Saturday, January 15, 2011

His Song, Her Search, & One Last Shower Scene

"Mama! I just heard a man singing in the shower!" My six year old son darted up the stairs in a panic. "He was singing country music!" I laughed & headed downstairs with him to have a listen. Sure enough, as I headed down the hall I could hear a man's rugged voice crooning away. Now I'm not a country music fan & only know a few country songs, but it reminded me of something I would have heard in the 90's when my oldest sister went through her country music phase. We entered the bathroom & the curtain was pushed aside as if someone had just gotten out, but the singing was gone.  I can't help but find this amusing for some reason... We laughed it off, gathered our things, & headed out of the house for a full day of running errands.

As any person in my shoes would be, I have been quite curious lately about "Argo." I find myself thinking about it often & wishing I could know more about his past. A day or two ago, I realized that Argo was not even the spirit's name as I had first suspected-- his name was Lee Thomas. Argo was his ex-wife's last name. Lee Thomas died in a car crash when he was just twenty eight years old & the house that we live in was his favorite place.  I can't imagine how hard this would be! You leave out in the morning with no idea that it will be your last time seeing home, your last time seeing your children, & your very last day alive.  I wonder what he would have done differently had he known he was going to die?

Today while we were getting the car washed, I pulled my cell phone out & started playing around on Facebook. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am notorious for non-stop status updates! I was in the middle of a keying in a needless update about nothing in particular when a message came into my inbox. It was from Lee Thomas' daughter!  She wanted me to call her & listed her number below.  I was stunned. Part of me wanted to call her right away & part of me wanted to forget that I had even seen the message. Was I ready for this?

I was torn & still am. A big part of me wants to believe that people either go to Heaven or Hell upon passing & that there are no other possible explanations... The Southern Baptist Girl in me agrees with that 100%! But there is another part of me that feels that this man's soul was trapped on earth because of the sudden nature of his passing & was reaching out for help in resolving his issues so that he could take his rightful place in eternity.  This is something that I have been praying about & something that I still do not have answers for. I believe the Bible, don't get me wrong, but I can't help but wonder if there are certain things that are not quite so black & white/cut & dry. Another theory could be that perhaps instead of the Spirits in our home being a demon impersonating him, maybe it is an angel depicting him in order to bring about a positive outcome? I have found it difficult to marry the two theories, but somehow feel that they have the ability to coexist (this coming from the girl who believes that both creationism & evolution mingle together to equal the beginning of the world).  

I dialed the number, listened nervously as the phone rang, & almost hung up twice. It wasn't long until her husband answered & summoned her to the phone from across the house. I spoke with Lee Thomas' daughter for a few minutes & somehow (I still don't exactly know how this came about) I agreed to let her come over & talk. I had no idea what would come of it & no clue what I expected to learn, but what I did know was that I had just set up a meeting with my "ghost's" daughter.

Once we got home, I began to tidy up the house. I knew his daughter had spent a significant part of her childhood here & wanted to make a good impression. I called my contacts from last weekend's investigation here & asked if there was anything I should know or do or avoid. In my head an ingenious plan formed-- I was going to ask her about his life, his death, his unfinished business, & I was going to solve it all today! Case closed, questions answered, put to rest. I searched her Facebook page for any clues that would help me find some direction in the kinds of questions that I should ask. I stumbled upon a picture of their family... A classic portrait with Lee Thomas right in the middle. I stared at his face & felt as if I had seen him before. I know I never met him while he was alive, but somehow he was familiar to me. Too familiar. I picked up my phone & called his daughter back. I wanted to cancel, but asked her to reschedule instead. I couldn't do this today. I was not ready. Ghosts don't exist, only demons & angels. What had I done? Cancelling was not an option, she had already called her Mother & arranged to come to her childhood home. Her Mother-- the one he was beckoning through my cell phone. The one he asked for by name.

My husband had not been home from work long before I broke the news to him of our immanent visitors. He shook his head & if life had closed captioning I was sure I would have seen a stream of obscenities.  Again, I wondered what I had done. Nervously I sat & watched American Pickers, wishing I could just spend the afternoon laughing as Frank & Mike explore dusty corners of neglected barns. I shivered & realized that I had forgotten to make the list of questions that was supposed to save the day. I rummaged through a storage ottoman in the living room & found a spiral bound notebook. I was going to sit them down & interview them. This was going to be the key to banishing the question mark from my list of most commonly used punctuation marks forever! This was going to put my demons, ghosts, & fears to rest.

I waved my pen above the paper in the shape of words, but nothing came out. My phone rang & I set the empty notebook aside.  It was her.  She was almost here. THEY were almost here. It was time. I told her she could pull around back to park & she kind of laughed & said that she knew.  I went to the door & waited. I kind of hem hawed around & talked to the outdoor cats that I usually go out of my way to ignore... There was no getting out of this.

I was met with timid hellos, introductions, & explanations of why they had wanted so badly to come. Mrs. Argo stood at her car & they explained that she was still a bit shaken up. I asked if it was the house that was making her uneasy & they told me that there was a history here & an apprehension that came with being asked for by name after all these years. After much persuasion, she agreed to come inside.

It didn't take long for me to realize that we were veering off of my imaginary "script." Thanks to my empty notebook, I was ill-prepared & let them take charge of the direction that things would go. I nervously showed them around a little bit & we chit chatted about the changes that the house had undergone since she had lived there a decade & a half ago. I tried to imagine the layout of the house through her 10 year old eyes as I guided them to the bathroom where I had experienced my first paranormal occurrence. For lack of anything else to say, I went into my "Shower Scene" spill... I explained the static & recalled the details like a guide on a cheesy ghost tour. They asked if they could hold my phone to see if he would text them & I handed it over. Nothing happened.

We headed through the rest of the house & discussed which rooms had been different before it had been remodeled. I took them into our bedroom & felt for sure that they would sense his presence there. I wanted them to. I could tell that his daughter was in search of something, I just didn't know what. We all stood in my bedroom & I showed them where the portal had been. Not that they were interested in portals... They were here for one thing that I obviously couldn't give them.

