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GHOSTLY INTERSECTIONSA Lifetime Of Extraordinary Perceptions
By Mary Jane Monahan
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 Mary Jane Monahan
All right reserved.
Chapter OneGhost stories have abounded in my family for at least the past 150 years. These are stories that have been passed down through generations of both sides of my family and provided many interesting times around the kitchen table with relatives or just my parents, my sisters and me.
These stories have not been investigated, and I cannot prove one story anymore than another. I only have my parents, my sister, aunts, uncles and their friends to trust and believe they saw and heard what they said they did. These stories were repeated over many years and never were elaborated or changed in any way. This book also includes my own ghost stories from my childhood to the present.
I have long thought about writing down the happenings with the supernatural beings; seeing and hearing and sensing these spirits of the dead that have shared my life as far back as when I was 9 years old. That is about the age I started this interesting sojourn. I essentially grew up seeing dead people as the little boy in the movie said.
What is a ghost? I used to ask my mother "what are they and why are they here?" she used to say they are people who have died and come to warn us of a death or impending danger and some just don't want to leave or possibly can't leave. Since then I've read they are an imprint on the atmosphere from some past event and not really ghosts (some call this a memory event and are not solid but transparent), some say they are people who do not know they are dead who died suddenly or someone who resents being dead, who weren't ready to go or who had some unfinished business (these look as solid as you and me), some get attached to a place or a person and in some cases a "thing" such as a piece of furniture and won't leave, and so on. There are some people who don't believe they exist at all. I think I've heard and read every explanation there is out there as well as every reason as to why they don't exist as all ghost book readers have. My mother used to say, paraphrasing Shakespeare, that there are more things in heaven and earth than dreamed of in man's philosophy.
One thing I would like to add is this. I've read many books that speak of hauntings and ghosts, which are in reality demons. I wish people would make that distinction. There is a huge obvious difference in that ghosts have walked the earth as humans. As we all know, demons have never walked the earth as humans.
I'm going to start my stories by saying I do know ghosts exist and they are not products of my imagination. Believe it or not, I'm grateful to these spirits who inhabit my home and share my life because rarely is there a dull moment! Mostly what I have experienced are pranks. I've had some destruction of property, but not much. I will also say I've never felt I was in danger or whatever I experience is of a bad nature.
Old houses, new houses, and middle aged houses can be haunted. It doesn't matter. It's anywhere a ghost decides to unpack his ghostly duds and for reasons known only to the ghost in some cases.
My sister carol and I seemed to have inherited this gift of seeing and hearings ghosts, or as our Mother called it, the discerning of spirits, while our sister Joyce, ever the analytical one, did not. For her there is no gray area. Being in the medical community, everything is black and white; logic and reason are her mantras.
Some say they don't believe because they haven't experienced it. How can you not believe something when so many people have experienced and written about it for hundreds of years! Not only have people written about ghosts but stories like mine have been passed down through generations. I have never experienced walking on the moon but I'm sure it was done, although I've read a theory that says it was not done and the walk was done in the desert. Some people just don't believe anything unless they see it with their own eyes and then they will try to find a "logical" explanation. Sometimes granted there are logical explanations for odd occurrences. But once the occurrence has been thoroughly investigated and no logical explanation found, then I go with a haunting of some ilk.
In watching some programs on TV, I would see the naysayers saying things like it is all imagined and it is something we heard before that affected us, people exaggerating, etc. In their minds, it's anything but a ghost. However, they only go over things that people have seen or heard. Is my flying dishwasher rack my imagination? Read on!
I cannot in retrospect say my sister Joyce has NEVER experienced something she could not explain. There was one time around Christmas, the first Christmas after our Mother died that she had an experience that she still puzzles about. She was writing her Christmas cards at her dining room table. She had decorated her house with all kinds of holiday things. One thing in particular was a motion sensor decoration that played a holiday song whenever anyone would pass by. It drove her husband crazy. This particular day, she was alone in the house when the little decoration started playing its song. She looked up, and for some reason she still can't explain, she said, "Mother. If that's you, do it again." And the little decoration started playing its song again. Her logic and reason escaped her that one time.
