My Franklin Ghost Story

It would just be wrong for me to tell you the location of the haunted house that is the subject of this story. After all, more than a few family’s have inhabited the simple salt box style home located within a neighborhood close to bustling downtown Franklin, Tennessee, since my own family dwelled within its walls. But, the home was located where a former plantation sat, and the family cemetery connected to that family still remains behind one of the tall fences that were placed there by builders years ago to separate the neighborhood from the outside world.

Could it be the lost connection between the bustling neighborhood, which was where the original plantation house sat, that was the catalyst for the haunting? Could the haunting have been nothing more than energy created by the trauma of the bloody Battle of Franklin? Could the trauma from that event have weakened the veil between the time we know, and one of the past?

If you listen to historians, they will tell you there isn’t any area of Franklin, Tennessee that went untouched by the events surrounding the civil war. Franklin was a southern, Confederate leaning town, but eventually occupied from 1862 and on and off throughout the civil war by Federal troops. Many skirmishes occurred all over the city, with the bloodiest battle of the civil war, the Battle of Franklin, taking place only a stone’s throw away from the home that is the subject of this story. The haunted house was built in 1982, so when my family lived there, it was only about six years old. Usually six year old homes are not haunted, but this one certainly had more than its fair share of ghosts. It wasn’t unusual to hear heavy footsteps coming up the stairs of the home after everyone settled in for the night, books to “fall” off shelves and pets to appear hypnotized with their steadfast gaze at nothing apparent to human eyes.

My parents moved to Franklin in January of 1987 to be closer to their aging parents during the winter of their lives, choosing to move to Franklin after seeing the sign that said there was a Cracker Barrel on the next exit. My parents had left my sister with me for the weekend while they tried to figure out where they wanted to live and since my dad spoiled my mom, and she liked the name Franklin, and thought the town was quaint, he gave her her way.

We were a family of five, but down to four since my brother had left home for the Army. I was nineteen and really was never a full time resident of the home, which my family occupied for close to three years. I was a college student at nearby Middle Tennessee State University, but went back and forth often, and most weekends. My baby sister Kristen was nine years old at the time, and the apple of all of our eyes. My parents were young, having just reached their forties, and owned their own business. They were extremely hard workers and because of that did very well financially. None of us ever lacked for anything and we lived a wonderful life. But, they were both “type A” personalities, and because of that they were known to work 12-14 hours or more a day. Their work was seasonal, so in the spring, summer and into the fall, they worked longer hours, with life settling down around Halloween. Maybe because they were such hard workers, they didn’t notice much ghostly activity until a few months after moving in to the Haunted House.

The first year in Franklin, my Mom, Dad and sister lived very nicely in a condo, but condominium living just wasn’t in the plans long-term. A year into condo life, they rented the haunted house, since they just weren’t sure where in Franklin they wanted to buy a home yet. We were all so excited to have a larger place to live, especially since I’d made the decision to move back home and take a semester off college and work for my parents in their nearby business.

Every afternoon my Mother would leave work about 2:30 to pick up my sister from school. She left a little early on this day so that she could go by the haunted house and check on how her painters and workers putting wallpaper in the homes bathrooms were doing. Upon arrival, they were all gone and having finished the job, they’d left the house key under the welcome mat. My Mother let herself inside of the house and made quick work of inspecting the finished product, which she was thrilled to see had been executed in good time and was beautifully done. As she walked out of what would eventually be her master bath, she put her arm up to turn off the light, and exit; but as she walked, she felt a push behind her as the door to the bathroom slammed hard, barely missing her hand, which was still in motion from turning off the light. As startled as she was, she wrote off the incident as one that was most likely due to the cross draft an open window or door somewhere within the home had caused. As she quickly made her way thru the home, surveying where she might place this or that piece of furniture, what type curtains to put in this room, etc; she began to feel that she wasn’t alone in the house. Realizing it was time to go and pick Kristen up from school anyway, she made her way towards one of the bedrooms to the left of the staircase landing. Walking into the bedroom, she felt an even more ominous feeling and quickened her exit. As she headed towards the door of the room, she felt a hard tug on the hair that was tied into a low ponytail with a white silk scarf at the nape of her neck. As she turned around, she felt the air around her make a whooshing sound, like someone or something had made its way around her and out of the room.

