Ghost Stories.

I’m not religious, and frankly, don’t even consider myself spiritual in any way shape or form. My family digs science A LOT (as in: I recall my dad once trying to mathematically determine how many gallons of water were in the reservoir down the street from our house over dinner and things of that nature, and that I don’t recall ever being firmly sold on the idea of God being a personal savior, more like really intense Aesop’s Fable that required going to an ornate building once a week-ish).

That being said, the majority of my family FIRMLY believes in ghosts. From what I recall, two of the houses I lived in as a child were fo’ realsies haunted.

What, you say? Brainiac child cannot rationalize away ghoulies and ghosties? You are correct. Don’t believe in souls, but I do believe in spooks. I do, I do, I do.

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I grew up primarily in a 1920s-era farmhouse in southwestern Connecticut. It had a woodsy-setting and while I could see my neighbors, it’s not like the place was densely populated.

It was one those houses that, when you were alone, you weren’t ALONE alone. The front living room/parlour was particularly creepy.

When you entered the house through the back door, you would often see something move through the front room. That’s also where the family computer was. My mom took to talking to the ghost, and teaching it about technology when she felt it looking over her shoulder.

Though it sounds inconsequential, I know that whenever I turned to head up the stairs, I would definitively see a blurry blue orb floating at the top of the stairs, coming out of my brother’s room, at about head height. I always tried to convince myself it was my eyes reacting to the light change (it was kind of a dark house upstairs), but seriously– every time?

AND if you don’t want to believe my orb story, try this one on for size:
Laying in my bed one night, I was facing my bedroom door. It was closed and latched. I watched it open quickly, stay open, and then shut all by its lonesome. When I woke up in the morning, it was latched completely.

I recall someone once telling me my dad saw a little-boy ghost in the house as well, but my memory may not serve me. Mom– care to share?

The second house we lived in with ghosties was the oldest house I’ve ever lived in– a 1770-something colonial in Beverly, MA. The house had some pedigree to it– it was owned by Oliver Wendell Holmes, and rumor was that Edgar Allan Poe summered there on occasion. We moved into it after it had been abused by its previous owners (a family with 14 kids) and was left for shambles after the patriarch of the family died.

So, yeah, I hated that house. I actually wrote a lot about it in college, for personal essay classes and the like. The whole house was sticky, creepy, and gross.

And the kicker was this: the ghosts in that house would steal things.

No slamming doors, no inexplicable noises, no spectors. They would just straight-up take your stuff. Put down a tool you were using, turn away, turn back and BLAM-O: It wasn’t there anymore.

They had a particular affinity for sharp objects, from what I recall.

Thankfully, we only lived there for eight months.

My mom also had a great story about living in an older house when she was single, and having a dinner party. They were chatting in the kitchen when a bowl on the counter lifted straight up in the air, moved three feet over in a right angle, and smashed to the floor.

Just ruminate on that for a while.

EDIT: 1:43 PM: I have to tell a really awesome Halloween story, too.

I went to Emerson College, which is located right ON TOP OF the Boston Commons.  Our school only had classes in two main buildings, one of which looked out over a graveyard at the southern edge of the park.  The Commons were just that in the 1600s– common space for people do do pretty much whatever they pleased.  Lot of it was farms, lots of it was park, there were even prisoner hangings by where the Park Street stop is now.  And during the Revolutionary War?  It was primo burial ground.

My freshman year, I had an 8:30 AM speech class that met on Halloween.  To be fun, my REALLY wacky teacher decided to have people stand up and give a speech about “the scariest thing you’d ever seen.”  Lots of kids talked about car crashes or ghost stories; I told a few of mine.  Then Sam, a kid who lived on my floor in my dorm, said, “Well, the scariest thing I’ve ever seen is… that!”

He points out the window to the graveyard, and we all run to the picture windows to see what’s happening.

And there’s my friend Dave, standing the graveyard, in a large bunny costume, playing a concertina.  They open the graveyard on Halloween for people to look at the headstones.


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  1. I have a huge phobia of ghosts. Whenever I was alone at my parents house I would always hear the garbage can lid flip back & forth. Ever since I saw 6th Sense I have been paralyzed by my imagination.

  2. Was hoping you’d post a Halloween related entry besides the sugar cookies (which look great by the way) and you didn’t disappoint. Thanks for that.

  3. it’s not scary when you’re watching it happen, but about 2 seconds later, there’s an overwhelming feeling of, “HOLY MOTHER OF CHEESES, WHAT WAS THAT?!” i was pretty well prepped by spooky stories before my door incident; in my experience, having a ghost is like having a mouse. annoying, but not the end of the world.

  4. thanks! i love thinking about all the spookiness this time of year. when the leaves are off the trees, the ghosties come out to play!

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