(Above: When we got snowed in, dad would take the old McCormick tractor and tow a car hood behind it with us kids piled up in it to pat down the snow and make it navigable).
(Above: The little cottage)
(Above: The Barn)
(Above: The Big Cottage)
(Above: My mom on the day we moved in)
The home was taken over by the North during the Civil War and used as a field hospital. Later, the South wrestled it back and used it for the same. Both sides died in there. The wood floors were still stained black with their blood. We dug up and archived an enormous amount of relics in a showcase. We found plenty of arrowheads, dolls, bayonets, bullets, guns, medals, horseshoes, wagon parts, and so much more.
For my mother, the haunting realization began as soon as we moved in. She heard the sounds of booted footsteps up the stairs at night, traveling down the hall to the middle bedroom, resting on an old floorboard in front of the iron radiator. When father was back in town from a trip, he mentioned the sounds and she felt immediate relief. Neither of them were believers in ghosts, but when a past resident came to visit and told stories of the booted soldier walking the stairs at night, they had to come up with a new reality.
The story was that the soldier was upstairs and when fighting began outside, he rushed out without his boots that his parents had given him. I guess boots were pretty precious in war times because the story was that he died outside and came back for the boots. As a budding ghost hunter, I tried leaving him some boots. Perhaps they weren't his size, but he never took them, though one morning I woke up to find one of the boots under my bed a good 3 feet away from the radiator where he usually made his resting sound for the night.
My elder siblings spoke about the ghosts at the breakfast table and as a baby growing up in the house, the term "ghost" was used as if it were an invisible family member. I was probably 7 or so before I understood what ghosts were and that not every house had one. I witnessed some very amazing things, heard things that shouldn't exist, felt things, but never thought it was unusual. I figured it was part of the world's physics, like my ball falling to the ground when I toss it in the air. My parents had a good attitude, telling us that the deceased soldiers were simply missing their families and walking the halls guarding us. They don't mean to surprise us, they simply don't know their own ability to come and go in our vision and hearing.
Over the years people in the home and cottages, as well as visitors experienced booted footsteps, objects moving, wallpaper peeling, ceilings dropping, teacups falling off their handles, things being thrown, things moving on their own while witnessed, voices, dark human shapes, apparitions, the sound of a cannonball hitting the house, outdoor apparitions, phantom smoke, and more.
When I was a kid, newspapers and even NBC came to cover the ghosts and mediums came to perform seances. The house was reported by one publication as one of the most haunted homes in America.
(Above: Just one article about the ghosts)
There were a few times in the house that I didn't feel comfortable, like when I was home alone. Then, I felt as if I were being watched more intently than usual. Then, as we were preparing to move, one poltergeist incident had me so afraid, I slept in one of the cottages until we moved. The particular stories of these hauntings can be found on the "ghost stories" tab above.
As if it weren't freaky enough in the middle of the suburbs to be the kid living in a haunted mansion on the hill that no one braved to visit at Halloween at, the house was on the historical tour and in sixth grade, my class had a field trip to my home!
(Above: Miss Koumparakis's class visiting my home)
It ended up the kids were excited to see the inside of the mansion and the display case of artifacts, to learn how to use a metal detector and have tons of room to play soccer in the front pasture. I never knew anyone was curious about the place. I just knew that on Friday nights when I called friends in the class for sleepovers, I could hear their moms in the background say "Day? Aren't they they people in the haunted house? Tell her no!"
Tomorrow, I will continue with the last installment to tell you about what lingers within the walls of that 260-year-old mansion.
**On the POE site, there is an extensive post about EVPs and disembodied voices and on the Hug-A-Blogger site there is another showcased blog**
I am looking forward to the day we can visit the place.ReplyDelete
Yeah, my team better start plotting out the plan of attack. You just never know when we might go.ReplyDelete
oh, this is where you inherited the ghost hunting . Nah, my mom was into UFOs,(she witnessed it) and Dad into parapsychology.ReplyDelete
Your parents are interesting!ReplyDelete
Fascinating. Too bad other kids' parents would let them come to your house. Sad.ReplyDelete
There was a weird dichotomy where the working-class folks in the suburbs around us made us sort of seem "different" because we lived on this beautiful estate, but we were really just as regular as anyone could get. If you wonder why I'm so real and folksy, it's partly because I just want to be a regular person, or as Sandra Bullock said in "Practical Magic," "I worked hard for normal."