Waiting For All Hallow’s Eve XV: “The Ghost Who Called My Name-A True Story”

DoorKnocker2

What I am about to tell you actually happened to me.

But, do I have the absolute right to say that a “ghost” called my name?  No, I cannot.  Declaring it an actual spirit from beyond the grave, requires scientific proof…and I cannot offer you any.  But, I have no other word to describe the voice of the woman that night, the woman who called my name.

So many years ago…

I believe this happened on New Years Eve, as 1991 rolled over and became, in the moment past midnight, 1992.  My wife and I decided to escape the noise of Manhattan and instead, spend a quiet holiday in a lovely little town in the center of New York State.  It was to Cooperstown that we drove that cold day.  We had booked a room for two nights in a quaint B&B on Chestnut Street.  I will not reveal the name of the establishment.  No, I cannot do that for two very good reasons:  some inn-keepers would prefer not to have that kind of ‘stigma’ attached to their establishment.  After all, there are travelers who would balk at the idea of spending a night in a house…with an unknown entity.  The other reason is even more concrete.  I simply do not remember the name of the place.  So, let’s leave it at that.  If you want to find this place, just drive along Chestnut Street and look for an old white Victorian-style home.  It may be the very place where ‘she’ stood outside my door in the dark hours past midnight.

After checking in and putting our suitcase in the room at the top of the stairs, we chatted with the inn keeper for a few minutes.  She was middle-aged and carried herself with grace and intelligence.  Her husband was away for a few days.  So was her daughter.  It was just the three of us in the old white house.

We made the short walk to the main street and had dinner in a small restaurant.

The wind blew cold from the far reaches of Otsego Lake.  (The outlet of the beautiful body of water, often called Glimmerglass, was a small creek that was to widen and become the great Susquehanna, the very river that flowed past my childhood home in Owego, NY.)  At the mouth of the lake, you could toss a pebble across the water with the slightest effort.

We bar-hopped for several hours and watched the patrons prepare to welcome the New Year by donning those little cone-shaped hats.  We decided that we would prefer to spend the midnight hour back in our room watching “It’s a Wonderful Life”, again.

Around 1:30 am, I tired of reading (my wife had already fallen asleep) and turned off the light.  The window was open a crack to let the fresh and chill air in to the room.

I pulled the covers to my chin, closed my eyes and in a few minutes I was lost in a dream.

I sat up suddenly an hour or so later.  Someone had knocked on our door which was an arms length away from my pillow.  A woman called out: “Patrick.  Patrick.”

“Yes?” I replied and I slid off the bed and approached the door. “Yes?”

“Patrick,” was all I heard.  She had called me three times.

I began to worry.  If the inn keeper was calling me at this hour, then clearly something was wrong.  Perhaps a small fire had been detected and she wanted us to get out of the house.

I stood at the door.

“What is it?” I asked. “Yes, what is it?”

Silence.

I unlatched the door and opened it a crack…

There was no one there.

I opened the door wider and stuck my head into the hallway.

“Hello?” I called out.

Silence. There was no one in the hall.  No one was near the stairs.

My wife was sitting up in bed.

“What did she want?” she asked.

“There’s nobody there,” I replied. “But you did hear her?”

“I heard a woman call your name several times.”

So, it wasn’t a dream. I was awake.