Chapter TwoA ghost book should always have a story about the legendary woman in white. My mother had a story about a "woman in white" when she was a child. When she would wake up early, she could hear her parents in the kitchen talking; hear dishes and utensils being moved around and the smell of breakfast being cooked. She loved those mornings. One early morning she was lying in bed and looked into the hall and saw the woman in white drifting down the hall. My mother screamed and her mother came running up the steps. She told her she was dreaming. My mother knew she was not asleep. After that, she frequently saw the woman but never screamed again. She would just watch her drift out of her sight. She said it was as if the woman was not aware of her watching.
One instance that my father related to us while my sisters were young was that during the depression, he left for work at 3:00 a.m. It was dark as pitch outside at that hour and it took a minute to adjust his vision to the blackness. There were no streetlights at the time. The neighbors across the street had white lawn furniture in their front yard. My dad always used that white lawn furniture as a focal point to adjust his eyes to the darkness. Once he walked out into porch in the darkness of a chilly October morning and stood on the front porch and as usual glanced across the street to the furniture in the yard. he said he saw something white, all right, but it was low to the ground and moving. He thought it might be a white dog at first. Then he said the "white thing" rose upright, about the height of a man, turned and seemingly looked at him, turned again and glided toward the front porch and disappeared at the front door. The door handle was on the right side, the "white thing" disappeared into the left corner of the door against the house. After he calmed himself, he realized he had to go to work, shrugged and started his walk to work in the darkness down the middle of the street. That shrug is what we all had to adopt when we saw or heard something. It was either that or possibly adopt Joyce's thought of making new doors through walls getting away, which could prove to be painful as well as expensive.
When my parents were newly married in the 1920s, they lived in little Rock, Arkansas. My aunt and uncle lived there at the time as well. They used to go to clubs and speakeasies and one Saturday night, they were on their way home from a night's entertainment and my uncle was driving. My dad was in the front seat with my uncle and my Mother and aunt were in the back seat. The road took them between two cemeteries. There was a car coming toward them in the opposite direction. Drivers and occupants of both cars saw what made my uncle and the other driver slam on their brakes. A little boy they all said looked to be about 10 years old and dressed in a white gown ran across the road. The drivers of both cars got out to see if the child had been hit but there was no child anywhere around. And one might ask oneself, what would a child of 10 be doing out in a nightgown at 2:00 am! there were no houses around. There was nothing there but the two cemeteries. Both drivers and passengers knew they had seen the ghost of a child.
Just before WWII my cousin came home on leave from the army and came to visit my parents. They set up a cot for him in the dining room downstairs. The next morning when they got up, they discovered the cot and my cousin had moved upstairs in the hall just outside their bedroom. My dad laughed at him and asked him why he was there. He said he couldn't sleep for all the walking around from the living room to the dining room to the kitchen. He said someone was walking that route all night. He got up and turned on the light, searched around the main level and saw no one. As long as the light was on, there was no walking, but he couldn't sleep with the light on. So when he would turn the light off, and get back in his cot, the walking would start again. He saw the shadow of a woman in a long dress pass in front of the large window in the dining room. She stopped, turned and looked at him and started walking toward him. He jumped up and turned on the light and you guessed it. She wasn't there. Evidently, the walking of hard sole shoes on a wood floor plus seeing the woman approach him disturbed him so much that he moved upstairs to get some sleep. My dad told the story for years and would laugh every time he told it of my cousin, this young, big, strong army guy sleeping on the cot outside their bedroom and saying "I'll fight what I can see, but damn what I can't see!"
Chapter ThreeWe were living in Bristol, Tennessee where we all were born and grew up. My parents rented a house where we lived for several years. It was an older home at the time, maybe 50 years old and it was more than enough room for us and after Joyce left for nurses' training, carol and I had our own bedrooms.
Pennsylvania Avenue, Bristol, Tennessee
When we moved into that house, I was about 9 years old and as I said, I started my venture into the ghostly activity of my life, although I didn't know it at the time. The house had a very long hallway with three bedrooms and a bathroom at the end of the hall and a small entrance to the kitchen.
My bedroom was in the front and carol's was on the same side in the back of the house connected by another bathroom. I remember being afraid in that bedroom. When I would go to sleep at night, I would have to have a night light. One night it was a particularly bad night. I couldn't even close my eyes. I felt my room was full of whatever monsters were in my mind at the time. I didn't understand why I was so afraid. I was never afraid in any house we lived in before.