Before she knew it, she was down the stairs and out of the front door, fumbling nervously to lock it. My Mother returned to work later that afternoon a nervous wreck after the experience she’d had at the haunted house. As she worked, she gave every detail about what had occurred, leaning her head back as she showed us how hard her hair was pulled. Laughing nervously, she whispered to my Dad that she hoped they hadn’t wasted money on the wallpaper installation and painters, that the house might be haunted. At the time, we all just laughed at what had occurred, and although she truly had experienced something frightening, she took no offense in joking with her about it. For me, it was easy to see that she was going to play what had happened down, move in and enjoy her new home. She definitely didn’t need scared kids or what would’ve been even worse, a husband who didn’t want to move. This was the first incident of many that would occur while living in the haunted house.

A little backstory

My family moved more often than most while I was growing up, so I’d lived in at least a dozen or more different homes by the time I’d graduated from high school. Our family was accustomed to packing and unpacking our entire household so efficiently, that we were usually comfortable and settled in within a twenty four hour period. I credit my parents with this ability the family had acquired over the years, but mostly my mom. Growing up, there wasn’t much I felt my Mother couldn’t do. She was a Wonder Woman. She was an artist, great decorator, and could even sew some of our clothes. She was lots of fun and loved to shop, cook and go for walks. Our home was always beautifully decorated with classical furnishings, many antiques, custom made bedding and curtains; always in line with current trends. Even though we moved often, my Mother would employ local designers to come in before we moved, so that new curtains and whatever the home needed would follow. She went to such lengths to continue her garden, although in a new location, she would take snips off plants, rooting them as soon as she was able at the new home. As a result, no matter where we moved, we always had familiar feelings because the same plants went with us with every move. I’ve often asked myself why we moved so much, but we all knew the answer. My dad was in management, but he would always tell us, “kids, you have to be ready to go wherever the money tree grows.” Probably part of the reason our family got along so well was the fact that we experienced an almost nomadic type of existence. We learned early on to rely on and look out for one another. My Dad sacrificed his career when I turned 15, something I never realized until I got to be an adult, starting his own business so that my brother and I could attend all four years and graduate from the same high school. He turned down lucrative opportunities to transfer. His plan worked out perfectly until right after I graduated and my brother was still a junior in high school. With his business being seasonal, he depended on a stable economy to support, and that year the bottom fell out of the Houston area because of its reliance on oil. My parents made a good decision to move their business slowly, over the course of a year, eventually to Tennessee.

In the meantime, their hub would be Hot Springs, Arkansas. Arkansas was beautiful and my knowing it was only a temporary relocation made it more like a vacation. This was not the case with my brother Billy, as he was very resentful about having to leave his friends behind. He was visibly unhappy, eventually falling in with a bad group. Before we knew it and without any warning, Billy was gone. My brother Billy leaving the family so suddenly had thrown our family into a bit of a tailspin, especially since he was only seventeen. He ran away from our new home, returning to Houston, and moving in with his girlfriend and her family. Three months later, Billy and his girlfriend married right before he left for boot camp in Oklahoma, as he had made the decision to join the Army. We grieved over his absence in our daily lives, a fact that was only exacerbated by his total absence due to his new wife finding fault in every little thing about our family. Although my brother was rebellious, young and had not fully developed great judgment, I knew he loved his family. He’d put himself into an impossible situation. Our family grieved deeply over the back and forth approval and disapproval. It was a truly trying time. I’ve often wondered if the weight these events had on all of our hearts might possibly have had something to do with the events we experienced living in the haunted house.

