As one of my children said almost 40 years ago, “You can tell it’s almost Halloween. They’re putting Christmas stuff out in the stores.” What really amazes me is all of the outside Halloween decorations that are available and displayed everywhere today.
Something else that amazes me is how many ghosts are right here in Darke County. I’ve been reading local author Rita Arnold’s “Ghosts of Darke County,” a series of three books, soon to be four, of local ghost stories she has collected and published.
The only real ghost story I know about, almost second hand, concerned a close friend of mine. They were in the process of remodeling their home when her mother was hospitalized with serious heart problems. The doctor told them that the mother would not be able to stay alone for quite a while, so they chose one room to be used as Mother’s room when she had to stay with them. The mother even helped choose the paint and accessories for the room, but she died before she was released from the hospital.
Time passed, and the mother’s room was only used for storage of extra towels and bed linens. One day as my friend was putting some laundry away in the room, she thought the room felt cold, and she felt there was someone there with her.
She told herself it was just her imagination. But then it was the same every time she went into the room. She began to suspect her mother was there, and she felt guilty because she was frightened.
She talked to her pastor, and he suggested that she go into the room and tell her mother how she felt. She took his advice. She walked into the cold room and spoke to her mother, telling her she loved her dearly, but the whole thing frightened her. Immediately the room was warm again and the presence was gone.
I had known this lady for many years, and I have no doubt that her story is true. To this day she wishes she could have been stronger.
My personal experience with a “ghost” happened when I was a young teen. Several months after my grandmother’s death, our family had moved into the home she had lived in since the very early 1900s when my dad was a little boy.
There were five bedrooms, so my parents decided I could have the bedroom of my choice. I decided on a small bedroom in the very back of the house because it had two windows and you had to pass through another bedroom to get to it. That sounded like privacy with a view to me.
Not only did I get the bedroom, but also a brand new maple bedroom suite. The best part of that was a dressing table with drawers, a nice big mirror and a matching bench. That was very close to living like a movie star.
Since I had the dressing table and mirror, I decided to do my hair in pin curls. Several nights a week I would sit on the bench and carefully wrap a strand of hair around one finger and then stick bobby pins into it until it stayed in place. It took awhile, but I was convinced it was worth it.
One night as I was doing the pin curls, I began to have a creepy feeling that someone was watching me. I glanced at the windows, but the blinds were closed. I looked cautiously in the mirror to see if someone was standing behind me. Nothing there but the reflection of the room.
Then I had to consider the possibility of a vampire. Every teen moviegoer in those days knew that vampires were not reflected in a mirror. I turned my head swiftly and looked up. Nothing. Then I looked down to see two beady eyes staring into mine. I screamed and the eyes and the squirrel they were in disappeared.
My dad came running and within minutes had covered the small hole in the floor that had been under a chest of drawers when that bedroom was a storage room. Seems the squirrels had stored walnuts in a drawer of that chest for years before we moved in.
That was the end of my personal “ghostly” experiences. I never did appreciate my younger brother’s conclusion when he told the story. “The squirrel just came to see the biggest nut in the county.”
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Oct. 19, 2005 edition of the Daily Advocate.