I Do Believe In Spooks

April 21, 2009

“I do believe in spooks, I do believe in spooks, I do believe in spooks”
-Cowardly Lion

I’m not a religious person but for some reason I have had many ghost sightings in my life. Most of them occurred when I was a child but they were so vivid they have stayed with me all these many many years. I have had episodes of ESP as well but I think those tend more from my ability to recognize obscure patterns.

When I was about five years old, I was walking through our old house with my father. We had moved to Texas and then Colorado while my dad did his time in the Army but had kept the house in St. Paul and were visiting it to check on how the remodel was going. My mom had a stroke while we were in Colorado and changes had to be made to the house to accommodate her handicap.

Dad was off talking to some contractors and I was walking up the back stairs. As I was going up a little boy was coming down. He was dressed in knickers with suspenders, a white button down shirt and brown shoes with white socks. He had one of those hats that kids wore whenever it was that they wore suspenders and knickers. Probably in the ’30s. The kid was opaque so I could see the wall behind him but still see what he looked like. I don’t recall talking to him or being afraid.

A few years later I woke up to find a head at the end of my bed. A man’s head with a full beard. It was creepy and I ran into my parents room and dragged my dad in to check it out. When I returned to my room with my father there was nothing there to see but the spot where the head was happened to be warm. The next morning I learned that our neighbor had died of a heart attack the night before. Right around the time I saw the head in my bed and yes the neighbor looked just like the head in my bed.

My father and brother played on these episodes and told me ghost stories about the house. My father mentioned that the living room held a bunch of dead bodies at one time. He was most likely referring to the practice of holding either the autopsy, which if the person died in the house was a common practice or the wakes of the dead, again a common practice a long time ago. He told me that my great grandmother died in my bed. This news terrified my until I realized that this was also a common practice as there were no hospices around at that time and people didn’t generally go to the hospital to die. It creeped me out sufficiently however to prevent me from sleeping in my bed for several months so I guess the joke was on my father who had to put up with me crawling in their bed every night.

Other than a few slamming doors, windows suddenly opening and that kind of thing I have had little contact with the dead except of course for my grandfather who occasionally visits whenever I am stressed out. I don’t mind when he visits as he tells me things are going to be OK and I like my grandpa. I miss him so it’s nice to see him from time to time.

Yesterday I was working on my book. I was doing a fair amount of editing and spent a long time on the chapter about the opera and how much my father loved it and how much I hated it. I was having trouble getting it just the way I wanted and was getting rather frustrated after the 12th hour. As I was getting ready to throw in the towel and start again tomorrow I heard opera music coming up from the air vent that is between the second floor and the first floor.

I went downstairs to see where it was coming from and there on the floor of the living room is my daughter who is writing a book about her grandfather, my dad. She had dug out her little radio that was a stocking stuffer from two years ago. She turned it on and located the opera channel and decided that she loved the opera and it was just the inspiration she needed to finish the illustrations she was making about grandpa.

Grandpa died nearly three years ago, my daughter was three when he died. As the years have passed it has been clear that she is forgetting him. She hasn’t talked about him in a while so this was peculiar to say the least.

I don’t know if he is pulling strings where ever he happens to be but it’s a pretty sick joke if he has turned her into an opera lover. I had to endure it for the duration of my childhood and anytime I drove anywhere with him including the last days he was alive. I really thought that if there was any good to be had at his passing it was that I finally never have to listen to opera again.

What’s even worse is that now my daughter wants to know the names and composers of the operas that she is listening to. Dad told me these things but since I hated it so much, and figured there would never be a quiz, I never committed any of the information to memory. Damn.

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  • Reply Only the Half of It April 21, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    Wow. Did you ever listen to Art Bell or Coast to Coast? I’m not into crop circles or alien abductions but was just fascinated and a little thrilled to be creeped out by stories of people who’d call in and tell about seeing ghosts. And I’m not a scary movie fan. I find that fascinating. What is your book about?

