There are two kinds of people – those who believe in ghosts and those who don’t. Well I’m neither of those.
I don’t believe in ghosts but I believe I have seen one. Confused? Welcome aboard: there are no exits but we will be serving refreshments.
I tell myself all this ghost stuff is explainable if we give due consideration for lack of sleep, poor diet, overactive imaginings and the usual grumblings of old houses. But then I also talk to our house guest and ask her to not ever let me see her ever, ever again. Unlike my wife who seems keen to start up a dialogue.
By any conventional definition of the term, we live in a haunted house. We don’t mind because it’s not a b-grade movie sort of haunting. Our ghost is one of the best house guests we’ve ever had.
It all started a few years ago when Miss17 was born. She’d be crying in her bedroom and the door would open. We’d settle her down and close the door and shortly she’d start up again and the door would open. A friend was babysitting for us one night and this happened three times, at which point she called out, “well you settle her down!” to the walls and closed the door again. And a minute later the baby was settled. When our friend opened the door again she found the baby cooing at the wall.
For a while I was really hoping instead of a ghost we had some sort of X-men type mutant child on our hands, however except for her ability to attract boys like metal shavings to an industrial sized electromagnet she’s quite normal. Still in terms of our ghost theory it’s not conclusive. But then I’ve only just begun. Then we have the footsteps.
Between our kitchen area and the lounge room we have had years of hearing someone walk between the two rooms. We have a wooden floor so they’re quite loud and easily recognized, to the point where you’ll turn to see who’s come up behind you. I once bounded into the kids’ rooms to have words with whoever was out of bed only to find everyone sound asleep. We’d tell people about our ghostly footsteps and they’d scoff at us. One night we had some friends over and as they were leaving ‘someone’ walked into the kitchen behind us, and we all turned to see who it was. No-one.
“That’s her!” we exclaimed. “That’s the ghost’s footsteps!”
“Bye!” they said. Fifteen years and they’ve never been back. Maybe it was the curry.
Still think we’re kidding ourselves and maybe wanting this a little too badly? Are we talking ourselves into it? I ask myself the same thing. But then I’m not done yet.
We say ‘her’ because we’re pretty certain we know who she is and we met her son one night when he dropped us home from town – he’s a cab driver.
“I grew up in your house,” he told us. Naturally we took the opportunity to ask if anyone had passed away there.
“Sure. My mum,” he answered a little hesitantly. “Hazel.”
On another trip Tracey described our ghostly friend to him – he was a little put out.
“You’ve just described her,” he said. I think he was a little freaked out but a few months later he provided us with a copy of a photo of his mum.
“It’s her,” Tracey told him, adding she is lovely. “She’s great with the kids and shows up when we have a new baby and we’re stressed. She’s a calming influence.”
You might be wondering how we know what she looks like. Well obviously she’s been seen.
A bloke who boarded with me for a number of years saw her – she walked behind him, the same lounge room/kitchen route, when he was watching television.
Then there was the time I woke up one night and she was was floating over me with her hair hanging forward, as though gravity was only an issue in the afterlife for your do. ‘I must be tired,’ I thought. While I didn’t soil my pants I don’t think I’ll be winning any bravery awards. I snapped my eyes shut and woke up Tracey.
“Honey, do I have any sleeping tablets?”
“Sure,” said my long suffering wife. “I’ll get them.”
The next day we’re driving down the coast and Tracey says, “The strangest thing happened last night. When you woke me for a tablet there was a girl standing at the end of our bed and as I watched her she faded away.”
The next several seconds were taken up by me regaining control of the car.
“What did she look like?” I asked her, and she described the young woman I’d seen.
“That’s her,” I told Tracey.
“You saw her?”
“Why do you think I wanted a sleeping tablet?”
But this was all years ago and we haven’t had even the footsteps for a long long time. I wondered, on one of the occasions I’ve allowed myself to think maybe there are ghosts and maybe we’ve encountered one and maybe it isn’t all lack of sleep and poor diet, if our talking to her son and saying how wonderful she is with kids hasn’t helped her to cross over.
That being said you might be wondering why I’m bringing this all up now. Well, last night we had another sighting, this time by one of the kids.
Our littlest kids don’t know about the ghostliness. Master20 and Miss17 do, but we’ve kept it from them because they might use the information to scare me.
After the usual bedtime shenanigans, the kids were all in bed last night when Miss8 suddenly appeared at her door, which opens onto the lounge room where we were watching telly.
“Who was that?” she asked us.
“Who was what?” I asked back.
“Who just walked past my bed and out the door?”
“Your brother going back into his own room?” I suggested. But Tracey was giving me pointed stares over Miss8’s head. Afterall, we’ve just had another baby so the MO is the same.
“No, after he left. There was a girl, about five years old.”
I checked all the other kids, and inparticular Miss5, but they were fast asleep.
I don’t claim to know about these things, I just know what I’ve experienced myself. And even then I find I sleep better if instead of lingering spirits I believe in the tiny movements in old houses on stumps and sleep in eyes creating blurry images and the odd coincidence of two people waking up from similar dreams.
“Maybe I’m just tired,” Miss8 said, jumping back into bed, squeezing her eyes shut and pulling her doona up under her chin. “But I hope she comes and sees me again.” Looks like she’s a chip off both our blocks.
Meanwhile I might get to the doc and grab myself another prescription for sleeping tablets. No point in all of us losing sleep.
When not typing away over here and checking his stats every two minutes,
Bruce Devereaux hangs out at his ‘BIG FAMILY little income’ Facebook Page.
’raising a family on little more than laughs’