Tuesday, October 26, 2010

haunted manor


We moved to the manor 22 years ago. The French Country style limestone and cedar house was built in 1927 and named "Willow Manor" by the original owners. The little culvert, that runs through our four acres, and deposits into the Scioto River behind our property, was once lined with large, lovely weeping willow trees. If you would have asked me then, if I believed in ghosts, I would have laughed.

Not only do I now believe in ghosts, I've learned to live comfortably alongside them, accepting their presence, since Willow Manor is haunted. There's nothing evil or life threatening about my ghostly cohabitants, but they let it be known, on a regular basis, that they exist. Dogs stand at attention, ears up, gazing at a particular corner of the room. Babies have peered up the back stairwell, smiling and waving, when we were alone on the first floor. They are friendly energies.

One of the spirits is that of a small, elderly lady, hunched over, all in white, who roams the house mostly between 3:30 and 5:00 a.m., creaking slowly up and down the front staircase. Her distinctive perfume is so powerful, it often wakes me.  She is known to sit on the edge of the bed of overnight visitors, new to the manor, leaning to whisper indiscernible messages in their ears.  All three of my children have seen her numerous times, but I hear her, most days, loudly rustling dishes in the kitchen, opening and closing doors, walking the staircase, and on one occasion, WT and I actually heard her let out a shrill scream.  She likes to leave the kitchen junk drawer open, the contents carefully sorted on the counter top. Last December, when I was baking holiday cookies, I was inadvertently about to add the eggs, before I had creamed the butter and sugar. (You cookie bakers will recognize this as a no-no.) Just as I held the first egg over the bowl,  ready to crack, a force hit my hand from underneath, sending the egg sailing over my shoulder, to land with a splat on the floor behind me. Obviously, this ghost is not only orderly, but is an experienced cook, as well.

Our first week at the manor, a neighbor boy announced that one of the previous owners of Willow Manor had hung himself on a branch of a tall fir tree on the front lawn. It was a troubling bit of information, but we didn't think much of it.  The next June, I was busy in the kitchen, when I felt a presence at my side. Thinking it was my daughter, who was about seven years old at the time, I closed the cabinet door and looked down, expecting to see her. Instead, a tall, transparent man, with a square jaw and curly hair stood beside me, gazing out the window.  As I let out a shriek, he turned his pale, serious face, and looked down, over his shoulder at me, before swirling into thin air.  Every hair on my body stood at attention. Years later, I did some online research and learned this previous owner had committed suicide in the month of June.

Recently, when we had a new sofa delivered, one of the delivery men announced, quite out of the blue, with tears in his eyes, he had actually lived in this house as a small boy and his father had done away with himself outside, in front of the manor.  This guy was extremely tall, with a head full of curls, and looked uncannily similar to the vanishing ghost, who stood at my kitchen window that June day.

88 comments:

  1. I think the ghosts at the manor are happy to have you as the lady of the house. They certainly seem very social.

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  2. first of all.
    wow.

    and I agree with Angella. You seem to be honouring whatever spirits there are.

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  3. Willow,
    I'm sure your ghosts are pleased with how you have managed the Manor over the past 22 years. How could they be but pleasant spirits!
    :) The Bach

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  4. Marla in ClintonvilleTue Oct 26, 12:18:00 PM

    Yowza Willow! I'm not certain I would handle the encounters as easily as you do. So do me a favor and don't ask your co-habitants about friends they may have in Clintonville. :)

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  5. Goosebumps, hairs on end and eyes watering. Okay, the stuff left out on the counter would have freaked me out and the egg incident might have sent me packing. Strangely, now I'm dying to come visit. I can't help but think of that poor delivery boy. What a thing to live with. An interesting life you lead dear Willow, quite!

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  6. I've no doubt about ghosts, and I love that you are so open to their visits and their stories.

    Isn't it amazing what babies can see?

    If I were I ghost, I think Willow Manner would be top on my list of haunts!

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  7. Now you have MY hair standing on top of my back! How do your visitors cope with their nightly invaders? I think talking about ghosts and actually SEEING one makes quite a difference!

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  8. great tale. how could a place called Willow Manor not have ghosts?

    things that once were odd grow common as we spend more time together.

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  9. Kim it is amazing how we can adapt to certain things, how common they become with time.

