Monthly Archives: December 2010

The Ghost of Sweetgrass Field- A Southern Tale

A short story poem about a civil war haunting from the book Hauntings In My Head – A Collection of Ghostly Southern Poetry by Angela L Burke.

The Ghost of Sweetgrass Field
A Southern Tale

Once there was a field of sweetgrass,
Where a lonely oak tree stood.
And underneath it’s branches
Stood a picket fence of wood.
The gate had long been missing.
It’s paint had chipped away.
Four, tiny headstones stood there,
Where, three babes and mama lay.

A little girl named Bonnie,
A little girl named Sue.
And a little babe named Emily,
She lived, nine months past age two.
The three little ones were sisters.
They died on the same day,
In the year of 1863,
The Seventeenth of May.

The Story was, their Papa
Had gone away to fight.
And their Mama, she had begged him
Not to go with all her might.
He kissed each one on the forehead,
He kissed Mama on the lips.
He said “‘ I’ll be back in no time….
It’ll be a real short trip.”‘

” I’ll be here beside you
Before you can blink an eye.
This war won’t last six months…I bet.
Be big girls and don’t cry”‘
But their Papa never came back
And they never heard a word.
Their Mama, she was left alone
To raise her three, small girls.

Times were tough in those days.
There were theives at every turn.
And what those Yankees didn’t steal,
They’d turn around and burn.
A trigger happy soldier
Shot Mama in the chest,
When they tried to burn her house down,
And she tried strongly to protest.

And her three little angels
Hiding underneath the bed,
Were trapped by blinding smoke
And met their tragic deaths.
Their tiny little bodies
Were placed in Sweetgrass Field,
By the same Yankee Soldier
Whom, their Mother, he had killed.

Claimed he hadn’t meant no killin,
Claimed he only meant to warn her.
But when he heard those children scream,
Guilt tore his heart asunder.
So he built a picket fence
In a square around their beds.
And he planted a little oak tree,
For some shade above their heads.

He was found in Sweetgrass Field
With a bullet to his head.
Rumor has it , he’s the one
Who walks among the dead.
They say he guards the graveyard
As penance for his sins.
In hope that maybe someday,
God will forgive and let him in.

You can see him in the moonlight,
Walking with his head hung low.
He cannot leave their graveside.
He has no where to go.
So until the Day of Judgement,
To his punishment he yields.
That’s how I recollect the story
Of The Ghost of Sweetgrass Field.

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The Shack

by Angela L Burke- MSSPI

The Shack

The plank board shack stands empty

Its roof now caving in

Its wooden bones start creaking

As they slow waltz with the wind

Vines of Kudzu climb the chimney

Stalks of wheat grass hide her steps

Torn sheets sway in the windows

No longer shielded by the glass

Its tin roof old and rusty

Its core a hollow shell

Eerily it moans and sings,

To the tinkling dinner bell

As a gust of wind sweeps past the porch

The chairs begin to rock

The crosses in the graveyard

Now intertwined with holly hock

The old front door is missing

Now lying flat upon the floor

It no longer is a refuge

From the dark fields, anymore

The cotton and the cornfields

Are now just fields of hay

Where dairy cows and longhorns

Graze in the grass all day

 No longer do the children play

Or linens dry upon the line

No longer do the roses bloom

Or bask beneath the warm sunshine

Just the whispers and the laughter

And a ghostly fiddle tune

Can be heard upon the breezes

On the nights of the full moon.

This poem is an excerpt from Angela’s book, Hauntings In My Head- A Collection of Ghostly Southern Poetry published 2009. Used with permission.

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The Shadow Watcher

The Shadow Watcher

Sequel to : The Davidson Farm

by Angela L Burke- MSSPI

 

I left Michigan in March of 1993. I was moving back home to be near my family with my two young children.

I was terribly sad to leave my home at the Davidson Farm which I have written about in a previous post. If you have not read that post, I would encourage you to do so as it might shed some light on where I’m coming from with this post.

The first few months back in Tennessee had been uneventful as far as unusual activity, and after about six months, my husband at the time, had decided to move to Tennessee and we were going to make one last attempt at working out our relationship. We moved into a three bedroom ranch on the North side of Memphis. My husband had brought what remained of our furniture and belongings that I’d had in storage in the basement of the previous Davidson Farmhouse.

For 3 or 4 months we attempted to repair the damage done to our relationship, but things changed little for the better and had in fact become much worse. The violent outburst and fighting all the time were more than I could deal with. And we separated again with some resistance on his part. In fact it would be a long and drawn out divorce proceeding.

About a week before I finally called it quits for good, I was home alone. In the front part of the house was a formal dining room that had frosted glass French doors and a frosted glass wall that separated it from the entry way and the kitchen. I was standing in the kitchen, trying to gather up my papers and packing up things I wanted to take with me. It was daytime and the light from the dining room was fairly bright coming thru the frosted glass. I thought I saw something move in the dining room and I looked up towards that direction. I was very startled to see the tall thin shadow of what looked like a man, standing there , facing me from the other side of the glass. It was very scary and for a brief few seconds it just stood there, frozen. Then without any warning it darted into the front wall and disappeared. I very cautiously walked toward the dining room and opened up the French doors, but there was no one there. I thought perhaps it had been a shadow from outside the house, so I walked outside and looked all around the house , but there was no one there either. Later that week I moved out into a nearby apartment.

