Daily Archives: July 11, 2010

Ghost Stories

I don’t really know if I believe in ghosts or not. I suppose that sometimes I do — especially if I’ve seen a scary movie or read a scary book and am home alone. Also if someone I trust tells me about seeing a ghost herself or maybe her close relative saw one — then I get goosebumps and believe again. For a while.

I was a real skeptic until some friends of ours told us their story. They rented a home in the country and a number of strange things happened while they lived there with their children. Let’s call them Richard and Laura.

  • A large fan that was usually in one room was moved to the top of the stairs — no one in the family admitted to moving it. In fact the house was empty and Richard came home for lunch — that’s when he noticed the fan had been moved from where it was when he left in the morning.
  • They often heard footsteps on the stairs as if there were children playing on them. One day Laura’s sister, Rosie, was having coffee in the kitchen with Laura. She heard the footsteps and asked what it was — since she thought Richard and Laura’s were in school. Laura remarked that it was “just the ghosts”.
  • One night when Richard and Laura were asleep in bed they felt the bed move as if someone sat down on it.
  • Richard and Laura’s daughter also had stories of someone sitting on her bed.

Even my husband, who has never believed in ghosts, said that the story made him wonder. I was no longer skeptical and believed in ghosts after that, but didn’t really give it a lot of thought.

The other night my son and I checked in to a college-owned hotel in Ohio so we could be close to the campus where he had a 9:00 am interview with an admissions counselor. We got to the hotel late, but were able to get a quick dinner in their “pub” at around 9 pm. I had two glasses of red wine — taking the second glass to our room when we left the restaurant. Andrew spent the some of the evening researching the college to prepare for his interview, then he watched some television. I read email and logged onto Facebook. I decided to call it a night and fell asleep around 11. I don’t know when Andrew finally went to sleep.

I woke up somewhere around 3 in the morning — something I often do if I drink wine late in the evening. I got a drink of water and turned on the air conditioning, which I had turned off earlier because we were cold. Then I got back into bed and tried to sleep. I know I slept because I dreamed that I was at my mom’s house and it had snowed. I saw a cat outside and ran to help it, but it was somehow killed — maybe a dog was involved. Anyway in the dream I brought the cat back in the house and for some reason put it in bed with Clare who woke up and, understandably, freaked out.

Clare’s freaking out in my dream woke me up, I remembered where I was and could feel the foot of the bed on the bottom of my feet (I scrunch down in bed and usually hang my feet over the bottom). I heard the air conditioner fan and felt the cool air. I pulled the blanket up to my chin. I felt, what felt like a cat, jump up on the bed near my feet, pad around my feet and come up near my face. I thought it was Annabelle, but remembered that I was not at home. Then I felt the mattress push down behind my back (I was lying on my left side, facing towards the middle of the bed) as if someone were sitting behind me. I knew it wasn’t Andrew because I could hear him breathing in his bed. I turned my head and saw a large white mass over my hip — I thought it was the blanket bunched up. Finally I felt myself being pulled off the bed as if someone had hold of the waistband of my pajama bottoms and the collar of my t-shirt.

Then I woke up. It was 5:30 am. All that was a dream — but a very vivid one.

I’ve had dreams like that before — where I feel like I am awake and know where I am (they mostly happen when I am not at home). The other times I’ve had these kind of dreams I see someone standing at the foot of the bed. This time it tried to pull me off the bed.

This dream, has pushed me back into being skeptical about ghosts. While it doesn’t explain the footsteps on the stairs at Richard and Laura’s rental house, it might explain the nighttime occurrences.

Of course, when we checked out of the hotel I did notice that our door opened right next to the stairway to the attic…

Suburban gardening

Lali wrote a post about Wendell Berry whom she calls  “the guru of the sustainability movement”. I know nothing about Berry, but her post got me thinking…

My parents have had a garden in their backyard since the summer I first went to England. I remember it was that summer because, in order to remove the shade it caused, they cut down the apple tree (which I’d named Charley)  in whose branches I’d spent many summer days. There is still a garden in the backyard of my folks house, but neither my mom nor dad tend it anymore. A friend of my mom (who turns 80 this year) planted tomatoes, lettuce, beans, and many other vegetables in the garden. The deal is that, instead of charging the friend for use of the land, mom can pick what she needs from the garden.

We used to try to grow vegetables, but our yard is too shady. Next year we’re going to plant outside the fence in raised beds — after we cut down the Siberian elm the kids used to climb (but didn’t name). It was a volunteer and has been oozing some sort of slime for about 5 years. I won’t feel guilty cutting it down.

I do grow herbs though — they are not quite as  picky as vegetables are about how many hours they spend in direct sunlight. I always have basil, thyme and rosemary. This year I’m also growing licorice mint that was given to me by a neighbor, dill and Thai (or Holy) basil.

This year my friend, Alison, gave me a tomato plant she grew from seeds she’d harvested from tomatoes of an unmarked variety her son brought home from his job at a local plant nursery. I planted it in a small container, then moved it to a much larger one a few weeks later. The move broke the branch that the one tomato was on, but the rest of the plant was okay. The tomato ripened, possibly knowing its food supply was about to dry up, and Clare and I shared it one afternoon as part of a caprese sandwich.

I really don’t know where I was going in this post — I started it over a week ago.  It began as a comment on Lali’s post, but would have been too long.

Anyway — happy summer.