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  10. Angela, some of our overnight guests have had the bejesus scared out of them, and others were incredibly calm about their encounters.

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  11. You are the gracious keeper of the Manor spirits and I thik they are happy to coexist with you there. On my first visit to the manor, the lady visited me...and was also very gracious. I think that's why you fit so well there : )

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  12. Cat, you are one of those incredibly calm, gracious guests I am speaking of!

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  13. Willow Manor sounds like a fascinating place!

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  14. I got goosebumps too! I have a VERY highly developed startle reflex - so I would probably have a heart attack if I lived with ghosts.

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  15. I'm sure you must have expected ghosts to reside at Willow Manor. I admire your willingness to share your space with them.

    I'm a more selfish person and either the ghosts would have to leave or I would.

    Still, I'm glad you're at Willow Manor so you can recount your encounters with

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  16. I so understand! My family have other world people move with us. We have aunts and uncles that visit and my daughter. I too bought a house that the owner had died in. He committed suicide in my living room after carefully getting everything ready for his wife to be taken care of. He even called the EMTs so they would get him befor his wife got home from her hair appointment. I knew nothing of this when I bought the house. So understandably I did not understand why when I began painting and removing walls, odd things began to happen. My vision blurred coming down off of a ladder and I fell. Doors opened and shut, shadows walked by, dogs barked at nothing. Then I found this out. Mr and I talked. I told him it was not that I didnt like what he did, I was just updating it. New paint, because in fact I LOVE his house. From then on the weird stuff stopped. Now he comes by to remind me that I need to lock my doors, let the blinds down, etc. He takes care of me and mine.

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  17. nice. i love ghost stories....as you know i grew up with a graveyard in my back yard...i have seen a few myself....

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  18. What a wonderful and moving telling of your encounter with "the others". I'm one who would probably say I don't believe in them, but this makes me pause. Maybe it is my age too, sigh... I'm more open and reflective now. And I've traveled a few places that really made me wonder... Love your blog and your wonderful way with words and photography.

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  19. Dear Willow, You have certainly reached an accommodation with your ghosts. I am not sure that I could be so welcoming but they do seem to be friendly sorts. At Hallowe'en you have your own resident ghosts so there is no need to go out looking for them!

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  20. Nice that you can live happily with the ghosts, accepting their presence.
    Blessings, Star

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  21. Love this story and I have no doubt it is all true.
    I have had experiences like that in two of my previous houses but alas, disappointingly, none in this house and it is the oldest house I have ever lived in...it is 80 years old.
    Perhaps we are on just different planes and we are ghosts to them.

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  22. I ALWAYS enjoy it when you write about your ghosts.

    The last paragraph is a bit eerie...I am sure the man felt a bit strange coming BACK in to the house his father had lived his last days in...poor guy.

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  23. So much, we don't yet understand. A post to send a slight shiver, of fear or delight.

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  24. I love it when you talk about the house. Would love to see more pictures and hear more stories about it.

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  25. I'm gob-smacked! I simply can't comment. Well written but to me very creepy. Yours sounds the cool house but too many otherworldly inhabitants for me! ;¬D

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  26. Willow,
    You are more couragious than I!
    rel

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  27. Willow,
    You are more couragious than I!
    rel

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  28. Willow,
    You are more couragious than I!
    rel

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  29. You just don't want visitors, right?

    Amazing experiences.

    A woman once bent over me during the night many years ago. I thought it was a dream, but Bev, who also witnessed it, suddenly asked if I'd just seen what she had. We also witnessed a woman in dark-rimmed spectacles and a hat, watching us by the open doorway of our bedroom in the early hours. These are the only two inexplicable events in our 34yrs together, but they were very real.

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  30. Such a timely piece. Things that go bump in the night. Indeed.

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  31. I'm a believer! I have never lived with a ghost....but I have seen one once.... at Lone Mountain College (now part of USF)...I was walking home from school (I was about 10) and saw high atop the hill, a figure of a nun (in full old-fashioned habit) leaning over the cliff - her head bowed in sorrow.... I dashed home, told my Mum....she didn't really believe me. But, years after, when I was actually attending that college...I learned there was a nu who had killed herself....and many people have seen her - right where I did! Ah, vindicated..... I have never seen her again....but I will never forget it.

