A Ghostly Roommate

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.

 

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The Terrifying Night Specter

Thanks to my friend, Gary, for this story!

When Gary was nineteen years old, he got a job bartending at a gay bar in Perth Amboy, New Jersey called The Other Half.  The owner, Jimmy, lived in a three-bedroom apartment above the bar.

One night, Gary stayed over after work.  Jimmy warned Gary that his apartment was haunted.  Gary wasn’t too surprised at this.  Jimmy had an impressive collection of 1920s and 1930s artwork.  It was possible that if the building itself wasn’t haunted, perhaps there was a spirit attached to one of the paintings.  Jimmy told Gary that he should keep a bowl of water next to the bed to help ward off any malevolent spirits.  Thinking it best to follow his boss’ advice just in case the house really did have ghosts, Gary filled a bowl with water and placed it on the table by his bed.

Sometime in the night, Gary opened his eyes to see a ghost standing at the foot of his bed.  Although fully awake, Gary was unable to move or make a sound.  The phantom radiated anger as it crept toward where Gary lay.  Gary’s heart thudded in his ears as it drew closer and closer.

Still unable to speak, Gary screamed inside of his head in desperation, “I HAVE THE WATER!” 

Instantly, the ghost changed direction.  Gary stared as the spirit went to his bedside table and vanished into the bowl of water.  Finally able to move, Gary leapt out of bed and left the room.  He never stayed over his boss’ house again.

 

A Haunting in Yonkers

One of the most haunted places that I have ever been in was the apartment building where I grew up in Yonkers, NY.  During the six or seven years that we rented there, my parents and I lived in two different apartments.  One was located on the fifth floor and the other was on the second floor.  All of the paranormal activity took place in the second, larger three-bedroom apartment.

Things started off weird almost from the second we moved in.  I remember my mother cleansing the place with Florida water, smudging the doorways, and mopping the floors. Something about that place wasn’t right.  It felt different from our former apartment.  I think I was about seven years old when we moved in and I instantly felt strange there.  My parents’ bathroom terrified me.  I was always afraid that someone was going to come out of the shower stall and try to grab me.  I didn’t feel that way about the other bathroom that was located toward the front of the apartment though.  I took all of my baths and showers in the front bathroom and insisted on keeping the back bathroom door closed whenever I was in my parents’ bedroom.

Then there were the strange echoes that spoke our names.  This happened to everyone in the house.  We would suddenly hear someone calling our names.  I would hear mom or dad calling me from some other area of the apartment, but when I went to them, they’d say that they never said my name.  This happened to my parents, too.  They would hear either me or think that the other person was calling for them.  This got very frustrating and was particularly eerie whenever it happened because you didn’t know if you were really being called or not.

Other times, I would be playing in my room, deeply immersed in a game when I would suddenly feel someone watching me.  Usually, I would get scared and run and find my parents.  This got a bit better after we got my dog, Bambi.  He was extra-protective of me and I believe that he guarded the house in a spiritual capacity.

One summer day, I had a friend over and we decided to play with my mother’s Ouija board.  I had told my friend that I thought our house was haunted and wanted to see if I could contact the ghost.  I lit a white candle and brought a bowl of water just as I had seen my mother do many times before in her stores and me and my friend sat down to do our first Ouija board reading.  Mom saw what we were doing and must have got a kick out of it because she didn’t stop us.  We had a few false starts where either my friend or I were pushing the planchette, but soon it was flying over the board, spelling out messages.

“Hello.  Is anyone there?” my friend and I asked the board.

The spirit responded back with, “Yes.  Hello.”

My friend and I looked at each other.  I swallowed.  “Are you the ghost who is haunting this house?”

The spirit responded back, “Yes.”  We started giggling a bit out of nervousness, but I warned my friend that Mom told me that we always had to be respectful of spirits.  “Have you been in my room watching me play?” I asked.

“I have been in all the rooms,” said the spirit.  “I used to live here.”

At this point, my mother came over and started taking down the notes for us because they were coming so fast.  The spirit identified herself as a woman who used to live in a mansion that had been on the site where our apartment building now stood.  Having read enough ghost stories to know about unfinished business and trapped spirits, I asked, “Why are you still here?  How did you die?”

