My mother, when she was about 17 years of age, lived in an average middle-class neighborhood in a semi-rural town in the Northeastern US that has since become quite popular, and regards her childhood years fondly. The account that I am about to tell did become a pivotal moment in my mother’s life, that continues to affect her to this day.
One late night, my mother was lying on her bed reading (which was not uncommon–she was and still is one to stay up into the wee hours of the night), while the rest of the household slept. She happened to look up into the doorway that led into the hall, and saw there an apparition of her mother, who was living at the time, standing in the door, floating just above the floor, but with no shoes. I am certain she was terrified, but to my knowledge she told no one (except for me some 35 years later). It was not long after this vision that my mother’s mother, my grandmother, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She fought for four long years, eventually passing at the age of 56 when my mother was 21 and engaged to be married to my father. My mother is now over 60 years old herself, and I believe she still carries the grief of her mother’s passing.
Other events took place that in that particular house as well. The house was situated on top of a hill that partially obscured the road below. On a very sad occasion one of their dogs ran down the hill after a toy, and was struck and killed by a passing vehicle. Because my mother was distraught, my father (her boyfriend at that time) stayed overnight–only for both of them to be awakened at the same time when they heard the sound of the dog’s nails clacking on the linoleum floor out in the kitchen, running in a familiar pattern heard previously when the dog was living, every morning on her way to the food dish. The dog was buried on the top of the hill by the family. Some weeks later, my mother was standing on the driveway, at the bottom of the hill, retrieving the mail at dusk after arriving home from work, only to look up to the top of the hill and see her beloved dog running toward the place where it was buried. She saw the dog do that once more after that instance, and then never again.
My grandfather was not a superstitious man, and also not religious, so when in full disclosure the seller of the home told him that his wife had committed suicide in the house, he paid it no mind. I never asked my mother how she knew such detail, but she had always said that the previous owner’s wife died by drinking Drain-o. Perhaps that terrible suicide played a role in casting a shadow over the house. She did say that the family would sometimes awaken to all the kitchen cabinets swung wide open, but never specified that she saw the previous owner or any undeniable signs that the house was haunted by anyone in particular.
Perhaps passed down by my mother (and to her from other female relatives I imagine), my own life has also always been filled with the unexplained, which has opened my mind and made me willing to accept the truth that life is ever stranger than fiction. I have many stories of my own that when I have more time would love to write in about. I heard you talk about ghosts of the living on a podcast recently, and it reminded me of my mother’s story from her youth. Thank you for your work in this area.
Submitted by Caroline Pastore
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