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House Watch

Shelia, Tennessee, USA
August 1999

Iworked as a housekeeper for a very nice family for several years. I worked until the birth of my daughter about 4 years ago. I loved the work there and the house was lovely with a beautiful view of the lake by which it sets. The owners also had a home in Florida a few states away and as part of my job, I was to watch the house while they were away.

My first experiences were only feelings and I would shrug them off as uneasiness about being alone in the house while the lady of the house was away for many of her long trips to Florida. The feelings were so strong sometimes, however, that I'd leave early or take someone along with me as I worked. When I was there alone I'd find myself talking to the "feeling" as if it were a person. I'd explain things that I was doing and why. I had an aunt that had worked for the family before I had...I talked to her about my "feeling" and asked her about how she felt while there. She told me that she'd always felt comfortable there but that Ms.Griggs had a young daughter die in a car accident when she was 16. That she'd been told some stories from another housekeeper there before she'd come to work there about some scary encounters and she only laughed, as if she didn't really believe in such things. I stopped my questions and decided to save face by laughing at it also. I continued to work on every other day of the week. Things were easier that the lady of the house had returned from Florida and was there most of the days I worked.

One day as I cleaned in the sun favorite spot in the house...I sang as I worked. The sun wasn't shining that day and the sky looked as if it would rain. On days like that I usually would be afraid while I worked but not that day because Ms. Griggs was there and I felt at ease. But as I dusted I felt a chill suddenly in the air and heard a tinkling. Was it laughter? No...or was it? Then it happened, the leaves of one of the large house plants started moving...shaking as if a strong wind was blowing...then another and then all of the plants were moving in the same fashion. I screamed! Ms. Griggs came running through the long hallway she could see me and one of the large trees shaking and rattling nearest me from the hallway. As she entered the room they stopped. She looked at me dismayed. She only saw the one plant moving and didn't realize they all had been moving like that. She said," What on earth was that?". I didn't say anything, only stood with eyes wide and couldn't find anything to say. She then laughed and said it must have been an animal of some kind at the base of the little tree. Lets take the tree outside and call the Pest Control office just in case it was a mouse. I didn't protest. I moved the tree with her help out to he pool patio. As she called the Pest Control, I swallowed hard and looked at the room. I said to the room that was now quiet and warm again, " I'm only here to help in the house and would never do anything to hurt anyone, please be kind to me". I heard the little tinkling laughter again and that seemed to be the end of it. Although on rainy days when I was to be there alone I became ill or insisted on the company of anyone that would like to sit by the pool as I worked.

Shelia, Tennessee, USA
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