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Does Your Family Have A Ghost?

on 18 December, 2015

When I was young, my family moved into a house that would become my favorite. And I lived in a lot of houses. Sometimes I used to joke that my Dad was part gypsy and never wanted to live anywhere very long, but I suspect now – as an adult – it had to do more with finding a house large enough yet somehow cheap enough for the whole brood to live in. (Seven brothers and three sisters – eight of us still living.)

Let me tell you a little about this house. It was huge! At least it was in the eyes of a 7-10 year old girl. Four finished floors… including the basement and an attic. Tall white columns on the porch and when we first moved in the kitchen had an old fashioned icebox… the kind with a door to the back porch so the ice delivery man could put it directly into the box. Huge rooms and wood flooring. Actually the whole entrance was wood… floors, ceiling, stair case… everything. And that stair case! When you came into the house it was to the right… steps six feet wide with carvings on the newel posts and balusters. It went up maybe ten or fifteen steps, came to a landing and then split into a t-intersection, with additional steps going up each side. And the whole thing was wrapped with wood railings and floor. It was spectacular. The whole house was.

The fourth house built in that little town, somewhere in the 1880’s, it was grand. It was directly across from the town’s commons… the courthouse took up much of the block. But on the corner – directly across from us – was the police station. Back then, they referred to it as the “jail” and from digging, we found that it housed many male prisoners over time.

My family – especially my Dad – loved that house. Even though he was renting it, he did a ton of work to it in the hopes of being able to purchase it. Remodeled kitchen, full of avocado appliances and the same color on the seats and backs of a built in kitchen table… yeah, can you imagine a kitchen large enough to accommodate a full size kitchen table for 8 people? Even shortened some of the windows – they had those eight foot windows that started around your knee – and then had the house sided.

Anyway, I could talk about that house for days. Then came time for Dad to remodel his “den”. An actual bar, great seventies’ furniture and hard wood floor that was replaced with this new invention: wall-to-wall carpeting. 😦

It had a fireplace this huge and it was cleaned out to be made workable. It was in this room that we bet “Bob”. Bob was our ghost and we stumbled upon him while playing Ouija. Bob had always been around in this house… he move keys and toys, made cold spots appear and was that dark shadow that you saw move out of the corner of your eye. Bob was a ghost who was friendly-ish and played pranks, but was never mean spirited or scary.

When the fireplace was cleaned, it was then that Bob awoke. You see, he slept in that fireplace. And apparently, he had been sleeping for some time before he awoke.

Then one evening – I don’t remember the particulars – a game of Ouija was played. It was then how we learned his name. And that he had lived there for a long, long time. Now, this is where the family split on our opinions of Bob, some say that Bob was the ghost of a dinosaur and that the Ouija board had told us this. I never believed that, not really, but I did believe that the ghost existed. I found out many years later from some stuff we found in our attic then, and later via the internet, that Bob was more likely the ghost of a man who had died in the jail across the street. Either way, all of us acknowledged the ghost of Bob.

Us kids, over the years, joked that when that house was torn down, Bob moved in with us. Whenever something wasn’t where it was supposed to be, it was Bob that had moved it. When a closet door was open when we swore we closed it, it was Bob. And catching a cold draft in a room meant Bob was moving about. After all, with the house gone, Bob had to go somewhere, right?

I write about this today, because I was working earlier in the garage. I am doing another multi-color makeover and I am very careful about placing the paint cans near the objects (in this case, dresser drawer fronts) so that when the time came to do a second coat, the right paint was there. Well, this morning, two of the cans had been switched… now I have to repaint two drawer fronts that were “accidentally” painted the wrong shades of pink.

Bob is one of the very few things from my childhood that I had positive feelings about and brought with me to my adulthood. And he can still make me smile whenever he plays one of his pranks.

Tell me, do you have a ghost?



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