Sunday, August 2, 2009

A ghost story, perhaps?

Do I believe in ghosts? Does my answer change when I call them 'spirits', instead? If you have a bit of time to spare and want to grab something to eat, I could talk on this topic for quite some time.

My Grandma and Grandpa Nichols had purchased their burial plots long before a hotel was built right next to the cemetary. When my Grandma Nichols was ill with colon cancer, she would joke with us that after she passed she was going to haunt visitors at the hotel. Ever since that day - over 17 years ago - I pledged that I would stay at that hotel and see if my Grandma really did pay me a visit. I never have, but I'd still like to.

But then I had the experience at my first college apartment in Kent, Ohio. I lived in a two-story townhouse with my girlfriends Michelle and Christina. We had cats and you know what they say - supposedly cats have a sixth sense about them and can even sense things we cannot. It was the night that I returned home from a spring break cruise. We had won some cocktail glasses on the cruise and I had just set them on the kitchen counter to hang in the overhead wine glass holder. One of the cats was lying on a stool next to me. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the cat jerk its head up to the wine glass holder with an extreme jerk. I looked to see what she was looking at - and then I saw it - along with my boyfriend at the time - two wine glasses that had been untouched, swing in towards one another and 'clang', then return to their original hanging position with minimal swinging. I just remember my boyfriend - "Get upstairs. Go!". We had no idea what had just happened, but it was scary. Never an explanation, but better yet - never another incident. Until I moved.

Holly Park Apartments. My second college apartment. I lived there with my girlfriend Kate. My closet was your typical closet - bi-fold doors and a wire shelf overhead. I had some Rubbermaid organizing bins on the wire shelf holding extra clothes and what not. For this story, you must understand that the bins weren't too big for the shelf, meaning that they did not overhang, giving them the potential to be top heavy and fall. The depth of the shelf an the depth of the bins was practically the same.

I was sitting in my bedroom one night studying, alone at my apartment. All of a sudden, I heard this big crash in my closet and it caused one of the bi-fold doors to jut out. I walked over the closet, opened the doors, and found one of those bins spilled on to the floor. At the time I didn't think much of it, other than thinking that maybe I hadn't pushed the bin all the way back onto the shelf after its last use and that if got top heavy and tumbled forward. I put everything back in it, put it back up on the shelf, and made a conscious effort to push on each bin to make sure they all were pushed all the way back on the shelf. I shut the doors.

About 30 minutes later, my studying silence was interrupted once again. CRASH. I remember the paralyzing jolt of fear that spread across me. I could see that the door was jutted out again. I knew what had happened. But I had no idea how it had happened. I knew that those boxes were tight and secure on the shelf. What in the world? I remember walking - no running - backwards out of my room so I could keep an eye on the closet. Running down my hallway. Running out the door. Running over to my neighbor's, Chuck. Thank goodness he was home. I had him come over and stand with me as I gathered up my stuff, replaced it in the closet as I did the first time, and then had Chuck double check everything to make sure I wasn't losing my mind. Studying could do that to you. The bins were secure. There is no way they could fall off on their own.

We went out to the living room and watched some TV. I was too nervous for him to leave just yet and I needed to get my mind on something else. About 45 minutes later - CRASH. Chuck got to see if with his own eyes. No explanation. I slept on the couch that night.

This continued to happen with the bins from time to time, but sadly I started to get used to it and even tried to talk to whomever it was. Was it my Grandma or Grandpa? I told myself it was, just to make me more comfortable. A friend brought me a book on spirits. I couldn't read it all, as it scared me too much, but one explanation for what could be happening was bookmarked by him - spirits have no spatial understanding and therefore they can simply knock and tumble things over by running in to them. Even stranger? During this same exact time period, very odd things were happening to my mom at her house. You see, my mom and I always seem to experience things at the same time. We both catch the flu, we both have a backache, etc etc. So it was only fitting that we both assumed we had a ghost.

Ever see "The Sixth Sense"? Remember the scene that was so simple, yet bone chilling when the mother walks into the kitchen and all cupboards and drawers are open? That happened to my Mom. Or the night that she was lying in bed with their dog. Her door was cracked and she could see the glow of the nightlight in the hallway. My dad was working a midnight shift at the time, and she saw the shadow of someone or something walk past her door. SCARY. She bravely searched the house and turned every single light on, only to find absolutely nothing.

I lived in two apartments after Holly Park - none of which gave me any experiences as the first two. It was over and the spirit(s) had no use for my new locales.

Fast-forward to my final apartment before getting married. (Yes, I moved a LOT prior to getting married). Tamarac. Bins would fall, lights would be on after I'd turned them off, bathroom fans would turn on. At this point Kevin and I were engaged and I was thankful that he was there to rationalize each experience. But I still knew something was odd.

Now our current house. This used to be Kevin's grandmother's house. In fact, his grandfather passed away in the house - a fact I didn't realize until the past year sometime. We've had our share of odd experiences here. "Grandma liked the house very warm", Kevin tells me. Could this explain the time we came home to find the heater turned up to EIGHTY degrees? Clearly something neither of us would ever do. But that's just about been it. Until a couple days ago.

LeapFrog Music Table has played on its own a few times. It isn't one of those that is supposed to randomly play on its own, either. I noticed a pattern the times it has happened. We're always in the kitchen - away from the living room. It never happens when we are sitting in the same room or when Riley is anywhere near it. Maybe this should be comforting?

So I don't know - my personal experiences have been great enough to convince me that something is here. Grandma or Grandpa? I'll never know - but I sure hope it is.

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