“Why’d you want to come back here?” Mom asked, sipping her wine.
She wasn’t being rude. She was right.
A few weeks back, a male ghost ran past this very spot, causing me some verbal unladylikeness after a very uncomfortable night. Freakiest house vibe to date. Absolute certainty of icky spirits. Her question was legit.
Why go back?
Two main reasons.
1. Mom and I are kinda buddies now.
2. After I published my experience in their house (which you can read here), I got calls, IMs, emails, texts, (one reader even came to the freaking library) asking in various shades of nice: what exactly did you do to help these people?
When the first person asked, I answered objectively. They wanted confirmation of ghosts, they got confirmation of ghosts. But when the tenth person asked –well– I got a little defensive. I’m sorry, had I done something wrong? Did they not read the entry where I clearly explain what I do and don’t do?
I stewed for a bit. Maybe a few bits. Then realized, people just wanted closure– the Where Are They Now? The NOW WHAT.
And that’s fair.
I unwadded my panties and marched (okay, drove) to the County Clerk’s office with that horrid female entity still fresh in my mind. Grey hair, big uncontained boobs. Late 1970s/early 80s timeframe. The house wasn’t old. Pinpointing her shouldn’t be difficult, right?
Snaps to people who do this often. County Records are NO JOKE. Especially researching acreage that’s been divided and sold creating multiple property deeds AND you’re working backwards in time. (Shout out to my friend Emily who drove up to help me!)
Three hours and one chewed up pen later, we had a list of previous owners– all married couples. I recorded names, dates, looked up pictures, researched obits. All but one couple were deceased. Then –in the spirit of if you’re gonna do something, do it RIGHT– I located folks who actually knew these people. Neighbors. Friends. Acquaintences.
“She was a heavy smoker and did like a drink, ” one lady told me over the phone, referring to her friend that lived there in the 90s.
I sat taller, scribbling notes. THAT sounded about right.
“Oh, and a heart of gold,” she recalled fondly. “Would do anything for anybody. Treated everyone’s children like her own.”
I slumped back down. That couldn’t be creepy lady.
And such went the rest of my little interviews. Gathered just enough info about the previous (women) owners to draw some solid conclusions.
Can I come over? —I texted Mom— Do a little update? See how the house feels?
Sure! she replied.
I drove back, this time with a clear belly. The yard felt different when I arrived. No crackly air tension. I knocked on the door.
Mom greeted with me a warm hug, and I stepped into a completely different house.
Remember that funky empty corner? A beautiful piano now occupied that space.
“This feels completely different!” I looked around, smiling at the new decor.
Plants. Art. Family Pictures. . . . it was lovely!
Isabel bounced up and gave me a hug.
“How are you?” I smiled.
“Good. But I’m still having nightmares.”
I stepped in her room. Sweet Jesus, it was clear. Light and airy. Sunny. Clean. Like a little girl’s room SHOULD feel.
Then I saw Zoey standing by the desk.
“We switched rooms,” she explained.
I felt a little tinge just then. Right below the navel.
“I took her old room,” Isabel said from the doorway.
I followed Isabel across the living room, my lower belly issuing oh hells the whole way. We stepped thru her door.
Her new room felt like her old room. A weight on my chest. An inability to take a deep breath. A certain something watching from the corner.
“What kind of nightmares are you having?”
“Real bad ones. I sleep with my mom.”
Well . . . crap. I’d hoped that praying with her and showing her how to set spiritual boundaries might’ve helped. But apparently not. Matter fact–
“Things got worse after you came,” Mom sighed. “Like 100% worse.”
We sat on the back patio, enjoying the last drops of sunshine.
“But not because of you.” She slapped a mosquito on her arm. “I mean, you just confirmed what I already knew. There were things I didn’t share before you came.”
She talked. I took notes. We drank Pinot Grigio.
” . . . I knew that a male spirit hung out on the left side of this porch. I’d also seen that old lady sitting on our couch. But we’re all more aware since that night. It’s like we see more now. It’s okay during the day, but at night, it SUCKS.”
(This was SO not the outcome I’d hoped for.)
“Well. I researched county records,” I offered. “Found out everyone who lived here before.”
Well. I’d really hoped it’d be a nice, clean solution, like they show on TV.
1. Learn names.
2. Find pictures.
3. Shudder, recognizing creepy lady’s face.
4. Return to house, address the deceased by name.
5. Ask them to leave.
6. Everyone lives happily ever hereafter.
“The woman I encountered couldn’t have lived here before,” I explained. “I got names and dates of all previous owners. THEN I found people who knew them. All of them. And by all accounts they were lovely. First-grade teachers, decades-long church members, avid gardeners who planted extra so they could share . . . Not saying first grade teachers can’t be buttholes in the afterlife, but there’s no way any one of them is the one I felt here the other night. No way.”
We sighed into our wine.
And therein lies the rub, peeps. Spirit isn’t necessarily attached to property, it’s attached to space.
“Spirit also attaches itself to people,” I explained carefully.
But Mom understood me just fine.
“Isabel sleeps with me every night. She has violent nightmares. She’s talking to things I can’t see. She’s opened up about her abilities for the first time since meeting you, so that’s good. But I’m exhausted, Jenn, and I don’t know how to fix it.”
We sat quiet for a little bit.
So here’s another thing worth mentioning. People call me out because they want to know if they’ve got ghosts. I can do that- no problem. I’m also respectful of people’s different belief systems. How families manage their home is their business. What people do with the info I share really is up to them. Catholics may call in a priest, others may bust out sage, salt their perimeters, light candles . . . whatever. Point is: I’ve no control what happens after I leave.
Pragmatists may be thinking, screw sage, you New-Age weirdos! Call a child psychologist!
. . . an obvious suggestion if Isabel was paranoid and making things up.
But she wasn’t.
She inherited her sensitivity from Mom, and Mom called me in to triple check they weren’t nuts.
And they’re not. Not even close.
So we walked around the house together, mom and I. It was getting dark and I wanted to see if we felt the same things, room to room.
Everything felt clear, except for Isabel’s room and that freaking garage. The garage didn’t feel too bad last time, but this time? Chill bumps spread from head to toe. The concentration of energy in one particular corner literally made me dizzy.
“I can’t even work out here sometimes it’s so bad,” Mom said behind me.
What exactly did you do to help these people? repeated in my brain.
“Would you be open to having someone come out and cleanse your home?” I asked, pulling out my phone.
I immediately texted Sara, (wife, mother, medium) who helped me clear MY house a few years back. I hadn’t talked to her since then, but she responded immediately.
I’ll be at the house when Sara does her thing.
Which, I suppose, means a third installment to this case.
Hopefully then, we’ll get closure, sharing a collective
UPDATE: 11/1/15 Mom had someone help her clear the house before we made it out there. She says everyone is doing much better and looking forward to a decent night’s sleep.