Feeling a bit defeated, we emerged from the bedroom & headed down the hall. We talked about the voice that the boys had heard saying "Get over here," & she explained that her Daddy had always been stern with little kids. Maybe that had been him too. I talked to her a bit about why she had come & she told me that she has been searching for her Daddy ever since he died. She too experiences paranormal activity & has always waited for the day that it would be him. I can only imagine that when she got wind of me & my blog & of Argo that she probably felt like her search was almost over.

We headed downstairs & said our goodbyes. I told his daughter that I had prayed for her Daddy & that if there is such a thing as trapped souls that I had prayed for him to follow the light. She thanked me for letting her come & gave me a hug. Although we had just met only minutes before, I looked in her eyes & knew that she understood what I had been going through.

Just before closing the door behind them, I remembered the man's voice that had been singing away in the shower this morning... "Hey, did your Daddy like country music?" I asked.
"He sure did!" She smiled & headed out into the cold afternoon air.

****

To My Loyal Readers aka "Sinkers,"

When I started typing this blog post earlier tonight, I had no idea that it would be my last. I feel like this is as good a place to stop as any. It all began with a shower scene & it only seems fitting that it ends with one. I know a lot of questions came from this experience & you may wonder how I can consider it over with such little closure, but for some reason I realize that I have said all that I can say. I have asked more questions than there will ever be answers for. I have opened a can of worms that has tested my religious views about demons, ghosts, & angels. I have come full circle from the girl who would lie in bed in fear to the girl who was able to pray & sing her way through the darkest of nights. I rediscovered my love of writing & found my voice again. I watched a girl who has searched & searched for her Father almost find him. I learned that no matter how skeptical the husband may be that he will be there to hold onto when I need him most. I proved that non-fiction has the potential to be just as riveting as fiction. I learned that no matter how many times I type the word occurrence that I will still spell it wrong. I learned that just like the snow that my brush with the paranormal has been cold, but temporary, & that it doesn't have to define me. I realized that I now have the tools to do this on my on. And perhaps the most important lesson that I have learned is that although it may be haunted, that as long as it is filled with love & happy memories that it can still be home sweet home to me.

Again as I ponder the history of this house, I can't help but ponder the future as well. This charming house in a town that not many people have ever heard of has everything you could want & more. It has space, it has nooks & crannies, & it even has a sink in the hall. Some people call it haunted, but I just call it home.

I can truly say TO BE CONTINUED, AND THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER, & THE END all in one sentence because I know that they all ring true in their own special way.

Thank you all for reading & for your love, support, & prayers!

Lindsay






Friday, January 14, 2011

Strange!

After spending time playing online & watching TV last night, the boys & I headed off to bed. My husband was already asleep & somehow they talked me into sleeping in our room with me. They "camped" in our bed & after a good night sleep(something I am getting used to!) we headed out into the family room upstairs to watch morning cartoons & eat breakfast. Before I could head downstairs to grab their grub, I realized that the TV was not responding to my repeated attempts  to turn it on. What in the world?

After investigating, I realized that the components were unplugged. The cords were arranged in a way that I was able to get everything plugged back in where it belonged, but the question is still the same-- Why was it unplugged? I sent my husband a text message at work & he was adamant about the fact that he did not unplug it. He didn't even have time to think about playing practical jokes as he rushed out to work this morning (thanks to the fact that two little boys took up 75% of the bed & disrupted his sleep). The boys were with me from the time we headed off to bed to the time that we all headed into the family room together this morning, so there is no way that they did it either.

I really don't know what to say about this other than the obvious observation that it is strange!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lessons from the Snow

Today, after another quiet & peaceful night of sleeping well, I find myself pondering the snow that we have been surrounded with for many days now. Snow-- especially this much snow in the South-- forces us to slow down & take life at a totally different pace. Many of us are stranded at home & I have heard the term "cabin fever" more in the last week than I have in my entire life.

There is something beautiful about the glistening sheet of white that surrounds us, yet after this many days there is something disturbing & blinding about it as well. When you think of the color white, your mind may immediately think of purity, cleanliness, & innocence. In our culture, those are the kinds of associations that have been made. This is why a bride wears white & why some brides are too ashamed to wear white.

Just like this record snowfall has its positive sides & negative sides, the color white has positive & negative connotations as well. White elephants are rare & valuable. White knights come to the rescue of people in distress. A white list is a list of good & acceptable items. Pearly whites are teeth that are healthy & white.  On the other hand, to white wash something means to cover up & conceal it. A whiteout is a time of zero visibility. White lightning is an illegal moonshine. The white flag symbolizes surrender. White is the color of death & mourning in some eastern civilizations.

Just like most things, it is what you make of it! You can view the snowy scenery around us as beautiful, or as blinding. You can be stuck inside, or you can get outside & play! You can feel stranded & inconvenienced, or you can take it as a much needed opportunity to slow down & catch your breath.  A world covered in snow moves at a different pace-- everything's more thought out & careful. Drivers put down their cell phones & watch the road. Mothers leave the dishes in the sink & head outside to make sure their children stay warm & safe. Fathers miss work & use their technical know-how to come up with inventive ways to sled with the kids. People take time to sit down & make a cup of hot cocoa instead of waiting in line at Starbuck's for a caffeine fix to make it through a hectic day. Children put down their video games & head outside to a world of endless things to imagine & create. Bosses actually think about the lengths that their employees take to get to work instead of worrying about whether they are on time or not.  Elderly people sit & remember their first snowfall, or the wonderful adventures they had they had as a child.

I look out my window at the little mazes of footprints in the yard & I feel safe in knowing who has come & who has gone... But what if the thing that scares me most was already inside my own house to begin with? I can't help but wonder if the wintery wonderland outside has given me too much time to ponder the very things that are happening inside the walls that I call home. I started this week with a much different outlook than the one I have now. I have come a long way from the moments when there was a light dusting of snow on the ground until now when the snow has melted & refrozen & melted & iced over again. I started out afraid & analyzing every aspect of it all, & now I am more accepting & at peace with what I have learned. Like everything in life, it is a process. Just like the snow will melt & freeze until eventually the conditions are right for it to be gone, I too will go through a process of coming to terms with my surroundings & with the new normal that will eventually be as comfortable to me as my old normal was.

