4/19/2013

Ghost Story: Summers at Grandma's House - Part I







As I related in House at the End of Satter Field Road, I am going to make it a point to discuss my experiences with the supernatural over the course of my life.  This is one more story. 

This will be a two-part story.

Like many children, of the Baby Boomer generation (and probably other generations as well), I spent weeks at my grandmother's house, along with my siblings.  When I was 10 years old, my brother and I spent two weeks at grandma's house.  This was 1961.  My grandparents lived off mostly what they grew in their garden and from their livestock (pigs, chickens, goats, etc).  Grandpa worked at a shipyard about 25 miles from the house.  So, my grandparents weren't really hurting financially.  They had an old two-story wood house that was probably built around the turn of the century.  But, it was out in the country and they loved it.  My brother and I went there in 1961 for our annual summer vacation at "Grandma's House" as we fondly called it.  Grandpa asked us, matter of factly once, if we were aware it was his house also.  We didn't really have an answer to that.  But, our two weeks were not going to be spent lazily staying around the house.  We had chores to do such as feeding the pigs and chickens, helping grandpa bail hay and all the goings-on of a small farm.  We were usually finished with our chores by lunchtime. So, we had the rest of the day to explore unless grandpa needed help with another chore.

This would be my third summer at grandma's house, my brother's first since he was only 8 years of age.  My brother told me as soon as it got dark that first night he felt "nervous."  I asked him what could he be nervous about.  He said he didn't know.  But, he was scared, I could tell.  Now, this was not Ben's first night at our grandparents home.  We had all spent nights here before.  But, that was always with our parents.  For some reason, when you are a kid, you feel if your parents are around, nothing can harm you.  But, we were going to spend two weeks here without our parents.  I believed that was the reason Ben felt so ill at ease.  I told Ben to just go to sleep and it will be time for breakfast before he knows it.  Breakfast was always a welcome treat for us.  We usually were so full, we really didn't feel like eating at lunch.  But, we always found room in our stomachs for lunch as well.  Since it was July, we slept with the windows open.  All we had back in those days was an attic fan that did nothing more than just circulate the warm air in the house.  But, it was enough.  We had no idea what air conditioners were until we would go in J.C. Penny's or some other department store.  But, we managed to get by.

About 2AM, I felt someone shaking me on my right arm.  It was my brother.  "David, there's somebody in the room."  Still groggy and slowly opening my eyes to see the scared eyes of my little brother, I looked around the room.  "Where??? It's just you and me here, Ben!"  Ben told me to look over near the corner of the room that had an open window.  I looked groggily and could see nothing...at first.  But, as my eyes slowly adjusted to the dim light in the room, I did see a form of some type in the corner.  Now, it was time for me to be afraid.  We had those old kerosine lanterns that grandpa always told us to be careful with since if they fall to the floor, there will be a fire.  I was afraid to light the one on the bed stand.  There was something definitely in that corner of the room.  Ben was now quietly sobbing fearfully.  I told him to be quiet.  I got up to see if it was a coat or something of that nature, hanging on the wall.  As I got up out of bed, it disappeared.  I shakily got back in bed by my extremely fearful brother.  He wanted to go spend the rest of the night in grandma's bed.  I told him he would do no such thing.  Ben wanted to know what it was.  I told him it was just probably a shadow from a tree branch (even though I knew there was no way a shadow would disappear).  Ben seemed to accept that or maybe he wanted to believe it was a branch from a nearby tree.  Soon, he was back to sleep nestled as close to me as he could possibly get.  But, I was unnerved.  I didn't sleep well, if at all, the rest of the night.

The next morning, Ben was the one bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at breakfast.  I could barely keep my eyes open.  Grandma asked if I had slept well last night.  I didn't want to say anything in front of Ben.  When Ben finished eating, he set out to feed the chickens.  I told him I'd be right with him.  "Grandma, Ben and I saw something in our bedroom last night," I said.  Grandma looked at me with a surprised look at first.  Then she said, "What did you see, David?"  I told her about the shape in the corner of the room.  Grandma looked at me and sat down in a chair.  "You never seen anything else here the past two summers, David?," she asked.  I told her no, nothing at all.  I just heard the normal squeaks and groans of an old house at night.  But, nothing more than that.  She had a distant look on her face now.  "If you see anything else, come wake me up.  I don't care what time it is," she said.  Now, it was my time to look surprised.  I asked her why.  She said just do it.  About that time, I hear Ben complaining about me not helping out.  So, I went out the door to begin the day's chores.

Grandma didn't say much to me the rest of the day.  Even at dinner, she looked a bit perturbed to me.  What is it she's not telling me, I thought.  Ben seemed to be over his experience last night.  But, I wasn't, especially the way grandma was acting.  We all spent the rest of the night in the family room.  Back in those days it was only three TV networks.  So, grandpa let us choose which one we wanted to watch.  Grandpa was normally grumpy when we came to visit.  But, not during the summer vacations.  I suspect that was because we were doing chores he ordinarily would have been doing.  Grandma was unusually quiet.  So quiet, in fact, grandpa made mention of it.  She just brushed it off as saying she had some things on her mind.  About 9PM (yes, they stayed up an hour past their usual bedtime just for us), grandpa said he was going to bed.  That was his way of saying, turn off the TV and go to bed.  After grandpa went to the downstairs bedroom, grandma told my brother to go brush his teeth.  I was going with him until grandma said to come over to her chair.  "David, remember what I said.  Regardless of the time, if you see or hear anything in your bedroom, come wake me up," she said. I asked her what was wrong, what was she not telling me.  "Just never you mind now.  Go brush your teeth and get to bed with your brother."  I knew it was no sense in trying to get grandma to tell me what was going on with the shape we saw last night.  She was a very strong-willed person.

So, to bed my brother and I went.  Ben was fast to sleep.  Remarkably, he didn't mention anything about the ghostly shape we saw in the corner the previous night.  My brother was like that.  If he didn't see a reason to worry immediately, he didn't worry at all.  I tossed and turned.  Sleep was not going to come easy for me.  Again, according to the old windup clock on the bed stand, it was about 2AM when Ben was once again shaking me.  Only this time, he was shaking me as hard as he could.  "David!!!  Wake up! It's back!," he yelled. I woke up not knowing where I was at first.  I looked at Ben and could barely understand what he was saying.  I noticed he was pointing to the same corner of the room as last night.  This time, it was not some murky shape.  It was a solid outline.  Yet, we could see through it.  Ben is crying loudly now.  I look at the shape....it was the shape of a man and he was floating toward our bed.   I'm holding Ben, not knowing what to do.  It was making a snail's pace toward us.  Ben was calling for grandma now.  I was getting up to go get her with Ben holding onto my t-shirt.  About that time, I heard a whispering voice I will never forget....."Get out of my house."
Link to Part II

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