Tuesday, April 2, 2024


 I work odd hours, sometimes getting me home late at night when everyone else is sound asleep. 

One such evening, as I was getting cleaned up before bed, I heard someone in the kitchen. Drawers opening and closing, cutlery shuffling. 

I thought for a minute that Rob was up making a late night snack, even though he was SOUND asleep when I got home. I was tempted to tiptoe down the hall and peek in through the pass through window from hall to kitchen and say ‘hey!’. 

But something kept me from doing so. 

A slight crawling sensation at the back of my neck. 

Instead, I finished up in the bathroom, scurried to bed and crawled in next to my SOUNDLY sleeping husband. 

The next morning there was no evidence of a late night snack attack. I asked Rob about the sounds, and while he had slept through that visit, he did report that when coming back in the house after doing yard work, he felt as though someone was in the house. TWICE. And such a real feeling that he actually searched the premises! 

Welcome to our haunted house.

A haunted house…

A haunting image…

Haunted by the memory…

Phrases that evoke romantic, suspenseful,  mysterious feelings..

A phrase which evokes looks of concern over one's mental stability…

You get used to it.

I have lived in this haunted house for 37 years. We began to suspect its extracorporeal resident shortly after moving in when, one night,I smelled the distinct scent of cigar smoke and heard the pages of a book turning. It was around midnight. My husband was at work and I was alone with the cat. 

I cleared the house in my best FBI manner- flipping every light on and shouting ‘we’re coming in!’ 

(We, being me and the cat.)

I covered every inch, following the sound to the basement where the noise and smell were strongest until I flipped the light in the back room when it all stopped.

I moved back through the house, shaking my head and wondering about my state of mind, turning lights off as I passed, the cat trotting along at my feet, silently judging my ridiculousness.

Until we passed the dark powder room. This is when my normally mild mannered feline hunched her back and hissed in a manner I had never heard. 

I don’t remember how I got back to my bedroom. I do remember the slamming door as I buried myself deep under the country blue comforter. 

Rob looked at me with concern when I told him this tale the next morning. His skepticism and background in psychiatric care kept me mute to the shadows I would see move in the hallway through the pass through in the kitchen. Or the footsteps I would hear from time to time. 

It was several months later that we learned, from the overly informative neighbor, that Mrs. D. had died in the kitchen. 

‘Dead before she hit the floor’ in Virginia’s bluntly comforting words.

Things became clearer after that.

Taking this knowledge and sculpting it with my extensive research of scary movies and Stephen King books, I decided that Mrs. D. was clearly displeased with our multitude of changes to HER house.

I took to informing her that while I LOVED roses, I thought they would be better suited in the side yard rather than on the patio where our eventual toddler could fall into the thorns.

That bird mural on the hall was LOVELY! But as it was fading and I could never do it justice, it was getting painted over. Oh, and the ADORABLE pink shutters used to frame it were gone as well…

Mrs. D. did more than visit. She seems to have taken on the job of afterlife hostess, ushering in ‘the see-through man’ who would watch the kids as they played in the living room, the gentle reassuring guest whose warm palm touched my cheek one sleepless night, the annoyed visitor who exploded a glass on the kitchen counter and kept knocking a shoe off of a baby doll. She has even allowed visits from both of our cats, now gone to their better place. 

Years have passed and Mrs. D. has made her presence known here and there. So much so that we decided to do some research. Turns out she was a graphic artist. 

The powder room was supposed to be part of a master bedroom suite, but plans changed.

The garage door-painted like brick to match the house-was a dare. And so much fun to raise to the shocked expressions of bystanders.

I learned a few things from her son, whom I worked with briefly, although not closely enough to tell him his mother was still hanging around.

Some I learned from our friend google and some concrete facts were discovered by a good friend and her ancestry account. 

Thankfully, as time has passed, Rob has admitted to hearing footsteps and noting the undeniable presence of our first cat walking along the back of the couch while our present cat slept in plain view. 

Such a fun sharing moment. 

Overnight guests have also noticed things-a lamp turning itself on, a toy unwinding and of course, those footsteps. 

Some folks find it creepy that I am so nonchalant with these strange happenings.

Honestly, I sort of like the idea that maybe we get to visit from time to time. 

I have read that ‘hauntings’ can be reasoned away as excess energy, left from previous occupants who experienced extreme emotion in the haunted space.

If Einstein is to be believed, “Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another.”

I hope Mrs. D. is happy energy.

I think she is.

And to that end, we threw her a birthday party this year. It was her 102 birthday. (I only recently found the date or we would have had a blowout 100th!)

And I’ll hold a memorial on the day of her passing. In the kitchen. Right on the floor.

Fondue! It's what you do for your circa 1970's house ghost's birthday!