Saturday, October 22, 2011

My Ghost Story: if there was ever a time to tell it...

    

If you had asked me 10 years ago if I believed in ghosts, I would probably be giving you the same look you’re giving this blog right now.  I’d freely admit to enjoying bloodsucking vampires from Salem’s Lot, American werewolves in London and anything the Doctors Frankenstein or Jekyll could cook up.  I’d add that while zombies are lame and mummies aren’t wrapped too tight, that crafty witch who lived in the Blair Woods & terrorized those young filmmakers did a real number on me.  But ghosts?  Nothing to ‘em. 

The older I get though, the more I wonder if that  quote from ‘The Others’ could be the real deal:  “The world of the living sometimes gets mixed up with the world of the dead”.

Listen, I know I’m just following a trend.  Cable channels run rampant with all of those so-called paranormal shows like “Ghost Adventures”, “Paranormal State” & “My Ghost Story” and yes I’m a sucker for most of them.  They make me examine my own surroundings a bit more suspiciously--ghosts in my apartment building?  Why not?  This may not be Lizzie Borden’s house or a 1930s mental hospital, but in the 15 years I’ve lived here I’ve seen six or seven apartments come up for rent from former tenants who didn’t exactly move across town, if you get my drift. 

And in that time, I’ve experienced a few occurrences here that gave me pause.  One late night while folding laundry in the basement, I distinctly felt the presence of someone standing behind me—yet when I turned around, no one was there.  And last winter while ‘camping’ on my sofa one evening, I had my back to the room & felt someone’s fingers below my neck, between my shoulder blades.  I’m not making this up!  

But perhaps the strangest experience was something that occurred almost a decade ago; it still gives me the chills when I think about it.

 The Mystery of Mrs. Kenney & Her  Must See Television

When I moved in this building in the fall of ‘95, one of the first people that introduced themselves to me was my neighbor in #404, Mrs. Kenney.  She told me she had lived here since the place was built in 1972, and had been retired for several years.  I knew she didn’t go out much, as I always heard her tv when I passed her door in the morning on my way to work or at night when coming home; and sometimes I could hear it faintly if I went to bed early, muffled by the firewall that separated her livingroom from my bedroom.

It was sometime in early 2001 when her apartment went silent, and I thought nothing of it until one day when I was getting my mail and another neighbor asked me if I had heard about Mrs. Kenney.  She had suffered a stroke or heart attack (or both) and was staying with her daughter and son-in-law until she got better.  Oh how awful, okay.  And for the next couple weeks, I heard nothing more.

Then one Sunday night after climbing into bed I heard her tv again.  It was louder than usual, and while I was glad she was well enough to come home, I wondered if the stroke had affected her hearing.  I was tempted to get out of bed, walk down the hall & remind her that some of us still had to get up for work in the morning, but I didn’t; eventually I fell asleep.  The following day after work, I was on the bus when my other neighbor Sue (who also worked downtown) approached me and asked if I heard about Mrs. Kenney.  I said “yes yes, I know; she’s home, she had her tv cranked up pretty loud last night.” 

Sue gave me a funny look and said I must be mistaken.  She told me Mrs. Kenney had died over the weekend, in her daughter’s house.  I said that couldn’t be; I was tired and cranky from a poor night’s sleep because of that damn tv.  Sue said “I’ll bet you have a new neighbor, probably another old lady who’s hard of hearing.”   Aw no. 

I wasn’t going to say anything further about it, but when we got home our maintenance man Mike was in the lobby, washing the front windows.  I asked him if he’d heard about Mrs. Kenney (yes) and was there a new tenant (not yet).  I said “Well, someone was in her place last night, watching tv.  LOUD.”  He said “Doug that can’t be.”  I told him it wasn’t my imagination, and he said “Come with me.”  We came upstairs and he opened Mrs. Kenney’s door.  And aside from some stains on the carpet & a roll of paper towels on the kitchen counter, the entire apartment was empty.  I said “Wait, when did everything get moved out?”   Mike said “Doug, they moved everything out of here over a week ago, her daughter said she wasn’t coming back.”

.          .          .

Like I said earlier, that was almost a decade ago but I remember it like it was yesterday; I was never able to figure out where that tv was coming from.  And a month or so later, someone did move into that apartment, a creepy psychologist who painted the walls dark brown and lives here still; he stands in the back parking lot and chain smokes beside his car every night for a half hour before coming inside.  (As for a television, I don’t think he even owns one.)

I’ve been tempted sometimes to ask if he’s ever noticed anything peculiar over there, but I’m sure he deals with enough cuckoos already.

2 comments:

  1. This story reminds me of a time when a friend and I saw a ghost in a field. The bizarre thing is what we saw was the spitting image of Our Lady and she was the height of the electricity pole. Was she real? Honestly I don't know but she must have been the real McCoy, right? After all she chose us. The question is why? So many questions unanswered so I decided to keep stump until now, so don't tell anyone.

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  2. Wow, that's one tall ghost--thanks for sharing Spacerguy, I would've loved to see something like that!

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