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Monday, October 29, 2012

Day of the Dead: A Ghost Story

The Day of the Dead is a Meso-American holiday, but Greg and I have always celebrated it by remembering those who have touched our lives and passed on. Today, I'd like to share a few of my experiences with a ghost I never met.

I'm one of those people who can see ghosts. It's not something I advertise, and for a long time I never discussed it because I didn't want people thinking me weird. But it is what it is, and I'm too old to care what people think anymore.

I was glad when I got married because it gave me a little peace from all the ghosts that lived in the apartment building where I grew up. The ghost traffic was so heavy, it was like living in a subway station.

But I finally got my break when Greg and I married and moved to Texas. Our first home was an apartment in a new building. No ghosts. Whew!

It didn't take long before we bought our first home--complete with its resident ghost. It was an old sea captain's house built in 1903.

At first I didn't notice it, partly because we were so busy fixing up the place. But then Greg started working longer hours and I was alone more often. 

Strange things started happening. Groceries were put away before I was ready to move them. If I was getting ready to cook, a can opener or large spoon would appear on the counter.

If it happened today, I would've chalked it up to my faulty memory, but I had no such lapses back then. 

And then one day, I walked into the kitchen and a light bulb sparked and fell down. Well, not fall exactly. It FLOATED to the floor. I watched it land softly, my mouth hanging open for several seconds after the fact.

Greg teases me that I must've been so mesmerized that it felt like slow motion, but I know what I saw. The bulb didn't shatter. It's as if someone caught it and placed it on the floor.

The next freaky event was one day when I was coming down the stairs. The stairs in that old house were very steep and I had a bad habit of bolting up and down the steps like a wolverine on a rabbit. One day I slipped. 

Instead of crashing to the bottom, someone lifted me under my arms and righted me before I stumbled further.

It wasn't until years later that I learned the lady of the house died in her bed of old age. It was definitely a woman's presence I felt. I felt her strongest in the kitchen and the small bedroom where she died.

I think she liked having young people in her house. And she liked me. I only wish I could have talked to her. She was a very kind spirit.

So on this upcoming Day of the Dead, I'd like to remember that sweet nameless ghost who kept an eye on me all those years ago.

Although I didn't care for all the spirit activity growing up in Chicago, I was very fond of my resident ghost in Texas. I hope she knew how much I appreciated her even if we were separated by decades.

Would you mind a benevolent ghost in your house?


L.G.Smith said...

My sister says she has seen two ghosts...a boy and a dog. I have not ever seen one, and I'm just fine with that. I did meet a woman at a conference once who said she saw ghosts and could talk to them. She wrote a book on ancient Egypt and used her conversations with the long dead to help create it.

And, Gah! I missed the workshop this weekend. I should have set an alarm or something. I remembered at about 8:30 that night. :(

Maria Zannini said...

LG: No worries on the chat. Some of the transcripts were saved on the site. I hope to have mine in a pdf soon that I can post here.

LD Masterson said...

I've often wished I was open to the presence of spirtis but either I'm not or the places I've lived were just not inhabited. I tried sitting alone in my parents' bedroom after my mom died, trying to feel her but never could.

You have a great gift.

Stacy McKitrick said...

I believe in ghosts, and my grandparent's house had one (they called her Ethel Beth). I never saw her or any of her actions although my mother had and I'd heard stories of how the windows would open while everyone was sitting down for dinner. It was enough to spook me, though. So, no, I don't think I'd want a ghost living in my house. I think it's neat how people sense/see them, though and not be freaked out!

Maria Zannini said...

Linda: I'm not so sure. I think I would've been happier if I were less in tuned.

I worry about the ghosts too. It doesn't seem healthy for them to linger on this plane when their journey here is done.

I wish we could travel together. There's a lot of ghost activity on the USS Lexington, docked and on display in Corpus Christi, Tx.

Maybe next Day of the Dead, I'll talk about what I witnessed there.

Maria Zannini said...

Stacy: I would be more content to be blissfully ignorant. I feel like a voyeur--and sometimes it's them that seem voyeuristic. It's unsettling. I like my privacy. LOL.

Kim Van Sickler said...

I love watching or reading about OTHER people's ghosts. I'd rather remain ghost free.

Sarah Ahiers said...

See, a ghost like that would not freak me out at all! I just don't want scary things to happen. Especially while i'm sleeping

Maria Zannini said...

Kim: LOL. Me too,


Sarah: If I were sleeping I could chalk it up to a dream. It's when I'm wide awake that they startle me. :)

Gwen Gardner said...

OMG, my heart sank when I read that Greg started working longer hours and you spent more time alone. I knew what was coming. But how fortunate that you had such a helpful ghost. I think I could handle that. Unless it was a dark and stormy night and the lights went out...