It was a really nice place and at first I didn’t really notice anything strange, but after about a week, I started to hear footsteps in the hallway. And on a few occasions I would see a shadow go past the bedroom door, I would open it up and look out, but no one was there, I would go check on the kids and they would be asleep in their rooms. This was a bit unnerving, being as I was a single mother , living alone in a new apartment, but I just tried to brush it off as my imagination. On a few occasions over the next few months, I began to notice that every time I had company over, especially if they were male, that my ceiling fan in my bedroom and in my living room would make an awful noise and begin to shake and vibrate erratically. I called the maintenance man and he came out and looked at the fans but could find nothing wrong with them. After about the third time I had called him to come back out, he changed them and put up new fans, but the activity continued. It was sporadic and usually only happened when I had company over. Many of my friends would joke that I had a ghost and that it must not like my friends very much. We all laughed and joked about it, but in private I began to take it seriously. One night after my company had left and the activity had been rather strong that night, I made a comment out loud that I didn’t think it was very polite to rattle the fans like that every time I had company and I turned off the fan. Just about the time I was out of the room, The fan began to turn, faster and faster until I thought it might spin itself plum off the ceiling. I said, Hey, don’t get ugly with me and immediately the fan stopped rotating. I high tailed it to bed and was a little nervous after that every time I would walk under the fan or attempt to turn it on. After about six months, I began dating again and I met a man who I’ll call RM for his privacy, after a several months of dating, he asked me to move in with him. I was having trouble paying for my apartment and trying to raise two kids alone and he was very good with my kids and treated them like his own and so I agreed.

We moved into some old apartments in Millington, TN, very near the Naval base. He was in the Navy at the time and it was very convenient for him. His room-mate had been discharged from the service and had moved all his furniture out and so we used my furniture as a replacement. Immediately after moving in , we began to notice his ceiling fan making the same noises and vibrations that mine had made. He said that it had never happened in the year he had lived there, until I moved in. We also began to notice that the light in the hallway would come on and shut off by itself. It became almost a nightly occurrence. I would see the light come on under the bedroom door and I would get up to look and the kids would be sound asleep and no one would be there. One night it became so annoying that I took the bulb out of the socket and placed it on the dining room table. The next morning I got up to find that the bulb had been replaced and the light was on. I asked RM if he had replaced it and he said, no I’ve been in bed ever since you took it out. I knew that the kids hadn’t done it as they were only about 3 and 5 yr old and they could not have reached it even if they had pulled up a chair to stand on.

After this started I also began to notice things being moved. One night, I wasn’t feeling well and I went to bed without doing the dishes, I got up the next morning and they were all done and put away, I went to thank RM for doing them and he said, I don’t know what you’re talking about, I didn’t do any dishes. My kids of course didn’t do them, and so then it became somewhat of a joke for RM that I had fairy elves helping me with the dishes.

On another occasion I had left a pair of scissors on the dining room table where I had been doing some sewing, I got up to go use the restroom and when I came back the scissors were gone. I looked all around the house and finally found them in the kitchen drawer. There was no one home at the time but me and I had been using them all morning. I know for a fact that I did not put them away as I was still using them.

That same week I was in the kitchen getting ready to cook some spaghetti. I had turned on the stove burner to brown the meat. I had made a plate of fudge and had it in a glass serving dish which I had removed from the refrigerator and sat on top of the stove top. A few moments later I heard someone call me ” Mama, Mama” My kids were in the living room in my view and I thought it was them calling me. I went into the living room and said , what? , and they both turned from their tv show and said, what? we didn’t call you mom. I said are you sure that you didn’t just say Mama or maybe someone said it on TV? and they both said no, just about that same time I heard a large boom come out of the kitchen and heard the shattering of glass. It was so loud I ducked down on the floor on top of the kids, because I thought someone had shot a gun through the window. I went back into the kitchen to find that the plate of fudge had exploded all over the kitchen into tiny glass shards. Apparently I had turned on the wrong burner and the heat from the stove had caused the cold glass to shatter. There was chocolate and glass stuck in the ceiling tiles, blown clear across the kitchen into the sink, and all over the floor, where I had just been standing. if I had not walked into the living room in response to my name being called , it probably would have cut me to shreds or taken out an eye. I sort of felt like, whomever said my name was trying to get me to leave the kitchen, out of harms way and the only way to do that, was to make me think, that the kids needed me.

On another occasion , I had thought I heard someone moving around in the kitchen, I got up and went to look and there was no one there, I went to the kids room to check on them and they were sound asleep. As I was about to come back to bed, I heard a gunshot. It sounded as if it had come from the apartment above me. As I reached to get the phone, I noticed that there was a hole in my ceiling directly above my bed and little flecks of insulation were drifting down from the hole onto my bed. I thought OMG, I have children sleeping down here and what if this lunatic starts shooting thru the floor and hits one of my kids or me?

I called the police and reported the gunshot and they came out and went to the apartment upstairs.The apartment manager came out to see what was going on, when I told them about the gun shot and showed them the hole in the ceiling, they all just looked at each other oddly, the apartment manager informed me that the man who had lived there had moved out unexpectedly over a week ago and that the apartment was empty. The manager went on to say that he couldn’t keep a tenant in that apartment ever since a few years prior when a sailor who had lived there had committed suicide in the upstairs apartment by shooting himself in the head with a pistol. He also said that there had been numerous reports of gun shots coming from that apartment when no one was living in it. I said well, I’ve been hearing someone walking around in there all week but I thought the guy still lived there, I asked him if he could explain the hole in my ceiling and he said that he had repaired the ceiling on 3 previous occasions for the same reason, but no one ever found a bullet. The police checked all the doors and searched the entire apartment and the attic space above it and found no signs of entry or that anyone had been there. It had never been explained, where it came the shots came from or how the hole kept appearing. He said, just between you and me, I think the damn place is haunted.

About a week or so later, RM and I were sleeping on a Saturday Morning, the sun was already up and the room was lit with early morning sunshine, the kids had gone to their dad’s house for the weekend and so it was just the two of us. Have you ever had that feeling like someone is standing over you, staring at you while your sleeping? Well, that’s what I felt. But when I opened my eyes, no one was there, , I saw movement like a shadow walking at the foot of the bed. I turned over to see who it was, as I thought maybe RM had gotten up and was moving around, but I realized he was lying next to me. As I looked towards the door I saw a tall dark grey shadowy figure with a bony hand sticking out of a sleeve and it was pulling the door shut. This really freak-ed me out and I thought maybe I was dreaming with my eyes open or something, so I rolled back over, but I couldn’t go back to sleep. I didn’t say anything to RM at the time, I thought he was still sleeping. When I did decide to get up, I was scared to death to open up the door, afraid that some tall, bony, shadow man would be standing on the other side of it, but there was no one there.

