Ghost Stories From an Old House

My Grandparents' House - Many Years  Later - Photo © 2012 Courtesy of My Cousin

My Grandparents’ House – Many Years Later – Photo © 2012 Courtesy of My Cousin

It was the home where my mother grew up in a small beach town in Virginia, situated on main street and only 2 blocks from downtown.

You wouldn’t think the house would be “haunted” just to look at it. And, oh, what would it say, if it could talk? “I remember that family ― the small, frail man and the large, strong endearing woman. She understood me.”

Not only strange phenomena were captured in the house but the joy and laughter of children, as well, along with evening prayers and the smell of fried chicken every Sunday.

It was a typical, modest two-story house with connecting bedrooms upstairs and one bath. Being the first-born of five, my mother earned the distinction of having the largest, back bedroom closest to the bathroom. 

On the main floor was the living room (or parlor as they called it in her youth) followed by the dining room, kitchen and back kitchen. There were front stairs in the living room and another set of stairs in the back kitchen that went up to the second floor. You could circle the house running up the front stairs, through the bedrooms, down the back stairs to the front again.

As a child, my mother remembered family funerals held in their home with the deceased laid out in the parlor. Can you imagine going upstairs to bed knowing there was a body in your living room?

My grandparents’ backyard joined one particular, old Victorian-style house that was converted into a funeral home. The undertaker had a wooden, lapped-sided building he used to embalm bodies and store coffins that connected to my grandfather’s garage and work shed. In his younger years, my grandfather helped the undertaker retrieve bodies of people mostly when they had drowned or died in accidents.

From our side of the yard, his building bore a large window with closed blinds, a door with an ivory handle and keyhole. It was particularly creepy on those nights when the light was on in his building casting shadows across our backyard. Curiosities were peaked and we knew he was working on a body.

My mother told us, when they were children, she and her brother found the door open to the building one day and it didn’t appear anyone was around. So, they went to investigate. When they stepped through the door they saw a body on a table. As they got closer, it let out an “ahhhh” and they flew out the door and ran back in the house.

I know explanations of a story like this would probably be childish talk or embellished tales but it didn’t diminish the strange feelings of spiritual energy that was always apparent. It was especially eerie those nights when the light shone after my grandfather’s death and years later after my grandmother died.

All were invitations for mysterious imaginations of young minds with a psychic grandmother, who felt unseen energies and heard unspoken voices. It was a comfort for her to feel close to those she loved, who no longer lived in this physical world.

When the back door suddenly slammed one night, while everyone was watching TV, she took my hand and went with me to check it out. When we found the door securely locked, including the latched screen door, she told me what she thought it meant and talked of spirits moving about.

Such was the perfect setting for the telling of many ghost stories. From gasps caused by bumps in the night, to clocks ticking IN the wall, and phantom silhouettes knocking at the door, more stories would emerge. Or, from a hung antique-framed portrait, that seemed to illuminate, of my grandma’s precious 18-month old baby, in death, looking as if to sleep peacefully.

He was so young when he died of pneumonia. It was a time before penicillin was discovered. Grandma told us his clothes were just laid on top of his body in the picture, though it looked as if he was dressed normally for bed.

In the middle of the night, when my cousins and I tipped-toed downstairs in the dark and passed through the living room to get something to eat, our eyes would catch the image of his white nightgown in the oval, concaved picture. It appeared to glow on the wall. Needless to say, the 7 of us would hold onto each other hastening our steps to the kitchen.

One of those nights, when we were downstairs eating, grandma decided she would play a trick on us since she knew we were scared of the dark and the strangeness of the house.

Girl Eating Peanut Butter Sandwich --- MSN Clipart Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Girl Eating Peanut Butter Sandwich — MSN Clipart Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

We were at the kitchen table fixing PBJ sandwiches, when she snuck down and flipped a switch turning all the lights off. We scrambled and ran in all directions, tripping and turning over chairs in the dark.

One of the glass cupboard doors was open and I happened to hit and shatter it, as I ran. We all heard the glass and grandma turned on the lights right away to find me bleeding.

One of the pieces of glass cut above my right eye. Though the cut looked nasty, it was only on the outside of my eye and not an emergency. The bleeding soon stopped, everything was cleaned up and, with the excitement over for the night, we lumbered back up to bed.

