Thursday, March 4, 2010

Ghosts, Apparitions, Manifestations and Such

I am uncertain as to my acceptance of phantasmagorical subjects. Happenstance, chance optical illusions may be all the explanation necessary - and yet --!!

It was a beautiful old farmhouse in a remote section of western New Jersey. It had been completely remodeled inside and greeted one with a charming blend of the old and new. My wife and I bought it after one inspection.

We moved in and paid little heed to the frequent but annoying small accidents that kept occurring. A stubbed toe, a cut finger, a piece of china dropped and broken; it was all very normal.

There was a feed mill two miles away where I purchased items for our animals. I visited it every two weeks or so. About six months after our taking up residence in the farmhouse, I was making my routine visit to the mill when the lady behind the counter stopped me.

"Have you been bothered by the ghost yet?"

"What ghost?" I replied, puzzled.

"Don't you know what happened in your house?"

"No. What?"

She then proceeded to inform me that one of the former owners had done away with himself because of some unspecified woe in a particularly messy manner that involved a shotgun.

I returned home and imparted the pleasant tale to my wife. We both speculated that all the small mishaps and annoyances that had been plaguing us might be the manifestations of an unwanted spirit.

The little annoyances continued until one day, after tripped over a bucket in the bar, I grew exasperated and yelled.

"Look, we're here to stay. Your little tricks will not drive us away. You might as well learn to live with us. We are happy people and this is, and will be, a happy place."

I felt a little foolish and was pleased that no one had witnessed my outburst.

My wife loves music. It was not unusual for a radio or stereo to be playing most of the time. However, I noticed that a radio was left playing, softly, even when we had retired for the night. I mentioned it to my spouse and she told me that she had informed the house that pleasant music and laughter were to be a part of every day, and it might as well accept that fact and join us in our approach to life each day.

Strangely, my outburst and her ultimatum had occurred on the same day. Even more strangely, the little accidents stopped. The easily explainable but annoying troubles ceased. Coincidence? Very likely. Yet food for thought.

We lived in and enjoyed our home for four years. Then fate stepped in and decreed that we had to move once more. We had grown to love our home and were truly upset at the necessity for uprooting ourselves.

The day we listed our house for sale and the brokers' sign was erected on our front lawn, the little accidents began, once more, to occur.

There's so much more to this story than Dad told. A beloved antique, cast iron woodstove was broken in half by the movers when they moved in. A sudden burst pipe caused the ceiling in the living room to collapse right on top of Mom's most prized possession, her antique baby grand piano. And then peace was established as Dad recounts here. And my mother told me that once the house was for sale, the sense of a fog lifted that they'd enjoyed once that peace was made descended again. She felt guilty; they'd made a friend with an unquiet spirit, then had had to say goodbye, leaving it to its restless and unhappy tenancy.

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