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Minnesota, USA
August 2000

I have had strange friendships with more than one ghost, but this little story is about Henry, my ghostly college roommate.

I went to college at a small liberal arts college (a branch of a major university) located in a small farming town in the middle of the Minnesota prairie. God, what a boring town. For some reason, though, the level of paranormal activity in that town was unreal. Every house seemed to contain a spook. There's a story (probably apocryphal) that paranormal investigators on their way through town stopped at a local restaurant and warned the town had an especially dark feeling to it, and that it was located on the intersection of two psychic ley lines.

For three years, I lived in a great apartment building that was a converted elementary school. My apartment was the former 1st and 2nd grades. Anyway, the first year I lived there, my roommates "Kerry" and "Sarah" had moved in during the summer, and had been there several months before I arrived in September. The first night I slept there, I was a tad- not frightened, but I was being observed. I attributed it to my first night in a strange place.

The next day, I was having a conversation with Kerry about our respective summers, and she mentioned to me that she thought the apartment might be haunted. She had been told it was by the previous tenants, and she and Sarah had been having a few strange experiences. Things kept going missing in the bedroom that Sarah and I shared only to turn up in strange places. And she and several others had witnessed a strange shadow moving from my bedroom across the kitchen into the bathroom. This is odd, because the kitchen has no windows, and when the bedroom doors are shut, there is no outside light source to create this effect. It had been observed by her and a friend on its way from the bedroom to the bathroom, and another friend (who had not heard or been privy to the first sighting) suddenly exclaimed about 15 minutes later, "Did you see that?" and said that she had seen something move across the kitchen from the bathroom to the bedroom...the opposite direction.

The afternoon after Kerry had told me of our probable ghost, Sarah and I were in the kitchen making cappuccinos with my machine. Sarah removed the milk frothing attachment and placed it on the drain board next to the sink to clean it. Fifteen minutes later when she went to do so, the blade had disappeared. Now, both of us were in the room at the time, no one else was in the place, and I distinctly saw the whipping blade on the drainer when she put it there. We tore the kitchen apart looking for it. Sarah went through the garbage, and I thoroughly swept the floor, as well as getting on my hands and knees to peer across the surface of the linoleum. Finally, frustrated, I sat down on a kitchen chair and spoke to the ghost. "Listen," I said. "You have every right to be here- you've been here longer than we have. You can even have the middle room if you need your own space. It's cool, I don't mind. But you CANNOT have the frothing attachment to the coffee machine. I want it back." The next morning, Kerry found it directly underneath the chair I had been sitting in when I talked to him.

That's how Henry and I got acquainted. (The name of the school was Longfellow Elementary, thus his nickname) Henry and I got along great. I hung on sign on the door of the unused middle room that said "Henry's Room" (per my promise) and we had a clear understanding that as unfazed as I was by his presence, I had no desire to see him. He was not as fond of Sarah, and she was the main target of his pranks.

One incident is particularly clear in my memory. Sarah and I were talking in our bedroom. She was getting ready to leave, and placed her wallet on top of her coat, which was lying on her bed. We both left the room, and she went to the bathroom while I was in the kitchen talking to Kerry. By the time she returned to the bedroom, her wallet was missing. Again, we were the only three people in the place.

This happened in space of two minutes, and I witnessed both the placing of the wallet on the coat, and its absence when we returned to the bedroom. Once again, Sarah tore the place apart to no avail. The next afternoon, we were in the kitchen. The apartment had no closets- instead we had big movable oak wardrobes in all the rooms. The one in the kitchen was our coat closet. Sarah was standing in front of it, and Kerry was across the room in front of the bathroom door. Kerry looked over at Sarah and asked if she had found her wallet yet. "No." Sarah said. All of a sudden Kerry said, "What's that on top of the wardrobe?" I walked over to her vantage point, and sure enough, there was something up there. Sarah grabbed a chair, stood on it, and located her wallet directly in the center of the top of the 6 1/2 foot high wardrobe.

Mostly Henry misplaced our things and hid them in diabolically clever places, but on a few occasions, I felt him. This only happened a few times, and always when I was in bed at night. I would be lying on my side with my eyes closed trying to go to sleep, when I would feel the bed beside me depress like someone sat next to me, and then I would feel my hair being gently moved off of my cheek and tucked behind my ear. I would open my eyes, and nothing would be there. I was very fond of Henry, and not at all creeped out.

Actually, he made me feel safer. I felt that Henry would protect me from bad spirits, (I've had some encounters with those)and he never did anything even vaguely threatening.

Sometimes we wouldn't hear much of Henry for weeks, and then he would make his presence known again as if to say, "Hey! You're ignoring me!" If I talked to him occasionally, and acknowledged him, the incidences were much less. I stayed in the apartment until I graduated, and eventually both Kerry and Sarah were replaced by other roommates. They had their experiences as well, but the activity never reached the level that it did that first year.

Towards the end of that last year, I hadn't heard from him in months, and I resisted the urge to encourage a visit, hoping that he'd moved on.

Anyway, that's my story. It's not scary, nor is it intended to be.

Minnesota, USA
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