I Made Peace with Our Poltergeist

Yes, we have a poltergeist.  I’ve been aware of him since 2005 however, looking back, the hubs realized that he’s probably been with us since the beginning (1995).  Yes, I said “he”;  It is a man and we know who he is.  I have always believed in ghosts and been deathly afraid of them.  I hoped that they would leave me be, because I scare very easily.  I’ve believed my whole life that the manner in which I die would be scared to death.  Truly!  Always been a scaredy cat.  I don’t watch horror movies; i get nightmares from the commercials.   As a child, I thought the Gremlins lived under my bed, Darth Vader lived in my basement and the Boogie Man roamed the halls of my house after everyone turned in.  If the hubs is away, I bring B into our bed at night, lock the bedroom door and leave the TV on all night.  So when I realized we had a poltergeist in our house, I thought I would go mad with fear.  I mean it literally.  I felt the panic that I had once felt during those two years of hell after I was raped.  But this morning, I realized I am finally at peace with him.  I actually love him and am glad he’s around, although I wish he’d stop messing with me!

So, let’s start at the beginning.  Actually, this is not the real beginning – not when he showed up.  But this is when I became aware of a poltergeist in our home.  The hubs had suspected who he was for some time but didn’t share the identity with me until a few years ago.  So, let’s head back to 2005…

It was a lovely, warm day and I was folding laundry in our bedroom.  B was playing, going back and forth from our bedroom and his.  We were renting a 3 story town home and the bedrooms were on the top.  There was no basement to the house; all 3 stories were above ground.  First floor had the front door, sliding glass doors in the back,a one car garage, family room and full bath; second floor had a kitchen, dining room and living room; third floor had 3 bedrooms and 2 baths.  For some reason, I did not have the TV nor radio on, so it was fairly quiet.  All of a sudden I heard the sound of a dining room chair being knocked over on the floor below.  I froze.  My heart stopped.  (As I type this, I’m reliving the fear from that day!  *shudder*)  Within 10 seconds, I heard the sound of a glass being knocked over on the kitchen counter.  Someone was in the house!

Before having B, this scaredy cat would have curled into a ball and either, a) been killed by the ax murderer who broke into the house or, b) died of fright before he made it to the top of the stairs!  But I was a mom and the instinct to protect my child got me moving.  I grabbed the phone on the nightstand, called the hubs at work and went to the top of the stairs.  When the hubs answered, I said loudly, “Someone’s broken into the house.  You need to come home now.  NOW!”  Luckily, my hubs is an action man, not a “Wait, what?  Calm down and give me all the details” kinda man.  He said, “Is B with you?”  “Yes.”  “Barricade yourself in your bedroom.  Call 911.  I’m on my way.”  He hung up.  I had not heard any more noise since the glass fell and no one had proceeded up the stairs yet, so I didn’t call 911.  I had hoped that the person thought the house empty since it was so quiet and now, realizing it was not they were thinking of leaving.

I spoke loudly and angrily from the top of the stairs, “Whoever you are, you better get the Hell out of my house RIGHT NOW.  My husband is on his way.  He carries a gun for work and his office is less than 5 minutes away.  I promise you, you will regret being here when he arrives, because the police will NOT be called and no one will find your body.”  I don’t know where that speech came from!  The hubs was at least 20 minutes away and had no gun.  But I was so mad that this person dared to come into my house with my child that I clung to the anger.  The alternative was panic.

I slammed the bedroom door, locked it and pushed my hope chest, nightstand and one bureau in front of it.  I grabbed the golf club under the hubs’ side of the bed and took B into the bathroom.  I locked the bathroom door and we both got into the tub.  I held the club in my left hand and the portable phone in my right.  I punched in the numbers 911 and hovered my thumb over the send button. I didn’t realize how tightly I was gripping both items until I heard our secret, family knock on the bedroom door, and had to put them down  to open the bathroom door.  I stood in the open bathroom door, silently, and waiting for the knock again.  It came, followed by, “Jessie?  It’s me.  It’s OK.  I’ve searched the whole house and no one’s here.  Open the door.”  He’d driven home like a bat out of Hell and spent 10 minutes searching the house.