Later that morning RM got up and came to the table for breakfast. Out of the blue he said” The strangest thing happened this morning and I want to tell you, but I don’t want to freak you out. ” I said “what is it?” He said “this morning, I thought I saw someone walking around in our room.” He said ” I saw a bony hand on the door knob, pull the door to but I couldn’t see a face.” He was serious and a little shaken by it. I said, “I saw the same thing, but I thought I was dreaming it.”

He said “are you serious?” I said, “yes, I’m serious, I really did think that I was dreaming it”. He then proceeded to sketch a picture of it and it matched exactly what I saw to a tee. We both just kind of looked at each other with a ” so what do we do now?” kind of look. We finished our breakfast in silence. Then he said, “well I guess if it wanted to hurt us it would have done it by now.” Trying to be the positive one I said, ” “Maybe it’s just trying to look out for us, I mean look at all the times weird stuff has happened just before some event that we could have gotten hurt, like the fudge incident”. . We had no explanation for what we had seen or the things that had been going on since I moved in. He said, “I think you have a ghost or something following you, because nothing like this ever happened here before you moved in”. I felt kind of bad and wasn’t sure if I should take that as just a comment or an accusation. Most of the time, we just didn’t discuss it and would try to ignore the goings on. But it was a little unnerving when RM would leave for duty for a few weeks and I would be there alone. But, I never felt alone, even when I was.

A few months later RM was honorably discharged from his tour in the Navy and we were going to move to Houston. I was going to go and stay with my Dad for a few weeks while RM secured a job and a place for us to live and then he was going to send for me and the kids. He helped me move all our belongings to my Dads and we were going to store our belongings in my dad’s barn until he found us a place. As soon as we opened up the door to the back of the moving trailer, a very thick, sweet-smelling, warm breeze shot out of the back of the trailer the minute we opened the door, it was like standing in front of the heater vent when it first kicks on. It swirled around my head with enough force to move my hair and then it was gone, smell and all. RM and I both looked at each other at the same time, He said,” did you feel that?”, I said “yeah, I did ” and we just looked at each other and smiled but we didn’t say anything to anyone else. We both knew what we were feeling.

I never felt or heard or saw anything else after that. It was almost as if, whatever was there, knew I was safe with my Dad and I didn’t need protecting anymore. I knew when it was gone. The air and the atmosphere around me was different and it wasn’t just me who felt it, RM felt it to. I have never been able to explain any of these incidents, which is yet, another reason, why I study the paranormal. I don’t believe that it was there to harm me, I always felt more like it was just looking out for me and I missed it when it was no longer there. I have always personally believed that one of the spirits from the Davidson Farm, had attached itself to me and followed me until they knew that I was safe. Then again, maybe it was a guardian angel of some kind or the spirit of the sailor who had killed himself,  wandering about, I don’t really know. What I do know is that it was a crazy , hair-raising experience that I don’t regret having, I just wish I knew who or what it was.

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The Ghost of Clara Barton

A creepy experience at a nursing home, where black shadows bring death.

by Angela L Burke- MSSPI

In the early 1990’s I worked as a Charge Nurse at a Nursing Home in Michigan which was named after the famous nurse, Clara Barton. I was working the 11 pm to 7 am shift and it was usually pretty quiet..

Around 3 am on this particular Friday night, I was getting ready to lock up some medication that had been brought in by the pharmacy. The medication cart was parked just outside the nurses station, in front of a long hallway, which was my unit. It was a large unit with approximately 65 beds. I was the only nurse on duty for my unit but, I had several Nurse Assistants working with me that night.

The lights in the hallway were dimmed each night to help facilitate sleep but, there were generator type lights on in the corridor and it was lit enough that you could see anyone who was walking in the hallway.

As I was locking up my medication cart, I happened to look up and at the end of the hallway, I saw a black figure, which was like the outline of a woman in what looked like a long black dress. It darted across the hallway from one doorway to the other. It was so creepy looking that I got chills up my spine. I knew that the room on the left was empty..we used it to store wheelchairs and shower chairs in.

I walked to the end of the hallway and as I got near the end, one of the nurse assistants came out of a room to drop some dirty linen in the laundry barrel and I asked her if she had seen anyone down this end of the hall..she said no and I asked her if she would walk with me to the end and see if anyone had entered the last room on the left as I had thought I had seen a woman go into the room..

She said “ok” and we went to the last room on the left..the door was closed and I pushed it open and reached inside to flip on the light..As I did the room was freezing cold..so cold in fact that we could both see our breath.. I checked the windows ..they were closed and locked..I checked the bathroom there was no one there..I checked the thermostat on the wall and it said that it was 72 degrees in the room ..but there was no way it was that warm…we could find no explanation for what I had seen or why it was so cold…we searched the unit for wandering patients or anyone who wasn’t supposed to be there and there was no one who wasn’t where they were suppose to be.

I went to the other side of the hallway and asked the two gentlemen in the room if they had seen anyone and they both said no..I of course didn’t tell them why I was asking, for fear of freaking them out .

The next morning, I called maitenance to come check out the thermostat and I reported what had happened with the temperature.

The maintenance man walked with me down to the room and when we entered the room, the thermostat was set on 70 degrees but, it was about 90 degrees in the room, so hot that he started to sweat almost immediately. He couldn’t find any reason for the thermostat to register wrong but, he changed it out anyway.

I went home and had the weekend off . When I returned to work on Monday I found out that one of the men in the last room that I had spoken with the previous Friday night, had passed away on Saturday evening. His roommate told me that he was sleeping and all of a sudden, he got extremely cold and thought he could see his breathe..He said he thought he saw someone standing at the foot of his roommates bed and he called out to them and no one answered…so he put his call light on and when the nurse came into the room she had found that his roommate was deceased. No one had come into or out of the room, as the nurse had been only about 10 feet away from the door when he had rang for her. It creeped him out so bad, that he asked for a room transfer and I obliged him, as I knew the anxiety of what he was feeling.

