Thursday, October 26, 2006

My personal ghost story

My personal ghost story:

My parents had divorced when I was around 5 or 6. My mother got custody of us kids and my father moved to another state. As a result, we fell out of touch with my fathers side of the family and my contacts with my father was few and far between. When my grandmother died, I did not learn about it until two years after the fact when I went with my father to my grandfathers home to stay over for the weekend. I was about 13 or 14 years old at the time. My grandfathers house was a two family apartment house in the city. My grandmother and grandfather lived their entire married life in the apartment on the top and usually rented out the apartment on the bottom.

My grandparents apartment was shaped like a capital "i" The two bedrooms are back to back of each other in the back of the apartment (the top of the "i") the long hallway in the middle of the "i" Halfway down the hallway is the entrance to the only bathroom. The bottom of the "i" is the eat in kitchen and the living room (back to back just like the bedrooms). The living room and kitchen is seperated by a wall with two open doorways (no doors), one at each end of the living room.

After my grandmother died (she died peacefully in her sleep on the couch in the living room) my grandfather moved out of the master bedroom and moved into the second bedroom in order to preserve the master bedroom as it was when my grandmother died. A way of preserving a memory of her. On my first day at my grandfathers house, my father and grandfather filled me in on what has been going on with their side of the family. Among which, they both claimed that my grandfathers apartment was haunted by the ghost of my grandmother. I thought that they were both trying to have a bit of fun at my expense. I loved to read about true ghost tales, but I wasn't buying my father's and grandfathers ghost stories.

One such story, according to my grandfather, he took a nap on the couch in the living room (the same couch my grandmother died on). He awoke to the sight of my grandmother standing there, looking lovingly down at him. He got a very good and long look at her before she vanished right before his very eyes.

My grandfather also told me that, when she was alive, one of my grandmothers habits was during the night was to come out of the bedroom, go to the kitchen to get herself a cold drink from the refrigerator. The door to the master bedroom often got a bit stuck in the door jamb and if you were inside the bedroom, you had to pull it open with all of your might which created quite a bit of noise. (Indeed, I got to know what the sound was like because upon my arrival, my father showed me my grandmothers bedroom and he had to roughly push the door open). So, she'd pull the door open noisily, she'd shuffle down the long hallway (my grandmother always shuffled when she walked) and then she'd pull open the door to the fridge, causing the bottles in the door to clink against each other (when my grandmother was alive, and even after she died, they were still putting soft drinks in glass bottles instead of plastic). Then she'd have her drink and go back to bed. According to my grandfather, even though she was no longer alive, she still made the same trip from time to time.

My grandfather would be sitting in the living room in his favorite chair watching tv....he'd hear the distinctive sound of the bedroom door being roughly pulled open, the sound of shuffling feet down the hallway, the creak in the floor (the part of the hallway floor, directly in front of the bathroom door, would creak whenever someone would walk over it), more shuffling, then he would hear the fridge door being pulled open and hear the sound of the bottles in the fridge door clinking against each other.

Many is the time, he said, that instead of hearing these sounds from the living room, he'd be sitting in the kitchen giving him a vantage point of being able to look up into the hallway itself, the sounds would start, but he would see nothing. Even though he would hear shuffling footsteps, he'd see no one walking down the hallway towards him. Even though he would hear the fridge door opening and the bottles clinking against each other, he would not see the fridge door opening even though he was sitting only a few feet away.

I refused to believe these stories. I had not seen or heard a ghost in my life (even though I was a believer) and I assumed that I would never experience a haunting in my lifetime. How wrong I was.

That night, my grandfather went to his next door neighbors house to play some poker while my father and I prepared to go to bed. Because my grandfather was preserving the master bedroom and had moved into the second bedroom, my father and I slept on the couch in the living room (yes, the same exact one my grandmother had died on) which opened into a double bed. My father went right to sleep while I stayed up to read.

I'm laying there in the couch bed alongside my sleeping father, the lights in the living room was off, but the lights to the kitchen was on and it was bright enough to shine through the living room doorways on both ends of the room which provided enough light to let me read.

After a while, I heard the distinctive sound of the door to my grandmothers bedroom being roughly pulled open, then I hear the sound of shuffling feet, the I hear the sound of the creak in the hallway floor in front of the bathroom, then I hear more shuffling, then I hear the sound of the fridge door opening and the sound of glass bottles clinking against each other. Thinking nothing of it (already I had forgotten about my grandfathers ghost story) and feeling a little thirsty, I decided to join my grandfather in a cold drink. So I hop out of bed, go through the living room doorway nearest my side of the bed and go into the kitchen only to find myself standing there all alone. At first I'm a little puzzled. I could have sworn I heard my grandfather come out of the bedroom, shuffle down the hallway (my grandfather also shuffled when he walked, but only when he got tired) and open the fridge door.