As you watch the world around you melt, hold fast to the little lessons that you have learned along the way! Slow down, take time to appreciate the little things that usually go unnoticed, & above all enjoy life! You have the power to make positives or negatives out of the things in your life, so you decide! Are you stuck inside, or are you taking the time to breath deeper & relax?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

To Be Continued.....

I want you to think about the feeling that you get when one of the most thrilling episodes of your favorite dramas on TV ends with the words TO BE CONTINUED. You feel let down. Next week seems so far away. You may roll your eyes & if you are anything like me you almost feel like you wasted an hour of your life. You want closure & answers. This is how my life feels everyday. I don't know what is next, & I truly don't know whether the day that I face is going to be normal or if it is going to be "paranormal."

It's funny really. When I started this blog, I imagined myself reliving the past experiences event by event. I planned to take the list that I wrote in "For the Impatient Reader" & retell the stories by revisiting the fear that I experienced. It NEVER occured to me that I would have new experiences to write about. For some reason, I had no earthly idea that my story was to be continued.

Last night I retreated to watch a movie with the boys in their room while my husband watched his scary movie. I couldn't expect him to surrender it two nights in a row, so I didn't even try. They were already sprawled out across the floor on mattresses that had been pulled from their beds & I joined them. It wasn't long before my husband popped his head in & said that he was going on to bed too. The movie was almost over, but I just wasn't ready for bed yet. As the ending credits rolled, the boys & I decided to restart the movie. They hadn't seen Brother Bear since they were toddlers & had enjoyed it enough to be eager for more. I was relieved to have a chance to prolong the inevitable & settled in for another hour & a half of worry free cuddle time with my fellows.

I ended up sleeping in their room. After Brother Bear played for the 3rd time (I restarted it one more time after they fell asleep just for the noise), I turned the TV off & settled in on the floor for the night. I couldn't help but hope that I was making the right decision-- what if the activity was attached to me? What if it followed me to the last place in the world I would want it to go? What if I was opening my boys up to it? I prayed & meditated on the wonderful verses that were sent my way yesterday. I prayed for peace & somehow knew that it was right within reach. I couldn't see their clock, but I probably finally fell asleep around one or so. I woke up a few times, but overall I slept until around 10:30am! The only hint of any activity were the noises that I heard from across the hall, but I felt safe & protected & surrounded by the love of two little amazing guys.

I am finding new ways to cope & new sources of hope with each new day. If you are the praying type please keep the prayers coming! I am still on this journey & have no idea what is around the corner.  I am hopeful, which is something that I couldn't have imagined myself being just a few nights ago! I wish I could leave you with an "AND THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER," but for now I have to be realistic & take it day by day. I hate to say this, but it is reality & simply has to be said--

TO BE CONTINUED

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hymns of Old

After spending some time last night reflecting on the religious aspect of this situation, reading Christian information/verses about spirits, talking to some people who's opinions I respect (& many times stubbornly resist), & listening to a podcast of a sermon that seemed to be exactly what I needed to hear, I approached my night last night in a totally different way. When my husband went to put in a scary movie, I explained that I couldn't be exposed to that & expect to break my streak of sleepless nights. He understood & to my surprise put the brand new freshly opened BluRay aside. I listened to the podcast twice & pondered the fact that both my sister's pastor & my own had preached on the spiritual realm the very day after I realized that my own home is a hub of spiritual activity. As the investigator told me Saturday night, there are no accidents. I listened attentively-- feeling that it was somehow directed right to me.  I sent out a text message to all of my friends from Church & family to ask for their prayers on the situation. I immediately felt lighter knowing that I could depend on God & that I was being lifted up to him in prayer.

The boys went to bed & after hugs & kisses I reminded them to say their prayers as well. It would soon be time for me to face the thing I had been dreading all day long-- my bedroom. On our way to bed, I stepped into the boys' room & saw that they were sound asleep. I used to love to watch them sleep, especially when they were toddlers that wouldn't slow down for a second. It was the one time that I could "enjoy" them without chasing after them & cleaning up behind them. This was another one of those moments, only a grown up version. There they were still & quiet. Not a video game in sight, not an "I'm bored" or "He's pinching me" to be heard, & not a single hint of fear in the air. I realized how thankful I was that the occurrences were heavier in my bedroom if it meant that they remained mostly oblivious to it all. I said a prayer for them before heading off to bed & knew that prayer would be the theme of the night for me. It was going to help me make it through.

I checked my facebook account one last time after crawling into bed & had two inboxes-- one saying that I was being prayed for & one with the lyrics to an old hymn & the reminder that I could sing it to comfort me when I felt afraid.  Armed & ready, I turned off the lamp, put my phone on silent, set it aside for the night, & said goodnight. My husband would not have to wake up for work thanks to the snow & I optimistically planned to sleep in without the whining alarm to wake me up at 5:15am again.

I felt tired & my mind was calmer than it had been in many nights. My husband was asleep already & all of these things (along with the prayers in my honor that were going up), felt like the perfect recipe for sleep. After a few minutes of prayer, I felt the room around me get heavy again. Like the other nights, I knew what was coming, but unlike the other nights, I felt prepared. When the first touch crept up my leg, I stayed still. I began to pray harder than I have ever prayed before. Instead of praying for it to stop, I prayed for protection. I remembered something that I had been told earlier that night, that if anything stood in between myself & God that I needed to repent of it in order to leave nothing in between us. I heard a loud banging sound from the window & began to ask for forgiveness for my sins. Not a blanket prayer that says "Forgive me for all of my sins," but a genuine plea-- a genuine confession. I searched every nook & cranny of myself & dug up things that I hadn't even realized were sins. Amidst the taps, pinches, & caresses, I had a renewed confidence because I was right with God. I prayed my way through the turmoil of the room that surrounded me.