There was never a real explanation, but I did speak to my nurse manager about it several days later and she told me that there had been many reports over the years from the staff of a figure in black lingering in the hallways at night, usually followed by a death in the facility. It was rumored, for lack of a better explanation, that the figure was the ghost of Clara Barton who had came to help those who’s time it was, to pass over,

She said “no one tells the new nurses when they come to work here, because if we did, we would never get anyone to work the graveyard shift.”

 

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The Lover, The Nightmare, The End

written and submitted by Dave Kent of Clinton Ms.

Another sleepless night
The dreadful deed is done
I lie awake and beg for sleep
But all in all get none
Her scream is but a noise
An echo of the past
I force myself to carry on
But my heart, I doubt, will last
Her blood is but a liquid
Once red, it flows no more
The stain forever on my hands
A color I can’t ignore
Her eyes show no expression
A cold and lifeless stare
A life that withered like a rose
Will never again breathe air

Sometimes I miss her dearly
At night when I’m alone
It seems I hear her call me
But I know that she is gone
Forever she will haunt me
She’s running through my veins
Until my blood stops flowing
I’ll hear her call my name

Tonight I heard strange noises
Lasting well into the night
Then, suddenly at my bedside
Stood a frightening, eerie sight
Her hair had lost its color
Her skin so pale and grey
“Be still, My Love. I’ve come for you.”
And she ripped my life away…

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The Haunting of Davidson Farm

The Haunting of Davidson Farm

by Angela L Burke

I fell in love the moment I saw it. The old Davidson farmhouse was a dream that I had always wished for. It was a two-story white framed house with black shutters and a large country porch that ran the entire length of the house. I had always wanted a porch like that, so that I could have a porch swing and maybe even a few rocking chairs for sipping lemonade on hot summer days. It was October of 1990 when we moved into the house. I was 8 1/2 months pregnant with my oldest son and was excited to get the nursery set up before his arrival. My daughter Becka was a little over 2 yrs old and my husband and I were excited to have purchased our first home. The house was in the country down a long dirt road. There were neighbors in sight but not so close as to be able to hear their conversations over supper, unlike the crowded apartments, we had moved from in the city.

The house sat on a five acre plot and the land backed up to the State’s National Forest Land. On the left side of the property there was an open field that was overgrown with blackberry vines and weeds. The house had 3 bedrooms and a full bath upstairs and downstairs was a full bath, living room, kitchen and dining area and an extra bedroom which we turned into a small playroom and den for my daughter, so that she could watch her cartoons and not be running up and down the stairs for toys. There was also a large basement and a garage.

My first impressions of the house was that it was lonely and in need of a womans touch. I was excited and spent the day unpacking the kitchen. The first day was uneventful, all I can really say about it is that I didn’t like the basement. It was very cold and creepy down there, even though half of it was finished and had a nice laundry area with plenty of room for a folding table and storage. There was also a work bench on the opposite side where my husband could keep his tools and have room for his deer hunting gear. It was also large enough for a weight bench. This in itself was a blessing to me just to get the barbells out from under the bed.

But I had the feeling right from the start that I was being watched everytime I went down to the basement. There was a window near the staircase that did not open. When you looked out this window you were at dirt level and there had been an extention added to the house, were an addition had been added to increase the size of the kitchen. It looked like an enclosed tomb when you looked inside it. I remember thinking, that would be a good place to put a body. I got the chills when the thought entered my mind and I shook it off and got out of the basement as soon as I could. The first curtains that I hung were to cover this window. I did not like the feeling I got when I would have to walk past it.

My son was born early, 3 days in fact, after we moved into the house. It was something I somewhat expected to happen. He was a big baby and I knew we would not make it the full 9 months. I really don’t remember much activity the first few months we lived there, other than the heavy uncomfortable feelings I had in the basement. Like someone was always standing right behind me breathing on my neck and when I would turn around no one would be there. And the well and sump pump and the furnace in the far corner of the basement made so much noise that winter, that I attributed most of the noises I heard to that. But when spring came, everything changed.

When the weather had warmed we started to do odd jobs around the house. The first thing I wanted to do was paint the shutters. They were faded and chipped and the black paint looked more like charcoal grey, so I painted them a nice shade of burgundy red. The house came alive almost instantly, just from painting the shutters. We painted the inside rooms and put some new carpet down. I also love flowers and as there was very little landscaping, I decided I would put in some flower beds around the house to cheer things up a bit. I had taken a walk one day thru the field next door and I noticed that there was a large field stone foundation that was barely visible thru the weeds and brush. It was crumbling in places so I decided that the field stones would be perfect for a border around my flower beds. I carted several wheelbarrow loads of field stone from the foundation over to the yard. I had enough to put flowerbeds all the way around the house. I was delighted at how it looked. I planted all sorts of different flowers and plants and the house was looking very sharp when I finally finished.

It was at this time that I began to notice a change in events happening around me. It started with the footsteps. It sounded like little children running down the hall of the upstairs. Then I would hear giggling and children’s voices whispering. Sometimes I would hear a child say ” Mama” and turn around and no one would be there. I would hear voices on the baby monitor upstairs when the children were with me and I’d go up to the room to see, but no one would be up there.

A week or so went by and then I noticed that things were being moved. One day I had been doing some baking in the kitchen, I had placed a large bread carving knife on the kitchen counter, I turned my back to stir something on the stove and when I turned back around the knife was not there. I looked around and saw that it had been moved into the sink. My children were very little and were not able to even reach the counter top. They had been down for a nap at the time, and I was the only other person there. Sometimes the rocking chair in the living room would be moving by itself. I always found some kind of excuse for what was happening. I also noticed that things were being moved around in my daughters bedroom.

