“It was a mistake to think of houses, old houses, as being empty. They were filled with memories, with the faded echoes of voices. Drops of tears, drops of blood, the ring of laughter, the edge of tempers that had ebbed and flowed between the walls, into the walls, over the years.” -Nora Roberts, “Key of Knowledge”
An old farmhouse sitting on top of a hill. Tall hemlock and walnut trees surround it. The original front porch shone with a silvery gray color in the moonlight…from the silver paint applied by a wandering group of shysters who convinced the previous owners to let them paint the roof. The silver paint had washed off by the first winter rain, staining the original lapboard that clad the old farmhouse. The shysters were long gone. Moss covered chimneys in disrepair rose above the rust-stained, metal shingles. If you need a site for a horror film, I have one for you.
This was the house we purchased thirty-one years ago…a house we fell in love with as soon as we saw it. A house we renovated and brought into the twenty-first century. I wish we had left it the way it was when we first saw it but sometimes my memories are softer than the here and now.
Spirits reside here. Renovations have not chased them away.
Mike Franks, a character from the television program NCIS made the follow observation, “With the memories we make. We fill the spaces we live in with them. That’s why I’ve always tried to make sure that wherever I live, the longer I live there, the spaces become filled with memories of naked women.”
I always laugh when I hear him say that. I think too, our spaces become haunted not only with the memories of naked people but any person who has been lost…people we don’t even know…people who lived their lives and died within these walls.
Four families have contributed memories I believe haunt this old farmhouse. Except for a period in the Fifties, it has been occupied continuously since 1892…a lot of spirits I would guess.
Despite our renovations, this old farmhouse still creaks and moans. If the wind is just right and the TV is low, late at night you can hear the spirits…whispers in the dark, a light footfall, a woman’s giggle…or maybe just a scurrying mouse or a puppy moving in her sleep at the foot of the bed. I choose the former.
Sometimes when I’m reading, as the witching hour approaches, I catch movement just outside the periphery of my vision…beyond the light cast by my reading lamp. A shadow that doesn’t quite belong, a flash of light despite the darkness that surrounds me. I don’t fear them, I welcome them.
We’ve spent thirty Halloweens inside of these walls…we’ve never had a trick or treater. No little ghouls or goblins. The house looks haunted in the darkness of night with little light filtering through the hemlocks. It is their loss. A not so wicked witch lives here.
I’m comfortable with my spirits. The spirits residing here…and the ones I brought with me from a time gone by, from places that no longer exist anywhere other than my mind. No vampires or werewolves, just spirits that lovingly caress a cheek or place a steadying hand lightly upon my shoulder. Comfortable and loving spirits from a time long past who visit me every day, not just Halloween.
For more of Don Miller’s ramblings https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM
The image is from https://www.narcity.com/ca/on/ottawa/things-to-do-in-ott/a-giant-mansion-in-ottawa-is-being-transformed-into-a-creepy-haunted-house-this-october