Episode Page Episode 16…How Pukwudgies got Wikied

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Episode 16…How Pukwudgies got Wikied

In preparation for their summer trip, Natalie Crist and Christopher
Balzano look into the origins of the Pukwudgie legend.

puk7Now one of the most popular figures in the supernatural world, Balzano goes into his early research into the legend and how it came to grow and become what it is today. They explore some of the early references before tackling some of the errors in the lore that have
twisted in recent years.

 

In fact, since the beginning of Tripping on Legends, the creature has been making guest appearances from time to time, from an odd story coming out of Astor, Florida, to a potential transformation into an animal in Indiana.

Watch an interview with a recent Pukwudgie experience in Indiana…

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Excuse the section on Harry Potter…something unseen decided to chime in and was caught on tape.  See if you can figure out what it’s saying.

If you hear more than we do, e-mail us at spookytripping@gmail.com.

Keep visiting the site for the trip log of our travels and other urban
legends at: www.trippingonlegends.wordpress.com

Follow us at: www.facebook.com/trippingonlegends

Twitter: @naynaymyfriend @SpookyBalzano
Instagram: @SpookyTripping

 

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The Ghosts Come at Night…Two True Stories

The ghosts come out at night.

That’s what they all tell us at least.  Whether it’s an old ghost story, and legend, or a talking head on a paranormal show, there’s something about a dark and stormy night that sets the table for an encounter.  Reasons are sometimes provided.  Pseudo-scientists, obsessed with explaining the paranormal using the idea of waves will talk about the sun’s radiation being lessened and how that allows other energies time to shine.  Other will say that with the lack of light our other senses are heightened.   The truth may be we’ve been told ghosts will come when the lights go out, and so we’re ready for them.  Either way, there’s something about being defenseless, in your bed, that makes those shadows or creaks come alive and reveal the dead.

DSCN1211Maybe those sleeping moments are the reason.  You’re subconscious and dream world bleed into reality and create hallucinations.  Maybe you’re more awake when you’re asleep.

Over the years I’ve collected dozen of stories with two common elements; beds and ghosts.  These are not moments of sleep paralysis or Old Hag Syndrome; they’ll be another post about those.  Instead here are two stories of people who put their head on their pillow expecting a good night’s sleep, but something happened on the way to dreamland.

The Bedroom

Jason is an eighteen year old son of Portuguese immigrants who have lived in the Fall River/New Bedford area since their arrival in America.  Members of his family have had numerous experiences, including a ghostly kidnapping of sorts in a chapel near Isben, but Jason remembers what happened most in the second house they lived in when he was only ten.

The landlord told them the three bedroom apartment on South Main Street in Fall River had a history of “weird” things happening, but Jason’s father didn’t believe in that sort of thing.  There had been reports by people living in the apartment of and neighbors had said things were found moved and there were sometimes noises coming from the kitchen when no one was in there.

For the first four months nothing unusual happened and the whole family ignored the cold spots that occurred randomly in the house.  “It was summer, and sometimes you’d have to wear a coat in the kitchen sometimes,” Jason relates.  He and his family were never sure what rooms would get cold or for how long.

It was Jason’s room that became the source of tension in the house.  One night, around 1:00 in the morning, Jason got up to go to the bathroom.  When he returned to the room the window was open.  He remembered having closed it but shut it again and returned to bed.  He tried to go back to sleep, but he opened his eyes again when he heard his window slowly opening again.  He raised his head and there was no one in the room.

DSCN1200“I was too lazy to get up and close it, so I tried to forget it and went back to sleep.”  He couldn’t though.  As soon as he put his head back down, the window slammed shut.  He sat up and watched as the window opened and closed four or five times while he watched.  He ran out and slept on the couch.

Over the next few days he begged his parents not to make him stay in the room and they eventually broke down and moved his little sister in there.  After a few nights she experienced the same thing and “flipped out.”  Jason says he was young at the time and there might be another reason, but the family moved out less than a month later.

