My Life, With Ghosts

My Life, With Ghosts
by Rhetta Akamatsu

(Excerpted from Ghost to Coast: A Handbook of Ghost Tours, Paranormal Investigatio Groups, and Haunted Hotels)

I am fascinated with the paranormal and paranormal investigation. I'm not completely sure what causes ghostly phenomena, but something does, and I want to know what it is. I've had my own experiences, and I've decided to share them here.
To begin with, my parents practiced an odd sort of belief/disbelief system when it came to ghosts. As staunch Southern Baptists, they didn't believe in them, of course. On the other hand, we had one. It wasn't really a ghost person. It was a ghost car. I used to wonder about that, because obviously cars don't have souls, right? But now I am a very firm believer in residual energy, which I see as being a sort of hologram or audio recording stamped on the air by some event at some point in time, and replaying in an endless loop indefinitely.

As a kid, though, all I knew was that we lived at the end of a dirt road about half a mile from the main road and we were the only house on the road. We had a circular driveway, and every day in the afternoon, around 3 pm, we would clearly hear a car go all away around the house and back out the road. Yet there was no car there. If I was outside playing, I would hear it but never see anything at all. My parents just calmly explained,"Oh, that's the ghost," and let it go at that. They never tried to justify using something they didn't believe in to explain something they didn't understand. They just accepted it. That's odd, I know, but Southerners know that sometimes not believing in something won't keep it from happening.

I was never afraid or worried about the ghost car, and I wasn't worried about the more active spirit that followed me to college at 18, either. I never saw or heard that entity, but it certainly made its presence known. I lived in a dorm room that I shared with a roommate. We shared a bathroom with the next room over. Many times, when my roommate was out and I was studying in the room alone, I would walk into the bathroom, walk back out, and my books would have moved to the floor or the bed. This happened many times. In theory, someone could have opened the door, moved the books, left the room and closed the door, I suppose, but they would have had to be very fast and very silent. Several times, I found the books under my bed. Once or twice, they showed up under there when both my roommate and I were in the room and had been sleeping. But I could justify those times, if I assumed that my roommate was playing a very out-of-character joke on me. However..

One weekend my roommate had gone home for the weekend, and so had our suitemates. In fact, that particular weekend only a few people remained in the dorm. I was studying for a test, and I locked the door so I would not be disturbed. I was getting tired, so I decided to take a shower to wake myself up, so I double-checked that the door was locked, as women are prone to do when they are taking a shower in a nearly-empty building. Then I went into the bathroom, turned on the shower, and climbed in. At that time, people still got their music on vinyl, and albums were pretty cheap. I loved music, and I had around 100 albums in the room. I had just got a new Bob Dylan album that week, and it and about 30 other albums were stacked on the floor next to my bed. Yet, when I got out of the shower after about 15 minutes and went back in the room, the albums were nowhere to be found. I was panicking. I checked the door; it was still locked. I checked the one small window; it was secure and someone would have had to climb up two stories to get in it anyway.
I was frantic. I unlocked the door, stepped outside, and there were my albums, all neatly stacked in the hallway right outside the door. I went ballistic. I was so mad I was yelling at the spirit in my room, "Are you crazy? My albums could have been stolen out there! My new Dylan! Leave my stuff alone!"

I must have made an impression, because after that all the pranks stopped. Books quit moving, records stayed put.

I didn't have another experience until years later, after my parents died in the 80's and my first husband and I and our two kids moved into the house I grew up in. Almost immediately, we started waking up at night to the sound of the water running and dishes rattling in the kitchen. It sounded as though someone were washing dishes, but when we checked, of course, no one was in there. Still, in the morning from time to time a few dishes I had left in the sink would be washed, and as the mother of two small children, I was fine with that. A dish-washing ghost was very helpful. I kind of figured it was probably my grandmother, who was a much better housekeeper than I am.

One night, I suppose my slovenly ways may have been a little too frustrating. My husband and I slept next to the kitchen, and we woke up because we heard a strange swooshing noise, followed by a soft thud. I was worried about the kids, but when I checked on them, they were both in their beds, asleep. So my husband and I walked into the kitchen, and there, sticking in the wall behind the kitchen table, was a small butcher knife. The knife was stuck in the wall at about head-height. Even though the doors were locked and no one could have gotten in without our hearing them, we checked the entire house and around the outside, but no one was anywhere around.

I never figured that the ghost who threw it meant to hurt anybody, since the kitchen was empty. I think she was just making a statement about people not washing up at night. It never happened again, but the slit in the wall stayed there for years until we sold the house and the new owner renovated the kitchen.
Since then, I've not had any major experiences with spirits or poltergeists. Another relative had the ghost of a little boy in her house, apparently, and he whispered to me once or twice, "hi!hi!hi!," but as soon as I said hi back, he hushed.

I am very sensitive to the feeling of places, though, and often know facts about houses or locations that I've never read about or visited; not great details but whether there were children there, or if there's a graveyard nearby, or things of that nature.

Oh, there was one other sort of incident related to that. My cousin used to live in a very small trailor. He was divorced and lived alone. He was not a particularly good person, and he did not have a terribly happy life. He died as the result of injuries he received during a robbery and assault that happened when he was away from home, fishing. After he died, my uncle and his wife separated, and my uncle moved into the little trailer briefly, but then he died of a heart attack at age 59, also away from home. I thought that my cousin might have had some things that belonged to my mother, so a few months after my uncle died, two other cousins, my husband, and I went to the little house to see. As soon as we opened the door, the most horrible feeling came over me. I was not really surprised, because I knew that both my cousin and my uncle had suffered from some very mixed-up feelings while living there and, like I said, I'm sensitive to those things. But I had to get out, and I realized if anything of my mother's was in there, I didn't want it. My cousins were anxious to leave, too,although none of us mentioned the feeling, and my husband stayed outside the whole time. This is my second husband, who never lived in the house or knew my cousin, although he had met my uncle briefly. He is not usually sensitive to places at all. But he said to me, "That house had the worse feeling to it that I have ever felt." As far as I know, nobody has gone in there since. I don't think it's haunted, but I do think it soaked up some truly negative energy, and that energy didn't leave when the people did.

So that's my story. All of it's true, and you may choose to believe it or not. But, like I said, Southerners know that sometimes not believing in things doesn't mean they don't exist.
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