I fell back asleep.  I would talk with the inn keeper in the morning.

~~~

At the breakfast table, someone else served us.

As we went through the parlor to get our coats for our walk to the main street, I noticed the inn keeper sitting at her desk.

“What did you want me for last night?” I asked.

“Pardon?” she said. “What do you mean?”

“You came to my door and called me…it must have been sometime after 1:30.”

“No, I’m sorry, I didn’t call you.  I was fast asleep at that time.”

“Well,” I joked, “must have been the ghost.”

Her mood quickly changed.  She looked away for a moment.  Then she looked me in the eye.

“Well maybe and maybe I should tell you the story.”

“Story?”

“Yes, you see, shortly after we bought the house my daughter and I were raking the leaves and cleaning the lawn.  My daughter asked me who the “lady with the grey hair tied in a bun” was.

“My daughter said she had just seen an elderly woman in a dark dress standing at the second floor window watching us.  I told her that there was no one in the house except her father, and the two of us.  We wouldn’t open the B&B until a month or two later.  But my daughter insists she saw this woman.  She described her just as I’ve told you…grey hair tied in a bun…the old-fashioned way.  Later, my little girl and I went to the library to check out a few books.  I took the opportunity to introduce myself as the new owner of the white house on Chestnut Street.  I asked about who the previous owners were.  She said she knew the house well.  And then she said that one of the owners, many years ago, was a widow…elderly woman who always wore a black dress.  I asked her if she could tell me anything else about her.  She thought for a moment and said that she never met the woman because she died before she had become the librarian.  But from things she picked up over the years, she could say one thing…she always, always wore her grey hair in a bun.”

I stared at the inn keeper.

“Guess, that was who called me last night, right?”

She smiled and said: “Certainly seems like it.”

Me? I can say only one thing for sure.  I did not dream of the knock on the door and the voice calling my name.

So, I can tell you what it was not…it was not a dream.  But I cannot tell you what it was or who it was.

Or, why a voice in a dark hall called my name.

 

 

Waiting For All Hallow’s Eve XIV: “Great Ghost Photography, Again”

The camera captures an image.  It’s nearly always a moment of joy, celebration and living.  But every so often something creeps into the frame…something the photographer didn’t see through the view finder.  And, the wonderful people in image almost never see what is happening behind them…in the bushes, windows, doorways, behind the tombstones or standing beside them.

In the older days of photography, the image was on film.  The cameras were simple.  Darkroom tricks could be used to ‘doctor’ the photo.  The cameras often had the ability to create ‘double exposures’, an easy thing to do.

But, today, with digital photography almost universal, such creative effects can be photoshopped into the picture.  Usually an expert can pick up a doctored photo quite easily.  Even double exposures can be detected.

Still, some things show up on film that cannot be explained.  The experts are baffled.

Personally, I am a skeptic…but I find these ‘spirit photographs’ fascinating in so many ways.

In the end, who knows with absolute certainty what is real and what is not?  Some things cannot passed the ‘scientific method’ and be explained.

So, if you dare…take out some old photos and look them over.  I mean, really look at them with a suspicious eye.  Get a magnifying glass.  What is in the window? A curtain?  What blur is that beyond the large tombstone in the country churchyard?

Do you have a suspicious photo?  Post it.  I would love to see it.

Meanwhile, as we wait the coming full moon and the days of zombies and goblins and ghouls…ponder these photographs:

GhostPicWithPoolReflection

What’s going on here?

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The dog once belonged to a military officer…when the dog was alive.  These students never saw the dog when the portrait was taken.

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Who is in the car?  The photographer claims it was an empty junked auto.

GhostPhotoOfHusband

The husband stands behind his wife.  She’s still alive.

Waiting For All Hallow’s Eve XII: “More Spirit Photography”

As promised, I have more photographs of spirits.  Are they real? Faked? Do you believe?

These are taken from various places on the internet.

jims_grave_2000

A photo attributed to Tom Petty. It was taken at Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris. The monument in front of the man is the new stone marking the grave of Jim Morrison.  Jim is seen in the background in a “concert” pose.

GhostPicBaby

This was taken by a mother of her child in a toddler seat. Who is in the background?

GhostOfBrother?

Here is a young girl crying.  Did her brother die? Is she mourning his passing? Is that him sitting on the stairs?

Remember, these were taken and published long before Photoshop was invented. The real question here is this: did the camera pick up something that the photographer did not see?

Sweet dreams….

Waiting For All Hallow’s Eve XI: “Ouija–Game or Gateway?”

OuijaBoard

It sells for about $20.00 on Amazon.  Barnes & Nobel carries a Glow-in-the-Dark version. It’s a ‘parlor game for a lot of people.  But, for many more, it’s something that should never be allowed in a God-fearing home.

The origins of a “talking board” type of game goes back to China…almost 1000 years ago.  But it was not marketed as a board game until 1900.  A woman named Paula Curran began using it as a divining tool around WWI.

There was a town in the mid-west somewhere they had a bon-fire to burn Ouija boards and copies of Harry Potter books.  And this was in 2001!