Moving into the haunted house was no different than any other move, and afterwards the incident my Mother experienced was all but forgotten. But, only for a little while.

My Dad was an engineer and things always seemed very black and white to him. So, it seemed strange when he and my Mom asked my sister and I had we heard anyone walking up and down the stairs and into the upstairs hallway at night. At first I thought they were talking about a flesh and blood human being and the entire concept escaped me. It took a few moments for me to realize my parents were asking their children if they had heard a ghost. I had not heard anything at night, and had never been afraid. My sister echoed my answer, agreeing with me when I said that if we had heard sounds like they were describing, we would not be able to live in the home anymore. My mom went on to describe to us that not only had she and my dad heard the heavy footfalls of what was most assuredly a man wearing heavy boots, but they had heard other sounds too. She went on to describe how without opening their bedroom door, whomever this was would walk around their bed, this time quieter because of the carpet. She and my dad took turns telling us how they had even heard their own dresser drawers pulled open and closed at times, and that there was no rhyme or reason in the timing of this occurrence. Sometimes the sounds would begin as soon as they shut off the lights, other times it would occur early morning and on a few occasions they had heard both the heavy footfalls on the stairs outside of the bedroom, softer ones within their bedroom as well as the opening and closing of their dresser drawers, in the middle of the night. They had actually woken up from a sound sleep to hear these sounds, with one or the other of my parents waking the other up so they could hear it. When they were relaying this story to us, they had no fear. They weren’t trying to scare us, warn us or console their children. Instead, they seem to be amused. However, it wasn’t unusual for something to occur that was out of the ordinary, or when my dad was out of town, and for my mother to say out loud, “now ghost, don’t scare me, I’ll have to move.”

Whatever activity that had been ongoing in that moment, would always stop upon this statement my Mother would casually speak out loud. My Mother has always been a very devout and prayerful individual, and I still recall her praying over every home our family ever lived in, making little crosses with oil on all of the doors and windows. I believe that because of her faith in God, she knew that anything in our home was there by God’s Grace, and that it must be good.

"Close the door"

I stated earlier that my dad was a person that didn’t talk about ghosts or anything that was fantastical. He was an engineer and he believed in the tangible. Upon moving into the haunted house, he found a comfortable spot in the kitchen at the family dinner table and it seemed he was always working on something mechanical. My parents were in the ceiling fan business, and daddy would bring home motors that were broken and try and fix them. The winter after my parents moved into the haunted house, my dad spent hour upon hour in that spot. His business was seasonal and his down time allowed him a little freedom to indulge in something that for most would seem drudgery, but to him enjoyable. It wasn’t unusual for us to walk into the kitchen and see the table top covered up with several old discarded towels to protect its surface, tools spread out beside scattered wire nuts and rolls of wire; my dads head buried in the top mount of a motor, readers positioned on the edge of his nose, trying to figure out what was going on with it. He had a television in the kitchen, a coffee pot nearby and all of what he called “creature comforts” within arms reach, so he was content.

One day I went into the kitchen while my Dad was in the middle of one of these motor repair sessions and I noticed the door to the garage, which sat directly behind the chair where he was sitting, came open very slowly, bouncing off the back of his chair. He just ignored it for a few moments and then reached back behind him, pushing the door shut, quietly uttering, “stop it ghost.” I asked him what was going on with the door coming open, because this wasn’t something that normally happened. He very matter of factly stated, “oh didn’t you know, that’s my ghost. I don’t like to talk about it, but if you sit down and be real quiet and watch, you’ll see what I mean.” So, I sat down, completely amazed that my Dad, who I thought would never talk about anything that was even close to the topic of ghosts, seemed to have accepted their existence. Only a few moments after we both stayed quiet, pretending we didn’t care whether the ghost performed for us or not, I saw the door open and again hit the back of his chair, bouncing back and forth until he unassumingly pushed it closed again and repeated, “stop that ghost.” I sat there for at least an hour and watched this back and forth with the door going on, with my dad quietly showing me that somehow, even if he locked the lock on the door knob, the door would still open on its own. I was really young then and didn’t care anything at all about ghostly stuff. I think I was a little convinced there was no way what I was seeing happening with the door was anything more than just a draft or some clever prank my Dad had set up to fool us all. But, looking back years afterwards, I don’t believe what I witnessed was anything less than a friendly ghost playing a little game with my Dad. After seeing this little game between my Dad and “the ghost” this first time, I saw the same scenario replay many, many times. In retrospect, I don’t think I liked to give credence to the idea of a ghost in my parents home, so in my mind they were just being silly. If I didn’t assume they were silly, I would probably have been scared out of my mind.