THEN I came to the realization that my grandfather was STILL at his neighbors house playing poker and had not yet come home. And on top of that I realized that the sound of the door being pulled open that I heard, was the door to the master bedroom, the bedroom my grandfather had not slept in since my grandmother had died. THEN I remembered my grandfathers ghost story. And then I started to get scared.

I had to work up the courage to move my legs, and then from the kitchen, I raced towards the living room doorway that was near my fathers side of the bed, ran into the living room, did a perfect 10 point leap right over the sleeping body of my father and landed in my side of the bed.

I laid there in bed for a while looking at my father, wishing he wasn't sleeping so that he could comfort me in my fright.

Soon after I pulled the covers over my head, (not out of fright, but because in those days it was my habit to sleep with the covers pulled over me completely, head and all) and went to sleep.

But that wasn't the end of this haunting. I always was a very heavy sleeper and could sleep through anything, but sometime during that night, all of the sudden, I woke up with a start, (laying on my right side, facing my father's side of the bed, covers still completely over my head) with a paralyzing fear going up and down my spine. A feeling that I have never felt before that night or since. I just laid there completely paralyzed with fear.

My brain was still in working order and I kept asking myself, "Why am I so scared? What am I so afraid of? Why can't I move?"

I decided to turn my head and then take the cover off of my face in the hopes I would find out what was scaring me. When I decided to simply turn my head, it was easier said than done, for it took me what seemed like several minutes just to work up the courage to turn it. I finally got around to turning my head to the left.....only to see a shadowy outline of a womans head and shoulders being cast onto the underside of my blanket (which was still covering my face and body). The shadow was kind of rocking from side to side. AND I could hear heavy breathing coming FROM the shadow. I know it wasn't my father because he slept soundly and he was laying down, while the shadow was in a standing positionand he was sleeping on the opposite side of me. The distinctive thing about my grandmother was that she had a beehive hairdo (One of the things I remember about her). Even years after it went out of style, she had a small beehive up untill the last few months before her death. (I know this because of the pictures taken of her that my grandfather showed me) This shadowy outline of a head and shoulders being cast onto my blanket, the top of the head had the distinctive shape of a beehive hairdo.

Then I decided to tear the blanket off from over my face to see what was casting that shadow onto me and my blanket. Again, this was easier said than done for, what with that paralyzing fear still with me, it took me several minutes just to work up the courage to move my hand to grab the blanket and pull it off my face.....only to see absolutely nothing standing there. And the paralyzing fear went away in a split second as if it was never there.

The kitchen light was still on and was shining through the living room doorways. I sat up and looked around at the rest of the living room and at my father (who was still sleeping peacefully). Everything was still in place. That wasn't the end of it.

I laid back down, pulled the cover back over my face. From underneath my blanket, I looked back in the direction from where the shadow came from and saw nothing there except for the bright light of the kitchen shining on me. No sound of any heavy breathing either. I somehow fell back to sleep, only to wake up again with a start, AGAIN laying on my right side facing my father, AGAIN with a paralyzing fear going up and down my spine. And again I had to work up the courage just to turn my head to the left only to find the shadowy outline of a womans head (with the shape of a beehive hairdo) and shoulders being cast onto my blanket. And yet AGAIN the shadow was rocking back and forth and breathing heavily. And yet AGAIN I had to work up the courage to tear the blanket off of my face only to find nothing there. I pulled the blanket back over my face to find the shadow gone, the heavy breathing gone, etc., and fell back asleep only to have the same things happen to me again and again.

Wake up on my right side paralyzed with fear, work up courage just to turn my head only to find myself staring at a shadowy outline of a head, with beehive, and shoulders, worked up the courage to tear the blanket off of my face only to find nothing there, pulled the covers back over my head to find the shadow gone.

That still wasn't the end of it.

It happened to me so many times that night that I lost count. Maybe a dozen or a dozen and a half, I don't remember. I do remember that after the fifth or sixth time it happened, I was angrily looking at my still sleeping father asking myself why couldn't he be awake and make all of this stop happening. I felt such fear of going back to sleep knowing that it was going to happen to me again and at the same time I had a fear of staying up because I did not want to see with my own eyes what was scaring me. Yet, I would fall asleep, hoping the last time WAS the last time, and yet it would happen again and again.

Finally the next morning, I confided to my father about everything that happened to me throughout the night...from hearing the bedroom door being pulled open, to the shuffling footsteps and fridge door being pulled open, to me going into the kitchen finding no one there and remembering that my grandfather was still next door, to going to sleep only to wake up paralyzed with fear, working up the courage to simply turn my head, to the shadowy outline of a head and shoulders (with beehive hairdo) rocking back and forth, to the heavy breathing, to the tearing the blanket off my face only to find nothing there, and the many repeat performances throughout the night, etc. I expected to be told that I was just seeing and hearing things, but instead he smiled and exclaimed: "That was Grandma!!!"

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