The belief – or lack thereof – in supernatural beings is a very personal thing. Call them ghosts, spirits, angels, demons, or whatever, but there has been talk of these things for centuries. You almost can’t help but wonder if there’s something to it when you think about how long the stories have persisted. After all, where there’s smoke…
I guess I’ve always believed in ghosts. We moved into my dad’s house when I was 5 years old. From the beginning I knew there was something there. 25 years later, I still wake up in the middle of the night with the feeling of someone sitting at the end of the bed. I still refuse to walk outdoors after dark alone – it is literally the only place where I am afraid of the night (which is a travesty given how amazing the stars are out there in the middle of nowhere…). What am I afraid of? I truly don’t know. It’s not the ghost – he’s a friendly spirit…for the most part.
The house my dad grew up in is just down the drive from his current house. It’s been used as storage for years now. I used to scare my friends by telling them about the ghost that lived there – it’s a creepy looking place, which helped fuel the fire (smile). Whether I was simply acknowledging a truth I already knew or I finally convinced myself, I believed in that ghost. I’d woken up for years feeling someone sitting on the end of my bed – or getting up from there. Sometimes I would feel like someone was watching me and oftentimes I would awake with mysterious bruises on my legs, near the same spot. After some years of hearing these stories, it made sense that my friends would want to investigate further. With age comes curiosity…and a certain disregard for wise decision making.
I had gotten a Ouija Board somewhere along the way (from a Toys R Us no less). I don’t know who decided it would be a good idea to use it at the old house, but there we were, my two best friends and I. We locked all the doors and made sure no one could see in (my dad would’ve had a field day had he known what we were up to); we lit candles and settled into business. Question #1: “Can you hear us?” A slow, hesitant “yes.” Cue a round of accusatory stares as we all desperately wanted to believe it was one of the others that had moved the piece across the board. Question #2 – the question they say you’re never supposed to ask – “How did you die?” My friend, she was a rebel. Nothing happened at first. Then she passed out. Cold. The doors that we’d made such a point to lock slammed open. The candles were dark. Then, from somewhere deep within a house too small for such depth, “OUT.” You didn’t have to tell us twice! We grabbed everything we’d brought and unceremoniously drug our friend outside. She didn’t stir until she was out in the sunshine (yes, we were too scared to do this at night). Of course we were all absolutely terrified!! We quickly vowed to never tell an adult (a vow we kept for some years anyway) and dispersed. I bound the Ouija Board in its box and tucked it away deep in my bedroom closet. I never knew what happened to that thing….
Is this a real memory or just an elaborate story made up by a bunch of teenage girls? Had I not been one of those girls, I don’t know if I would have believed us. It was some time before we discovered the glass plate photos of the ancestor soldier who had lived there all those years ago. But once I had the photo, I had a name – and I wasn’t afraid anymore. At least not of the ghost in the old house, the one who sat at the end of my bed some nights. I’m still terrified of being outside after dark, but I believe that’s for a totally unrelated reason. Toby is a friendly being who’s just lonely, and perhaps a little sensitive. I still say a silent greeting every time I go back. It’s only respectful.