The spirit spelled out, “I hung myself.”

“Okay…Time to say goodbye now, kids,” piped my mother.  She jumped on the board with me and said, “We’re very sorry to hear that.  We wish you peace.  I’ll light a white candle for you to help you cross over to the other side.”  The planchette spelled out “Yes, thank you, and goodbye,” and my mother closed up the board.  When I asked her about it later, she said that the board was just probably messing with us and not to read too much into it.  I asked if we could move, but my mother said no.  We had to learn to live with the ghost and vice versa.  I decided not to play with the Ouija board anymore after that.

That winter we had a series of terrible snowstorms.  My father went out to help people shovel and dig out their cars.  One of the people was an elderly woman who happened to be a local historian.  She invited us in for coffee and hot cocoa and asked us where we lived.  When we told her, she started telling us about why there were huge slabs of slate in the wooded area that surrounded our apartment.  Back in Victorian times there had been mansions in this area where people like the Rockefellers hosted and attended great balls.  A lot of the mansions had been knocked down, the grounds bought up, and real estate moguls had built new housing on top of them.  She winked as us, “But I still like to think that you can feel the spirit of those people in the air around here, don’t you?”

I stared at my mother.  She turned to the lady.  “You have no idea,” she said.

A Medium’s Rite of Passage

Thanks to my friend, Regina, for sharing her story about coming into her Mediumship.

Being a medium and having psychic abilities can be an overwhelming experience.  Psychic abilities manifest in various ways.  Some people know right away that they have these talents, some hide it or try to ignore it, others fear it, and some have it pushed onto them through circumstances beyond their control.

Regina was sixteen years old when her father died.  She hadn’t seen her father that morning, which was unusual.  On the way home from school, she noticed police cars on her block.  She learned that her dad had gotten into a horrible fight and had been rushed to the hospital.   Regina stayed home with one of her sisters, while her mother and two other sisters went to the hospital to check on their father.  At 7:06pm exactly, Regina let out a tremendous gasp as if she had suddenly lost her ability to breathe.  The terrifying moment receded as quickly as it came on, but Regina has never forgotten that event.  Unknown to her at the time, Regina’s father’s throat had been cut during the fight.  His official time of death was recorded at 7:06pm.  This was Regina’s traumatic introduction into the psychic world.  Years later, she would receive another grim prediction of a family member’s death.

One day, Regina’s brother and one of the sisters was messing around with the Ouija Board when he asked the oracle when he was going to die.  Regina scolded him, “Why in the world would you ask something like that?”  The board had answered him that he would die at age twenty-five.  Her brother brushed it off as a joke.

More years passed.  Regina was now in her twenties and had a job in a Punk Rock clothing store.  She was home in bed with a severe headache.  The pain was so bad, that she picked up a Bible that her friend had given her and started praying for relief.  As she lay down in the bed, she noted the time.  It was 3pm.  Later that day at around 5pm, she got a call from her sister that their brother had been hit in the head with a baseball bat and had been rushed to the emergency room.  The attack had happened at the same time that she was experiencing her strange headache symptoms.

Regina’s brother was hospitalized for months after the attack.  One day, Regina was at work when for no reason at all, a mirror fell off the wall directly behind her and crashed to the floor.  Regina was spooked as her eyes met the clock.  This time it was 4pm.  Her mother had taught her that falling mirrors were signs of impending death.  Regina pushed this thought out of her head.  Her mother was just superstitious.

Sometime later, her sister showed up at her job.  She asked to speak to the manager about Regina.  Thinking that they were out of earshot, Regina heard her sister ask the manager if Regina could please leave work early.  “Our brother died today,” her sister said.  Regina couldn’t believe what she was hearing.  Her manager walked over and nonchalantly said that she could take the rest of her shift off.  Regina tried to politely refuse, but he insisted that she leave for the day.  With a sinking feeling, Regina left the store with her sister to find out that after months of battling the injuries caused by the attack, her brother had died at 4pm.  He was 25 years old.