    I think it's great you have "visitors" from the "other side"...

    Hugs,

    ♥ Robin ♥

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  32. I've never experienced the paranormal. Always thinking there must be a rational explanation for such happenings. In truth, the thought terrifies me. I like to think that if someone is going to frighten the shit out of me, they have the decency to at least have a pulse!

    I know so many who'd love a stay at the Manor!

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  33. When can I come visit? How cool is it that you live in a haunted manor!?! My Niece regularly sees my departed grandfather....she's a teenager and is mostly freaked out about it, but I love knowing he is still around.

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  34. It is nice that you have learned to live side by side with the home's previous owners. Very cool story!

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  35. I am reading this, all alone in my house with the sun going down behind my back, and it feels like someone ran their finger up my spine!

    yikes!

    but I do love your organized little wandering spirit, I could use her around here.

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  36. Hello Willow,

    Some eery Tales from Willow Manor. I believe you.

    A tad scared in Monterey,
    Marjorie

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  37. I loved my visit to the Manor, but I'm wondering if I'd be up to an overnight stay--sounds spooky!

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  38. Are you trying to give me nightmares?!....Wow you are a brave soul Willow!....i would be like scooby dooo slapping my feet against the floor trying to run away....:-) My maternal grandmother was certain that she had ESP, and thought she would be visited by dead relatives, and could see auras...she was truly a lot of fun to spend time with....and I believe that she believed what she saw. :-)

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  39. Most excellent, Willow my dear. Excellent.

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  40. Willow dear, I so love your ghostie stories especially as we approach Halloween.
    We have our own here as well, the old man in the corner of my youngest Granddaughter;s bedroom forever rocking in his rocking chair, the skipping girl who skips along the lower paddock towards the dam . . . . you hear the skipping coming closer behind you and think it is one of the children, then it just passes you in the direction of the dam. Some years later we found out that little Mariann had tied the dog's leash around her waist and been drowned in the dam. She was 10 at the time. Sometimes i visit her grave and sit with her a while.

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  41. Fascinating. I often wonder who keeps taking things when I go looking for them.

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  42. Willow,

    I would love to live in a place like Willow Manor. I would totally embrace them as long as they were not harmful. I think they would have a lot to teach me.

    The surrounding area of your property sounds so peaceful and lovely. I am sure you are a comfort to them. I sometimes wonder if they even know they are dead? Or better yet are we? Planes of existance have always, always interested me.

    Warm wishes,
    Kristen

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  43. Wild, wild, wild. I loved reading this today when I feel like my life is relentless --

    Stay safe with the sweet ghosts, for sure!

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  44. Oooh, how creepy, even ghoulish. May we have some more? :) How fabulous to live in such a wonderful manor. I've often envisioned your place as a good location for a Merchant Ivory film.

    Say hi to the nice ghosts for me.

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  45. wow! what a coincidence that one of your ghosts son came to make a delivery!

    nice that you have a house of caspers (that would be friendly ghosts)

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  46. Kim, I know! Actually, I don't think it was a coincidence. When you think of all the furniture stores in the metro area, and even this one most likely had several delivery crews. Amazing synchronicity.

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  47. Artslice, Merchant Ivory is exactly what we thought when we first saw this place, and fell in love.

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  48. Arija, I am totally intrigued by your little Mariann!

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  49. Sounds as if you all get along just fine! What a great post!

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  50. Yikes! A great tale for Halloween! It sounds like you have very kindly spirits living with you...

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  51. When my daughter lived in another city, she had a ghost in her house. At the time, she was sharing the house with a friend, and the friend's daughter. The adults coexisted with the spiritual resident; the ghost and the little girl got along famously.

    When my daughter went to sell the house, the ghost started throwing things around when prospective buyers came to visit. Coming up with an explanation for the developments was a bit challenging.

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  52. If any ghost sat on my bed in the middle of the night to whisper secrets to me, there would be a new ghost in the neighborhood! Yikes!

    But it's sad that they seem to want to reach out to the living, and all they get is surprise and fear. I bet they loved seeing that baby, happy to see them.

