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Bellefonte House Ghost

March 2002

My husband and I could not wait to buy our first house. We were so excited and had in mind our dream, a big old house with lots of woodwork and charm. We searched and searched but finding an older home was harder than we thought.

For six months we looked at houses that were either too new or too modernized. Than one dark and rainy early spring night we saw a house all lit up. It had no curtains or drapes and every light was blazing. We could see everything from the outside. We saw fresh paint, rich woodwork, French doors, and a quaint cottage style staircase in the formal entry. We could even see the wainscoting running along the landing of the stairs. And it was for sale.

I called our real estate agent the next day and made the appointment to see it.

It was perfect, everything we were looking for. It was clean, beautiful hard wood floors, four bedrooms, new wiring, new plumbing, new furnace, and new paint. The renovator did a perfect job of making an old house livable again with out taking away its old house charm. I felt so good in this house. It felt safe and warm. It felt like I had lived there my whole life. It felt like home. The only thing I didn't like about the house was that there was one door, the door to the study, that wasn't right. It didn't fit the rest of the house. The other doors were old heavy paneled doors with wonderful porcelain knobs and Eastlake styled brass hardware. But this door was an ordinary hardware store variety hallow plywood door with an ordinary knob. It didn't bother me so much that the door was new and out of place, what bothered me was the fact that it was closed.

I had a strange impression that there was something behind that door that no should ever see. The whole house was a dream but I didn't like that door being shut. I wasn't afraid. I only felt as if there was something behind that door that was not to be seen or even thought of. So I left the door open when we left. Then over the next couple of weeks we were at the house several times going over inspections, meeting with the owner, and asking questions about the house. Every time we walked in the door that study door would be closed, every time we left I would open it back up. Now I know that other agents or even the owner could have shut the door, but why only that door. All the other doors were left open.

We moved in as soon as the kids' school was out for the year. Thing were great. We had such a great time shopping for furniture and decorating our first house. It was ours. We finally had a home. It was only about a week after we moved in when my son started to sleep with the light on in his room. Now this was strange behavior for my son because he always got mad at me when I left the hall light on at night. (I am afraid of the dark and have to have a light on). Before we moved in there would be some nights he would beg me to turn the light off because he couldn't sleep with the light on. But now he was sleeping not only with the hall light on but his room light as well.

One day I asked him about it and he said that he felt scared upstairs by himself. He said that sometimes he had to run down the hall because he felt like something really bad was behind him and if he didn't run it would touch him or maybe even burn him. Then about a month after we moved something unexplainable happened. It was around 11:30 at night. The kids were asleep and my husband had just started to snore. I was just drifting off myself when I realized I had forgotten to feed the cats. I nudged my husband to see if maybe I could get him to do it, but he was too groggy with sleep already to even understand what I was saying. So I got out of bed and went downstairs. When I reached to bottom of the stairs I looked around and the dark over took me. I was panicked for what seemed like an eternity until I got the entry hall light on. (Remember I am terribly afraid of the dark). I scolded myself for being so silly.

It was just a light it wasn't going to save me from anything. I was all grown up now and there was no reason I couldn't walk around in the dark. So all pumped up with my little self pep talk I walked right into the kitchen without even flicking on the light. I was so proud I that I was going to feed the cats all by myself with out a light on. About half way across the kitchen floor I stopped and that same old familiar panic hit me. It was so dark in the kitchen. But I was determined to continue on. Just as I was about to finish my walk across the kitchen in the dark when the light came on all by itself. I looked around and found nothing; even the switch was in the on position.

That winter we noticed that we continually found the thermostat cranked all the way up. My husband and I scolded our kids and even each other over and over again about it and still we found it turned all the way up. I started to get suspicious and asked my son who was turning the heat up. He said he didn't even know where the thermostat was so how he could do it and our daughter was only 4 she couldn't even reach it yet. I told my husband that something strange was going on with the heat. He said that it must have me because he hasn't touched it.

