It’s Halloween and growing up, this was one of my favorite holidays. Of course, it mainly had to to with the candy (yes, I’ve always been a sugar addict), but I also enjoyed that thrilling chill down the spine when ghost stories were shared in whispers among friends.
When I was a child,I lived for a few years in an old mansion that was built around 1890 in Rockford, Washington. In its heyday, it was considered one of the richest homes in the small farming community. After my parents had done some research, we also found out it was once a recovery home for soldiers from the wars. At another time, it was used as a hotel/bed and breakfast and once a home for nuns. At any rate, the house has had a long history to it.
We rented the place when I was just 7 years old and we stayed there for about a year or two. (Hazy on the details.) I can’t remember everything, but what I do remember was the odd, sometimes creepy feelings I felt while we were there. Old houses always have their creaks and groans and moans, but there were times you could have sworn that we had invisible guests living in the house with us.
Once, as an activity for our friends at church, we had a “spook alley” in the basement for Halloween. The basement itself was made of cement, wooden beams and old stones. It was already a little scary on it’s own, but after that spook alley, it was a place to be feared. We kept an old freezer in the basement and I remember that, at times, my mother would ask me to go downstairs and get something from it. I hated it every time, because you could almost feel that there was something down there just waiting for you. I would grab whatever was in the freezer and run as fast as I could up the stairs, always believing that I was being chased by…something.
But the basement wasn’t the only place in the house to be feared. There was an empty space next to the landing on the stairs that was never used for anything but storage. It had once been a servants’ staircase that lead to the laundry room, but had long ago been sealed off. My older brother loved to play practical jokes on his younger siblings and once hid in the laundry room making ghostly sounds while we played upstairs. Of course, he scared us all to death, but we soon discovered who it was. Yet, why then, were we scared of that dark hole every time we went up and down the stairs.
One night we had an especially vicious thunderstorm. Our parents were downstairs and we had just been sent to bed. The electricity in the house started to flicker with the thunder and we were all naturally frightened, so we gathered in the hallway and made our way downstairs. Just as we reached the landing where the great black hole was, the thunder crashed, the electricity went out and we all screamed and ran for our lives down the stairs.
These were just a few of the experiences we had in the house, there were many more than I could share in a post. I never saw a ghost while I was living there, but there was just this feeling that we weren’t alone. For many years, well until after I became an adult, I would have nightmares about the house. I would dream that I was alone in the old mansion and I would begin to panic. I could feel this fear overtake me and I knew I would have to get out of the house. I would run for the back door and in a terrible sweat struggle to get the handle of the door open just as I would hear a woman scream from inside the house! It was a terrifying nightmare and I’m happy to say I no longer have them.
Do I believe ghosts exist? Absolutely! Have I seen one? No, but I have had enough experiences in my life to know they are there…watching.