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.

 

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.

Lay Me to Rest

Thanks to Laurel from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for this story!

It had been a year since Laurel’s grandfather had passed away.  It being Samhain, the Wiccan celebration of Halloween, she decided to hold a private circle to bless her ancestors.  Her grandfather had been cremated and his ashes distributed in vials among the family.  Gathering her supplies, she decided to bring one of her grandfather’s vials along to further include him in the ceremony.

Since it was such a lovely, fall morning, Laurel decided to hold the ritual outside.  At the top of a small hill behind her house is a beautiful grove of trees.  Sitting with her back against one of the trees, Laurel began the ritual.  She set the incense burning to cleanse the area around her.  She blessed the herbs that she had brought as an offering to the Gods.  Then she lit her candle and sat back to say her prayers and to meditate.  She had her grandfather’s ashes beside her.

Once she had closed the circle, Laurel began to collect her things.  Then she made an astonishing discovery.  The vial was gone!

“It couldn’t have gone far,” she thought.  “I had it right next to me.”

She started scrambling through the leaves, thinking perhaps that the wind had shifted some of them and hidden the vial.  She couldn’t find it anywhere.  Maybe the Gods were playing a Samhain trick on her?

She looked up at the sky.  “Okay.  I acknowledge that you’re there, but this isn’t funny.  Can I have my Grandpap back now, please?”

As if in response, another thought came to Laurel.  “Grandpap was a trickster in his own right.  What if he was the one who took his vial?”  Laurel felt comforted.  If her grandfather wanted to remain in this special spot by her home, then she would honor his wish.  She smiled, knowing he would always watch over her and her family from the grove on the hill.

 

Keep the Light On

Thanks to Stephanie from Massachusetts for this story!

Whenever I think of haunted states, the ones that come immediately to mind are New York, Virginia, and Massachusetts.  Maybe it’s because they are all from the original thirteen colonies and have so much history, but it’s not surprising to hear of ghost stories.  From houses to colleges to battlefields, almost everything is haunted.

Stephanie works the night shift in a residential home for children with extreme developmental issues.  Part of her job is to check on the children routinely throughout the night.  She does this about every five to ten minutes.  The house that she works in has four bedrooms, a kitchen, bathrooms, laundry room, and a living room that functions as a common area.

Stephanie sits watch in the hallway.  The living room is behind her.  Two bedrooms are at the front of the house.  In order to get to the second bedroom, she had to walk around the staircase and pass through the living room.

Last October, it was a normal night like any other when things suddenly became strange.  It was about two or three in the morning.  The area by the craft table in the living room was dimmer than usual.  For some reason, Stephanie had forgotten to turn the light on in the room that night.

As she turned into the living room, the figure of a man materialized.  He had short hair, was muscular in stature, and looked to be anywhere from his twenties to mid-thirties.  It happened so quickly that Stephanie didn’t even have time to react.  One second he was walking beside her and the next, he had passed through the wall by the craft table and disappeared.  She only caught the side profile of his face and didn’t notice any particular details about his clothes.

Stephanie is a no-nonsense person.  She had a better reaction than most other people would have had in her situation.  Once the man was gone, she resumed her nightly duties.  Since that night, Stephanie always remembers to keep the light on in the living room.  The mysterious man is yet to make another appearance.

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.