Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Getting Followed Home

Often we want hauntings to be clear to us, but more often they are hard to define. Recently a dad from the Gulf Coast took his daughter on my tour. For him it was a great opportunity to share a city that he had enjoyed long before she was born, but as it turned out it was also a chance to dazzle her with his own life experience.

One evening close to twenty years ago he and some friends took our ghost tour and hung out with a few tour guides afterward. On a lark one of the guides asked them to check out a walkway between a few buildings. He and his friends asked if they would see ghosts there. Should they take pictures? What should they touch? The guide didn't want to influence them, so he insisted on keeping silent until they returned. Well, these guys went into the walkway and felt around the brick, tried to pay attention for cold spots. They eventually gave up and returned insisting that nothing had really happened, but while in the walkway one of them began to feel pressure on his temples and soon it felt like his head was being crushed in a vise. Not being the type to make a fuss, and not really believing in anything paranormal, he said nothing. The guide said they were still investigating the haunting, but they thought that some people had died in a fire there. Suddenly the young man who felt the pressure in his head burst into tears.

Afterward the group returned to the west bank and everyone went to bed, except the young man with the headache. He stayed up and watched television, sitting on the couch in front of a window. As everyone else in the house began to drop off to sleep, he heard a scratching sound behind him. He figured it must be a tree branch outside hitting the window, forgetting that there were no trees in the yard. As the scratching continued the mail slot in the front of the house began to flap. Drawn to the flapping sound in the front of the house, he began to walk toward it and thought he heard his name whispered. Then he heard his name again. Hoping that his host was joking around with him, the young man barged into his room. When he saw his friend just waking up, bewildered, the young man, barely himself, once again began to bawl telling his friend what had happened.

The next morning he went home to Lafayette. As far as I know that was the end of his haunting, but the man who shared this story with me said that long after that night he experienced sleep paralysis in the house, seeing a dark figure standing by the bed beside him.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Wichita Falls Texas

Curiosity is not limited to the living. A few months back I had a woman from Wichita Falls Texas come on the tour. She had two interesting ghost stories to share. Years back she had bought her son a used game system. One day she was at home when a young man, wearing a baseball cap backwards, walked down the hall. A moment later her son walked past and she asked "who is your friend?" Perplexed, he replied "No one. Its just me and you in the house." The mysterious young man she took for being attached to the used game system. It seemed he was passing through. However there was another entity in her house, a helpful one.

She was a cancer survivor. Years before, she was ill and lying in bed thinking she would go to the hospital the next day. Right in her ear she heard a voice "Go to the hospital, now!" She jumped out of bed. When she arrived at the ER the staff immediately admitted her and told her that she would have been dead if she had waited any longer. Later on in her treatment she had a lot of equipment at home, including a tube connecting her to the equipment. At one point as she lie there hooked up, she felt a tug on the the tube and looked over. Something lifted the tube up and moved it about a bit, then set it back down. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Missouri Hills

I have had tours that were completely made up of visitors from Texas, but I rarely have a lot of people from Missouri. Tonight was an exception, as almost half the group was from Missouri. Most of them were from the same family and their grandmother had a prize family story about a house she and her family had lived in over forty years ago.

The house was out in the hills. When she moved in with her husband and kids the landlord asked if she was going to stay. She said she planned too. He couldn't get anyone to stay for more than a few months. The day they moved in they heard a radio playing really low. She figured it was some kids down the lane, the closest neighbor. But when she and her husband got into bed later that night, he said "If you're going to listen to the radio, turn it up." She told him they had not unpacked a radio. Later he investigated the attic, no radio anywhere.

Routinely she turned off all the lights when she left in the morning. At the end of the day she would drive up the hill and the lights on the second floor of the house would be on. In the back seat her kids would say, "Mom, hurry up. See, we have visitors upstairs in the window."

One night a friend stayed over. When he came to breakfast in the morning he was shaking. He told her he would never come there again. She asked him what was wrong. A woman had woken him in the night and asked if he wanted a drink. He gladly got up and went to the kitchen. There was no one.

They managed to stay in the house for a year, but they finally did find the activity too unsettling. After they moved the house burned down.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Hudson River Valley

Mansions or big houses, one of my tour guests grew up in one in the Hudson River Valley. She and her daughter took the tour recently and despite growing up with the ever present feeling that she would see something paranormal, she never saw a thing. But her daughter, years ago at six years old, did. The family was visiting her grandmother and she and her sister were sleeping in the sun room adjacent to her grandmother's bedroom. It was pasted their bedtime and her sister was asleep, but she was awake playing with toys on the floor when she looked up and saw a girl standing in the doorway, blond, about fifteen, in a white nightgown. The image was foggy, but the girl was clearly looking at her playing on the floor. At six she was petrified, but still managed to run through the door, through the foggy girl and into her grandmother's bed.

It was the only time she saw anything at the house. But years later her uncle mentioned seeing the same image in the same doorway.

Southern Missouri

A couple on my tour had an old family ghost story to tell. One of the old men in their family, an uncle or grandfather, in his eighties, had told the same story for decades. When he was a boy there was an old abandoned farm house that the children were always told never to go into. One day he and a friend managed to sneak up to the house and went inside. They were looking around the front room when they turned and saw a man hovering behind them. He had a beard, a white robe, and sandals; the bearded figure was staring at his friend. After what felt like a long time the figure turned to him and before their eyes met he and his friend rain out of the house, down the hill, and never returned to the farmhouse again.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The sister-in-law of the previous women from Southern Indiana had a separate paranormal experience. In the late 1990s her sister died in a car accident. They had always promised one another that if anything happened to one, she would send the other a sign. Well the women had a music box that she had kept for many years and was very attached to but never played; she didn't even think that it worked.

One day she was milling around the house and she heard the music box, softly playing on the shelf.

Southern Indiana

Countless people insist to me, that they will believe in ghosts when they see one. Fair enough, but a lot of experiences are far more subtle than that.

A while back a women came on the tour with her sister-in-law. She did not believe in this sort of thing until about three years ago. Her father had fallen ill and passed away. For weeks she had been in and out of his house, back and forth to the doctor and then the funeral home. There was a stack of papers and mail on the dinning room table that she passed repeatedly, looking at it over and over again.

A few days into funeral planning, the funeral director asked if her father had served in the military. If she could produce his discharge papers, he could have the proper rites for the funeral. She knew her father had served in Korea at a desk. Her father had no combat stories and his service had been over fifty years ago. She told the director not to include the rites, there was no way she would find the papers, if they even existed.

Once she got home she went directly to the computer to continue going through his e-mail. After staring at the screen for a while she turned around and looked at the dinning room table behind her. She noticed a yellowed dusty sheet of paper lying flat on top of the pile of mail and paperwork. This was the table that she looked at constantly throughout the day and this paper was not there before. She got up and walked over; it was her father's discharge paper.