In the old house, another perfect setting set the stage for a story my grandmother told of getting up to answer the door late one night. As she stood at the top of the stairs, she could see from the street light, cast on the French door, a silhouette of someone standing on the front porch, knocking. It was her mother.

As she hurried down the stairs to answer the door, the form disappeared and the phone immediately rang. When she answered, she was told her mother had just died in another town many miles away ― news of another loved one that passed on to the other side.

There were many inexplicable events that made me stop to wonder of a world invisible to me ― not to mention how it scared the heebie-jeebies out of me. It explains why my sister, cousins and I stayed up playing cards every night, praying for dawn, while listening to our grandparents’ slumber and for any noises or sudden shifts in the settling house.

The years passed and only grandma and grandpa remained in the house, older and more fragile. Only one last ghost story was told of that house in the early ‘70’s by my mother shortly after her mother’s death, the last remaining parent.

Mom and dad were still staying at the house shortly after grandma was buried, pending estate closure. It was in the wee hours of the morning with a hint of dawn on the horizon. They were sound asleep in my mother’s old bedroom.

All of a sudden, both were shaken from a deep sleep by loud knocking. Still in shock and half asleep, they thought maybe it was someone at the front door. No, it was knocking on the window ― their second-story window! And, it didn’t stop there.

ghostly hand

Hand Knocking on Window Photo © 2013 by Jim Ruppel

It continued all around the house moving from window to window knocking, paralyzing my parents with fear. Then, just as fast as it started, it stopped and all was still and silent. The knocking was never heard again.

It’s hard to discern what it was or its meaning. Maybe, if my grandmother was alive, she would have an explanation, as she always did, “there’s going to be a death in the family” or something else like, “the spirits were at play”. My mother and dad never stayed long enough to figure it out.

Last summer, when my cousin stopped by for a brief visit of the old homestead and its residents, she told them our grandparents had lived in the house. Just out of curiosity, she asked them if they ever heard noises. Their expressions immediately changed and they looked uncomfortable. The sons abruptly left, leaving their mother and my cousin to finish their visit. Nothing more had to be said.

Decked out with its new windows and siding, it still has its mysteries and, while the spirits are having fun playing tricks, the old house continues telling stories for those who will listen and pass them on.

Pat from the ol’ kitchen table

(Note: Thank You! October 21, 2013 – Beverley Young at “Ghost Talk Blog” reblogged my story, in part, on her site with some other ghost stories.)

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 Pat Ruppel

33 thoughts on “Ghost Stories From an Old House

  1. Hi Jo-Anne – they freaked me out too and scary. I’m glad you stopped by and thank you for leaving your thoughts. 🙂

  2. I live in a haunted house that can be quiet for short periods of time & then get really noisy when I am here by myself or when my husband is here alone. Other people have heard voices, noises and seen shadows.

    • That’s interesting Patricia – how do you feel about it? Is it scary to you? I’d like to hear more your experiences in the house and your take on it.

      I love that you stopped by and enjoyed the story. Enjoy your weekend and keep an eye on the skies to be safe. 🙂

  3. Pat, most of the time we just ignore it. Sometimes when I am alone for a weekend because my husband has work some where away from home, I will get the feeling that I am being watched and I know I am alone. That can get a little scarey sometimes. Other than those times, I am not scared. We all coexist in this house. He was here before we were.

    My husband Daniel loves telling people the house is haunted. He tells people about the shadow we sometimes see. Daniel and I both have been touched by the ghost. Daniel thought I had walked into the dining room and put my hand on his should. It wasn’t me.

    Our son was still living at home when we first moved to this house, then he moved to Denver for awhile and his bedroom was empty. When I started going thru perimenopause, I started snoring. So was my husband. Neither of us was getting much sleep. I moved into our son’s bedroom for less than a month. I would have noises wake me up several times during the night. Then I would have someone poke me on my hip or in the back to wake me up. I moved out of the bedroom and forgot about it. Others sleep in the room with no problems.

    These are just a few of the things that have happened over the years we have been here. We have now been in this house for 14 years.

