Friday, May 29, 2009

Always Invite the Ghost

When I was a senior, I attended a performance arts high school located on an old Civil War fort. There was an outbuilding there, the General's Quarters, where some administrative functions were held and social gatherings took place. It was a really neat old house with sloping floors and antique wall paper. It was also still home to the General's Wife, even though she had been dead since the early turn of the century.

My class was planning on having a graduation dinner at the house so my teacher gave me the key (a skeleton key, believe it or not) to the house and asked me to go and check to see if there was enough silverware and plates. I happily went over to the house and unlocked the door. I only planned on being there for a few minutes, so I left the door open.

I had to walk through the sleeping porch, which had been closed in, to come to another door. This door was supposed to be unlocked, but it wasn't, so I unlocked it and went into the kitchen, which led to the dining room. Another door. Another locked door. I finally made it into the dining room, leaving doors open in my wake to check the silverware. As I was going through an old curio, the door that I had just left ajar creaked shut. I lived in an old house at the time and thought nothing of it, the floors sloped, after all, it probably made the door close all the time.

Well, with my mission accomplished, I headed out to leave. I came to the door and it was locked! How weird, I thought. But I unlocked it and walked through the kitchen to find myself at another locked door! I was beginning to feel a little sense of fear. This school was in the heart of downtown and vagrants were frequent. I was a young woman alone in this building. No one would hear me if I screamed.

I unlocked the door as quickly as I could and came to the final door, hoping to exit as quickly as possible. This door, too, was locked, only no matter how hard I tried, I could not unlock the door. They key would stick in the keyhole and not budge. I was starting to panic. Who was in the building with me? Who was playing tricks on me? But then I stood and tried to calm myself. What had I heard about the building? I had heard rumors of the wife moving things, closing doors and locking them. Was that it?

Deciding since I was alone and had nothing to lose, I tried to think of what a woman from that era would want from me. And then it struck me. Feeling really silly I spoke into the air. I said, "We're only planning on having dinner here tonight, nothing else. You're more than welcome to join us if you want." And when I tried the lock again, this time it slid easily and the door opened.

Later that night, as I was telling my classmates what had happened to me, one boy in particular took it upon himself to laugh and ridicule me. His name was Jim and he just couldn't believe I let myself get caught up in all the ghost who-do. After we finished our meal, he went outside to have a cigarette. He was gone for almost 15 minutes because when he tried to come back in, the door was locked. Only all of the rest of us had not left the dining room. We had stayed to dance to music. When we finally let him back in, he still wouldn't believe none of us had locked him out. But we all knew the truth. I guess the ghost had my back after all.


charli-tan said...

I totally remember that house. Completely haunted. Were you with me when we decided to go exploring at night around there one time? That was a riot!

FreeDragon said...

Once some friends of mine were remodeling a house for a lawyer in the town of cow college on the plains. The wife got tired and since it was almost time to go she she told her husband she would be in the truck. She sat in the truck for a long time and dozed off. When she awoke her husband still hadn't come out, even though it was full dark. She got out and called his name. No answer. She tried the front door and found it locked. Figuring her husband was locking up and coming out the back, she walked around the house. Her husband nearly ran over her. WE HAVE TO GO NOW! He ran for the truck and nearly left without her. It was not until they got home that he was calm enough to tell his story. There was an old woman in the house. He saw her out of the corner of his eye and at first thought he was seeing things. But the women kept appearing and finally frightened, Jeff decided to leave. But he couldn't get out. He wandered through the house for what felt like hours, unable to find a single door which led out. In desperation he said, please, my wife is waiting for me! And then realized he was standing by the back door.

Bubblewench said...

Seriously have to be nice to the ghosts! The ones in our house were NOT nice when we moved in. We started 'including' them and 'talking' to them.. and now, they're just playful.