Goodbye

After arguing over where we would live, I decided in 1999 to move from Boston to Orlando, Florida, to be with my fiancé.  Jenna and I were living on Park Drive in Boston with another friend of ours, Amy.  Nothing had ever really happened in the apartment, although we would often have the feeling we were not alone or that we were being watched.

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Also, Karma, Jenna’s cat, would attack the walls.  I would photograph her when she would do this, but I never picked anything up.

 

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After we loaded all my things into a moving truck we went to bed because Jenna and I were leaving in the morning to start the twenty-one hour drive to Orlando.  Because my bed was packed, I slept on our comfortable couch.  I was woken up at about four in the morning by a kiss on my cheek.  At first I thought it was Jenna or Amy, but it seemed odd for either of them to come out and kiss me.  Her face was right next to mine, close enough that I have kissed her back.  I remember thinking my face was even still wet from the kiss.  The only word I can use to describe her expression is bittersweet, like she was going to miss me but was happy for me as well.  She had these intense, squinted eyes, like when someone you know is trying to send you a message without saying anything so other people don’t pick up on it.  I turned to get a better look at her, and instantly she appeared across the room near the girls’ bedroom, like she was on a sliding dolly.

IMG_E4683The girl now standing by their door was slightly shorter than either of them with her hair coming down off her shoulders.  I could not make out her face, and as I was about to say hello, she turned to leave and disappeared.

The Backroom

Back in the day I posted stories of my experiences or rumors I heard about haunted locations throughout the state.  Eileen (I’m pretty sure that’s not her real name, but more than 15 years later I have a hard time remembering what it might actually be) e-mailed me concerned over strange experiences she was having that she had no real frame of reference for.  It was my first time talking to someone who was coming to me for help, and it was a trial by fire to get to the heart of what was happening while trying to confort her and help her understand what might be going on.

 

Eileen belongs to a generation that sees the paranormal as fiction.  Ghosts are fine for the movies and eerie stories on Halloween, but the only true spirit is the Holy Spirit and tales of demons and things that go bump in the night are more cautionary tales for people who invite bad things to happen to them.  She believes there are powers that cannot be explained, but if it happens to you then you wanted it to or it is a sign that something is wrong with you.  That is what her Catholic upbringing taught her, and that is what she believed until she started to experience things that challenged what she felt about the other realm.

Eileen moved into her three family duplex in Chelsea 23 years ago with her small daughter and husband.  Almost immediately she experienced things.  The first night she had trouble sleeping and sat awake next to her husband.  She was beginning to dose off when she noticed a figure in the room.  Although there was no sound a dark shadow figure moved into the room and to her husband’s side of the bed.  Although she could make out no features on the form, she got the feeling it was female as it bent over, picked up her husband’s pants and went through the pockets.

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Although Eileen noticed something odd about the feeling of the house, it was not until her three year old daughter began to tell her there was a ghost in her room that Eileen started to get suspicious and remember that first night.  She would run from her room screaming, Ghost in room.”  Soon after her daughter developed an imaginary friend named Ekky who spent four or five years with them until she “moved to Florida”.  Eileen did not think too much of it because she understood it was normal and healthy for a child to have such friends.  Over the years her daughter would bring up the subject of the ghost in a nonchalant way, Eileen believes mainly because people did not believe her and Catholic did not believe in such things.

But other unusual things happened.  Items would disappear and things would be misplaced and Eileen would tell herself it was her own fault.  She had just forgot where she put it down.

Eileen’s daughter entered her late teens and she became more and more uncomfortable in the room.  She refused to sleep sometime, never saying why, but it was clear there was something there she did not like.  Once when she was twenty she went to sleep in her mother’s room.  When they woke in the morning there was a cat at the foot of the bed although they did not own a cat and the house was locked up and secure.  They opened the door and shoed the cat out with a broom.

IMG_4281.JPGIn 2002 Eileen moved into her daughter’s old room and the occurrences began to happen more and more.  One time she woke up to find her house sweltering.  Sometime during the night the thermostat and been turned up and the cover had been thrown across the room.  Another time she came home to find the orange juice she had left out spilled over her calendar and some papers she had on the kitchen table.  The table was soaked but the glass was sitting straight up.