After my mind was too tired to pray anymore, I searched myself for any memory verses that could help me stay focused on something other than the fear. I remembered a few, but soon realized that I had more songs memorized than verses. I thought back to the inbox that I received several hours before & began to sing "I've been washed, I've been washed, I've been washed in the blood of the lamb..." I felt something pounce on the bed at my feet like a cat & instead of sinking deeper under the covers, I kicked it away with my foot(we do not have any inside cats). The clock across the room read 4:13. I felt the bed indent & grow heavy like someone was lying beside me & I pushed them out. "I am fully trusting in his grace this hour, I've been washed in the blood of the lamb." I was taking back control. I didn't have to be afraid. Something as simple as singing inside my head was giving me the confidence to rise above the fear that had literally made me a prisoner in my own room. I sang & sang until the noises & touches faded away. I imagined myself a little girl again-- standing on the pew beside my Mama singing hymns. A long pony tail running down my back & her arm linked around my waist. I felt the warmth of the yellow summer sun sinking around the sanctuary & felt the carpeted pews beneath my bare feet. I saw the hymnal, a page of notes & words between our hands & remembered how I would try to read the words on the page until I realized that the tempo of the song was moving faster than I could read... Just as I had done all those years ago, I closed my eyes & let the songs take me away. I, through the comfort of familiar hymns of old, managed to do something that I was beginning to think was impossible-- I sang myself to sleep.

I cannot express what a big deal this is for me. Although I didn't get to sleep for long before I was disrupted, I now know how to handle the fear & how to feel safe & warm again.  At 5:15am the alarm clock that we had taken special care the night before NOT to set began to ring. I rolled over & went back to sleep after hearing my husband trudge across the room & turn it off. Sleep... Something I needed more than I knew. At 5:17am my phone rang (I know the time because I looked back in the call log this morning), but I ignored it. It was set on silent, but for some reason it rang. At 5:28am my phone rang again, but I decided to sleep instead of checking it & was able to block it out. Somehow amidst the mysteriously ringing phone, I managed to get a good night's sleep. When I finally woke up at 9:00am, I had 4 missed calls. The phone was still on silent. I called the numbers-- two of them were disconnected & two of them apologized & said that they must have had the wrong number. I also had a missed text message at 1:52am-- a text message that I hadn't heard because my phone had indeed been set on silent.  The text was from my Mama telling me that she was praying for me & to trust in God because he is in charge.

Amazingly, what I am taking away from last night is not the fact that my phone was "hi-jacked" again, or the fact that the touches & pounces grew more aggressive, but instead I am taking away the knowledge that I can do this! I can get through the night, I can sleep, I can trust in God, & I can make it if I keep the right attitude.  The investigators told me to focus on positive & to find things that comfort me & I truly believe that I have found it. Thanks to the guidance of family, the prayers of many, & the hymns of old, I am well-rested & optimistic today.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Angels & Demons

One aspect of this entire situation that I have not yet touched on is where does my belief in God come into play? I know that what is happening to me is real & have prayed about it thoroughly. I do not have the answers. I do not pretend to. I do not know whether what is happening here would be called ghosts, spirits, demons, or what. This is what part of my journey includes... Like I have said before, I have more questions than I ever imagined.

Here is an interesting link that gives a Christian perspective on entities. Someone shared it with me & I found it quite informative & of course found that it raised even more question in my mind.
http://www.gotquestions.org/ghosts-hauntings.html

I do not know exactly what is causing these experiences yet, but I know that it is deep rooted in the house's history, & that it is real! I seek these answers & plan to explore all avenues & listen open-mindedly at all takes on it. This is a journey for me, whether I asked for it or not, I have to see it through. Please take a few minutes to read the information & let me know what you think... I also plan to post a poll about the information soon.

Could Argo be a demon who is preying on my mind/sanity or is Argo the lingering Spirit of a deceased tenant? The jury is out!

News!

I never expected to find myself in the grips of a story that would unfold so quickly & so amazingly! A facebook friend contacted me yesterday & informed me that she had information about ghosts in the area. After playing phone tag we finally chatted this morning. I scribbled notes on my owl notepad as we talked. She gave me names of our neighbors & shared chilling stories of things that had happened there. I jotted down the information & within minutes had a lead to follow.

This information is not confirmed by records or anything yet, but I was informed only moments ago that years ago there was a family that lived in this house with the last name Argo. The man, Mr. Argo, had a tragic car accident & passed away.

Could this be? Is it possible that he typed in my phone in order to make himself known? As you saw in the previous post, I almost wondered if he had been comforting me last night & trying to soothe my fears. I am still shaking! Again, still digesting. I will write more after I can find the words!

Last Night

At around eleven o'clock last night we headed to bed. The boys were in their room settling in for the night, excited about the immanent snow. I crawled into bed beside my husband. I was already feeling tense & that feeling heightened as I reached over & turned off the lamp. The darkness was all too familiar & I mentally prepared myself-- determined to sleep & take back control of my life. The traffic that passes our house all night was still & I was left alone to think. It wasn't long before I could tell that the boys were sound asleep in the next room & that I heard my husband's breathing settle into the rhythmic ins & outs of sleep. My eyes adjusted to the darkness & I thought back to a time in my childhood when the familiar shapes of day became the monsters of night. Have I reverted back to the same mentality of a five year old? Why didn't I buy NyQuil or something instead of falling for the old milk & bread routine? Why couldn't I sleep?

The clock ticked away. My eyes drifted across the room to the digital clock that was a blur of red amidst the grays & blacks of night. A big truck roared through town slinging light around the room & forcing my eyes to focus. It was 12:30am. Feeling like a prisoner in my own mind I reached for my iPod & decided to write for awhile. By the time I finished venting my frustration to an electronic device, I rolled over & willed myself to sleep. No matter how hard I tried, sleep was just not within reach. My body was exhausted from many sleepless nights, but my mind was alert, on-guard, and ready for whatever would happen. The room was peaceful, too peaceful really. It felt like the calm before the storm.

Today as  I look back at the "note" that I typed in my iPod, I see things about my mindset that really disturb me. I wrote about how I was warned that these situations feed on fear & that if that is the case that I might as well be Thanksgiving Dinner. It seemed that no matter how hard I tried to calm myself that I was falling victim to my mind & my terror at the thought of being surrounded by Spirits.

