Friday, October 31, 2014

A ghost story


I believe in ghosts because I have seen them. Well, one actually, the same night after night. He would wake me up, hovering over my bead. Pale skin, dark black hair and beard, a mark on his cheek, shiny teeth, menacing. My screaming would wake my Mom, who would come in running and he would be gone. And suddenly that little room under the eaves would be returned to me but it is little surprise that I developed first a fear of sleeping alone and then chronic insomnia. It was as if he was trying to get at me but couldn't quite break through and whatever it was that he was trying to communicate was not pleasant. It still makes my blood run cold to think of that face from a past without time.

My Mom, feet firmly rooted in the ground, did not believe me. Even though it happened repeatedly. My Sister thought that she saw him once but eventually, finally, he left me alone and the idea was abandoned. As I was as fanciful then as I am now, it was agreed that I had just been dreaming although I knew that wasn't the truth. Not that many times in a row, always the same and absolutely, undeniably "real."

And then one night, years later, my Mom was home alone and getting ready for bed. We, the kids, had already moved on, my Dad was out of town on a business trip. Just as she was slipping under the covers, she heard two people having a conversation. Just a normal, back and forth conversation but it was odd...at night...so far out in the country...but our house was on the road so maybe someone's car had broken down? And yet it continued long enough to make her curious. She woke up our two Great Danes and took them with her downstairs. And it was there that she realized that the voices were coming from the living room, inside the house.

She had no choice but to advance, to know what was going on...for her own safety. The calm conversation continued, back and forth, back and forth as she inched her way forward through the kitchen in the dark. She reached just beyond the living room wall to flip on the lights and...silence. The room was empty. End of the conversation. For years afterwards she could remember what had been the subject of that discussion but now both she and I have forgotten. It is interesting what the mind can hold and cannot.

True story.

It turns out that the house had a hidden trap in the stairway leading up to my Sister's and my bedrooms and that the house had been used as part of the Underground Railroad. Even my Dad only went down to explore that cellar once in all of the years that they owned that horse farm and never again.

I have more stories. Anyone who lives in these ancient houses in France (our first house in Arles had Roman stone blocks in its foundations) knows that we share them, that we aren't alone. But that is enough for today, I think.

Happy Halloween.



34 comments:

  1. love this Heather! more real ghost stories please! I have two stories myself. But how interesting and hope you managed to find out more about the stories related to your house and the underground?

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    1. Nope we didn't Naomi. Isn't that amazing though? I want to hear your stories!

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  2. There are friendly spirits as well. After my mom died when I was only 17, there were many nights in that house before I left for good when I felt my bed gently rocking and I knew it could only be her.

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    1. What a comfort that must have been Judith. Thank you for sharing that, it is very moving and beautiful to imagine.

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  3. I believe that everybody/-thing leave his traces and we call it ghost. Scarry? Yes (and no) because we can't get to the bottom of it.

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    1. I like the idea of traces, R. And definitely there are things we cannot or do not understand.

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  4. Ooooh, Heather, now I am spooked! Love a good ghost story. I've never seen a ghost, but have felt that energy that seems to hover in very old places where history doesn't seem quite at rest. This makes me believe in things I can't see.

    Here's hoping that the only ghosts that cross your path are friendly. Happy Halloween! XOXO

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    1. Beautifully put, Jeanne. And I agree with you - both Remi and I are really sensitive to the energies a place holds - and it can be positive too. I love that about holy sites - especially ones that have a thousand years of prayer in them!

      And yes, we had a very happy Halloween. ;)

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  5. How apropos for Halloween :) I love this. You are an amazing writer Heather!!

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  6. I'm seriously spooked. Goosebumps on my legs!! Happy Halloween.

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  7. Oh my goodness! Good to have two great danes at home! (TWO great danes?) Even if they could not do anything against ghosts, their sheer physicalness keeps one grounded!

    Wish you sweet and gentle ghosts from now on and a lot of good sleep! Happy Halloween!

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    1. Merci Silke. And yep, I grew up with Great Danes and they are truly, truly, truly wonderful dogs! They don't live very long unfortunately and it would be just so heartbreaking that my parents switched to Goldens but I still have such a soft spot for them.

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  8. The stories, yours and your mom, can be part of the family heirloom.
    Ghost stories keep us thinking and alive.
    Retelling like folktales helps memory.
    Do the French celebrate Halloween?

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    1. They are starting to Edgar. It is really recent. I was super happy to have Trick or Treaters this year!

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  9. Heather, what a story! I am waiting to see a ghost in this 1640's pile of rubble in France Profonde but one has not been forthcoming:-).

    Happy Halloween to you, Remi, and the pups. My jack'o lantern is burning brightly.

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    1. Ahhh, I am jealous, we have never done a jack o lantern in France! And I am happy for you but not surprised...so far, I haven't felt or seen a thing in this new house.

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  10. Spooky!! That's it ...I'm under the covers!!
    I'll stick to putting the scary witches hat on our puppy and teasing the young goblin and goons that chatter up our stairs in search of trick or tr-eats! Somehow I don't she has frightened anyone!!
    Love your story...straight out of the Twilight Zone...

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    1. I think that you are on the right track Gretel! ;) But oh, your poor puppy!! hehehe

      It's a true story!

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  11. Oh, seriously spooky. Shivers down and up my spine.

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  12. Spooky. I've had a few strange experiences myself but, to keep my sanity, I've attributed them to being fanciful and to my over-active imagination. Most of the times it works to calm me down.

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    1. On an island such as Malte?...I can imagine Loree...And I say ignore them!

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  13. I had one strange experience a few years ago the night of the 31st October.I thought it was a thief so I called the Police but they could not find anyone... it was a painful experience! I want to stay with my feet firmly rooted in the ground as your mother.

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    1. I am so sorry that happened to you, lovely Emilia. It must have been a frightening experience. *hug*

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  14. Heather your experience must have been so frightful for you at a young age, then your Mother's experience and the history of the home. I would love to hear more stories, of course! Wishing you a calm and peaceful Autumn this year!

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena

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    1. Thank you Karena...and the same to you...
      xo

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  15. Heather...that is really frightening...I have never seen a ghost but I know people who say they have seen them...I never say never and your story is spine tingling and your Mum's too...no more stories, I'm a big scaredy-cat!! xx

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  16. Yikes, you know, I used to love reading ghost stories and looked for 'True Ghost' stories on the web. I would read along before bedtime having a great ol' time. Then I begain to have nightmares and had to 'exnay on the ghosts eh!'

    Now a days, I'm spooked so easily. If I was listening to a conversation in my Livingroom when I was home alone, I'd probably faint from fear, LOL

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    1. I know! I don't know how my Mom did it. She is one brave lady!!

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