She rarely played in her bedroom upstairs, most of her toys and her tv and cartoon movies were kept in the playroom downstairs. I would clean her room every morning and make her bed and then I would close the door to her room and we would all go downstairs to play. The staircase was gated so that she could not climb the stairs alone. But on numerous occasions, I would go up to her room to put away her laundry or get diapers from the nursery and her door would be open, when I would enter the room , everything would be pulled out of her dresser drawers, her toy box would be turned over and emptied and all the clothes would be pulled off the hangers in her closet. Her bed covers would be pulled off the bed. I knew that my daughter was not the one who had done it. She had been downstairs with me the entire time. I think I really didn’t know what to do or think, so I did nothing.

On one occasion I had brought the children upstairs for a nap and Becka’s room was tidy and everything in its place. I put her into her bed and she layed down with very sleepy eyes and I knew it wouldn’t take long for her to fall asleep, I walked out her door and pulled it to and entered the nursery to put my son down in the crib. I heard giggling and rustling noises coming from my daughter’s room. So I went back to the door to make sure she was still in her bed. When I opened up the door, she was sitting up in her bed with one hand covering her mouth and her other hand pointing towards the closet. The dresser drawers were pulled out and all the clothes had been flung into the floor, the toy box had been emptied and the clothes from the closet had been pulled off the hangers and a few of them were still swinging empty on the bar rack.

I said “Becka, what happened, why did you make this mess?”, She said “it wasn’t me mama, they did it”, I said ” who is they?”. She said, “those little girls made a mess”. I said “what little girls?”, She said “those little girls in my closet”. She did not understand why I couldn’t see them and I was trying hard not to let her see how much it had shaken me up. I knew that there was no way that Becka had the time to empty the toy box or the dresser drawers and that she wasnt even tall enough to reach the clothes on the hangers in the closet. I picked everything up and put all the clothes back on their hangers and trying to keep my cool, I said, ” Becka, tell those little girls that it isn’t nice to mess up your room like that” She smiled and she said ” they said sorry mama ” Then she laid her head down and fell asleep.

A week or so later on one particular day I had decided that the kids would nap down stairs, my daughter was sleeping on the couch in the living room and I was rocking my son in the rocking chair next to her and suddenly the TV came on by itself. I thought it was strange considering that there was no remote and not really sure how it could have happened. It was an older model tv and you had to get up to change the channels. I got up and switched off the TV and sat back down in the rocker. A few moments later the TV came on again, only this time to a static station and the volume had been turn up to the highest it would go. I got up again and this time I unplugged the tv, as I thought maybe there might be a short in it or something. I sat back down in the rocker and no sooner had I sat back in the chair, the TV came on again to a static station. I was really getting freaked out now. I put the baby in the playpen and walked over to the TV, half expecting some sort of skeleton face to appear on the screen. I looked behind the TV and the plug was laying on the floor. I reached over to hit the off button and as I did, a blue electric charge shot out of the button and shocked my hand. I quickly hit the switch with my fist and turned off the tv. Then out loud I said ” knock it off ok, the babies are trying to take a nap” It never happen again.

I’m not sure why I didn’t panic, I felt like there was something there that was just being mischievous, but I didn’t feel threatened by it , only confused and a little bit irritated. I tried to tell my husband when he came home from work, but he just looked at me and jokingly said ” what have you been smoking?” I don’t think he ever really took me seriously.

A few days later I was outside working in the flower bed, which had begun to bloom nicely, in fact it was one of the prettiest flower beds I had ever planted and I was surprised at how fast the plants had sprouted and grown. Anyway, The elderly couple from across the road, were out walking their dog. They stopped at the edge of the driveway and said ” hello and how nice the yard was looking” I walked down to the end of the drive and introduced myself. The couple told me that they had lived in the house across the road for over fifty years. I said ” well then maybe you can tell me what use to be in the field next door where the old foundation is?”

They looked at each other like they weren’t sure if they wanted to say, But then the wife said, “well back in the late 1930’s early 40’s, I ‘m not exactly sure what year it was, the farmhouse that you live in, was occupied by a couple and their 3 little girls. The father had made them a rope swing out in the barn , which is what use to sit on that foundation.” She said ,” an unexpected tornado came thru this area and hit the barn while the 3 girls were out there playing on the rope swing. All three of them were killed”. She went on to say that “after their death, their mother became severely depressed and she overdosed on sleeping pills. It was very tragic and sad.”

I said “what happened to the father?” She said , “after his wife died, he left and no one really knows where he went. The house sat empty for a long time. Then in the 1960’s another couple moved in” . She said “the father was an alcoholic and it was rumored that he would get drunk and beat up on his wife all the time. One day, I guess she got sick of it and she just disappeared, some say she ran off with another man and some say that he killed her and buried her somewhere on the property, but no one really knows for sure what happened to her. They had a 16 yr old son, and after the wife disappeared, the father would take out his drunken rages on his son. One night, the father had come home drunk and had knocked the poor boy around a bit, the son had enough of it and he shot his father in the back of the head while he was sitting at his workbench down in the basement, then the boy shot himself in the upstairs bedroom.”

Needless to say, I was not prepared for all of that information, but I said, “has anyone ever mentioned anything strange going on in the house since all of this happened?” They looked at each other and the man said , “You might as well tell her”

The wife said, “well, after that the house sat empty again until the last young couple bought it a few years ago. It had been in terrible condition and they did a lot of work to fix it up. But they only stayed 2 years and then they just up and moved. That’s when you came. You might hear some rumors about the house that it’s haunted, but I wouldn’t worry too much about it dear, it’s an old house and old houses make lots of noise, it’s probably just the floorboards settling” . I thanked them for telling me the story , I didn’t let on to them any of the activity that had been occurring, which I knew was more than just the floor boards creaking. I was also worried that they might think I was a nut if I told them all the things I had seen and heard. I certainly didn’t want to be the subject of town gossip. So I kept it to myself.