Although she does not feel the ghost is threatening, it has recently began to touch her.  Once she felt her hair being lifted as she lay in bed.  The most disturbing incident involved another night time meeting.  Eileen was again lying in bed when she felt her leg being lifted up by her big toe.  She closed her eyes and regained control of her leg.

There have been renovations that might account for some of the occurrences.  The duplex is three floors and has been shared by family members over the years.  At one point the house was gutted out and evidence of a fire was found, although she has not been able to find any account of it in old newspapers.  There has also been construction on the second floor as her brother prepares to move in, although he is now giving it second thoughts.  He led Eileen on a few goose chases after making up stories about the ghost in the house, but now he is finding it more and more uncomfortable to do the work to repair the house.  He will not say why, but he does not like to be in the house alone.

IMG_4297Either does Eileen’s daughter.  She still gets uncomfortable in the room, although she does not feel afraid.  According to Eileen, she seem more upset by the whole thing, as if she had convinced herself that the things that had happened to her as a child were her imagination.  To hear Eileen now talk of those things makes it seem more real.

They have reversed roles because Eileen does not fear the female spirit in her house.  Nothing has happened in a while and the spirit is most obvious when she is not thinking about her.  Eileen wants to talk to her, but does not know what she will say.  She is now convinced she is not going crazy in her old age but that now, maybe because everyone has moved out, she has found a new roommate.

Scary Story a Day…The Guard at the the Door

These next few we’re going to call the Jenna Chronicles.
 Jenna was my roommate for years and got this whole thing started for me.  We sat down together that first night and set up http://www.geocities.com/chrisandjenna441/Massachusettsghostsandlegends/, the precursor of Massachusetts Paranormal Crossroads.
In addition to being willing to talk to anyone and egg me on to do the same, Jenna was a magnet for activity. She was part of the background for the Mr. Mustache story and the Haunted Majestic legend and experienced the FedGov and Charlesgate cases with me.  By the time we made our first trek into the Bridgewater Triangle to look into haunted Rehoboth, she had already experienced enough odd things to fill a book.
If you have a story or legend contact us at spookytripping@gmail.com.

 

Sometimes it takes a while to piece together the little things that happen on a day to day basis and realize there might be something else at work.  Sometimes when spirits don’t get their due they pop their heads up and tell you they’re there a little louder.

Jenna and I were living in an apartment together on Commonwealth Avenue in Brighton.  It was a small apartment with a tiny room for a front entrance that had an intercom system and a door buzzer.  We centralized the phone there and soon found Jenna’s cat, Karma, was fond of playing near the front door.

There were two locks on the door, but I never locked both of them, even when nobody was in the apartment, because the same key that unlocked one unlocked the other.  Anyone who could break into one could easily get into the other.  I soon became annoyed at Jenna.  She would double lock the door when she went to bed and then double lock it when she left in the morning.  I was getting bored having to open both locks every time I wanted out or in.  After a few months I asked her to stop.  Her eyes sparkled when she told me she never touched the lock, but was getting annoyed that I was always double locking the door.  This continued until the day we left.

1412During the same time, Karma would often jump at the wall in the front entrance, playing with something that wasn’t there.  The intercom would often buzz and there would be no one needing to get in.  We didn’t think about it too much because the apartment building was filled with younger people like ourselves.  Whether drunk or just trolling for someone to let them in, it would not have been unusual for people to hit an apartment that wasn’t there’s.  Our phone would ring at all times of the night and day and there would be silence on the other end of the phone.  Several attempts to contact whatever was there failed to give us any solid proof of a spirit, but we knew they were there.

It wasn’t until my friend was coming to stay with us that we experienced fully what the ghost was capable of.

