was. Thump, Thump, Thump. Back into the kitchen to check the gas stove. O M G, the dial was turned slightly to the right, while I thought it was completely off. Whoa…my heart raced with panic at the thought of my son and I perishing from carbon monoxide poisoning in the middle of the night.
The house grew eerily silent as soon as I turned the knob all the way and completely shut off the gas. The spooky boot thumps mysteriously vanished again.
The monarch butterfly emerged from its cocoon one beautiful morning. My son and I were wowed by watching the process up close in our home. The leaves were starting to change colors outside. We had so many trees and thus so many leaves. I was the one who raked the tall mountains of leaves, while my son had all the fun diving into the many enormous heaps that were about three times as tall as he was. That might be an exaggeration but I think you get my drift.
We also became really good at making wishes in the wishing well. The best thing about the well, is that the rope had a real bucket at the end with a real handle that turned. So this became a regular routine. We’d make a wish and put it in the bucket and lower it down the well and crossed our fingers that the wish, and eventually the many wishes, would come true.
Fall was the best season for this beautiful New England town. There was a historic cider mill down main street that sprung to life every Autumn. And there was the pumpkin patch and hayride on main street heading in the opposite direction. Plenty of things to keep my mind preoccupied form the ghost and our haunted house.
So there I was again one cooler night in late October, intently working at the kitchen table as usual and thus completely unaware of how late it was. The clock struck midnight. Thump, Thump, Thump. I leapt from the table and began my drill of checking the stove, Thump, Thump, Thump… then the back door that opened to the porch. Voila! An unlocked backdoor, I gratefully turned the bolt and secured the entrance. The house hushed.
After this third spooky intervention, spending days mystified by the ghost’s apparent omniscience, and kindness, leaving me with the impression that I had the best security system in town, I could no longer ignore the fact that this particular ghost was very real, and wasn’t going away no matter how many things I thought of to distract myself. The ghost was also very tangible. The boot stomps were audible, I could hear them loudly and distinctly and could have even recorded them, so this was more than just a 6th sense thing. A wallet left behind on my front seat, a gas stove left on, an unlocked back door… were all very physical. From that moment forward, I would never be able to deny that ghosts are real.
I thought for sure the ghost would stomp by on Halloween, but I was ghosted by the ghost when I was waiting for him to show up at midnight. So frustrating.
I survived three months though… but at the end of November my son and I moved out, or should I say we sprinted out after the fourth ghostly interaction. This was the MOST frightening because it revealed how much power and force the ghost possessed. I could no longer handle the reality that an invisible spirit could see so much, and appeared able to read my mind and was communicating with me, and who knows where this would lead.
Are you brave enough to hear the 4th encounter? I don’t want to scare anyone or prevent anyone from having a good night’s sleep, but what I’m about to share was the final straw, actually, it was a whole lot bigger than a straw, it was a giant branch.
It was a stormy pre-dawn Veteran’s Day morning the second week of November. I was awakened in the early morning hours by the fierce thunder that sent shivers up my spine, and huge bolts of lightning that shook the trees surrounding the house. The wind was very forceful and ominous and rattled the panes of the glass windows that looked like they were the originals that were more than 300 years old. I couldn’t fall back asleep, I was so worried for my son and I. Fortunately, he was sleeping like a rock, completely unaware.
When the sun finally rose and I crept downstairs to asses the wind damage in the backyard, I heaved a heavy sigh of relief that my car parked under the Weeping Willow branches was safe, nothing had fallen on my car, not even a twig, despite the dangerous wind. As I mentioned, it was the Veteran’s Day Holiday so schools were closed, and I was working from home. The storm had blown over and now the weather, despite there still being clouds, was very calm, no remnants of the earlier mayhem.
I made breakfast then decided to check on my son. When I walked through the den and looked out the window, I nearly fainted to see that a massive Weeping Willow branch had somehow fallen through the windshield of my car, during that brief period while I was in the kitchen. It hadn’t made a noise. How is that even possible?
I dashed outside and was shocked at how bizarrely the branch had fallen, almost impossible for it to be this precise. It only hit the glass. It was a giant branch with smaller branches attached. Not only did it smash the windshield, but one of the smaller branches punched out the passenger window. It was the shape of the letter “Y,” with the two tips hitting glass. Yet not a single scratch was on the body of the car. THAT is freaky. That doesn’t seem at all possible, and yet that was precisely what I was looking at.
Insurance companies are really awesome about glass damage, when it’s ONLY the glass that’s damaged. Someone came and picked up my car, quickly replaced the glass and returned it, without my having to pay a dime. It being Veteran’s Day, my son and I had a plan to stay home that day, it didn’t matter at all that I didn’t have my car.
So, the branch fell on my car and demolished the windows. The damage could have been so much worse, but wasn’t. I ended up with a brand new windshield. So this kind of seemed like good luck, through adversity, at least that was my positive interpretation when I eyed the wishing well beneath the willow tree and nodded a thank you.
Anyway, even though this ended up seeming like good luck, I couldn’t get over the fact that the branch didn’t fall during the storm, but rather after I saw that my car was fine, and thought “oh phew, it’s all good,” but then looked outside 20 minutes later and was shocked to see that it wasn’t.
The huge heavy branch hadn’t made a sound. Shattered glass definitely makes noise. A heavy thump on the ground makes noise. I hadn’t been listening to anything while I was in the kitchen. The branch landed so precisely on the glass only, despite it’s staggering size and odd shape. I was left to deduce that a ghost might be able to do this, especially this omnipotent ghost. And that thought terrified me. I think it’s clear the ghost was a good spirit, trying to communicate helpful information that protected me, but do you see how terrifying that was all the same? It was beyond spooky. It was a powerful force that I knew so little about, so would always be behind the curve, and would forever be spooked.
I did learn a lot though and greatly appreciate my new first hand experiences and increased knowledge, and for that I was, and still am, very grateful. However, now that I had this much information, I was no longer able to live inside the “ignorance is bliss” bubble, and it seemed like my son and I would be living in an altered reality that so few understood, and that’s what scared me the most.
Sure, the police officers in town seemed to also have a bit of ghost knowledge, which was helpful, but there was likely limits to their understanding. I quickly decided I had no choice but to move out and called my landlord immediately.
Several months after my son and I relocated further down the Connecticut River, to another historic village, I wasn’t the least bit surprised to see that the owner had leveled the house and was selling the land. A new modern house was built in its place, although not its exact place (perhaps the family that bought the land learned of the haunted stories).
But the weeping willow tree on top of the hill is still there with the wishing well below. I must confess that I’ve often wondered if the ghost lived in the tree. Because that’s been the mysterious consistency that has followed me across the years, that I’m still trying to figure out. Trees. Do ghostly spirits hang out in trees? Wait until you hear these other stories and then you’ll understand why I’m asking the question, and why I’m so curious to find out the answer.~
“The Drish House in 1911. (see picture above) Located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, this plantation home was built by one of the town’s earliest settlers, Dr. John R. Drish. Since the 20th century, the tower has been said to be haunted. Numerous people have reported seeing the third floor burst into flames, when no fire was present, and other supernatural elements.
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