Gina Olin, Washington State, USA
Ten years ago my grandparents moved into the house they presently occupy, a perfectly ordinary 3-bedroom rambler in a suburban neighbourhood where the houses all look alike. I was 20 years old at the time, and when I came to see the new house, I jokingly asked, "So, is it haunted?" They assured me it wasn't, but I hardly needed assurance. I made the joke because this seemed like the least likely house in the world to lodge a ghost.
My grandparents have a flair for gardening and remodeling, and they soon turned the rather boring house into a wonderful little abode, and settled down to enjoy their retirement.
I never imagined anything out of the ordinary could happen there until a few years ago when my mother and I drove down to spend the night before a big family reunion that was taking place the next day. We turned in for the night, my mother taking the guest room while I slept on the couch in the living room.
In the early morning hours, I awoke to a very loud CRASH! I sat straight up -- it sounded as if someone had hurled a large box full of plates and glasses onto the kitchen floor. My mother is diabetic, and I immediately thought, "Oh no -- Mom's having an insulin reaction." I figured she was stumbling around in there, unaware of what she was doing, and needed some sugar to keep from going into insulin shock.
I dashed to the kitchen entryway and turned on the light, but saw no broken dishes. This was a relief, actually; maybe things weren't as bad as they had sounded. But where was Mom? I checked the extra bathroom (adjacent to the kitchen), but she wasn't there. Next I checked the rec room, but she wasn't there either. "Oh no, not the garage," I thought, but the door was locked. I unlocked it and looked anyway, but Mom wasn't in there. "The back yard?" I thought, and turned on the patio light... nothing but trees and flowers. I was beginning to feel uneasy.
I turned off the patio light and headed toward the main bathroom, but the door was open and the lights were off. Now I was in the hall, at the end of which was my grandparents' room and the guest room. I could hear my grandfather snoring. I stepped lightly down the hall and pushed the door to the guest room open a crack; there was Mom, sound asleep.
I went back to the couch and just sat there for a while. I knew I had heard something -- I tend to sleep like a log, and nothing had ever startled me awake before so suddenly as to cause me to sit straight up like I did. The crash I heard had been very loud and unmistakable -- it should have awakened everyone in the house. I didn't know what to think, but the dashing around had exhausted me, and I felt relieved at finding Mom okay, so I lay down. Eventually I fell back asleep.
Much later that morning, at breakfast, I told my mother and grandparents what had happened. My grandparents suddenly looked at each other, then looked away. My grandmother said, while looking at her plate, "Mrs. Mac Donald."
"What?" I asked.
My grandmother forced herself to brighten up and said, "Mrs. Mac Donald. She was the previous owner's wife. They were an elderly couple, and she died while they lived here."
"In the house?"
"No, in the hospital. But we hear plates rattling in the sink sometimes, or other such noises, always in the kitchen, and we figure it's her. We just tell her, ' Mrs. Mac Donald, you be quiet in there!' and she usually does. She hasn't ever hurt anybody or broken anything, so it's nothing to worry about."
I have spent the night on that couch a few times since then, and I always expect something to happen, but so far nothing else has.