My fiancé at the time, Jill, had come to stay with us over the summer.  She and Jenna were at home waiting for my friend to arrive from out of state while I was working down the street.  Jenna was working at the computer in my room and Jill was sitting on my bed.  They were talking when they heard something in the front hall.  They stopped, and heard the door lock by itself.  They looked at each other, and Jenna screamed and jumped on the bed.  They heard it click several times, and then the buzzer went off.  After arguing over who would get the buzzer, Jenna went out.  It was my friend.  She buzzed him in and unlocked the now locked door, opening it a bit so he could get in.  She then ran back to my room and on my bed.

Several seconds later there was a knock at the door.  The door was now closed, and the deadbolt locked.  They both walked to the door, arm in arm, and let him in.  When I got home an hour later, to a double locked apartment, they were all still on the floor of my room.

Scary Story a Day…The Glen in Woburn

Old true stories that are meant to just give you a little chill as you go about your day…
Keep checking in to see the new one every day…
We’re going to start this week with a series of stories that all take place in an area of Woburn, Massachusetts, know as the Glen.  We already told one story that’s related to the neighborhood, and our story on Horn Pond has gotten some interesting feedback, but there are several more we’ve collected over the years.
It makes you wonder if certain places are more haunted for a reason, and what those reasons might be.
If you have a Woburn story or legend, contact us at spookytripping@gmail.com.

There are places where the paranormal events are more extreme and more frequent.  Whether it is because of energy in those places or some event that has trapped spirits due to trauma or joy, they become magnets for activity, like the Bridgewater Triangle or Salem.

An area known as the Glen in Woburn is such an area.

The Glen was originally apple and cranberry bogs when the town was first settled.  It lies close to one of the first Shaker settlement in Massachusetts, a settlement eventually forced to leave.  The houses were originally nothing more than shacks, like bungalows, and as the area expanded, there became less farming and the houses were built on.  There are very few houses that stand as they stood when the town was formed.

Upon first looking at the Glen, you might think the numbers are consistent with other neighborhoods in Massachusetts, but a closer look shows something unusual lies on the street.  Even in a town with a sorted health history like Woburn (read or see Civil Action), there is an unusual amount of cancer in the people that live there.  There is also an anomalous amount of divorce and domestic abuse.  Diane, being more sensitive than the average person, feels the energy around her, and her house has become a weigh station for spirits passing through and for those who have chosen to settle.

One house she used to own is now my sister’s, a house she owned but refused to live in because it felt “evil”.  (Read Mr. Moustache) Although she feels there is something darker in that house, she counts several family members as the unseen residents in her own.  Di often works nights and sleeps during the day and relies on her dog Bo to keep her company.  Bo often walks up out of a dead sleep and follows things with his eyes that aren’t there.  “If you ever had a dog you would know,” she says.  “They have a perception of spirits.”  He takes off down the hallway after things that cannot be seen, but Di doesn’t need to see them.  She hears them.  When she is home during the day, or even at night when she gets home, she hears the front door open and footsteps go into her Mother-in-law’s old room.  The spirit that does the walking has changed though.

When they first moved in they lived with her husband’s father.  Diane would often hear the footsteps and feel that something was watching her.  She even began seeing things out of the corner of her eye.  The father got sick and died in 2000, and the activity became more frequent and took on a slightly different feel.  Although it was a much bigger room, they never moved into his bedroom, instead turning it into a “guest room”. Di and her husband bought the house from his siblings and gutted the place out.  Di feels that her father-in-law doesn’t like that.  They would disagree when he was alive about things having to do with the house.  He struggled when he became sick and did not want to die.  Di believe these two factors have caused an angry man to replace a curious wife in the house.

“When we bought the house we gutted it.  Every time I was doing something I would feel guilty.”  She thought it was in her head, but eventually the feelings become more “odd” than just guilt.    “I know he’s there.  It is a different energy.  He didn’t want this stuff removed when he lived here, I don’t think he wants it out now.  The air gets so thick I have to open the windows.  I Never felt uneasy when it was her.”  She still hears the footsteps and sees things she cannot explain and often wakes to think there is an intruder in the house, and once she even saw something hovering over her bed when she woke up that disappeared when she looked back.