My younger sister age 15 and one of my younger brothers age 13 had come to spend their summer break with me that year. My sister told me that she never believed in ghosts until she spent that summer in my house. One day she and I had been sitting at the kitchen table, just talking and we had the kitchen windows open. It was a beautiful day and pleasant temperatures, so we were enjoying the fresh air. All of a sudden, we heard a clicking noise. We could not figure out where it was coming from. The kids were in the playroom curled up on the couch with my brother watching tv and you could not hear the clicking noise when you entered the room. We went back into the kitchen after looking all around the house to try to locate the source. When we sat back down at the table we heard it again. I looked out the window to see if it might be coming from outside. My car was parked in the driveway, just a few feet from the window. The manual locks on the doors of the car were going up and down by themselves. I said, No Way! and I jumped up and ran out into the driveway to be sure no one was in the car. The locks were still clicking as my sister and I stood there. Then they suddenly stopped. My sister of course was completely freaked out and I was pretty much trying to stay calm for her sake. But I have to say that it was very unnerving.

Later that year after they had returned back home for school, the activity continued. Mostly footsteps, giggles, laughing, voices whispering and things being moved around. One night, I had finished cleaning up the supper dishes and my husband and kids had been in bed for some time. I was getting ready to go upstairs to bed. The staircase to the upstairs was in the kitchen as was the doorway to the basement. As I began to climb the staircase , the basement door slowly opened and made a creepy creaking noise as it came ajar. I stopped and went back down and shut the door. I thought maybe it hadn’t been closed all the way. As I started back up the stairs, it opened again. I went back down, I checked the basement, and the outside doors to make sure they were closed and that no drafts were coming in, I shut the basement door and as I started up the steps it came open again only this time with more force. I stood there for a moment and then I went down and I said “ok, if you want it open we will leave it open”, I opened it all the way and started back up, as I hit the first step the door slammed shut and scared the hell out of me. I picked up a flip-flop shoe that was sitting near the step and I shoved it under the door to keep it closed. As I took a step back the flip-flop flew out from under the door and slid clear across the kitchen hitting the opposite wall and the door flew open, a gust of wind blew past me with so much force that it moved my hair and I heard laughing that sounded like a child. I ran up the stairs and jumped into bed. I shook my husband trying to wake him up to tell him , but he wouldn’t wake up. Needless to say, I did not sleep at all that night.

The next few months became harder to deal with. My husband had become distant and seemed to anger easily. We began to argue a lot over petty things and we grew further and further apart. He didn’t spend much time at home anymore and when he did, he always seemed to be in a bad mood. He spent most of his waking hours at home at the work bench or lifting weights in the basement.He began to drink heavily and our relationship became strained, to the point that he began to have violent outbursts. He became controlling and paranoid and I did not understand this change in his behavior. He began to go his way and I began to go mine. Eventually we both had short affairs out of anger and misunderstandings, which was a devastating blow to us both.

The emotional tension between us had reached a peak and at times was violent and I was seeing more and more activity in the house. On two occasions I saw a woman in a black dress standing behind me in the bathroom mirror. Her eyes were blackened as if she had been beaten and she had blood on her mouth. This scared me the most and was the only time I felt like I really was crazy, Then not long after this, my husband and I had argued and he had left very angry at me, and I was sitting on the couch crying. I was feeling very unhappy and that things were falling apart all around me, I had many regrets and guilty feelings, as well as hurt and anger for the violent arguments that were becoming more and more frequent. I had become depressed and anxious all the time, I was very tired and just felt like giving up on everything. I had my eyes closed and when I opened them, the same woman who I had seen in the mirror was standing over me, only this time she looked like she was made of fine smoke, and her face was soft and glowing and there was no blood, she touched my face with her hand and it felt like static from a warm sweater fresh from the dryer, She said, “everything will be ok, don’t cry, you have the children to think of”, she smiled and then she was gone.

I decided the next day to pack up the kids and take them home to my family in Tennessee for a while. I thought that maybe some time apart would help, that I needed to get out of the house and take a break from the crazy things happening all around me. I was beginning to feel like I was loosing my mind or having a nervous breakdown and I didn’t like it.. It didn’t change anything though, moving only made them worse and 18 months later after a long and bitter court fight, we divorced. I was broken-hearted to give up my house. When I moved there, I was happy and I thought it would be the perfect place to raise my children and grow old with my husband. But it didn’t turn out that way.

At the time I lived there I was young, in my early twenties. I was not involved in paranormal research at the time. I believed that ghosts where possible , because of the many experiences I’d had as a child and also unexplained things I had seen in my profession as a nurse. But, I knew nothing about ghosts, had no idea there was such a thing as paranormal investigators and had given little thought to the subject. I never expected them to be in my home or affecting me in such a way. I wish that I had known then, what I know now. Maybe I would have been able to prove these occurrences somehow or to help them in some way to move on. I think it is just one of the experiences I ‘ve had, that has led me to be involved in the study of the unexplained. I am grateful that I was not the only one to experience something in the house. My sister to this day will back me up on the claims we experienced. But I will always wonder if placing the field stones around the house had really been such a good idea. I think it may have awakened the spirits. Or maybe, bringing life into an old home, energizes the spirits that linger and they draw from us the emotions they felt when they were alive. The emotional part of this house was a mixture of happiness, laughter, innocence, loneliness, anger, paranoia, betrayal, guilt and pain all rolled into one house. I honestly wonder sometimes , if I allowed them to much freedom to stay in my home. I really wasn’t concerned about getting rid of them, I didn’t feel like they were a threat, I was more fascinated by the idea that they were there to begin with. I guess I felt like, they were there before me and so they had a right to be there. I’ve also thought that there were more than one spirit and that each affected us differently, my husband being the target of the negative energy in the home without even knowing it. Maybe the spirits played on his moods and his temper causing him to lose control. Maybe the children and the mother were drawn to me because I was a mother too. If my ex-husband did have an experience there, he never spoke of it or admitted it to me. In fact , he probably still thinks I’m crazy. But, I know what I experienced and the things that I felt in that house. Even if, I still to this day, cannot explain them.