  • Reply Breath of Insanity April 21, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    When I was a kid, my grandma used to invite me to spend the night at her house. Almost like clockwork, she would make me a bedtime snack at around 7:30. I moved into her house about 5 years after she died, and I noticed almost right away that some nights, at about that same time, I would hear noises from the kitchen, like someone was in there cooking up a bedtime snack. (Cue Twilight Zone theme). That’s my ghost story.

  • Reply The Mother April 21, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    The worse part of the whole mess isn’t the seeing ghosts part. That could be cool.

    Having to go to the opera?

    Can we just have the spooks put bamboo splinters under our fingernails, instead?

  • Reply Jen April 21, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    Only the half of it, I tried to listen to Art Bell but it was too nuts for me. I didn’t hear about ghosts just conspiracy theories. The book is about my parents, gay dad and handicapped mom and how funny it was. The opera is a big part of it.

    Breath, That’s actually really cool and must be calming or relaxing on some level unless grandma was a horrible cook and then it might be scary.

    Mother, exactly my thoughts. I know it’s my dad having the last laugh as he always said he would. I suppose it’s payback for having that estate sale to get rid of all the Victorian furniture but he would have been seriously delusional if he thought I was going to keep it.

  • Reply Mary@Holy Mackerel April 21, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    Very very cool. I wish I could more easily see my dad and a few other people who have passed away. That is one of my wishes…

  • Reply Jen April 21, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    Mary, I’d love to be able to ask my dad a few things like what is it like on the other side? Do you get to leave that extra twenty lbs on this side? Where the hell is the boat registration?

  • Reply Sherri April 21, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    That is pretty cool. I’ve never had any paranormal experiences, but I believe some people are more receptive to them.

  • Reply Only the Half of It April 21, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    Your books sounds fascinating. Hope you have or get an agent/publisher soon.

  • Reply BONNIE K April 21, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    We used to laugh at my father-in-law because he claimed that coins would suddenly appear in his house. When he died, we had a funeral locally and then we all drove to Michigan for his burial. We all stayed in different places and my sister-in-law, staying in a hotel, woke up to pennies in her bed.

  • Reply moooooog35 April 22, 2009 at 6:52 am

    Creepy shit.


    Just kidding.

  • Reply Jude April 22, 2009 at 6:58 am

    I love reading about other people’s experiences with ghost and spirits and think everyone has a little bit of ESP.

  • Reply Stacie's Madness April 22, 2009 at 8:16 am

    I don’t know if I should laugh at this…cringe or to what…

    great stories…love it, but kinda freaked by it too.

  • Reply Jen April 22, 2009 at 8:33 am

    Sherri, I think some people may be more in touch with something or possibly have an over active imagination. I’m not sure where I sit on that spectrum.

    Only the half of it, I think I am going to self publish unless someone comes along to hold my hand right now. I don’t have the patience to go through the agent finding process. Tried last year but there were so many hoops to go through.

    Bonnie, That is a wonderful story.

    Mooog, don’t scare me. My brother used to pop out of corners and from behind doors all the time when I was growing up, I was a nervous wreck.

    Jude, I had a dream once that my brother had been bitten by our hamster. He woke me up during the dream and was holding a bloody rag over his hand. He had been bitten by the hamster. I also was able to correctly guess the next song on the radio, in fact my brother would bring his friends over to do this and charge a dollar for the parlor game. I made a lot of money. Of course what no one realized, except me, was that the radio had about 7 songs in rotation and if you listened long enough you knew exactly what song was going to be next because they played the same tape with the songs in the same order.

    Stacie, don’t be freaked out, it’s all good. I use my powers for good not evil.

  • Reply Judy April 22, 2009 at 9:59 am

    I moved into my grandma’s house the year after she died. One night I woke up and she was standing at the foot of my bed–dressed not in her funeral clothes, but in the housedress and apron she always wore. I wasn’t scared a bit–I was so glad to see her. She smiled and then vanished. I guess she was just checking up on me, her only grandchild, and happy I was living there.

