So far we’ve talked about all the things I heard at my old house. Now it’s time to talk about the things we saw. Let me start by saying that seeing things was not a regular event. In fact, I will go on record as saying I personally only saw what I would call a spirit on five or six occasions, and it was always the same two spirits.
The first was a young girl who would hide in the corner outside my bedroom. She was in her mid to late teens and wore period dress clothes. She had a long pale blue and white gingham dress with a white apron and two long blonde braids.
She never said a word, never went anywhere else. I would catch her out of the corner of my eye at night outside my bedroom door or when I was coming down the hall to go in to my room. I don’t know what she wanted, or why she was there, but I never felt any danger or fear.
Joe was the other spirit I saw. I saw Joe for the first time a few years after living in the house. Why do I call him Joe? I have absolutely no idea. It was as good a name as any, and it stuck.
I was in my great room, a two story living room with two story windows. A large chandelier with ornate carved arms hung from the ceiling. I stood from the couch and looked out the window at headlights passing by when I caught sight of him in the reflection.
For a moment I assumed his image was just my eyes catching the reflection of the chandelier wrong, but my brain told me I was seeing something else. He was standing on the upper level walkway behind me both arms on the railing, casually leaning forward looking down at me.
Screaming would seem a natural response, calling a priest, circling the foundation in salt. I wasn’t afraid though, not of Joe. For all the things in that house that freaked me out, Joe was a calming spot, a friend. He was a tall man, slight of build, maybe in his fifties with dark hair. He was wearing worn blue jeans and a blue plaid shirt. He said nothing, but instead looked at home on my walkway.
I stood frozen that first night, my eyes separating the image of him from the chandelier to prove to myself that I really was seeing the man in the reflection behind. The whole encounter felt like minutes, but it was likely seconds instead. I turned around, expecting to see him standing there, but there was no one.
The walkway was empty.
When I turned back around to scan the reflection in the window, only the chandelier remained. I told some friends about Joe at a gathering not long after, and I was ridiculed so hard I never brought it up again.
I saw Joe once more in the reflection from the kitchen on the other side of the house. He was standing in the loft this time looking down at me again. This time there was no chandelier to confuse him with. No other object to trick my eyes.
There was just a man in a blue plaid shirt and jeans keeping watch on me and my house. And I liked to think of him that way, watching over us, not creepily watching us.
The thought of Joe as a protector, the ghostly caretaker, comforted me so much, that when we would leave on vacation I would always ask Joe to keep an eye on the house for us or watch my animals.
Have I finally lost my mind? Maybe.
Here’s the thing though, one day my mom was watching my kids, she pulled me aside after I got home. She knew of my experiences in the house, of the footsteps and electric issues, but I never told her about Joe, not after being made fun of.
With a pale face and fear in her voice, she told me she thinks she saw a ghost. I swallowed my water and waited for the description, fully expecting her to tell me someone new was manifesting from the ether.
Instead, she perfectly described Joe.
“Oh that’s just Joe, he watches over things for me,” I said with a sigh of relief.
She didn’t know quite how to respond.
I still say hi to my friend Joe the caretaker when I go over to the house, even now. With so many other spirits active there, some harmless, some who enjoyed making you afraid, I firmly believe Joe did what he could to keep trouble to a minimum.
I can’t tell you if any of that scenario is actually true. I certainly couldn’t prove it. The way I think about the spirits in the house is kind of like a knowing. I don’t have to think too hard about it, the thoughts are just there.
“You write crazy stories about way-out-there things, that’s probably just your imagination,” some would say.
Maybe. Maybe it is just the colorful tales of a creative mind. Then again, maybe after living there so long, their stories seeped into my brain. That I can never know for sure.
What I do know for sure, is Joe is my friend, and after being made fun of the last time I told his story, it’s quite a leap of faith for me to tell it again.
Come back soon for more stories, the scariest is yet to come.