It wasn't until 3am that my fears & tensions were validated. I was lying with my eyes squeezed tight, my hand on my husbands arm (I realized a few nights ago that I feel safer when I have some sort of physical contact with him throughout the night), & my mind wandering through the events of the weekend's investigation. I held my breath as the unfortunately familiar sensation of being touched crept across my leg & then my back & next my neck. I shivered & shimmied across the middle of the king sized bed & into his territory. I didn't want to wake my husband & convinced myself that I was letting my imagination run wild again. I couldn't help but envy him... Sleeping away like he didn't have a care in the world. For the next hour I was touched several more times & KNEW that I wasn't alone. I heard a child scream & sat up in bed. "Did you hear that? Did someone scream?!?" He drowsily told me that I was just imagining things & I again talked myself out of believing my own ears. Tucked deep within the covers I dodged pokes & touches until I finally fell asleep-- exhausted from the whole experience. The last time I remember looking at the clock it was 4:58am.

Beep beep beep beep beep... It was 5:15am. The digital clock shrieked, informing my husband that it was time for work. He got up & contacted work to see if he had to go in or not. The earth was blanketed in white when he pulled the shade aside.  As he headed toward the clock to press snooze again, there was an undeniable sound in front of the closet doors. He of course tried to recreate it to no avail. It was a sharp noise unlike anything I had ever heard before.  It came from the foot of the bed-- right where the "portal" had been (or is again if you ask me). After recording the event through a video diary, he settled in to sleep some more.  I of course had exceeded my nightly sleep allowance of seventeen whole minutes, & proceeded to lie awake & ponder the noise. For the next hour I hopped in & out of bed pressing snooze. When would the sun come up? If I could just stay in bed until the sun was up, I knew I would be okay. Finally around 7:15 am the room began to perk up & come to life again. The ominous shapes of night again became chairs, pictures, vanities, & laundry.  I felt a little bit more like myself again & headed through the hall, past the sink, & into the upstairs living area to watch the news & escape the weight of the bedroom.

Luckily I was able to nap on the couch some. The comfort of morning light, snow, & the weather man's voice coaxed me into a fitful yet much needed nap. I am still confused about what last night's activity means. Did my inescapable fear allow that same spirit to reenter our bedroom & reclaim his territory? Was Argo back? Is he something to fear or is he just trying to calm me down by touching me? I swear sometimes I wish that the question mark had never been invented!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Skeptical Husband

My husband & I do not see eye-to-eye on this matter... He debunks everything that happens & maps out a reason for it that completely explains it away. This is very typical of men(no offense, but it is true!). He is now armed & ready with a camera & plans to prove me wrong/capture some of the occurrences on film. This should be interesting to say the least.

I had already warned the investigators that my husband was not on board with the investigation, so they were probably expecting the worst from him.  I was proud of him last night! He kept his skepticism to himself for the most part & even provided the charisma & jokes that won the team over & helped them become more patient with his disbelief.


HIS TOP TWELVE QUOTES OF THE NIGHT 
"What is that smell? Are they smoking weed down there?"
"I hope they don't cross the streams!"
"Boo!"
"I feel like I'm in prison."
"Whating rods? Aren't those just bent coat hangers?"
"That is the most British looking non-British guy I have ever seen."
"I'm hungry."
"It's my house, if I find a notebook I'll read it!"
"The witchy woman said she tingled when she stood right there & then she sat right down on the couch for ten minutes!"
"She's like 6'7" or something. Her legs come up higher than my belly button!"
"Angels & crosses? She told me she collects vampires & werewolves!"
"So that area is haunted? I never liked that rug anyway."




Although his antics are amusing, it can be quite frustrating! He loves jumping out of dark rooms at me, can roll over & sleep like a baby while I lie awake in fear, & watches horror movies (he's a lifelong fan) knowing good & well that they get me stirred up further. As he sets out on his quest to debunk me through film, I can't help but hope that the right spirit will drift through & make a believer out of him! Wouldn't that be satisfying for me?!?

INTERESTING FACT:
In the quote "It's my house, if I find a notebook I'll read it!" we were downstairs waiting on the investigation to come to a close. He saw a notebook sitting on the couch & headed over to sift through their findings. I scolded him, hence the quote. What did he find in that notebook? Apparently the TV in the living room spontaneously turned on during "lights off." He managed to throw the notebook down, grab a book, & pretend he had been leisurely reading right as the team of investigators reentered the room! I almost wish he had more time to snoop!

Answers & Inevitably More Questions

Imagine yourself in our shoes... We sat from 7pm to 10pm & listened as the investigators made their way from room to room in our house. We would hear tidbits of what was happening, but were mostly on separate floors from the investigators throughout. The smell of burning sage wafted in & tickled our noses. The sound of their scientific gadgets clicked & the flash of cameras would light up the house every few minutes. They worked in the dark & we sat on the sidelines oblivious to what exactly was going on. Early on I picked up on the fact that there was something in our bedroom upstairs & I immediately thought back to the sensation of someone caressing my skin, the letters ARGO appearing on my phone, the pillow being pulled from under my husband's head, & all of the other things that took place there. I was tense & shaky & had a feeling that I was going to learn things that I would rather not even hear.

After what felt like a lifetime of waiting we were called into the downstairs living room to talk. Like an eager student during a lesson on their favorite subject, I sat straight in my chair & leaned in. What had they discovered? Were they going to validate my experiences? Would they have answers?

FINDING #1: One of the lead investigators pulled out a piece of equipment called Dowsing Rods to show us first hand one of her discoveries. They are copper rods that are shaped like an L & are used for many things including finding underground water, finding unmarked graves, identifying ghosts, & locating the earth's energy fields.  She held them loosely in her hands & murmured a prayer. I watched in amazement as the rods lined up parallel on a certain area of the room. She walked across the room & started from the other wall, murmuring the same whisper of a prayer as she began. The rods again moved through the air & lined up with one another. I didn't know what any of it meant & looked to her for answers. She explained that the Earth is surrounded by an energy field known as Ley Lines & that the North American Ley Line is running directly through our house. Spirits & entities travel this energy field & in turn pass right through our house. She took me through the house & showed me exactly where the line runs & it is a 3' wide tunnel that runs directly through on both floors.  The investigator explained that it is dangerous to sleep in the energy field & that it is positioned right across both upstairs bedrooms. I followed her upstairs & again the Dowsing Rods mapped out the 3' wide energy field for us to see. Apparently sleeping in the energy field is harmful to the human body because of the fact that it is being exposed to too much energy for a prolonged period of time. 

