The first one held ghosts we unknowingly brought there ourselves.
The second house had several...One charming and poetic, one tragic, and one very real but borderline hilarious specter.
Our third house has the best ghost of all.
These are their stories. And ours.
(Please scroll down and read the first one first.)
Our second home was our dream house. A big, 2-story craftsman built in 1908.
An old lady had lived there. And died there. But it wasn’t scary.
My friend (and poet) Mary Lea Carroll wrote a poem about it which describes the feeling perfectly:
“...The rooms are very still now, as the looking-woman gazes
from the landing window with Christmas tree perfume in her nose
and happy birthdays in her ears. Without a sound all
the still still rooms hand themselves over to the mother-to-be.”
Just the right kind of ghosts.
A few months later we had a baby daughter who was stillborn. This was not a happy time in our lives by any means. But we began to notice that a very sweet little spirit permeated the walls. And our hearts. She brought healing, even amid the heartache.
And then there was Maude.
Thankfully Maude didn’t live at our house. She lived around the corner on Topeka Street. The neighbors told us stories about her. How she’d just show up, uninvited, and they could tell she was there because the air grew damp and chill. She liked to drink the water out of the dog dish and the flower vases. And rearrange the pictures on the mantle. Turn lights on and off. Annoying things like that. She was pesky. And stubborn. But at least if they needed a private minute and they told Maude to leave, she would.
She just wouldn’t leave for good. The next family who bought the house started doing research on the previous owners. They figured information was power. They were on fairly good terms with Maude. But they wanted to know more. It turns out that there was a woman who owned the house about three owners back who was a diabetic. (I guess that accounts for the water-zapping antics). She died in the house. And had some unresolved business there.
One night my friend and I were going for a late-night stroll around the neighborhood. It was lovely summertime weather and the evening air felt just right for a walk. As we got close to Maude’s house (Isn’t that funny? I can’t remember the actual owners’ names, only Maude’s) I told my friend the amazing story about this ghost who lived in the house, and the people who co-existed with her there, and even knew her by name. Just then we crossed in front of Maude’s house...and the street light suddenly went dark. Boom! “Maude!” we gasped in unison, and I kid you not, we both took off running, and didn’t stop until we got to the next corner! And then we laughed and laughed at how silly we were to think that a ghost was trying to scare us off her property!
Well, the family continued their Maude research and discovered that Maude had an estranged daughter who was living in the San Fernando Valley. They looked her up to see what kind of background info she could provide about Maude and her story. They invited her over to the house, and for Maude to visit with her daughter. Amazingly, that seems to be all she wanted. Once Maude had a chance to see her daughter again, and make peace there, she was able to move on, and she never bothered the family again. For reals.
I wonder if they miss her, now that she’s gone...
(continued, next post)
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This series of posts was written as an entry in Scribbit's October Writeaway: Ghosts.