My childhood home was a two-story old house with a wide front porch. It was shaded by mature trees perfect for climbing. In the side yard was a hugely overgrown shrub, with a bare space in the middle just big enough to climb into with a good book and be undisturbed.
The yard was bordered on one side by a stream, where my siblings and I could wade and search for minnows and fossils. On the other side, the yard was bordered by a long gravel driveway, which ended at a small wooden barn painted white. Along the driveway was a sloped bank, which in the spring erupted in hundreds of daffodils in every shade of yellow, orange, and white. Morning glories climbed up the pillars of a small back porch which was accessed through the kitchen.
There were five children in our house, four in one house next to ours, and four more in the house on the other side. Across the street lived other children. We spent almost every day after school and on weekends playing outside.
It was a great place to grow up, as long as you didn’t mind Edna, the resident ghost. Everyone in the family experienced eerie events. Lights went on and off by themselves, footsteps were heard when no one was there, pictures fell off the wall, and empty glass bottles sitting on the floor would suddenly get knocked over. Some of these could be blamed on the quirks of living in an old house with ancient wiring and plumbing and sloping floors.
Mom found out the previous owner had inherited the house from a relative named Edna, who’d died in the house. Thereafter, whenever something weird was happening in the house, we’d yell, “Knock it off, Edna!” and it would stop. I don’t think Edna was happy our rambunctious family had taken over her home.
One day my older sister and her friend decided to take the short walk home from school for lunch. It was only a few blocks. Mom was expected to be at work that day, but they knew there was ample food in the house. When they walked into the house, they heard footsteps coming down the stairs from the bedrooms.
My sister said, “I guess Mom didn’t go to work today.” She opened the door at the bottom of the stairs and the footsteps abruptly stopped. No one was there. Terrified, they ran all the way back to school.
After we’d moved out of that house, Mom ran into the man who’d bought the house from us. She asked the man, “So, is the ghost still there?”
The gentleman looked startled and answered that yes, it was. He said, “It bothers my wife more than me. It pushes her or taps her on the shoulder. It freaks her out.” Mom told him to yell, “Knock it off, Edna!” He added he’d assumed it was male, but thanked her for the advice and said he would try that.
I was 16 when we left that house and moved into a brick ranch in a subdivision. I shared a bedroom with my sister. One night I awoke and in the light coming from the window, I saw the ghost of a young man. He was aimlessly walking around the room, looking at items on the dresser and hanging on the walls. I could see through him but would describe him as a young man of average height and build, with long dark hair, dressed in jeans and a blue flannel shirt.
I lay still and quietly watched as he roamed the room. I became alarmed when he stood beside my sleeping sister, staring down at her. I was afraid he might harm her. I think he sensed that he was being watched and faded away.
The next morning I said to Dad, “I saw a ghost in my room last night!” Dad said, “was it a young guy with long dark hair, wearing jeans and a blue flannel shirt?”
“Yes! How did you know that?” He answered, “I’ve seen him twice; once in the hall and once in the garage. I didn’t want to say anything and scare the family.”
As an adult, I’ve had only one ghostly experience, and it was by far the most terrifying. I was on a weekend hiking trip in the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee with a group of friends. We rented a farmhouse in a lovely secluded valley. That night we settled up the sleeping arrangements and I chose a double bed in a converted part of the attic. Through an open doorway were two other double beds and a cot. The rest of the group slept there.
I awoke in the night to find a ghostly figure sleeping in the same bed, turned away from me. He had form, but again, I could see through him. He was in his mid-thirties, of slight build, with a shaved bald head. I tried to scream, but I was so terrified that my throat closed up and all I could get out were moans, gasps, and choking noises.
The ghost heard me. He rose his head from the pillow and turned to me with an expression that clearly seemed to say, “Shut up, Lady! What the heck is wrong with you?” When I couldn’t stop making the fearful noises, he covered his ears with his hands and shook his head in annoyance.
My gasping noises finally woke one of my friends, who stepped into the doorway and asked, “Are you all right? What’s wrong?” I looked over at the other side of the bed and the ghost had vanished.
I told my friend I’d explain in the morning, then took my pillow and blanket downstairs and slept the next two nights on a sofa in the living room. I don’t think my friends believed my ghostly story. I took a lot of teasing. One friend joked that “You’re just mad that there was a man in your bed and he wasn’t interested in you. Haha.”
I’ve lived in my current home for decades with no sign of ghostly apparitions. However, I’ve been known to blame my sometimes messy house on Edna, but nobody’s buying it.