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  53. So, if I don't believe in any of these things, why is it that the hair on the back of my neck is standing up in frightened attention? Eerie stuff, but you get the best of both worlds, the company of ghosts, but none of the scaries that usually accompany them. I had to laugh at your phantom cooking assitant, though. If I had such a ghost to keep me from miscues and misteps in the kitchen, the poor thing would tire itself out from slapping me around all day.

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  54. These ghosts must feel comfortable in the Manor with you as the Owner (as well as W.T.).

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  55. The house i grew up in had a spirit, so I hear ya, sista. It always sounds strange to me when somebody says "there's no such thing as ghosts." Pfffft. Of course there are.

    There is a show on Discovery that I like, called "A Haunting" in which they re-enact true hauntings. The wives and kids are always freaking out, knowing the house is haunted, and it's always the husband saying it's their imaginations blah blah lol. Until something happens to them, then they believe.

    What happened to the willows?

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  56. Fireblossom, the willows were old and just died out with age. There was one solitary ancient one here when we moved in. It's now long gone.

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  57. Of course I believe in ghosts..mine are attached to me , move when I do..I think they might be guardians..
    I love that the delivery man validated the sad event on the lawn..and so cosely resembled the ghost!

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  58. How brilliant. In the house I grew up in we used to hear at about the same time most nights the front door open and heavy footsteps walk up the stairs into the attic. We live in a 300 year old house in the country now, and have done for the last 7 years, but no ghosts yet!

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  59. Shug, 300 year old house and no ghosts? Oh, there must be!

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  60. We also live with spirits, they are most active during the holidays. We call them the Grandmothers, it seems a special privilege. It seems you can only see them out of the side of your eye, just a glimpse, sometimes a shadow. Today is a beautiful day, and the spirits are welcome any day.

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  61. WOW! Willow, I always love your posts, but this one is wonderful. It's great that you are so accepting of your 'other worldly' guests. Without fear, there can only be love. I think it is wonderful that the young man delivered your furniture so you could make the connection between him and his departed Father.

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  62. So spooky! They sound like lost souls that just can't or don't know how to move on...house guests forever!

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  63. As they are all friendly then i think it is lovely that they chose to live with you. Not sure I would want to live there though.

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  64. My domicle was built in 1953, and
    we purchased it in 1993. Those
    first 40 years must have been
    corkers. The previous owner,
    an older lady, lived here alone
    and sold at a loss, our gain,
    because of the ghosts that
    appear and roam within.
    We moved in with light hearts
    and no predispositions, and
    soon had several visitors.
    My three daughters never fully
    adjusted to them, and many
    of the sightings are in the
    spooky basement where
    Melva and I reside, my film
    collection covers the walls,
    and my two desks are set up.
    Turns out that this home
    must have been built on
    several portals, and our
    visitors are never the same;
    so we conclude that they
    are not former residents,
    just passers by. The other
    night, upstairs, Melva looked
    over on the couch and a
    middle-aged couple were
    sitting there watching TV
    with her. We are welcoming
    to these visitors, but it is
    always hair-raising to
    encounter them. Mostly, over
    the last several years we get
    the peripheral glimpses of
    shapes and shadows, that
    are not there when we turn
    and gaze at the spectral stimuli.
    I feel that there are pets who
    visit too, dogs I think, knee
    high glimpses; maybe small
    children. Last summer we
    visited the Stanley Hotel in
    Colorado, and during a tour
    had two encounters with its
    residents. Stephen King used
    the hotel for his setting for
    THE SHINING.

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  65. I might have said I didn't believe in ghosts too - before I moved into a haunted house. Our guy wasn't as regular, but he visited all of us at different times. We lived [mostly] comfortably with him too.

    Now I love ghost stories - and really enjoyed this! Your house, as it has unfolded over the time I've read you, sounds wonderful.

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  66. I have goosebumps all over, just thinking of encountering a ghost. You are one brave woman!

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  67. I've never seen a ghost and hope I never do! :)

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  68. Glenn, a ghost couple? Incredible. All our ghosts are single...hehee. Interesting stuff about the Stanley Hotel.

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  69. I lived with four family ghosts when we lived at Burnside, Excy's family home. I posted on all the ghosts last Halloween week (2009). I always loved their presence.

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  70. Spooky ! I couldn’t live in a haunted house though we have our fair share in India. My aunts Bunglow was supposed to be haunted but I never did see or feel anything !

