Tuesday, October 24, 2017


The house was quiet, save for the muffled thud of clothes in the dryer. Outside autumn blustered its way in with gusting breezes which sent falling leaves into a frenzied swirl. The kitchen was warm and smelled slightly of pumpkin as soup simmered on the stove.
All in all a pleasant morning.
But the woman was restless. She drank her coffee and glanced cautiously at the phone. It lay on the table in a mocking silence. The minutes passed. The phone remained still. The woman grew nervous, afraid to consider the consequences.
Still the phone refused to ring....

Welcome to my morning.
I am off but on-call.
Every hospital workers' nightmare.

On-call is a mixed bag.
Get called in – it's time and a half. And sometimes a bonus on top.
Get called in – and it's no longer a day off.
Do you know how many things I can think to do on my on-call day?
Five. Just off the top of my head.
Get called in and you know how many things get done?

But so far, it is 1050 and that phone remains silent.
I started a load of wash.
I put a pot of soup on.
I messaged our son to stop by for dinner.
Contingent on the silence of the Phone....

Now I am flying in the face of all that is evil and work related and have started a new blog post...
It's nearly Halloween. According to every scary movie I have ever watched, no good can come of this. 
This is NOT my house. Because there is clearly a little girl ghost in that attic window...and I draw the line a little girl ghosts...
Why oh why is it so fun to be scared?
Not real life scared: Will the kids get home safe? Just what will that biopsy show? Which line will our political leaders cross today?
Oh no. I am not talking that sort of scared.
I'm talking that reading a Stephen King book right before bedtime after watching the Walking Dead sort of scared.

Scary movies are on a continuous loop around here in October if I am in charge of the remote.
My husband hates them. Too much shrieking and silliness.
Thankfully my son loves them. Together we watched that poor woman get sucked down the well in The Ring. We discovered that daylight is the best time to watch a bootleg version of Paranormal Activity. And covering your EARS is way better than covering your eyes when watching The Grudge.
(Although it is still possible to scare the beejeezus out of each other by making that ehehehehe sound as you creep down the dark hallway.)

I am fairly certain my first truly scary movie was The Legend of Hell House circa 1973. I would have been 12. I remember sitting in my Grandma's living room, mesmerized by a handsome Roddy McDowell. I have no idea why I was watching this movie in my grandparent's living room. We rarely watched TV at their house and we certainly wouldn't have been allowed to watch something with HELL in the title. I don't know where my siblings were. Or my parents. I do recall it was night time.
The movie was scary and awesome and I have been hooked ever since.
Keep in mind, I am talking scary. Not slashery.
I have no use for torture and murder.
Give me good ghost story any day.

Which makes a lot of sense.

St. Louis has a rich history of hauntings: The Lemp Mansion, The Bissel Mansion, the library at UMSL, Alexian Brothers Hospital... This is just the beginning.

I have had dinner at the Lemp Mansion – the former home of the Lemp family of brewers in the 1800s. Several family members killed themselves in the house, it was rumored that a 'monkey boy' was housed in the attic, a sister was certified insane and there may have been a murder...
The place was creepy from the start. Lights flickered and the hair literally stood up on the back of my neck when I walked into the ladies room. You can stay at the Lemp, IF YOU ARE INSANE!

I worked at Alexian Brothers Hospital for nearly 15 years. The current building sits on the grounds where the original hospital was built and where part of the exorcism in the movie The Exorcist occurred. Several of the brothers who were involved in that event still lived and worked on the grounds. We were told in orientation to NEVER ask about the exorcism. So I didn't. But I can tell you that many evenings, while working in the OR suites with one other nurse, there were mysterious doors slamming and footsteps where there were no people.

We live in a haunted house. Mrs. Durbin passed in our kitchen and she stops by every now and then to open a cupboard door or have a smoke in the basement. No one would support my opinion on this guest until the evening my husband and I both felt the cat walk across the back of the sofa. The cat who was asleep in his box on the opposite side of the room....
This was in the rafters of our basement. Wisely, Rob made it into a tray, coated it with many layers of mod-podge to seal in the evil and then we gave it to our daughter's boyfriend's parents. I think that makes us ecto-plamically related now...
But its okay.
Maybe it's because I have spent most of my life in hospitals where the line between life and death is all to clear.
I have heard that these 'hauntings' are just the energy left over from previous lives. In a weird way I find this comforting. I like the idea that some energy is strong enough to remain behind and touch the future.
Some would argue that not all that strong energy is 'good'. True, there is a lot of bad energy in the world. I want to believe that bad energy burns itself out over time, provided it is not allowed to gain momentum.
Which is all the more reason to put only GOOD energy out there. Embrace that energy from previous lives and roll it into one big monumentous wave.
And think how wonderful it would be to be described as haunting...


  1. Love this post. As a once, long ago RN, I was on-call and never liked it. Most times I wasn't called in, when I was it was always life or death stuff. I also love your history of hauntings, as a former Chicagoan--it all makes sense to me.

  2. What a wonderful pre-Halloween post!

    Never encountered a ghost myself but we have old family friends who had an old house in Mystic, CT that had ghosts, and of course Hawai'i has an amazing number of ghost stories. My sister's high school, Aiea High School was notoriously haunted - lights, weird noises, cold spots in the air, and it would ALWAYS rain on their carnival.


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