She notices the activity most late at night and in the mornings.  She also feels the two spirits have found each other, and that the mother is trying to help the father deal with the changes in the house and with his own death.  “She would have liked the changes.  I think she tells him to chill when he gets mad.”

People have gotten odd sensations in her house, but no one had heard anything until her husband was home alone one night.   He was watching television when he heard someone open the door, close it, walk right by him and then down the hallway.  He then heard the “guest room’s” door open and close.  He stopped making  fun of Di after that.

Di also feels the energy in the area allows her already sensitive spirit to call upon her father and sister.  She feels the room change when they arrive and sometimes hear them out loud speak with her and often hears there voices inside answer questions she asks.  She knows it sounds crazy, but it makes her feel closer to them.

Met State: The Asylum Time Forgot

There’s an odd thing how paranormal landmarks work.  There’s an ebb and a flow to the popularity of locations which draw people in.  Whether it’s the Lizzie Borden’s Bed and Breakfast or Eastern State Penitentiary, these locations have a tendency to flare up, become very popular and eventually take a backseat to the next supernatural trend. Usually it’s due to television and media exposure, and much like a hot trend on television for the season, unless there is a deep rooted sense of community or legend within the story behind the location, it is almost impossible to keep the momentum.

Metropolitan State in Massachusetts is a lot like that.   Obviously when the hospital was still open reports from there were frequent.  When you consider its closing aligned with the rise of ghost hunting television shows and the founding of investigation groups, it’s no wonder it became one of the most popular legends in the Metro Boston area.  The longer it sat unoccupied, the more the stories grew.  The larger the fence was around it grew, the more people needed to see what was behind it.  It was even featured in Jeff Belanger’s Encyclopedia of Haunted Places.  Then nothing.  

After I found this old article, I tried to connect with some of the people I had spoken to about it and research whether things were still being spread the old building.   People I spoke to who research and investigate in the area had to look  it up when asked about it.  Met State’s time has come and gone.  It will be interesting to observe what might happen to it as time passes.  These things tend to go in cycles.

 

Asylums feed into our very idea of terror.  The insane, the locked doors, the masked doctors performing treatment we’d rather not think about.  To hear the word conjures up images we try and block out.  The buildings, designed to be inviting and practical, fit into our worst visions of these asylums, and as they fell into ruin they became more and more intimidating.  The torment that went on in them and the patients who died without names and without peace create a settling ripe for ghosts and ghost stories.

Although not as famous as its nearby cousin Danvers State Hospital, Metropolitan State Hospital in Middlesex County, Massachusetts has become known itself for the type of ghosts and ghostly legends that give people nightmares.  No one knows what went on behind the cement walls of that building, but our imagination has created its resident’s lives.  When reports started to come out about the strange happenings on its grounds, Metro State was labeled as haunted, and since its closure in 1992 those rumors have been confirmed time and time again.  Trespassers inside the building and people just interested in the beauty of the land say the same things doctors and mental health workers had said for decades.  Metro State is haunted.

metstateWhen looking at the hauntings at Metro State Hospital, it is important to separate the facts from the legends that now surround them.  The rundown buildings lie in Waltham, Belmont and Lexington, Massachusetts, cutting into the landscape of three very different communities.  It was originally opened in 1930  and functioned successfully for decades..  Although many mental health treatments in the past century seem ludicrous to us today, Metro was always on the cutting edge of the field.  As methods changed, Metro changed with them, and when severe financial cutbacks hit the state in the 1980’s, Metro felt them as much as the other institutions in the state.  The buildings were plagued with overcrowding and understaffing.  Unlike other hospitals that could be converted to prisons or juvenile detention facilities, Metro State was hampered by the design that had made it unique.  The building was finally closed in the early nineties. 

