After a string of bad roommates, I ultimately decided that I wanted a place of my own. I found a three-bedroom house complete with a two-car garage, full basement, and big backyard. Sure, it was about twenty miles outside of the city, but that meant that friends couldn’t drop in without calling me first. Side note – guys, don’t do this. Call your friends before you show up! I moved in, and everything was great. Try as I might, I started noticing things that I couldn’t explain.
Like any good horror movie, it started with my dog. Sophie is a Lhasa Apso but thinks she’s a Doberman. When she hears a noise, she goes to investigate. Early one morning, she woke with up growling and immediately headed out of the room. I got up to follow her and found her at the top of the basement steps. That’s when I heard the distinct sound of footsteps coming from the basement. Suspecting a burglar, I grabbed the poker from the fireplace and headed downstairs (like an idiot). I flipped on the lights, ready to attack (or more accurately, ready to scream and surrender) and found that the room was empty. I looked in the laundry room, bathroom, and the closet. Hell, I even looked behind furniture. There was no one else in my house. I repeated this ritual almost nightly until I explained it away as the house settling.
A few months passed with no developments. One Sunday afternoon, I was downstairs doing laundry. Tired of walking up and down the stairs, I decided to hang out on the couch outside the laundry room and watch some TV between loads. I was exhausted from being out too late the previous night and laid down on the couch. A few hours later, I woke up on the couch. I threw the blanket off of me and began to fold the laundry in the dryer. That’s when it hit me. I didn’t have a blanket when I went to sleep. I walked back out the couch and noticed that it was the blanket I keep in my upstairs guest room. I explained it as a sleepwalking episode, even though I’ve never sleepwalked before. Additionally, why would I go into my guest room when I only ever go in there to get it ready for a guest. I decided the rest of the laundry could wait until another time since it was beginning to get dark outside.
The basement continued to be the center of activity. I always leave the laundry room door open. The door is heavy and old, so it naturally stays wide open and is hard to latch. Plus, I’m usually carrying a laundry basket in my hand, so I don’t have a free hand to close it. I would go downstairs to do laundry and routinely find the door closed. I thought maybe I was being absent minded and closing it when I left without a basket in my hand, so I left a post-it reading “DON’T CLOSE THE DOOR” on the washer to remind me not to close the door. Despite this, I kept finding the door closed.
What finally convinced me was a friend having an experience in (you guessed it) my basement. The entrance from my garage opens into my basement. We walked in to pick up a bottle of wine to take to a party, and she came in to check out a painting I was working on. She took off her coat and threw it on the couch. While she was looking at the painting, she heard a voice behind her and turned to find her coat draped over the back of a chair, rather than crumpled on the couch where she left it. When I came back downstairs, she was sitting in my car. When she recounted her story, I laughed and immediately exclaimed “I knew I wasn’t that crazy!”
When I tell these stories, I usually get asked two questions. The first is “why don’t you move?” The second is “what don’t you do something to get rid of the ghost?” My answer to either question is always the same. I don’t feel unsafe in my home. Based on my experiences, I think that the spirit is that of an older woman who has a motherly energy to her. She has never done anything harmful; she just wants her space to be clean and in order. I can live with that. Even so, I had to set some ground rules.
When I finally admitted that I might have a ghost, I had a conversation with it. I went to the basement with a few cups of tea and sat on the couch. I said “You are free to stay, but there’s a few things I need from you. Please don’t scare my animals or my guests. If any of us walk into a room, please keep your distance. With that being said, if someone else is here alone, do whatever you need to do to protect our home.”
I felt silly when I did this, but a few weeks ago I learned that she is keeping her word. I had to have a new washer installed after mine bit the dust. My work schedule is a bit hectic, so I asked my neighbor to let the delivery driver in and hang out while he installed the new washer. My neighbor texted that she had just let the driver in. A few minutes later she called me. I was in a meeting, so I ignored the call. She called back, so I ignored the call again. When she called a third time, I realized that the driver might have a question. I stepped out and answered her call. She was frantic and explained that door kept slamming when the worker was in the laundry room. When the driver stepped out, the door slammed again the lights turned off. With all this in mind, the driver was refusing to come back in the house and was waiting for his boss to show up. I left work a bit early to meet them back at my house. As luck would have it, my presence caused the activity to stop.
Having a spirit in my home and leaving semi-comfortably with her makes me feel incredibly witchy. I plan on moving in the next few years, and I hope my ghost will follow me. If not, I will do everything to make sure the future owners of my home will be as welcoming to her as I have grown to be.