In your face

One of the first incidents I recall while living in the haunted house occurred on a late Saturday morning after we had all been cleaning. My Mother, sister and I were sitting together on the downstairs sofa, which faced a wall that revealed on its left side about six steps and a small landing which turned with the stairs going to the second story. We made a game plan to go out shopping and so I stood up and announced I was going to take a quick shower. When I returned my sister Kristen, only ten at the time, was holding her face on one side, hand pressed against it. My Mom walked into the room and said to me, “why did you throw that screw at your sister, Kim? That wasn’t funny. You really hurt her.” I was baffled as to what they were talking about, as I really had just gone to take a shower and wasn’t anywhere around the downstairs. My Mother continued, “you didn’t throw that screw across the room at your sister? You hit her hard in the face. I don’t know if you were trying to be funny, but you aren’t funny.” My Mother was pointing at a little brown screw laying on the table beside my sister, with me quickly recognizing it as one of the thousands we often used in my dads business. Not only were these screws a part of his business, they were so important he had thousands of them made a year so that we would always have plenty. These tiny little screws would inevitably make it home in our pockets, ending up on the floor, the washing machine and all over. I quickly and vehemently denied any wrongdoing, yet it was clear they were never going to believe me. I was a prankster, then and still am now, but on this day I did not play a prank. I’m not even sure if my Mother and sister ever realized that I wasn’t the one to throw that little screw, or that on that day only the three of us were there. If I didn’t throw it, who did?

Kick the can

In another incident, days, weeks or maybe months later, our family experienced another mysterious event. This afternoon, our entire family was spread all over the downstairs area, each of us busy. My dad sat in the front room opposite the one where the screw was thrown watching television while my mom cooked dinner in the nearby kitchen. My sister and I sat in the front room and out of nowhere we heard something undefined. We soon realized that what we were hearing was the metal trash can from our upstairs bathroom hitting the walls as it bounced its way down the stairwell. It had been catapulted with such force that it never hit any of the actual stairs. It instead went from wall to wall bouncing from the definite kick it had received before landing at the bottom of the steps. Once again, my parents, not having seen this happen, assumed my sister and I were the source of the noise the metal can made as it hit the walls on both sides, moving with great force from wall to wall within the stairwell, finally landing on the wood floor at the bottom of the steps. Along with the metal can, trailing up and into the bathroom located at the top of the stairs, pieces of the trash that had been in the can were scattered everywhere. We were all surprised at what had just occurred, and looking back on it we should’ve been scared. But, it was the middle of the afternoon, sunny outside, birds were chirping and kids playing outside and we were all happy and busy. We went on with dinner, went to bed, and this event blended into the kaleidoscope that is daily life. Looking back on it now, it seems like a dream.