During the time it acted as a functioning hospital, its residents suffered horrible conditions and saw the worst of human sorrow.  Lost souls filled the rooms, giving in to homicide and suicide by its residents.  Doctors tinkered with experimental treatments like mind-altering drugs and electroshock therapy.  The poor died without family around them to grieve.  The psychic energy amassed in within its walls makes the hospital a prime area for the appearance of ghosts.

The reports started while the building was still open.  Several employees spoke of shadowy figures seen at night.  Described as a looking like a tall slender man but having no solid form, the unknown visitors would walk through walls or appear in locked rooms.  Residents reported the same shadow, but the reports were ignored as delusion.  Then nurses and security officers began seeing them too.  One woman described at least three different men who all walked differently.  She stated it became common knowledge around the main buildings and were talked about but ignored.

Other residents reported hearing the screams of residents who had passed, especially those who had suffered electroshock treatment at the hospital.  One employee went to assist a certain patient he had had a close relationship with.  The man was screaming about his mother, but when the worker, recently back from a vacation, went into the room a different man was there.  His resident had died over the week.

met6Underneath the hospital runs a network of tunnels once used to travel to different parts of the 23 acre grounds.  The tunnels were lit by intermittent bare light bulbs, and patients were often found in them after having wandered off.  There were also reports of deviant workers would take willing and unwilling patients down there for sex.  Whispers were often heard down in the tunnels although no people could be found.  One man described always feeling as if there was someone behind him or in front of him, but he never saw anyone there.

Not all the spirits in the yard are happy.  Poorer patients without families were buried on the site.  Hundreds of bodies were laid to rest in unhallowed ground with nothing but a marker stating their religion and a number.  Although there have been recent attempts to find their identities and give them a proper burial, their souls seem trapped.  Glowing red and green figures have been seen in the areas of the old and new cemeteries.  The emotions of these people are felt throughout the grounds.  People have heard whispers and footsteps and one woman stopped walking near the grounds after she continuously saw visions of the patients while near the building.  Although she walked without really thinking about what went on there, she would see them inside her head and feel what they had felt.

met5The reports continued after Metro State’s closing.  The longer it remained closed, the more the main building looked like a stereotypical haunted house.  What was once a beautiful and intriguing piece of architecture was became covered with graffiti with broken windows and crooked doors.  Adventure seekers and paranormal investigators found their way in.  Inspired by their own fears and the media coverage of the asylum, they broke in.  Equipment has registered activity such as EMF readings, bizarre changes in temperature and ghostly photographs.  They have experienced the same shadows and screams reported while it was still open, but they have also felt sudden sadness and depression hit them and seen objects in plain sight move by themselves.

The ghosts are not confined to the buildings.  There have been numerous sightings made on the grounds.  Designers envisioned a active yard where patients would receive occupational therapy and grow their own crops.  Touch and sensory treatment was also utilized.  This positive energy has also been imprinted at Metro State.  In the daytime there have been reports of people with a glowing aura picking flowers with smiles on their faces.  These people disappear when approached and have even been seen floating slightly off the ground.

met3Like other asylums throughout the East coast, the grounds at Metro State are being recycled.  AvalonBay Communities Incorporated has purchased part of the land and is converting it to apartments and a golf course.  Buildings are already being torn down and construction has started, giving rise to a new chapter in the land’s history.  The same company has been buying old hospitals and building homes, laying the foundation for a new set of hauntings and legends.  Instead of a haunted house being on what was once an old Indian burial ground, people will begin to talk of houses built over the sunken remains of old asylums.

met2If a society is judged on how it treats its sick and helpless, should it not also be judged on how it remembers it?  Metropolitan State began as an experiment in curing those society had cast away.  The souls trapped in the hospital may never find peace and those walking the grounds may never find rest.  That then remains the legacy of Metro State; a reminder of what we tried and a living ghost of just how far we need to go.

Grandma’s Raising Your Child

Regina always felt close to her grandmother, Maria, living with her most her life, surviving tragedy together and sharing all of the best times of her life. After Maria’s death from cancer in 1989, Regina found herself feeling guilty over her death and saddened that her grandmother and friend would not be able to share the most exciting stage of her life.  She was dating the man she would eventually marry and soon there would be children.  “I think she would have gotten a kick out of my sons.  She never had a grandson except Paul and Michael a bit later.  She would have loved them.”