After I moved the furniture and opened the bedroom door, he scooped B up in one arm and me in the other.  After I stopped shaking he told me what he’d found when he came home: the entire house was locked – all doors and windows – no one had broken in.  The only things out of place were a knocked over chair in the dining room and a glass in the kitchen.  “Well, someone was here!  Neither one of those were knocked over when we came upstairs and I heard them fall!”  “Then someone used a key,” he replied.  “But I doubt they’ll be back.”  We were renting the house at the time.  The owner got the house in her divorce settlement and she was currently living with the boyfriend that broke up the marriage.  I’d not heard good things from the neighbors about him and we thought it must have been him.  The hubs promised to call the owner and have a talk with her.  Despite my begging, he had to go back to work.

But I soon realized that no one had used a key to get into the house; it was a poltergeist.  A week later he started messing with me daily, but never in front of B or the hubs, so the hubs thought I was imagining things.  The owner’s bedroom was in the back of the house and in the front were 2 bedrooms side-by-side.  One was B’s room and the other the office.  B liked his door left open while he napped, so when I was on the computer at nap time, I shut the office door.  We had a loud, clacky keyboard and I didn’t want to wake B up.  Every time I was in the office, I heard footsteps walk down the hall from the stairwell to the office door and then the ghost knocked on the door!  I’d open it up but there’d be no one there.  On the nights that the hubs went to the basement to watch a game while I watched one of my shows in the bedroom, I’d hear the ghost’s footsteps start outside B’s door and walk down the hall to the threshold of our bedroom.  I kept the door open so I could hear B.  He would pause in the doorway for a few minutes,  Staring at me?  Watching TV with me?  And then I’d hear his footsteps head downstairs.

Then one time, several months later, I was out running errands on the weekend, B was taking a nap and the hubs was in the office with the door closed.  There was a knock at the office door.  He opened the door, but there was no one there.  Because of what I’d been telling him about my encounters, the hubs just stood in the doorway and waited.  After a minute or 2, he heard the footsteps walking away from him down the hall and down the stairs.  I was so relieved it’d finally happened to him!  A year after the ghost (I know, I switched from calling him a poltergeist to a ghost a little bit ago; it’s just because ghost is shorter to type) first appeared, our lease was up and we moved.  I was so happy because I believed that most ghosts haunt in one place – where they died, where they were buried, etc. – and that the ghost would stay at that house and bother the new occupants.

We moved over the Summer of 2006 and enjoyed a ghost-free new home for 2 months.  Or so I thought.  The hubs goes to bed earlier than me because he goes into work early.  I would watch TV, after he and B were in bed, downstairs in the family room.  Every night before going to bed I would change the channel on the set top box to Noggin (OH, how I miss Noggin!).  Every morning, B would wake up, come wake me up and then head downstairs while I peed and brushed my teeth.  The TV was on the floor in the family room and he would push the on button on the TV and watch Noggin until I came down to make breakfast.

When September began, despite the fact that I had put Noggin on before going to bed, ESPN was on the TV.  Not on the weekends, when the hubs got up with B, but on the weekdays, when the hubs was at work.  Not that ESPN was bad, but we didn’t want B watching anything other than Noggin without us present.  After a couple of weeks of coming downstairs and finding ESPN on, I told the hubs that if he’s going to watch ESPN in the morning before heading to work, could he please put it back on Noggin before leaving.  He didn’t know what I was talking about.  He never turned the TV on before work, he said, because he didn’t want to wake us.  I asked him if he recorded anything on ESPN during the night; that would account for the channel change.  He said no and I checked the DVR – no recordings on ESPN at all.  We didn’t have any pets to walk on the remote and I put it up high before bed.  B could not change the channel, volume, anything.  He could only reach the buttons on the TV, not the remote, not the set-top box.

DAMN IT!  It was the ghost; I was sure of it!  The fear only lasted a few seconds before being replaced with anger.  If I’d been calm at the time, I might have wondered why he came with us.  That meant he was attached to some possession or some person in our house and was sticking with us.  But I didn’t.  The hubs evidently did, but kept his theories to himself.  He knew my fear of ghosties.