  • Reply Pricilla April 22, 2009 at 10:13 am

    I used to be very prescient..then I had my brain surgery and it all went to pot. Now nothing. My hubby said they cut the wires. It’s a bummer. I used to know who was on the phone – this was pre oh crap my memory has gone to pot too – I can’t think of the name of what it is with the names coming on the phone.
    Don’t have brain surgery is all I can say…

    I am very jealous. I want to see a ghost.
    Sorry about the opera thing. It is the ONE music format- other than rap – that I CANNOT handle.

  • Reply Jen April 22, 2009 at 10:25 am

    Judy, that is how my grandfather visits except he is smoking a cigar and I swear I can really smell it.

    Pricilla, I will try my best not to have brain surgery. My mom has brain damage from a stroke years ago and her memory is shot too. sometimes it can be funny sometimes it’s really frustrating.

  • Reply SLColman April 22, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    I have had some seriously spooky paranormal experiences and some that were kind of comforting in an odd way.

    Sorry about the whole Opera thing though!

  • Reply Thinkinfyou April 22, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    I use to see my mother’s brother who die in Vietnam long before I was born all the time when I was a kid and even into adulthood. I was never scared either.

  • Reply JD at I Do Things April 22, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    I’m a psychic dud.

    As much as I believe in and would love to see a (non-scary) ghost, I’ve never come close. No weird music coming from nowhere, no doors slamming, NOTHING.

    But the head at the foot of the bed? I could live without that.

  • Reply Chris Casey April 22, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    My dogs and i both see my Mother in law at times in our house. She’s been deceased seven years, but this is where she lived.
    One dog does the damnedset things, and occasionally we can smell her cigarette smoke.

  • Reply Cashmere April 22, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    Coincidentally, I just posted on my personal experience on ghost sighting in my blog.. 😉

    These things just can’t be explained..

  • Reply JT Locke -- The Frugal Housewife April 22, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    When my dad was alive, we lived in a house that almost every night you would feel someone sit on the bed with you. Then they would tickle your feet.

    After my dad passed away, you could hear someone walking from the front bedroom, which was his bedroom, to the basement and go down the stairs.

    In this same house, my granny would say that my grandpa would come and visit her every night. She would sit and talk to him for a while. If you opened the door you would see her sitting at the head of the bed and the rocking chair at the foot of the bed would be rocking.

    Also, you would hear someone sweeping the driveway but when you looked out there wouldn’t be anyone there.

    All this was in the same house… once we moved we never heard it again at any of the other houses we lived in. We knew the people who moved in after us and they asked us about the noises, especially the walk to the basement. It is still going on after all these years.

  • Reply Jen April 22, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    SLColman, you need to share your experiences…

    Thinkinfyou, that’s interesting, did he ever say anything? Did your mom ever see him?

    JD, No weird coincidences? No dittos, no jinxes? Not even as a kid? The head was creepy.

    Chris, my dog sees things all the time, sometimes he barks and bays for no reason(always at night) and it really is unsettling. The cat often stares at the wall but I think she is just being antisocial.

    Cashmere, those are interesting pictures. Did you ‘feel’ as if there was something there when you took the picture?

    JT, that’s actually pretty cool. Sad in a way that they haven’t moved on however.

  • Reply lilaphase April 22, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    I’ve had some experiences, but I’m such a chicken – I try not to think about them.

    It’s cool how nonchalant you are about your experiences!

  • Reply GDad April 24, 2009 at 6:53 am


    You could totally geek out and get the kid into Klingon opera. She may first have to learn Klingon, which she can at this site: The Klingon Language Institute.

    Or maybe not.

  • Reply Bill April 26, 2009 at 7:21 am

    Ghosts? You’re weird, you know that?

    Actually, I’ve had a few ghostly encounters, too. They’re pretty cool, huh? As long as we don’t get obsessed by them and stop living our own lives.

  • Reply psychic paranormal March 15, 2010 at 5:56 am

    the whole psychic world always interested me

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