How does this explain the ghosts? Some of the ghosts that we have encountered here were traveling in the energy field... The little boy that was in the office, the growl in the hall, the man's voice saying "Get over there," and the woman gasping in our bed-- All of those occurrences happened in the energy field/Ley Lines. The uneasy feeling I got in the foyer of the house from the start? It came from the energy field as well. We, by some strange coincidence, are the blasted train station for the ghost railroad! Perhaps one of the scariest parts to me is the fact that the energy field also crosses a cemetery a few tenths of a mile away.

FINDING #2: After learning about the energy field/Ley Lines, I asked them if that was what they had been dealing with in our bedroom for so long... We sat & watched as they all exchanged glaces. I felt a bit shaky & wondered if I really wanted to know what had been touching me at night. I literally had not gotten a real night sleep in that room since the Ouija Board incident, & braced myself for the conclusions that they had drawn. "There was a portal in your bedroom." The investigator had a knack for simplifying things & helping us understand. She explained that there had been a spirit living in our bedroom & that it was an angry spirit. She assured us that they had managed to move to portal to outside & that the entity would not come in again unless invited/allowed in by us. She then took me upstairs & showed me where the portal had been... I felt nauseous when I saw that it was right at the foot of the bed(which also happened to be right on the edge of the Ley Line). I now understood why the chair from the corner of the room was sitting in the floor between the bed & the closet-- they had been communicating with him. I say him because although they said the entity would not disclose its sex, they referred to it as a male once, & explained that when the word ARGO was typed into my phone that he had probably been trying to tell me his name/last name.

FINDING #3: I asked the investigators about the ghost appearing to me on the wall while I had the Ouija Board out & she explained that there are NO ACCIDENTS. Whether it was my guardian angel, God, or whatever else, that the ghostly image appeared to me at the exact moment that I needed it to. By appearing, the ominous image of the ghost protected me from delving deeper into the dangerous world of Ouija Boards/occult practices. Had I continued with the path that I was on that day, I could have opened myself & my family up to more evil/dangerous spirits that are drawn to Ouija Boards. She also mentioned to me that she felt a loved one's presence that seemed to be checking on us, which is one positive aspect that gives me hope.

CONCLUSIONS:
The night left us with some answers & as expected some more questions. We signed waivers that we understood that paranormal activity may pick up & grow stronger after the investigation due to the fact that they stir things up. We were educated on our options in rerouting the Ley Lines so that they do not continue to put us in jeopardy while sleeping, but also were informed that our house will always be a passage way for spirits & entities as they travel the earth. I spent another sleepless night last night thinking about the portal that was lingering somewhere outside of our house & of the energy field that was crossing my body & the bodies of the 3 people that I love most in the world. As you can see, the information from the investigation remains undigested. Within a week we will have access to the reports from the investigation including video recordings, audio recordings, photographic evidence & more. I am hoping that seeing it in writing will help me find the answers I seek.

Digesting

I am still digesting the information that the investigation brought to light... Instead of sharing the information tonight, I am just going to make one last comment about the investigative team. I really can't say enough about how professional, helpful, informative, & supportive that they were. I can't say that I will sleep any better tonight because my mind is buzzing with questions, fears, thoughts, & a million other things. I hope to understand things better with the morning light.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Waiting, Waiting, & More Waiting

The preliminary interviews are over & the team is shuffling through the house while we sit & wait. What exactly am I waiting for? I honestly don't know yet. From listening to them conduct their tests, I have already picked up on the fact that our bedroom is a hot spot. Chuckle if you wish, but all the action is in the bedroom! 

Later tonight we will get a chance to watch them investigate a room... Hopefully our bedroom! I am quite interested to find out what they do & what they think of the house. They are very professional & I must say that I am quite impressed.

During the interviews I was again reminded just how far apart my husband & I stand on this issue. He is quite good at explaining the occurrences away & I on the other hand fervently believe that each encounter really happened.

For now, we wait.

The Call

I just got the call from SCPRAI saying that they are on their way from Columbia. This is it. I don't understand their high tech gadgets, but I am anxious to know what they discover here! There are pieces of me that fear that they will say there is no activity here & that I am just imagining it all. It is funny really because I have as much evidence as anybody could gather that it is real & I still fear that it is all in my head. Human nature, I suppose.

Here is a little info about the team that will be investigating our home if you are interested!
 http://www.scprai.org/

Hopefully my next post will include some answers & another piece to the puzzle!

Ghost on the Wall

Can you see it?

 Here is the same exact wall with the flash on. Look between the door & the superman poster... Can't see the ghost at all here.

Friday, January 7, 2011

History

Soon after contacting the "ghost hunters," I decided to research the history of the house. I called around town & got the name of a local historian. Finally yesterday he & I touched bases & although he didn't have any information about the actual house, I learned a lot about the town...  Since he had nothing to offer me about previous owners, he advised me to follow the house's roots back through property records & deeds. I plan to begin this quest on Monday & will keep everyone updated as I learn! Here is a tidbit of information that I did learn that may interest many of you-- The locally famous Reigel that helped shape Ware Shoals into what it is today was originally planned to be built here in Donalds. On the day that the land was supposed to be sold, the owner was drunk & decided not to humor the slick looking city men by signing away his property. They didn't have to search far to find an even better location overlooking the Saluda River! Things sure would be different without a little alcohol to liven' up the business deal!

