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Unexpected Guest (2)

February 2001

When I was college, I was the very definition of "footloose and fancy-free." I hung out with friends, drank beers, and sought meaningless relationships. I'm not telling you this to brag (not that there's much there to brag about), but I want you to understand how far away my mind was from anything pertaining to the supernatural. So when I had my ghostly encounter, it came clear from left field and literally caused me to look at life in a different way.

I'll try to make this short and sweet -- just as it happened.

I worked a summer job at an old mansion that once belonged to a successful local businessman and his wife. The town benefited from the gifts the left both when they were alive and after they passed away. Since then, the mansion and its grounds have been converted into an historic park (so much for "short and sweet.")
As part of the grounds crew (yes, it was dreadful work), I had to bring some tools back to the storage shed. I walked into the shed, flipped on the light, and set the tools on the bench. I reached down to brush some birdox of my socks and shoelaces and a voice clear as day said, "Over there, Lester."
I jumped up startled and looked all around and saw no one. Then I turned to the left again and this man just standing there. It happened so fast that I could barely register his image. I thought everything at once: Who is he? How did he get there? Is he a lost guest? Is it a drunk guy? Is he crazy?
And then in a blink, he was gone. I can't explain how he vanished. It wasn't like vanishing at all; more like, he was there and then he wasn't (I guess that's what vanishing is, but like I said, it's tough to truly describe).
Let me tell you, I was out of that shed and up to the front lawn in seconds flat, shaking uncontrollably. Explaining myself was a frustrating and embarrassing situation. People wanted to believe me (and I guess a few pretended to) but no one REALLY did.

Only in retrospect can I remember what the man looked like. He was maybe in his late 30s, early 40s, moustache and sideburns, brownish hair. He had on some kind of gray or brown work suit, so I thought he could have been a gardener from long ago. He looked at me like he was expecting something from me, like I was supposed to do something. I have never found out who he is, or who "Lester" is. Looking in history books, I've learned what I expected: plenty of employees from cooks to gardeners to maids worked there.

Whoever it was, he scared the hell out of me. Seeing him standing there was scary indeed, but when I think back on it, it's the memory of the initial voice that chills me the most. It just came out from the silence. Sometimes I still scare myself just by anticipating something like it happening again. It's not something you can be ready for, and I certainly wasn't then.

Overall, a unique and good experience, but not one without nightmares attached.

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