Then one day around Christmas we were going away for the weekend to visit my dad a few hours away and would be gone overnight.

We were all packed and in the car when my husband forgot that he left his laptop in the study and would be bored at my parents house with out it. So he went back for it. When he got back into the car he said that he turned the heat down to about 50 so that we wouldn't waste oil (we had an oil burning furnace) while we were gone.

We got back home on Sunday night and I walked into a toasty warm house. I found my husband banging on the walls around the thermostat. I asked what the heck was he doing. He said "Hmm that's really strange because I am positive I turned the heat down when I left and I know I was the last one in the house. And I was the first one in the house as well, but the heat was turn all the way up again."

No one was home, how could that be?

So I figured that maybe if I bang on the walls it would move. But it didn't. I just can't figure it out." That's when it struck me, "Maybe we have a ghost." My husband being an electronic engineer and his mind being set so far into logic that he simply laughed at my suggestion. "No there is no such thing as ghosts he said, "I can't explain what is happening to the heat, but I am not about to blame it on a ghost."

My son's fear of the upstairs got worse and my mother said it was my fault for making him afraid. She said, "That little boy is terrified, you really should stop telling him ghost stories." I told her it wasn't me, I didn't even tell him I thought the house was haunted. But she didn't believe me either.

In the spring we got a puppy. She never really barked at anything except the giggly high school girls who would walk in front of our house after school. But one day she walked by the bathroom and growled slightly as she went by. Later that day I was in the bathroom putting away towels and was standing in the corner by the linen closet. My puppy of course followed me in and sniffed around for a while. Then she came up to me started to growl really furiously at something in the linen closet. She had never done that before and never did it since.

I would go to a lot of antique auctions to find stuff to decorate our house with. Sometimes I had to buy a whole box of stuff just for one item that I really wanted. So I started to sell the extra antiques on Ebay. One of the extra things I had was an antique dress form. It was made of heavy-duty paperboard and it was adjustable for making different size dresses. The board was held together with a couple hundred paper fasteners. I got a good price for it on Ebay but the person who bought wanted to save money on shipping costs, so she asked me to take it apart and ship it flat in a smaller box.

Taking those fasteners out turned out to be long and tedious work. When my daughter came in to the study and asked if I would make her some lunch I was more than glad to take a break. My daughter and I were the only ones home at the time. I wasn't hungry so I fixed up a simple lunch of peanut butter and jelly and a glass of juice for her at the kitchen table. I sat there for a few minutes with her while she ate, but then I had to get back to work if I wanted to get that dress form shipped out by that afternoon. When I got back to the study I found that the dress form was finished. All the fasteners were taken out and the pieces lying neatly on the floor. Even the fasteners were stacked in a neat little pyramid on the floor. I know my daughter didn't do it because she was with me while I made her lunch and even if she could have done it she could never have finished the job so quickly.

It took me about an hour to do half of it before I left it to make lunch. How could the rest be finished in less than 15 minutes? That fall my daughter started kindergarten. She went only a half of day in the afternoon. It was about 11 o'clock in the morning and she was upstairs getting ready for school. I was in the kitchen cleaning up. My daughter came running downstairs and said, "Mom Ian is home from school already. Do I still have to go to school?" I told her that Ian is not home and yes she has to go to school. Then she said "Oh, I thought Ian was home because I heard a little kid calling for you upstairs I thought it was Ian."

My mother came to stay with us around Thanksgiving time. My son was still afraid to go upstairs by himself and my mother was still blaming me and my ghost stories for his uncommonly strong fear. That night the kids asked if they could camp out on the floor with Grandma and Grandpa in the guest room. Of course they were delighted to have a sleep over with them and we all went to bed. The next morning while helping me make pancakes my mom leans over and whispers "Sorry I yelled at you for scaring Ian. Now I know you were right, your house is haunted." She then went on to explain that she was woken up in the middle of the night by a little girl calling "Mom" from out in the hallway. At first she was half asleep and she thought she had all her kids living at home again and it was one of us girls calling for her. But then as she woke up more she realized that she was at my house and all of her girls were all grown up now. So she thought maybe what she was hearing my daughter. She was a little irritated with me because I should have heard her calling me by now and gotten out of bed myself to see what was wrong. But when she looked Josie was sound asleep on the floor beside the bed. She checked on Ian too but he was sleeping as well. She said it was defiantly a little girl in the hall calling, "Mom." And it wasn't her imagination and she wasn't dreaming.

