January 19, 2014 by kittynh
I have a great fondness for older homes. I loved traipsing around my grandparents old farmhouse. The house had a real attic you could stand up in. It was filled with old trunks filled with vintage clothing and old toys. There was even a bed where at one time a maid had slept. The attic was hot in the summer and cold in the winter, so I felt a bit sorry for whomever had slept there. Best of all was the servants staircase, a small staircase that went from the attic to main bedroom on the second floor, and finally to the dining room. It was a “secret passage”, and my favorite way of going between floors.
My husband and I did own our own older home, that was supposedly haunted. It also had a servants staircase, and as I soon learned a big old home really needed servants. My next home choice was a modern Cape Cod style, far easier to clean!
Many people see old homes as being “spooky”. Most movie sets use a home more like the Adams Family lived in, than a modern raised ranch. I’ve never had a problem with “ghostly” feelings. I’m probably not imaginative enough ,or as a believer in ghosts would probably say, not sensitive enough.
It’s not that I don’t believe in ghosts, I just haven’t experienced one. To prove that I am open minded, I like to relate the story of the time, the very short period of time, I did believe in one ghost. The White Lady of Windsor is what I like to call her. The way I reacted to her is how I think most people would really react if they thought there was a ghost near by. I’m often amused at ghost hunting shows on television, because the reactions are more Hollywood than realistic. So how does one behave when one is sure there is a ghost in the room with you?
My family was living in Windsor, Connecticut. Windsor is rich in Colonial culture, it has the oldest house in Connecticut. My family was lucky enough to be renting a house in the historic district. We lived on Palisado Avenue, so called because a palisade ,or wooden wall, was constructed around the homes for protection against Indian Attack. Our home was of Colonial vintage, and the basement was dirt. You wouldn’t know it was dirt, for over 200 years of feet had packed it was hard as any man made flooring. That was where the washer and dryer were located. The basement had a fairly low ceiling and the original beams and stone walls could be seen. It was also rather dark, with only 2 bare bulbs for illumination.
I was at home with my then almost 3 year old daughter Evelyn most days. When she was in preschool, at the nearby Congregational church I kept busy by giving tours at the church. I also had spent many hours enjoying the cemetery, which had the oldest grave in the state. I learned what “King George’s War” was, many of the graves commemorated veterans of that conflict. The near by river was once the site of the town’s ducking stool and Windsor had their own witch. Of course she had been sent to Hartford to be hanged. Many people incorrectly think Salem was the only town that engaged in witch hunting. She had cursed at a man, who had later been accidentally shot. The witch hadn’t done the shooting, but she had cursed at the man, so of course it was her fault.
Thankfully Windsor seems to have kept their witch count to one, if it had expanded Windsor could now be like Salem, over run with tourists and modern fortune tellers and scam artists. (Please note, Salem is a lovely town to visit, with a rich maritime history as well as a lot of paranormal based businesses).
I really enjoyed living in the middle of so much history, and nothing about it seemed spooky to me. Still, I found I was able to be quite scared when presented with a possible ghost.
I was in the basement with Evelyn doing laundry, when Evelyn began talking to someone. She kept talking, saying how pretty someone (or something) was. I was putting laundry in the washer, and asked her “Who are you talking to?”. Evelyn answered, “The pretty white lady.”
That was when I got my first “chill”. I knew she wasn’t lying, she was really too young, so obviously she was seeing a “pretty white lady”. I tried to stay calm, but somehow could not bring myself to turn around, especially at Evelyn was having what seemed to be a one way conversation with the white woman. “Evelyn, what does the white lady look like?” I asked, and my voice actually trembled. Evelyn said “She’s all white, even her face is white, she’s so beautiful. She says she likes living here but wants to come upstairs and live with us.”
I stopped pushing laundry in the washer and tried to slow my
heart down. I somehow knew if I turned around there would be a ghost. “Evelyn, where is this white lady?” Evelyn then proceeded to tell me she was in the corner, and that the white lady wanted to come out of the basement and live with “real people”. At this point, all I could remember is that sometimes the home we lived in was used to store dead bodies until the Spring thaw. The basement stayed very cool, and this practice of burial in the Spring is sometimes still used in New England. I was told our home was sometimes used for “overflow” if there were too many bodies to be stored in the church vaults. I had never minded, until of course the white lady showed up.
So how does one behave in such a situation?
I took a deep breath, all this time Evelyn was talking to the ghost, and knew I had to be prepared for turning around and seeing a real ghost. I truly felt I might faint if I turned around and saw some nightmarish specter. I knew I had to grab my child, make it up the rickety steps and grab the car keys and never ever ever come back to the house. I thought about the cat, and figured I’d scoop her up also if she was nearby. Otherwise, braver souls than I would have to come back and get her. There was not a bit of doubt in my mind if I saw a white ghost that I would never set foot in the house again. Certainly I would never be alone in it again with my young child.
I turned around, and saw….nothing at first. Evelyn was still chatting away, and I was “well my child is nuts”, when I noticed an all white Christmas tree topper on top of a box in the corner of the basement. The owners of the house had left some of their things stored in the basement, just where the dead bodies were supposedly kept until Spring. Perched on top was a china angel, all white, with wings and a halo. I just had never noticed it before, as the basement was dark. Evelyn, obviously bored ,and with a vivid imagination, had noticed. She really wanted the tree topper to play with, so she was trying to convince me to bring it upstairs.
I actually had to sit down on the floor, I was so relieved. I told my daughter the “doll” did not belong to us, and made sure to place it inside a box. I didn’t want to ever see it again!
When I watch a ghost hunting show, I listen to the families that
live in homes they are sure are haunted. While many people claim to enjoy having a ghost in their home, I truly think some part of them doesn’t 100% believe. That or they have never had a ghost that looks and acts like we think ghosts look and act. Faced with a white lady, one that can communicate with your young child, and wants to invade your living space, I think most people would move out. I honestly did not care we had rented the home, I would have moved into a car or cheap hotel rather than live with a true ghost that was talking to my child.
The ability of people from reality shows to live with their ghosts can perhaps be attributed to the fact that the ghosts tend to make rocking chairs move, curtains blow slightly, alarm clocks go off at odd times, and objects to move around when no one is looking. Sometimes they are spots of gauzy images on photographs or weird reflections. A real live ghost that goes “BOO!” would make most people move out very quickly.
One reason I truly dislike any paranormal reality show that includes children is that if these parents really think the dead are influencing and interacting with their children, the parents are guilty of child abuse if they keep the child in the situation. If they don’t believe it, or think it’s acceptable to believe if it means they get on TV, they are guilty of causing future harm to their children. Imagine growing up believing you have special powers to speak to the dead. An even worse scenario, as a child you were being tormented by the dead and your parents just put you on TV instead of removing you from the situation.
I happily enjoyed living in Windsor, and still miss the beautiful old Colonial home we lived in. No ghosts, despite the many dead bodies that I’m sure had passed through the doors of the home. But, if I ever do see a ghost, you can be sure I will not only write about it, but write about it from a distance from where I have seen it! I’m open minded about ghosts, but I’m also credulous about the reactions of those that claim to experience them. Bring on the sector white lady, not a rocking chair that moves slightly, and let’s see how people behave!