Thanks to Mariann for this story!
Mariann once shared an apartment with the ghost of an elderly man whom she called “Howard.” Howard was a friendly spirit. He enjoyed haunting the area by the front door and the kitchen, and also playing harmless pranks on Mariann. One of Howard’s favorite tricks involved messing with Mariann while she watched TV at night.
Mariann liked to watch TV in the dark. She had her phone in the living room, but the answering machine was set up in the bedroom. Sometimes Howard would turn the ringer off on her phone, so that Mariann would not know when she was receiving a call. Then her message machine would start up seemingly on its own accord and startle Mariann into shrieking. She always got a mental image of the ghost bowled over with laughter in her kitchen whenever she did that.
“Very funny, Howard,” she’d say once she recovered. He apparently enjoyed spooking her occasionally, but since it was all in innocent fun, Mariann didn’t really mind. She and Howard had an agreeable living arrangement with one another. There was only one time that she accidentally crossed a personal boundary and he made it abundantly clear that she had pissed him off.
A male psychic once visited her apartment and revealed Howard’s actual name to Mariann. Mariann decided to try addressing the spirit by that name. Immediately after speaking the new name, a horrible sound tore through the apartment. Mariann headed in the direction of the terrible noise. Upon entering her bathroom, she saw that every single ceiling tile had been broken in half, but turned upward. The resulting clamor had been the sound of them cracking simultaneously. Frightened by this volatile reaction from a usually tranquil spirit, Mariann apologized and swore never to speak that name again.
While she lived there, Howard was protective of Mariann. At one point, she was dating someone who turned out to be abusive. Howard knew the guy was scared of ghosts, so one night he decided to appear to him. This was enough to send the fellow running out of the apartment. Mariann ended the relationship soon afterward. She attributes Howard with having saved her life.
Mariann grew so fond of Howard that when she moved, she asked if he would like to come along to her next apartment. Howard was touched, but decided to stay behind. Mariann heard from one of her former neighbors that the new tenant reported seeing the ghost of an elderly man. The neighbor told the newcomer not to worry.
“That’s just Howard saying hello.”
Author’s Note: Mariann did not reveal the ghost’s other name to me for the purpose of the blog. Knowing how Howard feels about it, I don’t even want to know. I respect his wishes.