When early spring came around again I decided that the floors needed a good cleaning. I didn't want to damage the hardwoods by cleaning them too much with harsh cleaners. So I cleaned them on my hands and knees with a slightly dampened sponge. It took me longer than I thought to clean them and it was well after midnight. The kids and my husband had gone to bed around 9 o'clock. I was tired and I just wanted to finish. I didn't want to leave any of it to do the next day. I had the study window open to let in the fresh spring breeze and help dry the floors. But when the breeze started to pick up the door to the study would slam close in the cross wind going through the house. I hated the study door being closed because of that impression I got of something not to be seen behind it. So it bothered me that it was closed.

Now the door to the study had a newer knob and it was never properly installed so the knob on the outside kept falling off. That night the knob had fallen off several times and I just left lying on the desk in the study instead of putting it back on. Every time the door slammed in the breeze I had to pry the door open with a pen. It was a pain in the butt! I was almost done, I just little more left to do in the entry and the floors would be done. When the study door slammed shut one more time I just looked at it and sighed. I wanted to finish my job. So I decided to leave the door shut and I would open it back up before I went up to bed. I got back to scrubbing and a few seconds later I heard a click and a long slow creak. I looked up and the study door was opening up all by its self. That's when I decided that our ghost was only helping me out.

The next summer my daughter said one day that she had a ghost in her room but she wasn't afraid to go to sleep at night because the little girl would go into my room at night and leave her alone. My daughter has a good imagination and I didn't pay much attention to her little story until one cold winter night.

Josie was giving me the usual hard time about going to bed, she was a natural night owl and it was tough getting her settled for the night. She made up every excuse to stay up later. That night her excuse was that she was cold and she couldn't sleep. She carried on for about an hour before finally drifting off to sleep. I woke up suddenly for no apparent reason. I opened my eyes and looked at the clock it was 11:34. I closed my eyes again and was soon drifting off when I heard a slight sound at the foot of my bed. It was the sound of a child breathing softly. It sounded like my daughter when she is half asleep. It was quiet but deep sounding. I thought to myself that it was Josie and she came in to see if I were awake. On other nights if I were sleeping she would just go back to bed but if I were awake she would ask me to tuck her back into bed. I was half asleep and I really didn't want to get out of bed so I pretended I was sleeping in hopes Josie would think I was asleep and go back to bed on her own. After a few seconds her breathing got shallower and I began to get worried, her breathing sounded like she was sick. Just then I felt a small hand grasp my foot that was sticking out from the covers. It was super cold. I said to myself. Gees, Josie really was cold and now she is sick. So I sat up and started to ask Josie if she were okay, But there was no one there. My room was empty.

I went to check on Josie. I found her fast asleep in her bed all snuggled down and warm in her blankets. I reached out and felt her hands...they too were toasty warm.

