The Chaperone

It always amazes me when I read or hear about ghost stories in which the residents of the "haunted houses" live in perpetual fear. It is not that I do not believe that there are malicious spirits, I am sure that others can testify to that, it is just that my experience has been quite the opposite.

I grew up in middle America. A place where conservatism is the norm. The paranormal, and the people who study these events, would most likely be considered quacks, if they were to come to the small town in Iowa where I was born. I believe that this mindset is important to understand when reading my story; if you choose not to believe what I write, know that the people who witnessed these events were from a background that would never really acknowledge the existence of the paranormal; and yet they BELIEVE what they have seen.

My parents bought an old farmhouse about a year before I was born in 1978. No one knows for sure when it was built, but the consensus of the community dates it around 1898...pretty ancient in American standards.

Nothing abnormal really started happening until my mother found out that she was pregnant with me, and even then these things were not what she or my father considered terrifying events, just strange things that remain to this day unexplained.

The first thing that my parents can recall was an incident with a pair of sewing shears... the scissors that are used to cut fabrics with the jagged shaped blade. My mother was making some curtains for the room that was to be the baby's nursery. She was walking down the staircase with these shears when she tripped and fell, cutting her arm. She was lucky that when she fell it was her arm that landed on the scissors, and not her pregnant belly. My father heard her fall, and ran out to see if she was okay. After they bandaged up the wound on her arm, they set out to find the scissors which had disappeared after the fall. They were no where to be found. They searched high and low but to no avail, the shears had completely vanished. Eventually, my mother decided not to finish the curtains.

However, three or four months later, after I was born the shears "appeared" one morning back on my mother's sewing table, where they had always been kept. She asked my father where he had found them, and he told her that he hadn't seen the shears since the day that they had been lost... She began to wonder if something had decided that she couldn't be trusted to carry scissors when she was pregnant, and had taken them away until she had given birth to the baby.

Soon afterwards, strange things began happening in the farm house. Cupboards and drawers in the kitchen would open and shut of their own accord. When people were sitting in the living room they could often hear someone rummaging through the cabinets, opening drawers, and rattling the pots and pans, upon inspection however, the kitchen would be empty.

When my parents would return home late in the evening, lights would turn themselves on in the house as soon as they turned the car into the driveway.

Often, my mother tells of walking into my nursery to check on me at night, and seeing my bassinet rocking on it's own. It would stop as soon as she came in for a closer inspection, but she remembers hearing it softly creaking again as soon as she left the room.

These things never scared her, as much as they were disconcerting, however that all began to change as I grew older.

There was a time when an old high-school friend of my mother needed a place to stay for a short while. My father, did not like this woman, but reluctantly agreed that she could stay with us temporarily. This woman, ran with a crowd that most would consider undesirable. But my parents were hospitable people, and made up a bed in the nursery for her.

From the moment she entered the house, she said it gave her the creeps; my parents told her she was silly to feel that way, and explained that although the house was very old, there was nothing to fear. For the next two weeks she complained of always being cold, and feeling that something didn't want her there.

One night, she came home well after midnight. My parents were sound asleep, as was I in my crib in the nursery. My parents were awakened by the terrified scream of their house guest. When they ran to see what the problem was, she explained that when she tried to enter the nursery to go to bed, something whispered "Get Out" and pushed her back into the hallway. My father searched my room backwards and forwards, but could find nothing. Not convinced the woman refused to sleep in the nursery, and instead slept on the couch downstairs.

The next morning my mother was getting something out of the freezer and found heroine and cocaine hidden among the ice-cube trays. The woman was turned out of our house promptly.

My parents reluctantly agreed that there was a something in the house that seemed to have manifested itself around me.

My mother worked at a bank and was hosting a Christmas dinner party later that same year. After dinner the guests had congregated in the living room, and were chatting informally. Suddenly my mother heard one of her co-workers let out an astonished gasp. The others followed the gaze of the woman to the bottom of the stair case in the front entry way of the house. There, at the bottom of the stairs was an apparition that the guests described as misty or smoky. There were no distinguishing features, but it was the outline of a woman. The people from this party, accountants, the bank president, tellers, all describe this woman in the same manner to this very day. Misty, hovering, with long hair and a long skirt. No visible facial features, no feet, and long arms. Although she was not identifiable several people at the party have ascertained that she seemed to have a Native American or Asian stature. Then they say she floated up the stairs, and disappeared. Was she trying to quiet a noisy house of people......was she trying to say don't wake the baby?

Another time, my father was out of town for the weekend when my mother heard loud knocking on her bedroom door in the middle of the night. Scared stiff... she peeked out the door to see if an intruder was in the hallway and worried that they might do something to the baby. She found no one in the house, and all the doors were still locked... thinking that she had dreamed it, she went back into a fitful sleep. Soon however, she felt someone shaking her awake. She screamed and jumped out of bed. It was just then that she heard the tornado sirens going off.... she ran into my nursery and took me down into the safety of the basement...

This ghost woman made herself known in many ways to my parents over the years, and they say she always seemed to be protective of me, and that her manifestations always seem to somehow be connected to me. They seemed to stop when we moved from that house when I was 10 years old....the memory of the ghost woman seemed gone... she didn't even appear when my sister was born when I was almost 11 years old...

The one thing that I find curious, is that earlier this year, while I was doing a clinical rotation in a nursing home... this 98 year old woman said to me... "who is that woman that is always with you?" I asked her what woman she was talking about... and she told me there was a woman that was always with me... ... "she dresses the way my mother used to"...she told me Maybe she isn't gone.... maybe she will always be with me.... The mystery has been and always will be... who is she? And why do I deserve her ghostly protection?

Submitted by Emily Weaver, Iowa, USA