Do You Believe In Ghosts?
By Matthew Joyce
“Do you believe in ghosts?” someone asked me the other day.
“No more than I believe in Bahamanians,” I replied.
“I’ve met people from the Bahamas and I know they’re real. It’s the same with ghosts.”
Once you’ve met and interacted with ghosts for yourself, they move from being a debatable phenomena to being to known fact. At that point it no longer matters if mainstream science and pop culture don’t agree with you. It’s like someone disagreeing with you about the fact that people from the Bahamas live amongst us.
I’ve had numerous ghostly encounters over the years, but it was the first one(s) that changed my mind about the fact that they are real. My first encounter(s) happened when I was a teenager.
The Haunted House
When I was 14 years old my family and my friend Sean’s family decided to rent an old farm house in Weston, Vermont for the ski season. We visited it almost every weekend from late November through March. When we first moved in I didn’t believe in ghosts, but events over the next few months changed my mind.
The historic house sat beside a gravel road on the edge of a forest overlooking farmers’ fields and a scattering of houses and outbuildings. I don’t recall the age of the house, but it looked to me to be as old as the stone walls that had marked the fields for two hundred years.
When we first moved in, the house seemed cold and eerie, but we soon made it our own, rearranging the furniture to suit our needs. For the most part everything seemed fine.
Except for the basement.
The washer and dryer were in the basement and we used the dryer almost every night to dry out wet ski clothes.
Whenever I went down in the basement I felt like I was being watched by someone who didn’t want me to be there. It made me very uncomfortable, but I dismissed it and didn’t say anything since I didn’t want anyone to think I was weird.
Other people actually noticed the same thing but no one mentioned it either—at least not until other things started happening around the house.
At first it was little things.
A weekend or two after we moved in, my mom couldn’t find her hairbrush when we got back from skiing. She was sure she left it in the bathroom, but later she found it on the bureau beside the bed. She dismissed it— until it happened again. After that she began to pay attention to where she left the brush. It repeatedly turned up in odd places, such as in a drawer or under the bed. She accused us children of playing pranks, but we denied it.
Pretty soon it was obvious that we were not joking around. Other objects around the house were also showing up in odd places. Hats, coffee mugs, my math book. There wasn’t a pattern to it. It was more like someone had picked them up to investigate and then set them down somewhere else.
And that was just the beginning.
At night we started hearing footsteps.
The old floorboards creaked one after another as if someone was walking around the house. Everyone denied they were the one who was walking around in the dark.
But worse than that, the presence in the basement grew more menacing.
By now when I went down in the basement the sense of anger was more intense. The air had weird cold pockets and several times I felt the hairs on the back on my neck literally rise up as if to warm me that someone was right behind me. When that happened I grabbed my things from the dryer and dashed up the stairs two at a time.
By now it was pretty obvious the house was haunted. The five kids were convinced. My mom and Sean’s mother Nancy weren’t quite ready to admit it yet, but they had stopped going into the basement alone.
My dad and Nancy’s husband John thought the whole thing was hooey.
But it became more difficult to deny.
One night we were all in the living room watching television and we heard footsteps walking around upstairs. Then we heard the creak, creak, creak of someone walking down the stairs. Finally a closed door opened from the hall into the living room. No one entered the room.
With all nine of the living people in the house accounted for, that was difficult to explain even for John and my dad.
Soon after that we began actually seeing the ghost.
The first time I saw her was when I looked out the window. I saw the face and torso of a young woman in an old fashioned dress. She was staring back at me. Her image was pale and faint, making it difficult to tell if she was standing outside the window looking in or if I was seeing her reflection in the glass and she was actually standing behind me.
Over the next few weekends I saw her several times, so did most everyone else. Sometimes we saw her in the house. Other times we saw her walking around outside. We started to call her Marion.
It was definitely spooky to see Marion, but after the shock wore off it became clear that she was sad and curious, as opposed to the angry presence in the basement.
The presence in the basement was now downright hostile.
I began to dread going in the basement. I planned my trips down there carefully, rehearsing in my mind each thing I needed to do in order to minimize how long it would take. But no matter how fast I went, it wasn’t fast enough.
As soon as I opened the door to the basement I felt like I was entering a room with a ticking bomb. Or rather I felt like I was standing next to a pressure cooker that was hissing violent steam. It was under control, but just barely.
That’s how the ski season ended for me.
My mom and Nancy were not so lucky.
Once the ski season was over, my mom and Nancy went back to the house one more time to clean it up so we could get our security deposit back. As they scrubbed and vacuumed the house they constantly felt like they were being watched. The same presence seemed to watch them as they loaded the car with the remaining personal items we’d left behind.
Finally the only thing to do was to go to sleep for the night. In the morning, they’d lock the house and drop off the key at the realtor. Then they had to make one last stop to return our rented ski equipment.
Since the beds were already stripped, they slept under blankets on couches in the living room. The couches were positioned right next to the door to the basement.
Around 3:30 in morning Nancy woke with a start.
She felt the seething angry presence from the basement staring down on her. Instinctively she pulled the covers her head to protect herself.
My mom woke up moments later.
She had a different reaction. Instead of hiding from the presence she stared it in the face.
Or rather half a face.
For what stared down on her was the upper half of a man’s face. It was gruesome with piercing eyes and a menacing aura.
My mom screamed.
That brought Nancy out from under the covers.
It also made the ghost disappear.
Within minutes my mom and Nancy were in the car. Never mind that it was the middle of the night.
They grabbed the last of their things and locked the door.
Soon the haunted farm house faded in the darkness of their rearview mirror.
But the darkness didn’t fade from their minds.
“Did you see that?’ asked my mom.
“Scared me near to death,” said Nancy.
They dropped the key in the realtor’s mailbox and drove to the parking lot of the ski shop. They were still talking about it hours later when the ski shop finally opened. In fact, they told the young man at the ski shop all about it as he took back our skis.
“Oh, you mean the old farm house on Holden Hill road,” he said.
“You know it?” asked Nancy.
“Sure everyone knows that place is haunted.”
“Really?” asked my mom. “What can you tell us?”
“The farmer and his wife got into a disagreement. He killed her and then killed himself. Put a shotgun under his chin and pulled the trigger. It was in the basement, I think,” he said. “My grandpa knows more if you want to hear the rest of the story.”
My mom and Nancy wanted nothing more to do with the house so we never learned the rest of the story. But it was enough for me.
From that point on I accepted ghosts as real. It’s helpful to have other people confirm your experience, but in the end I learned to trust my experience.
While the experience was frightening in some ways, the main thing I learned was that there are different types of ghosts. Some are benign. Others are malicious.
Since then I’ve not only encountered many ghosts, I’ve also learned how to interact and talk with them. My conclusion is that ghosts are people too. They may not exist on the physical earth plane, but they have personalities and moods just like living people. Most are friendly. Some have been quite fascinating to get to know. But I still look over my shoulder any time a go into a basement.
Meet Some Ghosts for Yourself
If you’re interested in meeting some local ghosts in Boulder, consider joining us on our Ghost Greet. Unlike typical ghost tours that tell stories, we actually take you to a haunted hotel and teach how to interact with the ghosts for your self. Click here to learn more about our Ghost Greet.
Whether you can join us or not, I encourage you to share your thoughts about my ghost story or, better yet, to share your own ghost stories with us in the comments below.
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