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! 

Advertisements

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! 

 

 

A Ghostly Interlude

This happened to me when I was a teenager growing up in the Bronx.  My family lived on Campbell Drive in the second floor apartment of a two-family house.  Built in 1942, it even still had the original glass doorknobs and other structural furnishings from that era.

From the beginning, Mom and I sensed that the place was haunted.  We’d see shadows moving out of the corner of our eyes.  The hallway lights that were activated by motion sensors would come on when no one was around.  Sometimes late at night, we’d get the feeling that there were people talking in the living room.  It was that kind of elevated energy vibe that you experience whenever you are at a party or in a restaurant.  The second we stepped into the living room, the atmosphere would return to normal.

One night, I was waiting for my mother to get home from work.  I was sitting on the couch deeply engrossed in a book when I suddenly heard piano music.  Before that moment, ghosts were the furthest thing from my mind.  The neighbors weren’t home, so it wasn’t a radio or someone else’s television.  The music was coming from our old, out of tune piano that we almost never played.

Steadying myself, I looked over to my left.  Just as I expected, the piano was closed and no one was sitting there.  I stared at it as the eerie music continued to flow beneath the invisible musician’s hands.  The tune was unfamiliar to me.  After another minute, there was a loud jarring sound as if someone had purposely banged on the keys, then the music stopped as quickly as it had begun.

I swallowed once or twice, the oppressive silence roaring in my ears.  Nodding, I got up and said, “Well, so much for watching the electric bill!”  Then I turned on the television, switched on all of the lights, and waited for mom to get home.

 

A Strange Welcome: Marillac Hall, Part 1

I’ve had my share of ghostly encounters and strange experiences.  So, I was understandably nervous about moving into the oldest and most haunted dorm on the College of Mount Saint Vincent’s campus.  What made it even creepier was that I was going to be there a week before all of the other students because I was helping with college orientation that year.  Marillac Hall was built in the late 1800s.  Everyone had a ghost story about that place, but I couldn’t pass up a chance to live in that truly beautiful, historic building.

My room was on the fourth floor of one of Marillac’s two wings.  The room was larger than the other surrounding suites.  It had originally been the floor lounge, but had been converted into another dorm room to maximize space.  This was a smaller floor and had fewer rooms than the other three levels in the building.

Every fall, my mother would spiritually cleanse my dorm room for the start of the school year by mopping the floor with perfumed water.  My then boyfriend, George, and I went down to the kitchen on the second floor.  As I turned on the sink, I sent a mental message to any spirits that might be in the building saying hello and that I was just borrowing a pot for some water.  I don’t know why I did this other than that I was nervous.  Directly after this, George and I both heard a woman calling my name from the stairwell above the kitchen.  She distinctly said, “Tara, where are you?” in a sort of sing-song voice.  Both George and I thought it was my mother and I answered, “I’m here in the kitchen.  Don’t go walking around or you’ll probably get lost. This building is confusing.”  We went up the stairs, but did not see my mother anywhere.

When I got back to the room, I asked her why she didn’t wait for me when I came up from the kitchen.  She insisted that she had never left the room.  That’s when George and I told her what we had heard.  My mother’s eyes went wide.  Our family friend, Artie, who had helped move me in, started giggling, “You’re in for a quite a year if they have already made contact with you, Honey.”

That night as I fell into an uneasy sleep, I could have sworn that I heard the doors upstairs opening and closing.  I was the only one on the floor that night, so I kept telling myself that it was the wind running through a drafty, old building.  Of course, that didn’t explain what I saw the next morning.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.