 After I had moved away from the house, the activity did not stop. I believe that something followed me, but I will save that story for another post.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under ghosts, Short Stories, Spirits, Unexplained Experiences

Meeting Jonathan Peters

A Nurse’s Encounter With The Unexplained

A True Event, by Angela L Burke of the  Mississippi Society of Paranormal Investigators

It was a very busy morning at the Nursing Home. The smell of coffee and eggs mingled with the smells of the aged. I was beginning my first day as a new Charge Nurse at the facility and had arrived to meet with the Nurse Manager to begin the routine orientation procedures. I always hated this part of the new hiring process as it was usually filled with mandatory , amature made company videos of safety procedures and OSHA regulations that I had seen a hundred times.

When I arrived, the Nurse Manager informed me that she had been summoned to an urgent staff meeting and that instead of doing the routine orientation, that she was going to assign me temporarily to assist the nurse assistants and orderlies with basic morning care until she returned. Which I gladly welcomed, as I would much rather have been on the floor working directly with patients than to be stuck in a freezing, cold office watching re-runs of safety videos.

The facility was rather large encompassing 650 beds and was laid out like a grid, in a series of squares that were connected from every direction. If you were to lose your way, you would eventually find it. The Nurse Manager stopped at the first nurse’s station we came to and introduced me to the Charge Nurse and explained to her about the meeting and what she wanted my assignment to be until she returned in about an hour or so.

The Charge Nurse walked with me to the linen closet and told me where the supplies were kept and told me that I could just pick a room and a patient, and take my time as I was an extra hand for the moment. She told me how much she appreciated that I was there, that every little help would be appreciated by her nurse assistants. I filled my arms with linens and supplies and headed down toward the last room on the right. I never start in the middle , it’s too confusing to remember what room you were in, if you should need to return to it. I felt drawn to start there for some unknown reason.

I entered a large room with high ceilings and soft green walls. The windows were large and the morning sunshine streamed in casting a bright warmth all around me. I was surprised at this burst of warmth, as my usual experience with nursing is either, a cold sterile room or a dark and sad one. It was a nice change. There were 4 beds in the room, 2 on each side. Only one of them was occupied.

An elderly gentleman occupied the bed and he looked up at me and smiled. His hair was thick and neatly trimmed and was the color of Colorado snow. His eyes were the most brilliant shade of blue, they almost took my breath away and I felt slightly embarrassed that they held my attention for so long. I had to force myself to look away from them.

He spoke in a strong but gentle voice, “Oh, you’ve finally come, good morning ! ”

I said “good morning” and began to apologize for his wait, but he shush -ed me with his hand and said, “no need to apologize, I knew what time you were coming and your right on time”

I smiled and felt myself relax a bit. But, before I could speak, he said ” I am Jonathan Peters , and you are my Nurse Angel, I have been expecting you. ” I felt my face blush, as it always, embarrassed me when my patients called me Angel, I never really felt comfortable being called Angel, I always felt like I did not deserve the respect that comes with the word. But, it was nice to see that this was going to be a pleasant experience and I graciously accepted it as a compliment.

So many times I had been greeted with scowling faces and cold and sometimes insulting comments from the sick and the old. I tried never to take it personally or let it hurt my feelings, I learned early on that a nurse has to be strong in that respect, if a nurse let’s insults and complaints hurt her feelings she will never survive it. I tried to put myself in my patients position when I was being verbally assaulted. I can only imagine how it must feel to be old and in pain both physically and mentally and often times spiritually. Some had been debilitated by dementia causing diseases and had no idea who they were or where they were or what they were even saying. Some suffered in pain and depression, feeling abandoned and useless. Sitting for hours in their shared spaces day after day, having lost everything they had worked their whole lives to build , only to die sick and alone in a cold facility ward. And some where just plain bitter about everything. They blamed everyone but themselves for their illness and their problems, sometimes including God,,.They were never satisfied with their families or their nursing care. Always ready to throw an insult or a complaint at you, no matter how much you tried to please them or help them.

They were the ones who challenged me the most and taught me the most about controlling my emotions and I would go out of my way to make this type person my “compassion priority”. It was a personal challenge to me to be able to eventually break through their hard shells and get them to open up to me. Being able to do this was my favorite accomplishment as a nurse. I saw so many people get better, once they shed their anger and their bitterness.

But sometimes, they also taxed me mentally and physically. It is an exhausting challenge that takes a strong commitment, that I have to admit, makes you question whether you have chosen the right profession. I had been asking myself this very question for about a month, and had even considered giving up nursing completely . But at this moment, Mr Peter’s had made me feel like there might be hope.

I smiled and said ” my name is Angela and I am here helping with morning care, it’s my first day here and I am just helping out until the Nurse Manager is free to work with me on orientation. I thought maybe you might like to bath and get some clean linen.”    

He smiled and took my hand and said ” I’m glad you decided to come.”  It was a very odd way, that he said it. It almost seemed, like he knew me and I was supposed to be there, and he knew why, but I didn’t. I shrugged it off in my head and proceeded to get set up for his bath.

When I touched his skin, it was very cold, I almost don’t know how to describe it, it was like, touching frozen ice that has been charged with electricity. It surprised me at first, I asked him if the water was to cold or if he needed me to turn on some heat , but he just chuckled and insisted that he was fine.

We talked some idle, “get to know you”, conversation as I bathed him. He told me that he had been a traveling minster when he was young and had never married. He had no children of his own, but that, he did not regret his choices in life. I listened, happy to give him a chance to just talk.

When I had finished and helped him into the chair, I brought a new basin of warm water, and asked him if he would like to soak his feet, while I changed the linens. He looked pleasantly surprised at the offer and accepted.

