Guardian of the Family House

Growing up in my parents' house, I had some experiences that I could chalk up to a wild imagination, but on the other hand, I still have no rational explanation for them.

The family home is an old house on even older land in the south. My parents' old house sits on what used to be a nut orchard owned by the Hancocks, an extremely old name in our town. Actually they used to own the whole block my parents' house sits in, and rightly named, the street is Hancock St.

Some of the things I chalked up to imagination are as follows:

I once sat at my father's computer playing a game back in the early days of DOS, Yahtzee I believe it was, and I heard laughter from the TV in the living room. I stopped the game, and thought it was odd as I was the only one home, and was sure the TV was not on when I got home. None-the-less, curious, I wanted to see what was on that was so funny, hoping it was "Americas Funniest Video's." I entered the livingroom, and clearly saw the reflection of light from the TV on the windows behind the couch which faced the TV. When I turned the corner, I got the strangest sensation, almost like vertigo, or stopping suddenly in a fast moving car, and low and behold, the TV noise stopped, and the TV WAS NOT ON! Suddenly I heard a crash from the back room. I raced back to find the keyboard on the floor. I ran to my friend's house, called home and left a message for someone to call me there when they got home. That wasn't the only experience.

When we first moved in, I was riding my bike checking out the new neighborhood. When I got back home, I looked in through the large front windows, and saw that my mom was setting a huge, victorian, porcelain pot of soup on the dining table. I assumed the neighbors had brought us a gift, as we didn't own such a fancy serving piece. As I came in through the kitchen entrance, my stomach growled at the scent of beef vegetable soup. I fished a bowl out of a moving box and began rinsing it in the sink. My mom asked what I was doing. I told her I was going to get some soup. She asked "Oh! You smell that too?" I paid no attention and went into the dining room to find the room still barren. They hadn't even set the table up, let alone set soup there. Every Sunday after that, my whole family and I would wake to the smell of bacon or ham cooking. Even company staying the night would mention they thought we were cooking breakfast. Maybe that's why, now in my own home, I cook breakfast every Sunday!

While my sister and I were still quite young, we would also hear our name being called. We would hear each other calling one another, sometimes simultaneously, we would hear our parents calling, and would always go running to find that no one had called at all. But all that is mostly in the past, and I grew used to the odd occurrences. What has brought me here to tell my tale today, is something, or some things that have happened recently. I broke up with my boyfriend of ten years recently, a really bad break up, and went to stay at my parents house until I found a place. I was completely heart wrenched! A pitiful sight! (For the curious, we worked it out and I am here at home again.) Well, in the two weeks I stayed there I noticed that the energy level is much higher than when I left at the age of eighteen. The smell of breakfast was still there on Sunday, but much more prevalent. I still saw things out of the corner of my eye as before, but this time, it was much more strange, and more vivid. I was called a few times with no caller, and would lose things only to find them right where I knew I put them in the first place. ( I don't lose things very often by the way.)

On one occasion, as the insomniac I am under stress sometimes, and in a house with unlimited TV channels he he he I was up watching movies with our family dog Abby, and two cats, Mo jo, and Too dins. Yes I admit, it was a chick flick, and I was crying my eyes out! Well I stood up to get a tissue from across the room, I looked up into the adjoining dining room and distinctly saw the shadow of a man, a tall man, cross through my sister's closed bedroom door, and enter the opened hallway door. Just as chill raised the hairs on my arms, the cats went flying in the direction of the shadow man, and Abby started growling deep in her throat watching. I froze until the moment passed and grabbed my tissue. I shook off the feeling, and figured it was just cats being cats and Abby being a grumpy old lady, in combination with my heartache I maybe saw something. And if it really was there, no harm was done in just seeing it. Hey at least it wasn't the Exorcist or something, right?
At this point another movie was coming on, and it was barely midnight. So I decided some M&Ms and popcorn were in order. I went into the kitchen, put the popcorn in the microwave, and began shuffling through the cupboard for the M&Ms. I heard my brother shrug in behind me and he said the usual loving, "Hey Stessie!" I replied, "Hey brubbie, have you seen the M&Ms?" without turning and he said, "Yeah, they're in the cabinet on top of the ice box." I went over and grabbed them, and froze in my tracks. Laughing at the lingo, I asked him, "Ice box?" turning around, and nobody was there. I dropped the candy and ran straight to my brothers room. There he lay in the bed sound asleep. I stirred him awake and asked if he was just in the kitchen, though I knew he could have never made it back to bed in the amount of time it took me to turn around and run to his room, and he of course, annoyed, said no. And added yawning "It's just the ghost," and he groggily, rolled over and commenced to snoring a moment later. I shook of the fear, once again, thinking well maybe whatever it was wanted me to enjoy the movie the way I wanted to. I can say though, most of the movie I felt like I was being watched, but it was like being in the room with a concerned grandmother watching a movie together. It was like being in company of someone, you know who is watching and worrying about you. Uncomfortable, yet comforting. It didn't end there.

There was a night, the last night I stayed as a matter of fact, my sister and her man were out for the night with the rest of my family, and she gave me the luxury of her oh so comfy bed (I miss that bed!), to give me a break from the couch, as I wasn't up for going out with them. One of the two back doors is right next to her bed, and mind you, her bedroom is the old computer room. There was a fabulous thunderstorm that night, not violent, but, well perfect for sleeping. Nice long, soft, slow, drawls of thunder, and a constant quiet patter of rain, so I left the back door open to sleep to the relaxing sounds. In the midst of having a great sleep, I halfway awoke to someone sit down next to me, and they started stroking my hair only as my mother or sister does. I stretched and sighed at the comfort it gave me, and snuggled in the soft covers around me. I smiled and drifted in and out of sleep as my hair was stroked. Then I felt a gentle kiss on my cheek, and heard very faintly, "I love you Stessie. You're such a good girl," which is also something Mom or my sis would always say to me, and I to my sis. I wasn't sure if it was my sister or Mom, as all three of us sound alike. And at this, for some reason, my eyes jerked open along with my senses, and I realized it was only ten at night, and the family wasn't due home at least until three if they didn't decide to get a hotel! I sat straight up with tears in my eyes, feeling a little strange, when peace returned to me just as suddenly as it was jerked away from me. The house was dead silent. No TV, no Dad or brother snoring, no nothing, but rain, thunder and crickets. And for whatever reason, maybe it was due, as I did feel peace and comfort, I said out loud, "Thank you." I lay back down, and listened to the storm, and fell back to sleep as if I were wrapped in a blanket of peace.

I haven't had a nights sleep like that before or since! I don't know who or what is in my parents house, but I know it can't be bad. And I hope they finally have peace one day, as obviously they tried to help me find mine.

Submitted by Stephani, NC, USA