Stay in Bed

Age eleven to thirteen was a time of great upheaval for me.  My maternal grandfather passed away and my parents separated shortly after.  I switched schools first for bullying issues and then because my mother and I moved to the Bronx so that we would be closer to her store.  That very same summer, my mother’s sister, Roseanne, was diagnosed with lung cancer.  My first week of Junior High school ended with her funeral.

Aunt Roseanne and I were always close.  She knew the type of clothes and toys that I liked.  She was one of the adults that actually listened to what I said when I talked.  She encouraged me in school, listened to my dreams, supported my love for imaginary play, and was always affectionate with me and my mother.  We were heartbroken when she died.

A few months after her passing, I was sitting in my room working on a short story when I suddenly caught the scent of her perfume.  This was not a flowery fragrance that can be mistaken for a scented candle or an air spray.  Aunt Roseanne always wore Chanel #5.  It was such a distinct aroma that I actually stopped what I was doing and spoke her name aloud.

Of course there was no answer, but it had broken through my concentration.  Now completely spooked and seeing how late it was, I decided to get ready for bed.  I didn’t mention the incident to my mom because this had happened to me before.

When my grandfather had first passed away a year earlier, I had smelt his cologne in the downstairs lobby of our apartment building when there was no one around.  The aroma had been centered around my person, not wafting through the hallway, as it would have been if someone wearing the cologne had passed by.  I had been so depressed over my grandfather’s death that mom had brought me to a grief counselor for a few sessions.  When I discussed this event with the counselor, she said that it was common for family members to experience this kind of phenomena after someone’s death.

Smell is one of the most powerful memory triggers.  A grieving person might believe that they smell a specific scent that they associate with their loved one because that soul could be trying to alert them to their presence.  However, some other schools of thought believe that it is actually the memory itself that is triggering the illusion of the aroma.  Growing up in a family that believes in the paranormal, I never discounted the possibility that my grandfather’s spirit could have been visiting me.  I was not consciously thinking of either my grandfather or my aunt at the time that I experienced these phenomena.  Each time the experience caught me off guard and happened when I was alone.

After I went to bed the night that I smelled Aunt Roseanne’s perfume, I felt anxious.  The event had been unsettling.  I sat up, ready to go get my mother, but something told me to stay in bed.  Lying back down, I tried to go to sleep, but couldn’t.  Again, I desired to get up.  This time, I thought I heard a soft voice say, “Stay in bed.”  Two seconds after closing my eyes, there was a loud crash.

Mom rushed into my room.  Pieces of my ceramic ceiling lamp littered the floor.  My desk chair was positioned directly under this lamp.  A half hour earlier, I had been sitting there when I had smelled my Aunt Roseanne’s perfume.  After the mess was cleaned up and I was back in bed, I told mom about the earlier phenomena and then the voice urging me to stay in bed.  Mom and I still believe that Aunt Roseanne’s spirit protected me that night.

If you have a real ghost story that you would like to share with The Ghost Post, send an email to Tara Theresa Hill at theghostpostreporter@gmail.com to set up an interview. 

I’m always in the mood for a good ghost story! 

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Sharing Space with The Dead: Life in a Historic Masonic Home

Thanks to my friend, Jeanine, for this story about her old college dorm!

Jeanine went to Dominican College in the 1990s.  At one point, she lived in a dormitory that was actually a former German Masonic residence.  Built in 1909, the building functioned as a place for retired Masons and their family members until 1983.  If a Mason was too sick or old to work, he could live there rent free.  Also, if a Mason left behind a widow and young children, this institute made sure that they were provided for after his death.  The building was converted into a dorm when Dominican College took it over in the early 1980s.

One of the rooms that Jeanine stayed in was the site of a double suicide that occurred in 1933.  As the story goes, John Ellich and Marie Kiefer had secretly eloped while living on site at the residence.  When the board found out, they decided to separate the couple by sending one of them away to live in another Masonic home.  Already in their golden years, John and Marie locked themselves in her room and committed suicide together.  Jeanine saw a male ghost in her room whom she believes might have been John Ellich.  Other friends have reported seeing Marie’s ghost.

Jeanine and her friends had numerous paranormal experiences during their time in the historical building.  Every weekend, one would smell rose-scented perfume wafting down the hallway that had no known source.  Students would hear knocking on their dorm doors, but answer them to find no one standing there.  Thinking it was their classmates trying to play a trick on them, they’d step outside to investigate, only to hear the ghostly sound of children’s laughter receding down the hall.  The building was especially creepy at night when the paranormal activity was at its height.  Even if you didn’t have a roommate, most people tried to find someone to bunk with so that they wouldn’t be alone.