Do you own a Ouija board?

Read the following testimony from a site on the Internet:

 “I can see you through the window”

I was about 12 or 13 spending the night at a friend’s house, goofing around with the Ouija board with him & his sister and we were getting all sorts of gibberish plus words spelled out, just kind of scaring ourselves for fun not taking it very seriously when we got the message “I can see you through the window” and then “I can see you through his eyes” or something like that…there was just a small window in the basement room where we were, and just the back yard and woods past the driveway visible through that window…we asked it more questions and it said “I’m under the car” so we somehow got up the nerve to go out with a flashlight and peer under the car, where we saw a huge black stray cat which was hissing.

So, do you own a Ouija board?  Where is it?  Is it on the game shelf in your den, next to Monopoly and Scrabble?  Is it gathering dust under your bed?  Or…is it put away, in the attic, where the kids can’t find it.  Where you won’t be tempted to open it and light a  candle…and place your finger on the little moveable piece and ask questions…

Above all, don’t go looking for it at 2:45 am.  So that at 2:57 am you’re ready to play.

And don’t begin asking your questions at 3:00 am.  For it is widely known that is the ‘witching hour’ when the shadows of darkness descend over the earth.

Have you ever used a Ouija board?  Have you had fun innocent experiences with it, or did you have an unpleasant encounter with someone from the ‘other side’ that made you feel…less than funny?

Please share any experiences you may have had in the Comment section of this post.

I’d love to hear your stories.

 

 

 

Waiting For All Hallow’s Eve X: “Those Wild and Crazy Victorians”

Just when I thought I knew nearly everything about the Victorians, something falls into the lap of my experience that amazes and astonishes even my jaded mind.  The great Age of Victoria (who ruled England from 1840 to 1900) gave us such interesting societal practices that continue to delight us…and frighten us.  The era gave us Jack the Ripper and Downton Abbey.  I mean, what more do we really need to know about life back then?  Foggy London and high-born people of the Manor House…that’s about it.

As far as the so-called “Victorian” attitude toward sexual mores, well, ahem, don’t we all know what really happened?  Somebody was making babies, somewhere in England in the late 19th century.  After all, they needed a fresh crop of young men and women to send into the fields of Flanders to be blown into small bits by the Kaiser’s army.  (It’s interesting to note that most of the ruling families that fought against each other in WWI, were related!).

But I digress.

The Victorians did have a rather fascinating view of death.  The incidents of premature burial (before ‘clinical death’ was clearly defined) was common enough that many people were terrified of being buried alive.  I don’t think I’d care much for the idea, myself.  Something like that happening can ruin your whole day.  A number of wealthy oldsters, when planning their own funerals and tombs, would have a bell system installed.  That way, if they woke up in a casket, all they had to do was pull a string and a bell would ring in the caretakers office. Imagine the poor cemetery worker, sitting by a tiny fire in a little cottage inside the walls of the graveyard, hearing the bell go off.  (Now, there’s a blog!!!).

It was also the fashion among some families to pose the deceased in such a way to deny the finality of death.

Here is a photo that I took from somewhere on the Internet…probably Pinterest.  This image is not a fake.

Look closely at the picture.  The women are sisters.

The blonde woman is dead.

What do you think?  Comments anyone?

TheDeadBlondeGirl

 

Waiting For All Hallow’s Eve: IX “Smile! Say Boo!”

FIRST IN A SERIES OF SPIRIT PHOTOGRAPHS

[WARNING: WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO SEE IN THE FOLLOWING SEVERAL POSTS WILL SCARE THE DOGGE DOO OUT OF YOU.  SO, TELL THE CHILDREN TO GO BACK TO THEIR GAMEBOYS...LIGHT A CANDLE...AND ABOVE ALL, TRY TO STAY CALM.  NOT ONE OF YOUR NEIGHBORS WANTS TO HEAR YOU SCREAM AT NIGHT.  THOSE DAYS ARE OVER...FOR MOST OF US.  BUT, BE WARNED...READ AND VIEW THESE BLOOD-CURDLING, HORRIFIC, TERRIFYING, HAUNTING, GHASTLY, SPINE-TINGLING, AND FRIGHTFUL IMAGES AT YOUR OWN RISK.  ONE MORE THING, IF YOU DON'T CLICK 'LIKE' AND/OR PASS THEM ON TO FRIENDS AND RELATIVES, I WILL SEND ONE OF THESE SPIRITS TO SHAKE YOUR NIGHT LIGHT OR EVEN, YES, I AM CAPABLE OF MORE...LEAVE YOUR REFRIGERATOR DOOR OPEN! DO YOU REALLY WANT YOUR CHUNKY MONKEY TO MELT? DO YOU REALLY WANT TO DROP THE $5.69/PINT FOR CHERRY GARCIA BY TURNING IT INTO MUSH?  I DIDN'T THINK SO.]

In 25 days it will be one of my favorite holidays…Halloween (in case you haven’t guessed).  Here is probably one of the most famous ‘spirit photos’ ever taken.  Is it real?  Is it fake? (I know, it’s really the same question).  A little background: After the assassination in 1865, Mary Todd became a little weird.  Let’s just say she was living out where the trains don’t run.  That’s not being unkind, mind you.  She was known to be a tad bothersome to her husband during his difficult years during the Civil War.  Her son, Robert Todd, had her committed to an asylum in her later years.  Her life surely wasn’t a bowl of cherries.

The photographer claims he did not know who she was when she sat for the photograph.

So, it’s up to you to decide if it’s genuine or not.

ANOTHER WARNING;  In the next posts, I’m going to make little or no comment.  I would like you to do it.  Just make a comment, tell a story or something in the COMMENT space.  I’d like to hear what YOU think.  (And, this posting is exhausting work.)

So, here’s the famous Lincoln photo:

Mumler_(Lincoln)