I assisted him in putting his feet in the basin to soak. “Oh, that feels wonderful” he said with a smile. Having the time to give a foot soak and have your feet rubbed with lotion, was a luxury I intended to make time for, since I was in no particular hurry to move on. I was enjoying being able to spend some time with a patient one on one. Most of my regular duties as a Charge Nurse did not involve such personal time at the bedside. My days were usually hurried and chaotic trying to handle medication and wound orders, doctors rounds, and dealing with delegating care to the nurse assistance in my charge. Making sure that orders were carried out and documentation was complete. Often times for as many as sixty-five patients per shift, I often times felt over extended and overwhelmed with legalities and family concerns. I rarely had the time to spend one on one with a patient getting to know them personally verses medically. This was an opportunity to do that.

 When I had finished changing the bed linens, I gathered some clean towels and got down on my knees at Mr. Peters feet. He looked down at me and tears began to well up in his eyes, as I took his foot and wrapped it gently, in a towel. I asked him, if I had hurt him and he looked down at me, and said ” No, my dear, I am not in pain. It has just been, a long time since anyone has washed my feet. I am overcome with gratitude.”  I had not expected this reaction and was unsure how to respond. I said ” I’m happy to have the opportunity to do it, it is not something, that I normally get the chance to do for my patients. ”

He then began to tell me a story from the Bible about how (in John chapter 7 ) A sinful woman of low esteem had knelt before Jesus and washed his feet with her tears, dried them with her hair and anointed his feet with her perfume. That the disciples had ridiculed her to Jesus, not understanding, why?  he would let her touch him with her unclean hands. But Jesus rebuked them and made a lesson of them, that she had shown humility, compassion, and kindness in doing so, which none of them had done or offered to do. And he had forgiven her, of her sin, because of her faith and her willingness to serve him.  Mr Peters then said ” did you know that Jesus washed his own disciples feet at the last supper? ”  

I guess I must have looked at him with a confused look, because then,  Mr Peters put his hand on my shoulder.  He surprised me when he said ” this day,  you have shown the same humility in your heart ,and your actions. This is why, you were chosen to be a nurse.  

And this is, you should always remember. We were put on this earth to help each other and to love each other. Every, small thing, that you do for someone else, whether it is a kind gesture or in making sure that they are cared for properly, is your responsibility regardless of your profession.  How you do it, and with what motive, is what matters to God. Not giving up, when you are needed, is the true test. We have to rely on God for our strength. He has a purpose for us all, it is up to you to complete the task. In spite of, what you may think, the little things that you do, are appreciated. Even if, the person you did them for, never acknowledges you for them.

There are many, who will never forget ,that one-act of kindness, that you show, and that one-act of kindness, could change that persons path, or way of looking at life. You are God’s servant and he is pleased with the job you are doing.”

I was taken back by his words and his sincerity, and I was not really sure, how to respond.

 I said ” Thank you Mr Peter’s that means allot to me.” But I didn’t know at the time what an impact his statements would have on me in the future.

I stood from my position at his feet and assisted him back into his bed. He was very unsteady when walking and unable to transfer alone. He held my hand very firmly and he looked me in the eye, and he said ” Angel, I am glad you came and I know that you won’t give up on what you have been placed here to do”

I squeezed his hand back and said ” No worries Mr Peters, I’m to stubborn to give up that easy ” We both chuckled and then I gathered up my linens and walked toward the door. I told him it had been a pleasure meeting him and he thanked me again for everything. We smiled at each other and then I headed out the door back up to the nurses station.

I saw the Charge Nurse sitting at the desk and I said , ” I finished with Mr Peters bath and he is ready for his medicine, whenever you are.”

 She looked up at me with a confused look on her face and she said who? I said Mr Peters in the last room on the right, I just finished his bath and he’s ready for his meds.”

She said “there is no Mr Peters on this hall, This is a woman’s ward and there is not supposed to be anyone in that room, those beds are unassigned.” I was shocked but I said “well, I just spent an hour in there with a man, who said his name was Jonathan Peters and he was definitely not a woman.

She rose from behind the desk and said “come with me, maybe he has wandered from another ward and gotten into the wrong bed by mistake” . We walked to the end of the hallway and when we entered the room, the blinds were drawn and the room was dark and dreary and all the beds were empty and made to perfection. There was no one there. No trace that anyone ever had been.

She said “are you sure, this is the room?”  I said “yes, I was just in here a moment ago, but the room as bright and the blinds were up and he was in this bed. I touched him and spoke with him and he was very real”

We searched every room on the hallway and he was not to be found. We went to the computer and looked at the facility roster and there was no one by the name of Jonathan Peters listed as a patient there. I really was in shock, but I also felt very foolish and not really sure what to say. The Charge Nurse just shook her head and said, ” I don’t know what to tell you, there is no one here by that name and I’ve never heard anyone report vagrants entering the building or anything like that. I don’t know how he would have gotten out of there so quick, he would have had to have come past us at the desk in order to leave the unit. Well, just get on with someone else, we have baths to finish up”

I continued out the day with other duties, but Mr Peters was in my mind through most of it. For the rest of my time at this facility I would look for him every chance I got, but I never saw him again. His words to me are forever, etched in my heart .

I can still see his face and his bright blue eyes, just like he was standing here now. I’m not sure who he was, where he came from, or where he went, but I am inclined to think, that maybe,  he was a Guardian Angel or a Spirit Messenger of some kind.

He had appeared in my life at a time when I was questioning myself and my purpose of being.  He encouraged me, to continue my profession, to not give up on the hardships I would face. And to remember, to keep myself humbled and compassionate.

Whomever he was, an angel, a ghost or a mystical messenger. My life was forever, touched by him and I will never forget his words to me. I am grateful, to have had the experience. Even if, I have no explanation, as to, how it happened. I take comfort in knowing why.

I have no doubt in my mind, that this was a paranormal experience meant for me personally . I will always be grateful to Jonathan Peters for the lessons he taught me and the impact he has had on my life.  Whom ever or what ever, he is, or was, I hope that someday, we will have the chance to meet again.

Copyright Angela L Burke 2009 Posted with permission by msspidarkpens.  

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