Hauntings: No, It's Not a Friendly Ghost
I walk with my neighbor, Susan*, many mornings. She’s a very down to earth person and we always have great conversations. By training, Susan is a teacher and has spent many years working with young children. But over time, she tired of this career choice and decided to go back to college full-time for her degree in social work. To do this, she ended her nanny job taking care of two little boys, ages one and three.
One morning, while walking and discussing our wide variety of topics, we came to the subject of ghosts, and I told her of my experience with a ghost while growing up. To my amazement, Susan then began to tell me of the second reason she had left her job as a nanny.
This Old House
The family who hired Susan to be their sons’ nanny had moved into a house built in 1920 in an exclusive neighborhood. For the first couple of months, the days she spent as a nanny in her client’s new home passed without incident.
Old houses have idiosyncrasies just as people do - anyone who has owned or lived in one knows this. A floorboard creaks here and there, a particular door tends to stick during humid weather and even odors from the past can permeate certain areas. The two little boys, Ben* and Pete*, each had their own bedrooms side by side on the second floor, separated by a closet and, unfortunately for Ben, one of this old home’s personality flaws revealed itself in his bedroom. His room, from the day his family moved in, had a nasty “unwashed human” odor. The stench came and went in strength but never left the room entirely. Apparently, no amount of bleach or Pine-Sol could eradicate it. An annoyance, but it was thought that perhaps time would alleviate the problem.
But soon, Susan began to notice things happening that could not be dismissed as the quirkiness of an old house. Susan pointed out that although she had lived in numerous older homes, she had never before felt uncomfortable in any of them . . . but what she felt in her client’s new home was different.
The oldest boy, Ben, was still young enough to warrant a child monitor in his room. Through the monitor, Susan, although downstairs, was able hear Ben cough, sneeze or call for her. She could hear literally every noise made in the room.
One day, when both boys were upstairs taking their afternoon naps, she suddenly heard an unusual flapping noise coming from Ben’s room . . . and then Ben screaming. Flying up the stairs, Susan found Ben, visibly upset, insisting that there had been a man in his room standing over his bed and that this man had gone into his closet. Susan immediately checked the closet. Nothing. She searched everywhere for the source of the noise. Nothing. She finally sat with Ben until he fell asleep.
Over time, things became worse. The noises in both boys’ bedrooms became more frequent. There were instances when Susan heard the sound of the bells on the harness of Ben’s rocking horse jingling through the monitor, only to fly up the stairs and find Ben terrified and the rocking horse perfectly still. No vent, no drapery, no possible way for anything to touch the toy and make it rock. Ben was typically a happy, relaxed child but Susan would sometimes find him inconsolable, practically hysterical, after one of these occurrences and she became afraid for his health.
Susan went to his father, apparently a rather harsh and unsympathetic figure, and explained the situation. He brushed her off. Susan then went to Ben’s mother and while she acknowledged that she, too, had witnessed Ben’s terror and was upset about what was happening, she felt helpless without the support of her husband.
The tipping point occurred one day when Susan was alone with Ben in the downstairs playroom. Suddenly, they both heard distinct footsteps coming down the stairs just outside the room. They were alone. It wasn’t the children’s parents coming home – even Ben understood this. Huddled together, they listened . . . relieved as the footsteps suddenly stopped.
Susan, a person who once considered herself unflappable, who was used to the oddities of old homes, had never felt anything like this before. Although she ended her job with the family to go back to college, her experience with whatever haunted this house left her with no regrets about leaving.
We both felt so sorry for those poor children . . .
* Names changed for privacy.
Have you ever lived in an old/older home that you thought was haunted?
If "Yes", did the hauntings scare you enough that you moved?
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© 2012 Gemini Fox