I looked over at the open door to the dark hall, and I saw an old woman in a long dress and apron come in my room, give me a very mean look, reach up to turn my night light out. I heard a click and sure enough, the light went out at that very moment. I screamed and my mother came running down the hall, came in and turned the light back on. I heard the click when she turned it on. I told her an old woman came in my room and turned out my night light! she said I was imagining it or dreaming it and the lamp had a short. No it didn't, I argued. I knew that tell-tale click when it was turned off and when Mother turned it back on. I could not convince my mother that the old woman was really there!
I saw that old, mean looking woman as sure as I saw my mother when she came in my room. She was as solid looking as my mother. I remember to this day every detail of her wrinkled lined face, her tight lips and the mean, bitter look she had, her long dress and white bib apron she had on. She had her hair in a knot at her neck and the color of her hair was dark with gray streaks through it. I didn't think at the time, but when she came in my room, she made no noise whatsoever. I heard no footsteps or even the soft pat of bare feet. In looking back on that incident, I realized she was gliding. That was my first ghostly sighting and my first experience. I was afraid in that room, but I couldn't really understand why until that night.
Carol got in trouble with Mother one day because she hadn't cleaned her room. So carol, in tears, asked me if we could switch rooms. I guess that was her way of getting her room cleaned up but I didn't question her. I don't know for sure but I was only too happy to switch rooms with her! I hated that bedroom! So we spent all Saturday moving clothes and furniture. Finally, the rooms were switched and both were neat and clean and our Mother satisfied.
While carol was in THAT bedroom she experienced hearing someone walking, hearing someone shuffle about, skirts swish, feeling someone sit on her bed, hearing someone picking things up and putting them down on her dresser, opening and closing the closet door and she heard whispering but always said she couldn't make out what was being said. She would sit up and turn on her bedside lamp and see nothing. She once saw a deep impression on the bedspread as if someone was sitting on her bed. Thank GOD I didn't experience any of that. She never saw anything in that room as I did, but she heard plenty. Meanwhile, I was sleeping peacefully and happily in the back bedroom. She finally decided it wasn't going to hurt her so she turned off her lamp, covered her head and went to sleep. Not long afterward, she dubbed the ghost Carlavistus. Why Carlavistus, I don't know, but the name stuck.
We would always have dinner together as a family and sometimes the talk would center on Carlavistus as well as explain, we would always say, "Its ok. It's just Carlavistus. He won't hurt anyone." My mother used to say "Carlavistus might not hurt me, but he might make me hurt myself!" we would all laugh about this and today it reminds me of Joyce making doors where there were none getting away! we always had fun at dinner, our parents made sure the conversation was always interesting and we always had something to laugh about, whether it was the latest ghost story, something going on in school or something else.
Sometimes when I would come home from school, I would be alone as my mother sometimes took a notion to get a job. I know that many times, when I would open the front door and go in, I could feel the presence of many people in the house. Even though the house was empty, to me it always felt crowded.
After depositing my books in my room, I would go get a snack in the kitchen. Something would always happen at that time of day when I was alone. I was trying to ignore the feeling of being watched as I ate my snack keeping my mind off it by reading a magazine. One day, however, I couldn't ignore the opening and slamming hard of the front door which was glass with a wood frame and it had metal blinds on it. The sound was a loud jarring rattling noise. Then I heard someone running down the hall toward the bedrooms and bathroom. I jumped up at the sound and went to the hall and looked to the right at the front door and the door was shut although the blinds were weaving back and forth. I looked to the left and saw a figure of a young boy of about 14 going into my parent's room. At first I thought he was real because he was very solid. The thing about it is I got a good look at his face because he stopped and turned and looked at me. We were no more than 3 or 4 feet apart. He had a grin on his face that made it much, much worse. He looked straight at me and was very aware of me as I was of him. It chills me to this day to think about the look on his face, his dead eyes and that grin. It wasn't a friendly grin. I was frozen in place. My feet wouldn't move.
I somehow did get my feet working and ran to the front door, trying to get it open and fumbling with the lock. The door was locked from the inside as I had left it. I looked back at him and he was still standing there with his hands on his hips and still grinning at me. I couldn't get out of the house fast enough. I stayed outside until carol came home. I told her what happened and she and I looked in the house and found nothing and no one. She told me I was imagining things. Imagining? no. I was scared out of my mind. I did not imagine what I saw. Thank god I never saw that kid again. I guess he was just passing through.
Excerpted from GHOSTLY INTERSECTIONS by Mary Jane Monahan Copyright © 2011 by Mary Jane Monahan . Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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