I spent Friday night in a haunted house.
And I didn't mind at all--Halloween is approaching and it's certainly a traditional holiday activity.
Besides, I was actually looking forward to the prospect of staying as a guest there. I'd admired the gorgeous clawfoot tub upstairs on previous visits... and no mere ghost was going to deter me from having a bath in the bathtub of my dreams.....
The haunted home I'm talking about actually bears no resemblance to the traditional looming Victorian kind with bat-filled turrets and gloomy cob-webbed corridors.
My haunted house is bright and airy and immaculate, with gorgeous waterfront views over Baynes Sound, high ceilings, polished wooden floors, stained-glass windows, and a 1600 square foot wraparound deck to die for. The bathroom in the master suite is heart-breakingly beautiful. It's currently on the market for one and a quarter million dollars and I'm having covetous thoughts.
My friend who once lived there for many years (a different friend than the one who is currently care-taking the property) tells me that the home's original look is almost unrecognizable now after extensive renovations. But it was built in the 1920's and has a colourful history, including once having an illegal still/speak-easy located in the basement.
And there's the ghost, of course, at no extra cost to any potential buyers.
The ghost's name is Jack and he has been seen and felt by many people over the years.
"He's not a mean ghost, at least I've never felt so", said my friend thoughtfully, after I asked about the house's history. "But he does seem to like to startle people. Maybe he's bored. I would be, if I were a ghost."
She looked at me quizzically and asked if I thought I might be nervous sleeping here. I assured her I was quite interested at the possibility of meeting a ghost.
"Well, he probably won't bother you then", came the reassuring reply. She added that the ghost seems to prefer appearing to prepubescent girls. Of course, I'm *cough cough* a little past that.
Jack has been known to move furniture, take small objects, and make a lot of noise. He is thought to be the spirit of a young man in his twenties who died of spinal meningitis in the nineteen fifties. The room he died in is now a small office.
The night I stayed, a group of friends and I stayed up till around two in the morning talking in the living-room.
We'd been warned that the fridge made a knocking noise occasionally and not to be alarmed. Sure enough, it did make a funny knocking sound at one point and we all laughed that if we had been alone in the house with that appliance we surely would've jumped to a non-scientific conclusion if we hadn't known that before.
But a little later there was a flurry of loud banging sounds that came from the general direction of the kitchen. "Hmmm", said my friend when we all looked expectantly at her. "Well, it wasn't the fridge..."
None of us got up to investigate.
That night it was myself in the magnificent bedroom at the top of the house and another woman who stayed at the opposite end of the house in a guest bedroom after everybody went home.
I wondered if I'd see or hear anything. Well, here is my experience:
A loud chorus of barking noises all night long.... AR AR AR..ar ar ar ar ...AR AR AR ...ar ar ar....(Okay, that was from the sea-lions out in the nearby ocean. But, man, were they loud!)
Rustling coming from the bedroom closet. (I went over and opened the door and the noises stopped. It sounded suspiciously like mice, but wasn't that brave of me?)
Fitful sleep with strange dreams about the ghost. (Hmmm, dreams don't actually count as strange phenomena, do they? Oh well...at least I can ask if the ghost has red hair because he did in my dream where he was showing me around the house.)
Whenever I sleep in a strange bed, I always wake early with an urge to prowl around. I tried to be quiet. Hopefully the other guest didn't hear me moving around at six in the morning and think I was a haunt.
I went and stood in the room where Jack had died. It was very peaceful. Lots of interesting books on the shelves. Nothing jumped out and yelled boo.
A French door downstairs that previously opened and shut without effort seemed to resist my efforts at closing it but perhaps it was just feeling irritable that one time. Let's try to be rational here... :)
I ended up curled up in a comfortable chair reading until breakfast time.
So, was there really a ghost? I dunno. My night here was inconclusive on that subject.
But before I went downstairs that morning I had my wonderful magical bath in that enormous tub overlooking the mountains and sea. And that was worth any amount of clanking chains and spooky stuff in this girl's opinion.