 Isn't it interesting to think about the past? Tonight I am thinking about the history of this house in particular... How many people have lived in this house since it was built over a hundred years ago? How many Christmases scattered packages and bows around the same thin wooden planked floors that we walk on now? How many babies were born here? How many people took their last breath here? How many Birthdays were celebrated inside these walls? How many tears were shed? How many furrowed brows pondered where the next meal would come from during the great depression that we so often forget? How many feet paced back & forth, wondering how long their daughter would be outside on the porch with her latest beaux? How many men on one knee proposed here? How many soldiers spent sleepless nights overseas longing to be at home in this house?   How many little feet took their first steps here? Just thinking of the rich past that has filled this house sends chills down my spine.  I am almost honored to join in & make my own memories here. When I look at it from this perspective, it isn't scary at all. Of course these people left their mark or even don't want to leave! Of course pieces of their presence lingers on.

Now you see my predicament... I am hanging in the balance between fear, respect, feeling crazy, having definite proof that won't allow me to pass it off as "nothing," & protecting my family. We didn't tell the boys about this for a long time. We ignored it & went along with our lives, but after awhile they started witnessing things on their own. Although their videos were amusing, they are real little boys with real ideas that are being formed. Will they look back on their childhood & remember being haunted? Will they tell their own children about the fear that they felt? Will this cloud the happy memories that we strive so hard to help them form? Again, I hang in the balance. Soon, hopefully very soon, I will have some answers to these questions that I am stuck with. I want to find peace-- even if it means living with a friendly (keyword FRIENDLY) ghost. I want to stop focusing on the fear & start stock piling my own happy "past" to add into the decades & decades of pasts that permeate the very walls around me.

Comic Relief #2!

video
Here is my 6 1/2 year old's perspective.... Funny stuff! :)

Comic Relief?

Short interview with my 7 1/2 year old about one of his experiences... I may take his advice about the hot dog! video

For the Impatient Reader

You may be tired of reading this blog already because nothing "amazing" has happened yet... Maybe you can't wait out the journey with me event by event & question by question. For those impatient people, I am providing a short list of occurrences, an overview of what is to come as I pick apart the last few months blog by blog.

-Downstairs Shower: Static rush around my legs & shower curtain moving
-Footsteps: Lots of noises, mostly at night, usually on the stairs, or upstairs when we are downstairs
-Voices: At night we hear voices. The first few nights in the house we thought that the boys were talking in their sleep, I also decided that the neighbors were possibly watching TV upstairs in their home late at night.
-Growling: I could not shake the nagging feeling that the door downstairs was unlocked. After realizing that I was not going to be able to sleep without checking it, I went down & found that the door was indeed locked as I had suspected. As I made my way up the hall toward the stairs I felt a static rush around my legs & heard a growl come from beside my ankles/legs.
-Gasp: I was awakened by the sound of my husband talking in his sleep. I watched him as he settled back into a peaceful sleep & from the bed between us I heard a woman gasp/sigh. It almost sounded like she was frightened... It was another one of those things where I heard it loud & clear but still questioned whether or not I had imagined it.
-Poked at work: I was at work one night standing alone in a secluded area of the store, & I kept getting poked. I texted my husband & told him that I had apparently taken the ghost to work with me & he said that the house was very active that night as well. This is confusing-- can a ghost be two places at once? Do we have more than one ghost?
-Boys' Bedroom: The same night that I was being poked at work, the boys heard a man's voice tell them to "Get over there!" while they were in bed trying to go to sleep. They thought it was their father, but he was downstairs in the shower at the time of the occurrence.
-Pillow: The house was quiet & the boys were "camping" in our bed with us. I was sleeping on my side & was facing the edge of the bed, the boys were in the middle, & my husband was on the other edge. He woke up & rolled over to get comfortable & warm, & his pillow was jerked out from underneath his head & thrown over my face. He could see that no one else in the bed could have done it, but it was pulled with such force that his head hit the bed with a thud.
-Fire: We woke up (at 3am of course) to the smell of something burning. After checking around the house we realized that the smell was only present in our bedroom. Everything checked out okay yet the smell was so intense & smelled exactly like a dangerous house fire. The smell suddenly disappeared without a trace.
-TV Volume: I was drying my hair in my bedroom & had Christmas music playing in the living/rec room upstairs. The power in the bedroom cut off & right as I set the hair dryer down to run downstairs & flip the switch on the breaker, the TV volume turned all the way to its max in the other room. I was the only one home.
-Argo: A day or two after the TV volume incident, I was drying my hair again & was texting a friend. I was in the middle of a message when I set the phone down to work on my hair with both hands. When I put the brush down & grabbed my phone again to resume the text message, the screen was covered in the work ARGO in all caps. ARGO ARGO ARGO ARGO. It filled the entire message. The weirdest part was that my phone was on T9Word & it was not set on all caps. I tried to type the word & it was not recognized by T9Word at all.
-Vase: I was downstairs straightening up the kitchen & in the dining room there was a vase sitting on the table against the wall. Although the floors are quite uneven in there, I was not walking anywhere near the table when the vase was picked up & smashed down onto the floor in million pieces.
-Intruders: In the middle of the night my husband & I both were jolted awake by the sound of someone storming up the stairs. It was loud, aggressive, & terrifying. After arming ourselves & investigating the noises (we were sure someone was in the house at first), we realized that the noise was now outside on the roof.
-Ouija Board/Ghost Image: I was warned to dispose of the Ouija Board as soon as I mentioned owning one. I didn't see how it would cause trouble since we had not ever played it at this house... I promised to throw it away, but soon forgot. Lately the board has been on my mind... I wanted to try it. I finally got up the courage one day while I was home alone. I got the board out, made the statement of protection & invited only spirits with good intentions to contact me only through the board... As I tried to remain calm & keep a positive outlook (as the info I googled advised) the image of a ghost appeared on the wall that I was facing. I immediately put the planchette to "GOODBYE," closed the board, & left the house. The ghost was the stereotypical image of a ghost, only it was obviously not a nice one because its mouth was drooping in a daunting way. When I got home the image was gone, but it was back again last night.
-Breathing: The morning after trying the Ouija Board (which I regret by the way), I was lying in bed trying to sleep. Every time I would drift off to sleep I would awaken with a weird sensation. I could feel myself taking a breath, could hear it as if it was not me doing it, & realized that it was being intercepted-- someone else or something else breathed the air for me. It happened at least four times & each time it was a definite occurrence. It may sound crazy, & I don't know how to explain it really, but every time I would take a breath I would hear it be taken from me & I would not receive the air that was being breathed into my lungs at all. It was similar to the sound of the woman gasping & again was not my own voice/sound.
-Little boy: The boys began seeing a little boy sitting at the desk in the office. He was a young boy & had on a striped shirt. They both saw him for a few nights in a row.
-Owl: Anyone who knows me knows how much I love owls. As soon as the Christmas decorations came down I began to arrange my new owls around the living room & also did a new art piece of an owl to hang. The day after I spent special time & care in arranging the owls, I got a call from my husband telling me that he & the boys had found a dead owl across the road from our house. I was thrilled & went & got the owl for some reason. It felt almost as if it was a gift to me. We have since buried the owl in our yard.
-Touches: Lately I have felt something touching me at night while other people are asleep. I feel the blanket separate away from my skin & I feel the sensation of something rubbing me, but when I pull the covers away, of course nothing is there.
-Ouija Board Take 2: Today I decided that it was time to follow the adamant instructions of the Paranormal Expert & throw the board away. It is a negative game that when in the wrong hands (which would be mine since they are uneducated in using it correctly) is very dangerous & invites in evil. As I headed downstairs to throw the game away with my son, it was apparent that we were being followed down the stairs. We both stopped instinctively & whatever was following us continued down the stairs. A door also slammed during this time period.
-Mario: Last night I was overwhelmed by the sound of a video game playing. It was the classic Mario theme that we have all heard time & time again. I was afraid to get out of bed to see if the boys had their DS out playing, but I knew that when I had checked on them earlier that they had been fast asleep. I passed the sounds off as my imagination & covered my ears with the pillow to block it out. This morning my son asked me if his Dad & I were playing his DS in the middle of the night. He had heard it too. I asked his brother about it & he too heard it & even accused his brother of playing DS in bed.