I dropped B off at preschool one morning, came back home and stood in the middle of the family room.  I yelled, “I DON’T KNOW WHO YOU ARE OR WHAT YOU WANT BUT I’M TELLING YOU TO GET. THE. FUCK. OUT. OF. MY. HOUSE!  LEAVE MY FAMILY ALONE!  GO BOTHER SOMEONE ELSE!  I HAVE A CHILD AND I WILL NOT HAVE YOU SCARING HIM!”  The next morning, and every morning after that, the TV was on Noggin.  No footsteps, no bumps in the night, just peace.  He, kindly, did what I asked of him, but not forever.  In 2007, the hubs went to Iraq.  My nerves were frayed enough as it was.  If that ghost had made itself known I probably would have gone into the funny farm!  But as soon as the hubs returned, the ghost made himself known again – crashing and banging on the upper floors.  I think he was as happy as the rest of us to have the hubs home safe and sound.

In the Summer of 2008, the house we were renting was sold and we moved to our current home.  (BTW, we’ve been together for 19 years and have moved 11 times.  We owned a house for 5 years and have lived in this house for 6 years, so the rest of those moves happened in the remaining 8 years.  I’m moving ONE. MORE. TIME. PERIOD.)  Once in this house, our ghost started walking up and down the hall at night again and stopping in our bedroom doorway to have a look.  In 2011 I received two kittens for Mother’s Day and it was quite apparent that our ghost enjoyed playing with the cats.  The ghost was also starting to make himself known to B.  B came to me, upset, about things he’d seen and heard.  I did not want him to know, but I was done talking to this guy.  He didn’t listen to me for long so I sat down with the hubs and asked him what we should do.

He finally told me he believed he knew who it was and, upon lots of reflection, he realized this person been with us since 1996.  It was the hubs’ brother, who had passed away 4 months before the hubs and I met.  Although it made me feel better to know it wasn’t some random serial killer, I didn’t know my BIL (brother-in-law).  I knew I didn’t like his behavior in my house, but the hubs said that was his personality.  The hubs told me to take B out of the house and he had a talk with his brother to please tiptoe around B.  And he does.

The hubs and his brother weren’t very close growing up but, before he died, they spent a road trip together and really got to talk and connect for the first time.  The hubs is glad to have his brother in our house.  The month of November, when my BIL died, used to be very dark  and hard for the hubs.  But not now.  He talks to his brother all the time, is happy to have him with us, watching his nephew grow up into such a wonderful young man, and he’s glad his brother no longer suffers.  I’m happy for the hubs and that my BIL doesn’t mess with B, but I wished that he didn’t constantly remind me he was here.  He’s always moving my stuff!  Taking it and having a good ‘ole laugh watching me tear up the place looking for it, and then putting it right back where it was.  However, recently, I’ve had a change of heart.

I thought I didn’t know my BIL, but I realized this month that’s not true at all.  He’s lived with me for 19 years.  He even talks to me.  He calls our names.  Isn’t that amazing?!  I thought it was creepy before but it’s actually endearing.  He calls my name when I’m in the house alone.  He knows I’m a scaredy cat and I think he’s letting me know that I’m not really alone; he’s here.  He calls my name before I fall asleep sometimes.  I don’t know if he’s saying good night or messing with me by not letting me sleep.  He was a big prankster!  But it makes me feel like he sees me as his sister and I am “blessed” with all the sibling pranks that the others got when he was alive.

This month, though, he’s stepped up his game.  Halloween time is, apparently, his favorite time of year.  He crashed something in the bedroom last week just as I was dozing off.  The hubs had fallen asleep on the couch downstairs watching a game.  My BIL would have never pulled that stunt if the hubs was in the room!  LOL  And I’ve actually seen him in the house twice this month.  I’ve come downstairs with my eyes down because I have a habit of falling down stairs and I have to pay attention.  Out of the corner of my, I’ve seen a man in the kitchen and I look up just in time to see his back retreat out the kitchen door into the front room.  And you know what?  I wasn’t scared.  I wasn’t pissed.  I’m honored, in fact.

I’m finally at peace with my BIL, the poltergeist.  The whole time I’ve been typing this, I’ve wondered if he was standing behind me, reading over my shoulder.  I wonder what he thinks of this post.  Is he saying to himself, “Hold on, that is NOT what happened.” or “Lighten up!”  Maybe he’ll tell me at bedtime tonight.  ;o)

 

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