Lately Regina has begun to feel that Maria might not be missing out but is sharing her family’s lives in the apartment she used to live in.  Regina has felt her grandmother’s presence since her death, but since the birth of her second child and the boys moving into what was once her grandmother’s bedroom, the feelings have turned to physical experiences, and as the moments seem to intensify, Regina is left more confused than scared.  “It’s scary, but more or less positive,” says Regina, an energetic mother and cataloger at a library in Boston.  “Ever since she died there’s been a connection there.  What’s the message?  I mean, what’s the main purpose?”

grandma2Regina lived in the same house as her grandmother for most of her life.  After a fire in 1981 they were separated for a few months, but when her parents bought a two family house in Everett, Massachusetts, Maria moved in downstairs.  Regina would climb down the backstairs to her grandmother’s apartment to have tea and spend time talking.  When Regina left for college in the late Eighties, Maria became sick.  She tried to come home as much as possible, but the college was in Western Massachusetts and her grandmother was in and out of the hospital.  The night before Maria died, Regina had a confusing dream that seemed to trigger the connection between the two.  She dreamt of standing over her mother’s casket, her grandmother at her side.  The next day, although she was doing better, Maria passed away.  Regina never fully got over the guilt she felt about not being there, and it did not help when years later she heard her grandmother had responded to her absence by saying, “What, is geography more important to her than me?”

The first time she noticed something unusual about the apartment was shortly after her grandmother’s death.  She was staying there with some riends from college.  They joked around and watched scary movies, but some time during the night each of them experienced something they blew off until the next morning when they all told what had happened to them.  They each distinctly heard tea being made, from the sounds of things being moved to the clinking of the pot and the sound of the spoon against the cup.  Regina sees it as a sign of their connection.

“As soon as I would get home from school in the afternoon she would yell up the backstairs, ‘Are you coming down for tea?’  It was our thing.”

Four years later, now married, she moved in to the apartment.  Through the years she noticed small things but constantly pushed the idea aside.  “You look back and make the connection.”  There was often a smell in the apartment she associated with her grandmother, even though the apartment had not been lived in for years and her father had renovated the place.  They both would smell her grandmother’s perfume, White Shoulders, mixed with cigarette smoke, often coming from the bathroom.  Maria would often sit in the bathroom smoking and doing crossword puzzles.  Regina would also see shadows out of the corner of her eye and experience vivid dreams about her.  One involved Maria standing on the newly renovated upstairs porch, dressed in black, holding a baby, and eerily cackling.  She also woke up once to her grandmother in the room glowing white with angelic wings.  She felt it might have been a dream, but the next morning she found feathers in her bed.

1172840_10152431110917841_210684489_oShe attributed most of the dreams and experiences to her imagination and guilt.  When her second child was born, however, things began to intensity.  “When I had Anthony I needed more room so the two kids could share a room.”  She moved Anthony, and his older brother Tom, into the bedroom where her grandmother once slept.  Almost immediately things started to happen.  There was a fire alarm installed in the room that ran off the electrical of the house.  It started to beep as soon as the kids moved in, although her and her husband had lived there for three years without any noise.  They cleaned the alarm, reset it and had an electrician take a look at it, but every time they put it back up it went off.

Tom, her three year old son is often heard talking to someone over the baby monitor.  Regina hears a soft buzz and then her son whispering low enough so that she cannot understand what is being said.  When Regina finally got up enough courage to ask him who he was talking too he explained, “I’m talking to my friend, the lady.  The lady that watches me sleep.”  Tom has started to not sleep in his room, preferring to sleep with his mother in her bed.  Recently, Regina was talking with her mother upstairs with the boys asleep in their room.  Her mother heard Tom talking over the monitor and asked what he was doing.  Regina explained to her skeptical mother, Maria’s daughter, who she feels has had things happen to her but refuses to talk about them.  Regina went back downstairs and right before she opened the door to the boys’ room, she heard Tom say, “Shhh,” over the monitor.