These are just the main occurrences that stand out in my mind.  I may add to the list as I remember... For more details about these occurrences your only choice is to stay tuned!

3am

For several months my husband woke up at 3am every single night. Whether it was something falling off the wall, footsteps coming up & down the stairs, voices, or even just the traffic outside-- It never failed! He woke up at 3am.

Is this paranormal or coincidence?

These are the kinds of questions that we are faced with.

What was the significance of that hour? Did someone who lived in this house 100 years ago die at 3am? Is 3am an hour when spirits and entities are more active?!? What makes 3am significant? Wish I knew.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Saturday

This Saturday a Paranormal Research Team will descend upon our house & tell me whether there are ghosts here or whether I am just crazy (as some people have concluded).  Sometimes I feel crazy. Once you've decided that you may be dealing with a haunting, it is hard to know the difference between things that really happen & things you just imagine. There is a fine line between the two.  At first I was convinced that I had an over active imagination & that I was just being a scaredy cat. I really did not want to believe that we were living in a haunted house, & to be honest I still don't want to.

It is January now.  Between August & January we experienced many things that indicate that we are not the only four inhabitants in this house.  At first we joked about our "ghost," but now it doesn't feel like a joke anymore. It feels like one of the most serious things I have experienced, yet it is hard to take it seriously. It is quite hard to explain.

People love to hear me tell about the things that have happened here. It supposedly sends chills down their spines & really I enjoy telling about it! But for some reason I hang in the balance between believing the things I say & wondering whether or not I am crazy.

Am I crazy? Do things like this really happen? Is my imagination running wild? Will my husband (who has only believed one or two of the occurrences without being able to explain them away) get to say "I told you so?" Has my interest in shows like Paranormal State & Haunted History given me reason to believe that these things are paranormal when they are not? I just don't know.

Shower Scene

Every good horror movie has a shower scene! Think of Psycho. The movie just wouldn't be the same without the vivid memory of blood spiraling down the drain that lingers in our minds long after the credits roll.   My story begins with a shower scene.  It is rather unexciting really.  At the time I passed it off as weird, but as I stood under the stream of hot water I sensed that the shower curtain had moved.  I braced myself. I had been married long enough to know that the next step would be eggs breaking at my feet or ice being poured over my head. To my surprise none of what I expected happened. Instead a prank, a rush of static gathered around my legs & the curtain rippled again.  I didn't realize at the time that I would look back on that moment as my first encounter & I don't even think I bothered to tell anyone about it.  Although it seemed insignificant at the time, this is where my story begins. If it were a movie you would see me from the shoulders up, the knees down, & the eerie music would set the tone... Too bad this isn't a movie.

Late August 2010

The moving truck was waiting in the driveway & we were mostly packed & ready to move! I had always dreamed of living in a big old house with lots of character & this house seemed to materialize right out of my dreams.  It had plenty of room, big windows, hardwood floors, a big front porch, fireplaces galore, & interesting details that made it unique.  It was & is my dream home-- quirks & all.

I literally did not sit down for two weeks. I worked & worked until every single box was unpacked & every item was in its place.  It didn't take long at all for us to feel at home & to settle in.  The house was at least three times bigger than the log cabin that we had just left & it felt so nice to not be on top of each other all the time.  We spread out & enjoyed our ample amount of space.

Our youngest son was turning six & because our new house had so many nooks & crannies we decided to have a "Hide-and-Go-Seek" themed birthday party for him.  It was wonderful! The children & adults hid & counted & then it ended with a search for the presents. I am surprised that we are not still unearthing presents in January!

This is an overview of our first moments in the house. The only hint of haunting in the air was the eerie feeling that I got at the bottom of the stairs & my husband's observation that the house reminded him of the house in Haunting in Connecticut. Little did I know... Little did I know!

Defining the Undefinable

Definition of HAUNT

transitive verb

 \ˈhȯnt, ˈhänt\

1a : to visit often : frequent b : to continually seek the company of

2a : to have a disquieting or harmful effect on : trouble b : to recur constantly and spontaneously to c : to reappear continually in

3: to visit or inhabit as a ghost

intransitive verb

1: to stay around or persist : linger

2: to appear habitually as a ghost

— haunt·er noun

— haunt·ing·ly \ˈhȯn-tiŋ-lē, ˈhän-\ adverb