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The Ghost In My House
I love my house.

It's older and has a lot of quaint charm. By "quaint" I mean it has original plumbing that will need to be completely replaced in the next ten years. And by "charm" I mean the house consists of several additions, none of which really match the original Cape Cod style of the farm house. Our house also has some slightly creepy features like the "Window to Nowhere." But still, we love our house. It was built in the 1920's as, we believe, a second house on the original farm upon which our subdivision was built.

We have the largest remaining tract of land from the original farm, at 4 acres. The original farm house sits vacant next door to ours, it's beautiful Colonial bones waiting for a new family. Of course any home with that much history has, well, a lot of history. Unfortunately, we haven't discovered much about the original owners of our home or the land around it, although I hope to spend some time researching it when the boys are a little older. It seems a shame to not know the history of this house and the lives of the families that loved it. But with the history and character of our old home, we also got something unexpected.

We have a ghost.

Laugh if you will, but creepy things have been happening in this house since we moved in. First, it was just lights and ceiling fans turning on and off. For awhile we weren't really sure because, with the chaos of 2 small boys, 2 cats and 2 adults, who keeps track of whether or not you turned on the ceiling fan in the kids' room?

Then the cat started getting trapped in the boys' closet. (Although it was really only Hollis's closet at the time. Holden was still in utero.)

We have 2 cats. One is laid back and affectionate. The other - Pandora (or Pandy for short) - is a bit annoying. She randomly whines/meows at all times of the day or night. It's an ear piercing whine that can't be easily ignored or tuned out. About 2 months after we moved in, and about the time we were noticing the light and fan machinations, I came home from work early and Pandy was whining upstairs. She'd been trapped in the boys' closet for the day.

We don't really use the boys' closet. It's smallish and deep, built into some spare space in the dormer. It doesn't have a light so I don't like to put much in there because I can't see a darn thing. I keep the few hanging clothes the boys have in there and use the rest of the space for storing off season clothes and extra quilts and blankets.

The day Pandy got stuck in the closet for the first time, I wasn't sure if I'd opened the closet in the morning. There's a trash can in there, so I figured I just hadn't closed the door until it latched. Ditto with the door to the boys' room. At the time, I always closed the bedroom door because if I didn't, Hollis would run back in the room and slam the door behind him in the always fun game of "run away from Mommy." But still, I thought I might have left the door open.

Then it happened again. It still didn't bother me much. I suppose Mommy brain really could be striking on a regular basis. But then, I've been tempted to close Pandy in the closet in the past. I could certainly understand if "someone else" in the house couldn't resist the temptation.

About the time "someone" started working on our whining cat problem, the light and fan show became a little more obvious. I can't sleep without the fan on, so I always turn on the ceiling fan when we go to bed. I would wake up in the middle of the night or the morning and the fan would be off. The overhead light in our bedroom would switch on at 2 am, waking me from a sound sleep. T and I started to get a bit freaked out. But we figured maybe another "charming" feature of the house was a whacked out electrical system.

Then, one afternoon Hollis and I were playing in the living room while T vacuumed. (Yes, he vacuums. Hollis comes by his love for the vacuum honestly.) Our living room is situated between the entry way and our sunroom, an addition that was a side porch to the original house. An earlier owner added on a garage and enclosed the porch with a large square picture window on one side and glass doors leading to the pool patio on the other, leaving in the step down from the house to the former porch. The sunroom is perfect for plants and we keep them all safely tucked away in the sunroom, behind a sturdy, automatically closing baby gate that the kids still can't open to this day. When I walk into the house, I have a tendency to kick my shoes off and let them fall where they may in the sunroom on my way to the living room. Of course, we all trip over my shoes on a daily basis.

So T vacuumed his way through the living room and moved into the sunroom to vacuum the rugs. I got up to ask him something and noticed that he had carefully lined up my shoes on the step down into the sunroom, with the toes on the sunroom floor and the heels up on the step to the living room as if they were on display in a shoe store. I got T's attention and, after he shut off the vacuum, laughed at him for tidying my shoes. We all know that's simply a futile task!

T insisted that he hadn't moved my shoes and that when he'd come through the sunroom earlier, he'd tripped over them by the door. The door to the garage, across the room from the entry way to the living room where they were now.

We both stared at the shoes for a few minutes. They were artfully arranged with the toes pointed slightly outward and heels touching, as if the heels had just lightly clicked. Neither of us had moved the shoes. We knew Hollis and the cats hadn't done it. That left another possibility....

Now the possibility of a benign little ghostie playing with light switches and taunting the cat really hadn't bothered us up until that point. The shoe incident freaked us out because it happened right under our noses. Action was necessary. T was out of town for the next few days, so I sat quietly in our bedroom one night, right under the overhead light, and had a little chat with our "someone."

I started out telling our "someone" that I loved her house and that I hoped she'd been happy here. I asked her to refrain from scaring the kids and freaking the crap out of me. (T was on his own. He'd left me alone in the house with a ghost, damn him.) But then I kept talking. I told "someone" about how conflicted I was about moving away from D.C. in search of a more balanced work life. I told her how scared I to have another child so quickly. I shared that I was afraid I wouldn't love the new baby as much as Hollis or that Hollis would be neglected or scarred in some way. I talked about how much I loved my new role as a mother but how I missed the old me. The me that was so much more than just Hollis's mom.