    • That’s pretty interesting Patricia. It doesn’t sound like it scares you much — goes with living in the house. It’s probably how my grandparents felt and understood what it was. As for me, being a kid at the time, my imaginations would go wild. The thrills of childhood and innocence played out. Don’t you love it? 🙂

  4. Wow, that is quite a story. I loved it. I could just imagine all that happening. I had/have a resident ghost in my current home. I was asked to talked to her. I did and could feel her reaction to my words. She loved her home, now mine and wanted it to be beautiful. I actually wrote a blog post about it. 🙂

    • Thank you Susan. I love these stories. There’s a lot more going on than what we may appear to see.

      Can you give me the link to the post you wrote about it? I’d love to read more. Questions popped in my head like how did you get enough courage to talk with her and how did she answer? Is she still there? She must have been happy with your talk and like what you’ve done with your house. Happy ghosts are the best ones. 🙂

    • Me too, Susan, a firm believer in spirits staying in homes and, like you, witnessed it. I’m glad my grandmother was there to give support. I have a feeling it’s more common than we know and a lot of people have experienced it. 🙂

    • Wow! Janie, it’s so good to see you over here. I’m happy we’re connected again. It’s been a long time. I’ve noticed you haven’t been actively writing lately. I just got back into it when I officially retired in April 2012 after my job was outsourced out of state.

      How are you? What are you going to be doing now? I see you’ve been posting some book reviews and I checked out your “About” page on your site and was quite impressed. I didn’t realize all your accomplishments over the years. You have been a busy lady with litigation at the Supreme Court and playing at Carnegie Hall.

      Hope to hear more from you and what you’ve been up to lately. Thank you for looking me up again and for choosing to stop by. I’m honored to be your old-time blogging friend. Let’s keep in touch. 🙂

  5. Wow, that’s a great story! I’ve always been fascinated by the subject of hauntings. So glad that I found your site due to you visiting mine. LOL… This is wonderful 😀

    • Hi Keli – so thrilled you took the time to come by and so happy you liked the story. Hope it gave you a little lift for the day to take your mind off of heavy life stuff. Hope you’ll come back and say hi again. 🙂

  6. This is a wonderfully written story cataloging your childhood experiences. I have wonderful memories about visiting my maternal grandparents. We would sit on the veranda listening to the 7’O clock evening news in the dark. My gran would tell us ghost stories. She had the gift of not only telling stories but “seeing” as well. .

    • Tersia – thank you for stopping by and sharing your gran with me. I can relate to those sweet memories when life was simpler, yet we didn’t know it at the time. My heart goes out to you in the loss of your daughter and pray you feel her close to you — maybe even “seeing’ her at times, like your gran talked about.

      I’m sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner. I took a couple of days off the internet to spend with hubby for Father’s Day and doctor’s appointments. I’m honored you stopped by for a visit and enjoyed the read. It makes me feel good you connected with the story from your childhood. I trust it made you feel good and warmed your heart. If it did, it made it all worthwhile in the writing of it. I hope you’ll come back again and enjoy more reads! 🙂

  7. I loved the story. It was fscinating and gave me the creeps as I read it, but I just had to find out how it ended. Beautifully written as well. 🙂

    • Thank you Wendy – I’m glad you stopped by and enjoyed the read.

      Yes, I know what you mean about giving you the creeps. Having experienced these accounts or the telling of them first-hand spending my summers in their house, as a kid, I was creeped out at the time then, too. I can still feel what it felt like. 🙂

  8. Pingback: Ghost Stories: Bizarre but True! | Welcome to ghost talk blog

    • Thank you Bev for including one of my stories in your post. I’m truly honored for the mention with the other truly amazing ghost stories.

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  11. Another wonderful story Pat. I love family tales that stir the imagination and make your heart beat a little faster. I too believe in the Physic abilities of which I have been gifted with. Some of those stories will be posted in the future.
    How lucky to have those stories from your family’s past to pass on to your children and grandchildren.

    • Thank you, Pat — I’m glad you enjoyed it and stirred some memories of your own that you’ll be writing about. I am lucky to have these stories to pass along to my children and generations to come. It’s what will keep them alive. I’m interested, though, in learning more about these psychic abilities you’ve been gifted with. Seems like we have more of a connection than I realized. Can’t wait to read more about them. 🙂

I would love to hear from you. . .thank you for stopping by.

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