Thanks to Toni from Virginia for sharing these stories with me!
Toni has had paranormal experiences her whole life. Both sides of her family have psychic abilities, so she is used to regularly receiving communications from spirits. Her earliest encounter happened when she was four years old. At the time, she lived in a house on Long Island. Built by a sea captain, it was always dark and creepy, no matter the weather. One cloudy day, Toni was going up to the second floor via the staircase that led to the maid’s quarters when she heard a woman’s voice call out to her.
“Toni, Dear. I need to talk to you.”
Toni paused on the stairs, searching for the woman. The voice sounded like it came from close by, but there was no one around. “What do you want to tell me?” Toni asked.
“Come upstairs to the attic,” the woman said.
Toni was not in the mood for this. “Can we do this later? I want to take a nap.”
The spirit of the woman did eventually come back to speak to Toni, but not until she was six years old. Even as a young child, Toni was not afraid of spirits. Her mother taught her to embrace her psychic abilities because it was a gift from God.
After her parents divorced, Toni went to live with her mother, Libby, in Cullowhee, North Carolina. The house that they stayed in was built by Toni’s maternal grandfather, Joe. A large house, it has an attic, four bedrooms, a parlor, dining room, living room, and a kitchen. The house is located on Cherokee land and was constructed using the wood from her grandfather’s various lumber camps. Over the years, many people have lived and died in this house, so it known to be haunted.
Sometimes Grandpa Joe’s spirit would drop by for a visit. One time, Toni and her mother were sitting together in the living room. Toni’s mother had been thinking about Grandpa Joe all day. As she was sitting there, Toni distinctly heard a male voice inside her head say, “Tell Baby that I’m here, that I love her, and not to be worried.”
Toni said that Grandpa Joe had come through to her just then and that he had a message. She then repeated the words back to her mother, who started crying. “Baby” had been Libby’s childhood nickname. Toni had not known that “Baby” was her grandfather’s nickname for her mother when she received the message.
Another day, Toni was sitting on the front steps having coffee when she heard her grandfather’s spirit calling for her mother from inside the house. “Baby? Baby? Where are you?”
Toni answered him. “Grandfather, it’s Toni. Mom is out shopping. She’ll be back later.”
“Okay. Tell her that I was looking for her,” he said. Then she felt his presence leave the house. Toni let her mother know about Grandpa Joe’s visit when she got home. Later that night, he came to visit her mother in a dream.
Toni liked to have sleepovers at her house when she was a teenager. One night around nine o’clock, she and her girlfriends heard footsteps coming down the stairs. No one else was home with them at the time and they didn’t see anyone standing there. From the bottom of the steps they heard a female voice call out, “Toni, Dear. It’s time to go to bed now.” The spirit had a beautiful voice but did not make a physical manifestation. The girls were so spooked that they were too afraid to stay inside the house. Instead, they all went to sleep outside in their cars for the night.
During another sleepover, Toni and her friends decided to use a Ouija board. Toni’s mother was not pleased with this, but she didn’t stop them from holding the séance. She encouraged them to say prayers for protection though. The spirit came through the board and told one girl that her boyfriend would have a car accident. Later, the board flew off the bed and hit the window, breaking it. Two months later, the girl’s boyfriend got into a terrible car accident just as the spirit had said. Thankfully, he survived it.
Toni wasn’t the only one who had encounters with spirits in that house. One evening, Toni’s mother, Libby, was relaxing in her bedroom. Toni had left for a date and the house was quiet. Libby could see the stairs from her bedroom. She heard a woman in heels walking back up the stairs.
“Toni, is that you?” she called out, thinking her daughter had forgotten something. When Toni didn’t answer, Libby knew that her daughter had left the house. The footsteps continued up the stairs. Even though Libby didn’t see anyone, she could smell lavender perfume in the hallway, which was not the kind of perfume that Toni wore. The room grew cold and the family dog, Pepper, started barking. It would seem that the female spirit walking around Toni’s grandfather’s house prefers to stay invisible. Perhaps she is the one who opens the doors and windows, and messes with the lights, even when the house stands empty and the power has been shut off.
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