The words just spilled out. When I finally started to wind down, I tossed Pandy a bone and asked our ghost to stop trapping her in the closet. I explained that Pandy was annoying and a little dim, but that we loved her nonetheless. I know my conversation wasn't really a conversation. I just needed to talk and feel as if someone was listening. (Kind of like this blog. Hmmm....)

I can't say whether I honestly believe we have a ghost. I just like the idea of her, so I still talk to her. She keeps turning our lights on in the middle of the night (in fact, T said it happened again last night while I was in Savannah), but Pandy hasn't been trapped in the closet lately and we still trip over my shoes on a daily basis. Whether she's real or just a product of my (over) active imagination, I don't really care. I love having a ghost.

When the boys are older, I'm sure they will too. How many of you can honestly say that you believe your kids when they insist they don't know who ate the last of the Oreos or broke the screen door? I guess in the Lawyer Mama household we'll never really know....

You may be wondering why I keep referring to our ghost as "her" and "she." Isn't it obvious? I haven't met many men, living or dead, who would pick up a pair of shoes.

This is part of Julie's Hump Day Hmmm for the week. Our topic was, of course, Halloween. Cross posted on DC Metro Moms Blog.

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Blogger jen said...

i love that you most likely have a ghost.

Blogger Jen M. said...

I have body chills. You definitely have an extra "person" in the house.

And you KNOW it's a woman - the shoes - hah!

That is a wickedly great story.

Blogger Sunshine said...

If not a ghost, at least you have a nice imaginary friend to talk to.

Blogger Alpha DogMa said...

Ahh crap. I'm freaked now.

Blogger slouching mom said...

how cool is THAT?

Blogger Mrs. Chicken said...

I can admit that this totally freaked me out. Totally.

Blogger Lady M said...

It's lovely that you talk to her. Making peace, instead of a ruckus.

Blogger Amer said...

You are one cool chick! I loved reading this post...you are too funny! You've got me a bit freaked out and I keep looking over my shoulder!

Blogger Christine said...

that is very cool, but i would be so scared because i am a HUGE chicken.

great story.

Blogger DD said...

That's pretty cool!

Do follow up on the history of the property, I might add. My FIL grew up in this beautiful saltbox in Boston with a gorgeous barn and green house. Everything but the house is gone now and you can spit from one house into the other since the land was developed. Sadly, it is no longer part of the family's heritage and even though it's not my past, it still makes me a little sad.

Anonymous mayberry said...

What a perfect true ghost story for today. Happy Halloween!

Blogger Jenn said...

I was all goose-bumpy, then I got to the part where he knows how to vacuumed? Jaw agape.

She sounds friendly, you housemate. Maybe you're giving her the peace she was looking for.

I live in an old house too, and always, always wonder about the creaks and sounds, but so far, no one is lining up my shoes.

Blogger Mad Hatter said...

Oooo, I loves me a good ghost story. The hairs on the back of my neck were tingling.

Blogger Mad Hatter said...

And look at that? I was comment #13 on a Halloween post about a ghost. I had best comment again to clear the air of superstition.

Anonymous Redneck Mommy said...

Creeping me out.

You can have the ghosts. I don't do ghosts.

Blogger PunditMom said...

Clearly that ghostie is a girl -- I bet she liked shoes, too!

BTW, if you ever ask me to stay over at your house, can I sleep in your room? ;)

Blogger newnorth said...

that was so much fun to read.

Blogger Nancy said...

Whether there is a ghost or an imaginary friend, it doesn't matter. She's there for you.

Best Halloween post I've read today.

Blogger Michele said...

I have to say, I love the idea of a ghost. I sort of thought I had a ghost at my last condo but he/she wasn't a cool ghost. He/She just smoked in my house and used a lot of cologne. Enjoy : )

Blogger ExPatSW said...

Tonight (Halloween) we watched 'Ghosts on the Underground' on the telly, which pretty much ensured that I'll never ride the tube late at night alone. Then I check your blog and read about your ghost! Although she doesn't sound at all creepy, I'm sensing a theme here. Wonder if strange things will start happening in our house? (It's early-Victorian and we were hoping for a ghost when we rented.)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Then there was the matter of my shoes...we thought your ghost had moved them, but you eventually found them.

Ah well, it is great to have a benign ghost, especially one that straightens things.

Blogger emptynester said...

Then there were my shoes that got lost....we thought your ghost had moved them, but you eventually found them.

Too bad, it is romantic to have a ghost story about your house...especially one that straightens things.

Blogger flutter said...

well duh, dead men don't give a crap about shoes, either! You were very respectful with her, I am sure she appreciates it

Blogger Bon said...

i love that you have a ghost...who picks up shoes(!)...and if she's really there, she probably is really happy to be talked to.

if not, i assume you'd be in the closet too. :)

great Hallowe'en post.

Blogger Julie Pippert said...

BWAHAHAHA it's a woman b/c she picked up your shoes.

Since the talking works, ask her to stop it with the light...can you redirect a ghost to something more productive? ;)


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