Dia De Los Muertos, right? I'm from San Diego which has a large hispanic community. It's fun to celebrate.

I loved this story. Thanks for sharing it, Maria.

Maria Zannini said...

Gwen: Yup. Dia de los Muertos.

Having grown up with these phenomena you kind of accept it as par for the course. It still startles me though--even when they're kind spirits.

Angela Brown said...

She sounds like a kind ghost. I'll remain mums-the-word whether or not I'd like to have a friendly spirit in my abode. I wouldn't want one to take me up on the offer lol!!

Maria Zannini said...

Angela: This is where you must be careful what you wish for. ;-)

I usually ask the ghosts to leave unless it's someone I know. Then I'm torn. I feel they should move on, but I don't want to be rude if they're not ready to go.

James Garcia Jr. said...

That depends. Are you planning on sending me one? *laughs*
Hello, Maria. How are you? I'm so sorry that I've been stuck in writer's cave so long, but I'm out now - and shall be without excuse for the foreseeable future.
As long as the ghost was as you described, I suppose it would be interesting. I'm not sure my wife, kids or cat Jones would agree, however.


Jenny Schwartz said...

Fascinating story.

Me? I've never seen a ghost. I don't want to no ghosts in any house I live in, please :)

Maria Zannini said...

Jimmy: I would never send over an unwanted ghost. :)

Ref: writing cave
I understand completely. I'm still swamped myself. I think I need two more weeks to be in the clear and then I can resume my usual frenetic pace.

Maria Zannini said...

Jenny: It's disconcerting even when you expect it--at least for me.

Darke Conteur said...

I have a ritual I do every year to honour those who have passed. It's nothing elaborate and anyone can do it.

As for the ghosts, ugh, where do I begin? According to my Grandmother, we've had a ghost around our family for years. Strange things would happen and she and my aunt would blame this poor ferry captain. My personal experience were harmless. In our old place my knitting needles would go missing when I put them down, or the bathroom door would lock on me. The weirdest, was when toaster would unpluged after I used it. No, I didn't do it myself and forget. Then there was SOMEONE talking to Sithboy when he was a toddler and making him laugh.

One thing, I did put up a protection spell around the perimeter of our old place. As harmless as these encounters were, there was something...unsettling too. I woke up in the middle of the night once and as I rolled over, I saw a woman or a young girl standing at the end of our bed. I didn't see her face, but there was enough light coming in from the window that I could make out the shape. I know things went on in that place prior to it being a home and I've always wondered if what I saw was connected to that, or something else.

One of these days I'm going to write a long blog post about that place...

Maria Zannini said...

Darke: I wish you would. I love hearing other people's experiences.

Ref: Sithboy
Although I've seen and talked to ghosts since I was a child, as an adult, I'd rather ghosts leave children alone.

The good thing is at least most of them become blind to the activity when they grow up.

Darke Conteur said...

Who ever it was, left him alone when I asked. We were sitting at the kitchen table one night and Sithboy started staring at the wall and grunting. I asked, in a nice voice, that I didn't mind them talking to him other times, but not at supper. It's hard enough to get a toddler to eat. :P It never happened again.

Maria Zannini said...

Darke: I've found that to be true too. If I ask them to leave, they generally do.

Melissa McClone said...

Very cool blog today.

I don't know about the benevolent ghost in my house. I've had one experience and it still scares me to think about. My grandmother's house was haunted and this was a kid ghost who stayed upstairs. I just happened to be sleeping in the bedroom that was his. I was 12. I shiver just thinking about what happened. I really never want to experience something like that again, nice ghost or not.

Maria Zannini said...

Melissa: That sounds scary. I'd love to hear the rest of that story.

Cate Masters said...

I always wished I could be more sensitive to spirits, but I can see how it might be a drawback! I wouldn't at all mind a benevolent spirit. I envy my sisters, who've dreamed about my parents after they passed. My father's image appeared in my brother's bathroom tile very clearly, a strange phenomenon, but I wished he'd have appeared in mine, too.

Maria Zannini said...

Cate: It's a double-edged sword. Given a choice, I'd rather be left in the dark.

Mike Keyton said...

I was listening to a conversation about ghosts on the Radio. Apparently they were big in pre-refomation England and theologically explained that they were visitors from Purgatory with unfinished business. But then Protestants 'abolished' purgatory as unbiblical and therebye by their own logic abolished ghosts. There was no escape from Hell - and who would want to leave the joys of Heaven? Unfortunately for their logic those pesky ghosts never did find out they had just been abolished.

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: It would serve the Protestant elders right to be haunted by the very ghosts they abolished. ;-)