Tuesday, October 26, 2010
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.