10 October 2012


When we first moved into our house, we were told about the typical things: the water needed treatment to be potable, it wasn't insulated very well, the treeline was the boundary on the left...little things that never stop first time homebuyers from signing on the dotted line.

Once we got settled in, our then-tenants came over and told us that sometimes we get squirrels in the attic. When that failed to get me riled up, they...might be rats. I pretended I could live with rats. "I meant raccoons." Well, raccoons would be a problem, I admitted, and my tenant walked away secure that he'd terrified me. In fact, I was more concerned that if he kept going, we'd have bears in the attic.

But about three months later, the same tenant came by and asked if we'd heard anything in their kitchen the night before. Apparently they'd left all the kitchen cupboards open, and they all...closed. At once. The front door, he said, had a habit of rattling in a way that sounded like someone opening it, but there was never anyone there. Ghosts, he'd decided, even as I pragmatically resolved that it's a really old house and that nothing is level, plum, square - and they're going to make weird noises sometimes.

Then one day, after the tenants left, I was walking up the back stairs, and I felt a cold patch. I stopped, checked for air leaking in from somewhere, shrugged, and kept going.

Three or four days later, a neighbor stopped by and asked if I knew the house's history when I bought it. "Sure!" I said. I knew that a politician-writer had been born here in the 1850's. That it had belonged for a while to another local politician. (in the 1980s) That it was, at different times, a sandwich shop, an arcade, a general store.

"But do you know about the murder suicide?"

er. No. That was a new one.

"Yeah, the old man who lived there killed his wife and then himself."

(WHY do people say these things like they're rattling off a grocery list?!)

"From those stairs, you know the ones? Sometimes there's a cold spot."


Now, I've never seen or heard from the ghost, beyond that one episode of cold chills. The former tenant kitchen has been gutted and turned into a storage room, so i've never met the (supposed) little girl who went around closing the doors. And putting a new hinge on the tenant's front door has stopped it from rattling (although if it was, as he believed, his grandmother, checking in on him, then I assume she'd go with him to HIS new house.)

Strangely, even though I dismiss all of this as rather happenstance in my own house...I totally think it happens to other people, and that there are paranormal explanations.

Just...not to me.
Not here.

And maybe that's naive, and maybe it's just self-preservation. I'm not sure. But if there are ghosts in my house, they're benign, and they seem happy enough to let me stay here, insulating the walls and uncovering the (gorgeous) hardwood floors. So if they are here, I'm happy enough to share the space, so long as they continue to be unobtrusive. Live and let...er...live...I says.
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