Some of the creepiest areas of the building and its surrounding grounds were the porch area, the campus cemetery, the elevator, the laundry room and the basement.  At the front of the building was a screened in porch that was always uncomfortable.  It could be ninety degrees outside, but the temperature would drop sharply to freezing once you were inside the porch enclosure.  As if the place needed anything else to add to the spooky atmosphere, there’s even an old graveyard dating from around the 1900s located somewhere on the property.

Jeanine told me that no matter what button you pushed for some unknown reason, the Masonic Hall’s elevator always went automatically to the basement.  Jeanine and her friends used to do their laundry in pairs because you would often get the sense that you were being watched.  Strange banging noises and screaming would ensue only to cease as quickly as they began.

There was a section of the basement that was closed off, but still accessible if one tried hard enough.  One time, Jeanine and a friend thought it would be fun to explore it.  They saw what looked like morgue slots lining the wall and decided to each take a turn climbing inside.  Jeanine says she has no idea what possessed her to do that, nor would she ever do something that crazy now.  She could have gotten stuck or worse, but she was young and it seemed adventurous at the time.

As soon as her friend closed the door on her, she heard loud wailing and scratching noises coming from all around.  Banging on the door behind her head, she started screaming for her friend to let her out.  Thankfully, the slot popped open and she and her friend ran back upstairs.  Jeanine avoided that area of the basement after that incident.

If you have a real ghost story that you would like to share with The Ghost Post, send an email to Tara Theresa Hill at theghostpostreporter@gmail.com to set up an interview. 

I’m always in the mood for a good ghost story! 

 

 

My Beloved Bambi

 

Bambi Photo
My dog, Bambi. Original Artwork by Jan Mina, 2013

For anyone who knows the loss of a familiar or animal companion.

Bambi and I were inseparable from the moment we met.  He was a handsome Sheltie dog with light brown fur and a white front ruff.  I was eight years old and recovering from the chicken pox when my parents got him for me.  Bambi was an intelligent, loving, well-behaved, and extremely gentle dog.  He never bit anyone and was deeply protective of our family.  He slept with his head on my legs from the first night that we brought him home until the day that I left for college.

During my sophomore year, he fell ill and became progressively sicker.  Then one night during my spring semester finals, I had a strange dream.  I was standing on the edge of this beautiful field.  Long green grass waved in the wind.  A blue butterfly with a wingspan the size of a large notebook appeared by my shoulder and started dancing around me.  Surprised, I started whirling around with it.  At some point in the dream, the blue butterfly smiled and kissed me on the forehead.  I watched as it flew off to join a cloud of other butterflies that had gathered in the field.  My heart was heavy because I knew that I could not follow the joyful little spirit.

When I woke up that morning, I knew that Bambi had passed away even before my mother called me.  I told her about the dream and said that he had come to say goodbye to me in my sleep.  The months that followed were a dark time for me.  I mourned Bambi so deeply that my husband (then boyfriend) bought me a stuffed animal that looked like him to sleep with at night.

I started seeing Bambi’s spirit frequently after I graduated and moved into my first apartment.  I have had four apartments so far and he has followed me to each one.  I will turn around and suddenly see him out of the corner of my eye or enter a room and find him sitting on the floor just as he used to when I was a little girl.  Sometimes I even see him resting next to my darling cat, Diana.  Bambi has the most benevolent soul and his presence always brings me a sense of incredible comfort and peace.  Even through death, we are still connected and always will be.

 

The Girl in the Corner

Thanks to Stephanie and her sister, Liz, for this story!

One night, Stephanie woke up to see a little girl sitting by her closet door.  The apparition had straight black hair with one wisp covering part of her face.  She wore a homemade cotton dress and looked to be about seven years old.  The ghost girl sat staring motionless and silent in the corner of the room.  Figuring that she was dreaming, Stephanie turned over and went back to sleep.

When she was fifteen, Stephanie moved into another room in the house and her younger sister, Liz, took her old room.  Liz was about eight or nine years old then.  Stephanie didn’t say anything about the girl in the room because she thought it was just a strange reoccurring dream and didn’t want to frighten her sister over something silly.

Many years later when they were both adults, the two sisters were talking and Stephanie happened to mention the odd dreams that she used to have as a kid.  Liz turned to her sister.

“You mean you saw her too?”

No one knows who the little ghost girl is or where she came from.  She always appears in the same corner.  To the family’s knowledge, she has not shown up in any other room in the house. Perhaps she is a recording that is attached to that one area since Stephanie’s room is a part of the original building.  Or, maybe that is where she is able to draw the most energy to manifest.  One would hope that her spirit is not still trapped there alone, after all of these years.