It was about a month after that and I was again having trouble sleeping. I tossed and turned. Everyone else was sleeping. I looked at the clock: 11:30 and still wide-awake. I rolled over and put my hand around my husband. I was facing the door to our room and looking at the big crack in our bedroom door. I started debating whether or not I should replace the door or leave it because it was original to the house. Was it better to have a perfect door or a door that was cracked but original? All of sudden a blurry blob appeared right in front of the crack in the door. I sat up in bed and tried to focus in on the blob. I actually said out loud "What the Heck is that?" I tried to squint my eyes because it was really blurry. It looked like a blob of steamy smoke floating right in front of the door just above the doorknob. As I was looking at the blob it started to focus and it became less and less blurry. It started to take shape. It was like when you are at the eye doctors trying different lens and he slowly focuses in so that the blurry black blob in front of your eyes begin to form letters. But instead of letters a face took shape. It was the face of a little girl. She had a slender pointed face with a thin pointed nose. She had very straight posture and looked very serious. She had blonde hair and it was done up in tiny little braids that were looped up and tied with ribbons all around her head. She had on a white linen dress with a very delicate looking lace yolk style collar. It looked like something from around the turn of the century. She looked like she was only 6 or 7 years old. I only saw her from the shoulders up every thing else was a blur from her shoulders down. As soon as she took shape she moved forward into my room. As she walked around to the foot of my bed she disappeared. I sat up for a few seconds looking around trying to determine if what I just saw was my imagination or maybe on of those waking dreams. Just then I felt a small cold hand grasp my foot and shake it slightly. I woke my husband up but he saw nothing.

A few weeks after that I was down in the basement trying to flush air out of the oil burner of the furnace. I looked up and noticed something stuffed into one of the spaces behind a floor joist. I reached up and pulled it down. It was a newspaper from 1905. It was rolled up into a torch and was burned on the end. Like someone had once used it to light the furnace. When we bought the house the deed said the house was built in 1908. So I decided it was time to do some research on the house.

I found out that no one had owned the house for more than ten years and that the deeds go back as far as 1902. The first time it was sold was in the 1930s and the seller was someone who had inherited the house. He was not the builder and that he lived out of state. So no one was living in the house up until he sold it. The little girl that I saw had a dress on from the turn of the century, so lived there right after it was built. I checked with the census records and it shows no one living at my address in 1900 (the house wasn't built until 1902) and the census for 1910 also shows no one living here as well. So I can only guess at who the little girl is. I figured that maybe her parents built the house but she died before 1910 and they moved out after she died.

Also there is an old Chinese Peony tree in the front yard. Up until the 1970s Chinese Peony trees were super rare in gardens in the US because of the closed trade of China. They were once given as wedding gifts because they symbolize the consummation of true love. Everyone in my neighborhood said the peony tree was there when they moved in the 1950s and the older couple that lived there then said that it was there since they moved in. So I can only guess that the peony was there since it was built. (This is a peony tree not a bush and it is said that the oldest know tree is well over 300 years old in China). So I also guessed from all that I researched. That the house was built for a newly wed couple and that the peony tree was given to them as a wedding gift. So it is possible that the newly wed couple had a little girl shortly after the house was built. She must have died then around 1908 or 1909 before the next census and the couple moved out of the house after she died. I also think she died in the middle of the night from a serious illness because she sounded really sick when I heard her breathing that night in my room.

Other little things have happened in the house like a door closing all by itself and once a heard a very loud sign right beside me on the couch. My dog heard the sigh too because she looked right at the spot where the noise came from right when it happened. Also one day my dog and I were taking a much needed afternoon nap when the kids where in school. It was about 1 o'clock in the afternoon and my dog was snoring beside me on the bed. We were both awoken by the sound of someone running up the stairs. The footsteps ended at the top of the steps. My dog looked around for a couple of seconds then hopped down from the bed and went to the top of the steps she then looked down the step and then down the hall. When she didn't find anything she hopped back up in bed and went back to sleep.

One time I went up stairs to turn off all of the lights before we left to go to the store (my kids are forever leaving lights on). I was about to go downstairs and then decided to double-check my son's room. He said he already turned off his light but I decided to check anyway (I know how my son is about thinking he did something when he didn't). Of course his light was on too, so I turned it off and we all left. When we got back home his light was on again. Also I was forever finding Ian's drapes open in his room. His room is typically a disaster and the people could look into his room from one of their upstairs windows. Being embarrassed at how messy his room was I was telling him time and time again to close the drapes. He looked at me and didn't know what I was talking about each time. Then one time the kids were gone for a few weeks visiting my parents and I was home alone. I went out to grab a bit to eat one afternoon and came home to find his drapes wide open again when I knew I they were closed.