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  71. I, too, believe in and have experienced ghosts Willow, so this was a tale that resonated with me. Simultaneously, it was a bit chilling with the last bit about the man's father who took his life in your front yard.. and then you met his son. I think your ghosts are very happy to have you among them.

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  72. Wicked cool story, Willow.

    Have you seen "Paranormal Activity" yet? It's the other side. 8-)

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  73. I love this story. I don't think the ghosts would materialize for me a non-believer!

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  74. Wow!!! Those are some creepy ghost stories. I'm not sure I would handle those ghostly visitors with quite your equanimity! :)

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  75. I didn't believe in ghosts until I lived with one.

    My parents bought a cottage that was over 400 years old in the English countryside. It very soon became apparent that we had an invisible resident. We never could tell whether it was male or female so we called him George. George would open and close doors, leave doors open, move things, turn the lights on and off and turn the radio or stereo off.

    During the winter months there was many a time my parents and I would be enjoying a leisurely Saturday night dinner when I was home for a weekend and it seemed that when George decided that it was time for bed, the music went off and the already soft lighting would dim. We could sit down at 8pm and still be there at 3 the following morning as there was always so much to talk about. Sometimes we had guests who if they didn't know about George would freak out. Our Labrador who would normally be curled up in front of the dining room fire would suddenly sit up and make his presence felt too.

    There were more things that George would get up to.....but he was certainly not to be feared.

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  76. Willow,
    The ghosts are marvelous, but I wanted to comment on your writing.
    This piece was very captivating, descriptive, convincing.. I just ;oved it. Joan T -awildaptience

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  77. Crazy stories and I have to say, dear Willow, you most certainly take teh biscuit for the BEST halloween blog post this year that I've read as it;s all real, verifiable and spooky. I am not joking when I suggest that you wither contact "Ghost Hunters" (on Sci fi) or "Ghost Adventures" on the Travel Channel that use EPV sound capture devices and special cameras to capture energy, etc. some of those stories are wo starling. Yours woudl be a brilliant spot.

    So, what on earth did you say to the poor delivery man whose Dad killed himself there? I wonder just how trumatized he's been since.

    I get the man staying behind after such an event--his suicide but what of the woman? I wonder why she stays?..If indeed they are as they appear as these shows show how sometimes the otherworld presents itself as something else too to win the confidences of the living for whatever reason is beyond me.

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  78. I am officially spooked. You, on the other hand, have clearly adapted to your spectral housemates with aplomb. Kudos!

    (Oh, and I enjoyed the reading of your poem at Whale Tales. Very cool. Congratulations!)

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  79. You are making me a believer!

    I was reading the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire (nee Deborah Mitford's) memoir this weekend, and she mentioned that one of the houses they lived in was haunted -- but that only a few of her family could feel/hear the ghosts. Do you think some people are much more susceptible than others? It would only make sense. Perhaps being an "air sign" also makes you more sensitive.

    I've been catching up on your posts from the past couple of weeks . . . so much great stuff here.

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  80. I believe Bee that some people are more tuned in than others. My adult daughter is one and doesn't like it. I also think that children are more susceptible than adults.

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  81. Bee and Bee, I totally agree. I think some people are naturally more spiritually "tuned in" and can pick on on these things more than others. I, for one, am one of those people, and agree, it would be easier if I wasn't.

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  82. I love the story of your house. The house I grew up in had a presence that would come and sit on the bed whenever I had the courage to sleep upstairs (rarely, usely during a friends sleepover). My brother experienced things also but the current owners never have. One summer night when I was home from college and reading late (and feeling stirrings on the stairs and breathing) I announced out loud that I didn't believe anyone was. There was a sound like that of a 10 pound rock being dropped on the roof. I hustled downstairs and spent the rest of that summer in the downstairs bedroom. I believe!

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  83. This is why I believe in serendipity, I seem to be a magnet for these things too..The truth is always stranger than fiction don't you think..Cheers Tess!

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  84. Fascinating and stranger than fiction the day to day of truth. Cheers Tess!

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  85. Wow, such an interesting post. And you spared no details. No, I don't think you're crazy. I'm a believer; yes, I believe in ghosts too! So glad yours are benign and friendly; well, except for the egg tossing granny. ;~D

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Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)