There have been other signs that there might be someone else living in the house.  The family dog does not go in the room unless there is someone in it, often circling around the door when it goes by and running from the room into Regina’s lap.  Regina has seen a figure in the hallway out of the corner in her eye.  She has not gotten a solid look, but she knows there is someone there.  Keys hanging from hooks in the hallway start to swing when she feels someone is there.

nanaLately things have gotten stranger.  Near Halloween she was sleeping in her bed with her son.  From the angle she was at she could see her mirror and through the mirror the reflection from her television.  All of a sudden there was a bright light about the size of a grapefruit in the mirror, slowly moving from side to side.  She tried to rationalize what was happening, thinking it might have been the Halloween lights outside, but she could not tell where the light was coming from.  She closed her eyes, but when she opened them, the light was clearly in the room inches from her, right above her son.  The light then seemed to move into the bathroom, at which point Regina ran into a different room.

A few nights later she was again lying in bed with her son Tom when she felt someone sit on the bed.  She could feel the pressure and thought it might be her husband.  When she looked there was no one there.  She asked, “Nana, is that you?”  The pressure on the bed felt like someone just jumped up and Regina felt as if the room had become suddenly empty.  This experience has confused Regina more than the others.  She always felt the presence was her grandmother, but she does not understand why she would run away when she tried to make contact.

Regina is convinced the spirit is that of Maria, but she is not fully ready to see her grandmother in the kitchen making tea.  “I’m afraid to know.  I like to hear it on the other side but I know it’s not in my head any more.  At some point you have to say, ‘there’s something here.  There’s something going on.”  She feels her grandmother was not ready to die and was on some much medication towards the end she did not know what was happening to her.  If she had, she would have fought it.  She feels Maria wants to see her great-grandchildren grow up and share their experiences.  “She won’t have wanted to miss out on everything she’s missing out on.”  She also feels the nature of what happened points to her grandmother.  “I think the stuff that is happening is her personality.”

Regina also believes the activity will get stronger as Christmas approaches.  “It was her thing,” she says thinking about the holidays spent with her Nana.

Regina has gotten use to the idea of the ghost she might share her house with.  Although she is still not sure what to make of her grandmother, she accepts the signs that are around her.

grandma3It was somewhat discouraging for her though.  Just when she was ready to listen to what her grandmother had to say, she stopped talking.  She continued to smell the roses and cigarettes in the bathroom and sometimes felt someone watching her when she was alone, but the lights and noises stopped.  Pretty soon Regina felt her grandmother must have passed on.

That was until Christmas.

Maria had always enjoyed the holidays.  Regina was able to look back on her experiences in the apartment and see her grandmother had always made herself known around Christmas.  She was not really thinking about it when she put up her decorations this year.  There were other things to think about.  Her husband had just gotten out of the hospital with a heart problem.  More importantly, this was the last Christmas they would be in the apartment.  They had bought a house several months before and were only waiting to finish fixing it up before moving in.  When she had purchased the house she had wondered briefly if Maria would move with them.

Tom, now almost five, made his way downstairs from his grandmother’s upstairs.  He stopped to look at the tree and then went into the kitchen to brush his teeth in the sink.

As Regina finished up the last of the decorations, she heard Tom talking from the kitchen.  He was not singing or babbling, but talking in complete sentences with pauses as he was listening to someone else and responding.  Regina thought it must be her father and went it to say hello.

Tom stood alone on his stepladder with his wet hands in the sink.  He was alone.  “Tom, where’s Papa?”

Tom looked confused.  “Papa’s not here.”

“Well, who were you talking to?”

“The lady with the white hair on the stairs.”

Regina wanted to ask him who the woman was.  What did she look like?  Had you talked to her before?  But all she could do was watch little Tom make his way to the TV room as and think about all the times she had run down those same stairs to go see her grandmother.