One night about 4 o'clock in the morning our stereo came blasting on at full volume all on its own. One day after my husband had left for work I heard a little girl say in a sweet voice, "Ian are you awake yet?" I thought it was my daughter so I pulled my robe on and headed for Ian's room to get him out of bed before he was late. But when I got to hall there was no one there and the kids were already downstairs eating breakfast.

On another morning I had gotten the kids up and was busy ironing in the spare bedroom and left the kids to get ready on their own. I again heard a little girl in a sweet voice say "Ian it's time to get up." I again thought it was daughter and headed for Ian's room so that he wouldn't be late, but I again found both kids ready for school and eating breakfast at the kitchen table. One morning I woke up to find a photo that was hanging in the entry hall sitting on the floor in the kitchen.

For a couple of weeks my husband would hear a humming noise that no one else could hear, it really bothered him because he couldn't identify where the sound was coming from. I too heard a little girl call "mom" one afternoon when both the kids were in school. It was very very faint it sounded like it was coming from an old-fashioned record player speaker. I heard it again a few days later. Also for a few months before we moved I kept seeing someone looking into the window in our front door out of the corner of my eye and when I turn to see who it was, there was no one there. My sister came to visit and she said she was seeing the same thing (I didn't tell of what I was seeing first, she brought it up).

One night before going to bed my husband noticed a really big mess on the floor at the foot of our bed. Josie had been going through the photo albums earlier in the day and had gotten photos strewn all over the floor. It was a big mess. My husband was about to get Josie out of bed and clean the mess up right away. I stopped him and commented on how it was late and how I already scolded her and I told him I wanted to clean up the photos because I wanted to be sure they went back into the proper albums. He said okay and we both went to bed and sleep well that night. I got up around 5:00 am to use the bathroom. When I walked around the end of the bed I noticed that not only where all the photos neatly put back where they were supposed to be, but also about 6 photos were left out. Each photo was turned over and neatly arranged in a triangle. I woke my husband up and he just shook his head and said maybe the cats did it? We both knew it wasn't the cats and we knew the kids didn't come in the middle of the night to clean up a mess either.

One day while working hanging up a chair rail in Ian's room my husband misplaced several of his drill bits. My husband is very particular about his tools. His has a little case just for bits and he keeps them very neat and tidy. It was very upsetting for him to lose a few of the bits. He first blamed me for losing them and then blamed the kids. None of us touched them and he finally had to admit that he was the last to use them. He complained and complained about those missing drill bits. Then about a week later he opened his drill bit case and found the missing bits right where they belonged. We questioned the kids but they didn't even know where he kept the case.

Our little ghost helped out finding some more missing items later that summer. We don't smoke so we really don't have a good supply of lighters or matches in the house. We had just bought a new charcoal grill and we also bought a pack of 12 lighters to use when we cooked out. About a week after we bought the lighters all but 2 disappeared. We of course did the little speech about not playing with fire with our kids but they said they didn't know where they were. My husband complained about those missing lighters all summer long and my son never stopped professing his innocence in the matter. Then one day around the end of summer my husband went to get one of the remaining lighters to fire up the grill, when he open the drawer where they were kept he found not only two lighters but all 12. I guess our ghost got tired of listening to my husband complain about them. I know I was!

