Sunday, September 12, 2010

bravery? not one of my stronger suits

Tonight, Charlie and I were discussing what it's like to live in a house where someone has recently died. And while the man that passed away was in his 90's and had been ill for several years, it's still a rather sobering thought that someone took their last breath in THIS house. Their soul left their body in THIS house. The last thing that they saw was probably the ceiling or a window or a door or ... who knows what.

But it was in THIS house.

Recall, it was Charlie, who before we even knew for sure, had a feeling that someone had died here. My husband could totally sense that there was "something" about this place. Call it a spirit, call it an energy, call it what you will. But for the past week, ever since I read that piece about Stephen Hawking's most recent theory about God not being present in the creation of the Universe, I've been interested / possibly hopeful to see if something supernatural would happen once we moved in.

Keep in mind, I've heard nothing but good things about the man that lived here. A man that I will forever more refer to as Mr. S. Because I think it's important that he has an identity.

Mr. S was a kind, gentle person that would happily welcome people in to his home and would dole out huge bear hugs. I can imagine he's the kind of guy I'd really like... and I'm optimistic he'd really like us, too.

That being said...

Tonight, as we were discussing any fears that we have about living in this space, Charlie said, "Whenever I go in to a room, particularly in the dark, I'll turn on the light, look around and say, 'Hey. What's up, Mr. S?' Although, I must admit, whenever I go downstairs in to the basement at night, I won't look outside the door because I'm fully expecting to see that there will be the face of an old man, standing at the window and he'll fade back, out of sight. That's why I'm very anxious to paint and take down wall paper and make this house OURS as soon as possible."

While it would be nice, in a way, to experience a spirit who has gone on to the after life, just as a reassurance that there IS indeed something beyond us ... I feel the same way about making this home ours, as soon as possible. Right now, even though we have all of our furniture moved in, the 50-year old wall paper and paneling and orange shag carpet very much makes it feel like we're in someone else's space.

And unlike Charlie who is boldly facing his fears, I feel like I'm on the verge of letting out a blood curdling scream at any moment. I'm not uncomfortably afraid, I'm just very jittery. So if a squirrel drops an acorn down the chimney, the water heater kicks on, or the house creaks the way houses creak - I'm totally alert, ready to grab the children and run like my pants are on fire.

Last night, an hour or so after Charlie went to sleep, I crawled in to bed. And just as I was starting to doze off, I absolutely positively could have sworn that I'd heard heavy, slow footsteps coming down our hallway.





The burst of adrenaline was so great, my throat nearly exploded. I flung the covers back and was actually standing above Charlie, shaking him awake, when I realized the sound I'd heard was my heart beating and the "footsteps" were coming faster.


Yes. I know.

I'm such a chicken.


  1. Hey guys, don't get yourselves all spooked out. Mr. S. sounds like he was a kind soul and is probably glad that you are in "his" house and will take care of it for him. Get rid of the wall paper and the orange carpet and than you will feel more like it is your home. Mr. S. is your guardian angel, watching out for your best interests. By the way, I love the pictures of your back yard - gorgeous. Hope that you are enjoying getting settled in your new area. K in IL

  2. Then the spirit screeched, "Don't touch my orange shag carpet, you BITCH!"

    Be afraid, Jen. Be very afraid.

  3. I did the same thing not long after we moved this last time (although as far as I know no one has ever died in this house). Even went so far as to call a friend in another state at 530AM because I knew she'd be awake. Turned out I was hearing the echo of a dripping faucet carried by the air ducts. Your new home sounds lovely (minus the shag) and I'm sure you'll start feeling more comfortable in no time.

  4. May the peace of your new neighborhood infuse you with joy at the prospect of raising your family in an incredibly beautiful environment. The creek will remind you that the river of our lives continues to flow.

  5. Just looked at the pics of your backyard and all I can say is wow. That is incredible. You can't see another house...amazing. You will never regret giving your kids this gift. And I hope you soak your white because they are going to get DIRTY!!

  6. Been reading some Edgar Allen Poe have you?

  7. My beloved husband died in our living room on November 29, 2009 after an eight year disability. He had not spoken since September 24, 2001 (stroke smack on the speech center of brain) but he did cough and get hiccups (3 hiccups, then he was done) several times a day. If he needed me he would make noise. For weeks after his death I heard him every day. The hiccups would wake me up at night. In the beginning it upset me terribly, then my good friend, a nurse, explained that it was just my brain remembering and perhaps I should just enjoy having him around. I still hear him occasionally and now just smile.

    So if it’s any help, consider Mr. S. your guardian angel.

  8. If Mr. S is there once you start and renovate that is when he will start and "show" you he is there. There is lots of evidence in paranormal studies that show that changing a structure will cause paranormal activity to raise. It happened to our house and I know of another 6 people that this has happened too!

  9. I do not know if you remember that your grandfather died in your family home---in the dining room. This was when you were in SC with Auntie. This was just shortly after you had decorated him and his wheel chair with all the Christmas trimmings from the tree. I am happy that my Dad died in my home and that I was with him when he needed me most and I could say goodbye to him. This was a sad time for my family as my Mom had died just five days earlier. She died in a hospital and I always felt guilty that I was not with her. Dying is such a wonderful part of life and it is great that Mr S could be in his home that he apparently enjoyed when he took his last breath.
    Yes, life and death happens in all homes.

  10. From what I've always sort of understood/gathered, most often spirits that hang around seem to be those that are 'stuck' between this world and the next. Souls that are confused... individuals who passed unexpectedly or who left some unfinished business and are struggling to let go.

    So then my hope would be that Mr. S was at peace in his death. He was 90, hopefully led a wonderful life, had family that loved him and in the end had no reason to want to cling to this life over the next.

    My hope is that what you are feeling is not so much the spirit of Mr. S, but rather the spirit of the house and the deeply seeded love that has grown within it over the years and years that Mr. S and his family called it 'home'.

  11. Rachel, your words are so beautiful. And I'm sure that you're correct!

    This house has a wonderful spirit. It certainly isn't anything to be afraid of. Tonight, when I came home from work, it actually felt like I was embraced in warmth and love and HOME.

    I adore it here. And I can't help but think that since Mr. S. obviously adored it here, too (at least enough to stay in the same house for 50 years!), whatever spirit exists must be happy that we are treasuring this space just as much!