This story takes place in the summer of 1985 in a home my parents had just purchased several months earlier.
At the time my parents bought and moved into this house I was married and living in another part of town, just minutes away, but I visited regularly. My mother, father and younger brother, who was 19, lived in the house, which was not particularly old, but rather a lovely two story in an affluent suburban neighbourhood in Westchester County, New York.
Here, the houses bordered St. Mary's Lake, more commonly referred to as Silver Lake by the people who lived on it. The area was significantly historical, and the remains of very old homesteads were an integral part of St. Mary's Lake. One could walk around the lake and find the preserved old stone foundations of what were once the homes of the first settlers in the area. George Washington was said to have stayed in our area, and every autumn a Civil War re-enactment of the Battle of White Plains was held around the lake as well.
The first sign that something was not quite right with the house began when my cousin, Michele, came to visit my parents shortly after they had moved in. She had flown to New York from Germany, and it had been a long and exhausting trip. She was tired and my Mom had made up the guestroom for her to use. Now, no one had ever slept in the guestroom before, which was located on the second floor. My parent’s bedroom was located on the first floor and my brother occupied the larger bedroom on the second floor across the hall from the guestroom.
The next morning Michele claimed that she had seen someone standing in the corner of the room during the night watching her. She described it as a woman wearing some type of hat. Of course, we tried to reassure her that she was probably just tired from her trip, and both my mother and myself went into the room to look around, and found nothing out of the ordinary. However, during the remainder of her visit, she expressed her discomfort and unease when she was in the room. She was still insisting on seeing a shadowy figure of a woman and also felt someone standing in the corner of the room watching her even when she couldn't see anything.
We dismissed her claims as an overactive imagination coupled with the fact that she had just made a long journey. In other words, we brushed it off as some sort of jet lag. After Michele left, the incident was forgotten.
In the summer of that same year, my husband and I divorced and I and moved, along with my cocker spaniel, Gabriel, into my parents' home. Being the gentleman that he normally wasn't, my brother gave me (and Gabriel) his larger bedroom and he moved his things into the smaller room across the hall, which had remained unoccupied since Michele's visit. And, a few nights later it happened. I don't think I will ever forget what I heard or how scared we all were. It was a weeknight, I don't remember which one and I just remember how difficult it was to go to work the next day and act as if everything was normal, when it obviously was not.
The first thing I heard was my dog, Gabriel, growling. He had jumped onto my bed, and stood at the foot of it rigid, every muscle tense and a growl began deep in his throat and grew stronger. He was facing the door to the hall. I woke with a start, and that's when I heard my brother call my name from across the hall. At first, it was a question, as if he was asking whether it was I, then he called again, "Jo?" A few minutes later he now screamed my name, and screamed it again, over and over, screaming my name. Until that moment, blood-curdling scream had no reference point for me. It now did. I could hear the terror in his voice and my heart was pounding in my chest. I held onto Gabriel's collar as he strained to be let free, his teeth barred and growling in the direction of my brother's screams coming from across the hall. I was paralyzed with fear and could not move. I heard my brother run down the stairs, and I remained frozen for at least 30 minutes or so. I remember looking at my bedside clock at one point and it read 3:15 a.m. I had no idea what had happened. I just knew it was bad.
When I finally had the courage to venture from my room, I headed down the stairs and found my father and brother sitting in the living room in deep conversation, my brother was holding his head in his hands with eyes to the floor, they did not see me, I continued on to my parent's bedroom and found my mother, who was also visibly shaken and she said "something terrible happened to your brother tonight." Together, we went and joined my father and brother, and my brother told what had taken place in his room. He had fallen into a deep sleep as he had been out fishing on the lake and was tired from this summer's day on the boat. He was awakened at some point and standing at the foot of his bed was a girl with her back to him. She wore a long white night gown. Her long dark hair was covered with a white shower type cap (his words). He thought it was me, so he called my name "Jo?" but the girl didn't answer and didn't turn around, so he called again "Jo?" This time, she turned around, and it wasn't me. She stood staring at him and he took his pillow from behind his head and tossed it at the girl. It passed right through her and landed on his desk. She continued to stand in front of his bed and just stare at him, not saying a word. Now, he was frightened. He got out of bed and reached for the girl, but when he touched her arm, she just faded away. He ran out of the room and down the stairs screaming. He never slept in that room again, and my parents promptly sold the house.
I believe that she was an apparition who had made presence known to anyone in that room. Her manner of dress certainly suggests someone from the Civil War era. I don't know why she was there, but she was.