Latter when thanksgiving rolled around we were invited to my aunt's house for dinner. My aunt had always joked that I was a terrible cook, but the last time she tried one of my dishes when I was 12. So taking the opportunity to show everyone in my family that I was not a bad cook I told my Aunt that I would bring dessert. I of course made the typical pies but also decided to make something really yummy. It was an oohey gooey pecan tart. The recipe called for the tart to be baked in the oven at a low temperature for 3 hours then to turn the oven off and let the pie slowly cool in the oven with out opening the oven door. I had been baking the other pies all day and the last pie I made was the tart. I put the tart in the oven at 10:00 pm and figured I would turn the oven off at 1:00 o'clock in the morning and then go to bed. By morning it would be cool and ready to go to my Aunt's house. I was really nervous, my whole reputation as a good cook depended on this tart. Everything was going good until I fell asleep around midnight. I woke up early the next morning in terror expecting to find my precious tart burnt to a crisp. I ran down stairs to find that the oven was off. I thought that maybe I had forgotten to turn the oven on in the first place; after all it was late last night when I put the tart in the oven. But when I checked on the tart I found it was cooked perfectly. It wasn't under cooked and it wasn't over cooked. I thanked my husband for getting up and turning the oven off just at the right time. But he said he didn't do it. So my ghost saved the day once again and my tart was a hit.

One day we were sitting at the kitchen table eating dinner. Our dog always sat on the floor in front of the table hoping to catch a falling crumb or two. Suddenly she got up and started to bark. We taught her how to "Speak" when she wanted a treat or a toy. We would have her sit in front of us while we held up the treat or toy. Then we would say "Speak Willow". If she barked we gave it to her. It wasn't a loud bark, just kinda a half of bark.

Well that night at dinner when she was barking for no apparent reason, she was doing that half bark like when she is "Speaking". We joked about it and said "no willow you can't have Josie's sandwich." After dinner I went into the office to do some work while my husband was loading the dishwasher. The kids were still at the table. While in the office I heard my husband say from across the house, "Chelsea, Why did you throw that?" So I got to see what he was talking about. When he saw me come into the kitchen he turned a bit pale. I asked him what was wrong. He said that when he was standing in the middle of the kitchen he saw a milk ring appear out of thin air and then tossed to our dog. He said he saw it land but he could not see it take off from any given point. It just materialized out of thin air. I told my husband about something that happened a few weeks earlier. I was sound asleep one night and was woken up by a heavy thump on my hip. My cat had jump up on me while shed was playing. I listened to her play for a while, it sounded like she was playing with those little plastic rings that fit onto milk cartons to keep the cap sealed. Our cats loved to play with them. It sounded like she was throwing the milk ring around the room. After a few minutes of flying around the room after this milk ring she settle down and began to purr curled up at my side. Then I heard this little thump and then our cat jumped up from her curled up position and took after the milk ring again. It sounded like it hit the wall opposite the room. I was amazed at how she could have thrown it so far across the room. So I sat up and tried to see in the dark what she was doing. She saw me and came up and curled up on my hip. She started to purr and I could tell she was asleep. I was just drifting off to sleep myself when out of nowhere that milk ring fell into my upturned palm. It seemed to just appear in thin air and drop onto my palm. I shook it off as me being half asleep and not really knowing what my cat was doing in the dark. But as soon as I heard my husband's story I knew that our little ghost like to play with our pets.

From that point on even my logical husband had to admit we had a ghost. My son was no longer afraid in the house and we were happy there. There was no reason to be afraid of a ghost that was very helpful. But then last spring my husband's company started to go under. He found a new job and we had to move. We were heart broken to have to leave. We loved BASEFONT and our house. We moved to Oregon in late August. My husband's new company put us up in corporate housing for three months. At the end of three months I was to fly back to PA by myself and meet the movers to pack up all of our furniture. It was early November when I flew back. My flight arrived late and it was already dark when the taxi picked me up from the airport. I was expecting to arrive to a cold and dark house. As we drove up Bishop Street I told the driver that my house was at the top of the hill and it was the only house that was completely dark. All the other houses had at least one light on. He pointed to my house and said is it that one? and he also mentioned how dark it looked. He pulled up and I bent down to get my wallet out of my bag, but when I looked back up I saw that a light in the dining room had come on. The driver then said, "Hmm that's a mystery! Are sure no one is home to meet you?" I walked into the house and I found that the heat was also turned up for me. (We turned to heat to a minimum because no one was living there but we didn't want the pipes to freeze). I also found the office door closed and the drapes in my son's room open. So you see our little ghost was helping me out one last time.

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