I'll visit again when you move

We called my Mothers mother Maw Maw, and she was a real pistol. She was only 5’1, but she could move mountains. She laughed loud, cried tears of joy easily and gave hugs that lasted five minutes. She told the best stories, could make dinner for forty at the drop of a hat and could carry a sofa outside and reupholster it with very little effort. She was a huge part of our lives growing up, and I wouldn’t take anything for the time we shared. One weekend she came to see us and because I’d gone back to college, she slept in my bed. She was unaware of any ghostly suspicions we might have, and even if we had told her about them she would’ve reacted by grabbing your hands and praying. My Mother said Maw Maw had come to visit, so I made my way home from college as quickly as I could, only to find she had already gone. My Mother explained to me that the evening prior they had stayed up talking and laughing like always, with her and Maw Maw going to bed around one in the morning. My Dad was an early riser, and as was his usual habit, he woke up at six in the morning, and began to drink a cup of coffee. He happened to see movement outside in the front of our home, and upon closer inspection, realized Maw Maw was outside, beside the mailbox, sitting on her suitcase. My Dad made his way over to where my Grandmother sat and asked her why she was outside, so early and alone. He was worried we had offended her somehow. Maw Maw told him that she had called a cab and he was arriving at any moment, that she wasn’t upset with us at all. She continued to explain, “I do have to say that I’m going home and will not be returning until you move. I was up all night and didn’t even sleep for five minutes.” My Dad was upset, and worried the bed where Maw Maw slept, or something else was so terrible, she wanted to leave as soon as she could. Apologizing to Maw Maw, my Dad attempted to get her to come inside and talk it over. Maw Maw held onto her suitcase tight as she explained, “Last night I couldn’t sleep because there was something in that bedroom that didn’t want me there. Within five minutes of laying down, something started bothering me. I thought I was dreaming. We wrestled all night and just when I began to realize it wasn’t a figment of my imagination, whatever it was decided it would get underneath the mattress and push me out. This happened over and over and I know now that you have something in your house that doesn’t want me here.” As she finished her explanation, Maw Maw’s cab pulled up, loading her things into his car. Maw Maw kept her word, she did not come back to visit again until my parents moved into a new house.

Puppy Love

A few months after moving into the haunted house, my Mother and I decided to go in together, combine our money and purchase a Lhasa Ahpsa puppy from our local pet store. We fell in love with him upon our first meeting, so of course we spent way too much money. He was worth it, so precious and sweet, a truly loving little lap dog. We named him Duncan. A great big black and white fur ball, we all loved him so much, we fought over who was going to get to hold him next. The love affair we would have with our new little dog would be short lived however. About a week after we brought him home, Duncan started to bark constantly. He didn’t bark outside or even while looking out of the doors or windows at neighbors passing by. In fact we noticed while outside he seemed as if he was the happiest dog in the world. Duncan was constantly crying to go out, and it was almost impossible to get him back inside. The first weeks with Duncan were filled with potty training and teaching him manners, and he was a smart little puppy who caught on fast. But, almost as quickly as he achieved the status of potty trained, he began the incessant barking and his training in every way regressed.

As the days passed, Duncan changed. He would go into the front living room of our home, crying and whining, eventually pointing himself towards one corner of the room and bark. The area that he was looking towards was adjacent to the front windows in the room. However, these windows did not go completely to the floor, but almost. However, from Duncan’s position he absolutely could not see outside. This was curious to us, because he wasn’t reacting to people passing by, cars or other animals, as the windows were simply up too high. No matter what was going on in the home, Duncan seemed unable to get out of his head the urge to go back to that corner and bark. When we had first gotten him, he was eager to be held and in fact clingy. Within only a few weeks, he had changed into a dog that only wanted to be outdoors, and when brought back inside, he barked at the corner. As time went on, he no longer sat in our laps, cuddled up close and snuggled or even allowed you to pick him up and carry him around. It was like Duncan was no longer the happy dog he was when he came to us. Nothing had changed with our family, our routine was exactly as it had been and our family life was pleasant and happy. Duncan should’ve been happy, but it was clear that not only was he struggling, his behavior was getting worse with everyday that passed. At times he would seem to be fighting another dog or some other invisible entity, right in the same spot where he always stood. This wasn’t a cute attempt to work off energy, or a gleeful attempt at biting his own tail while he ran in circles. This was snarling, biting, growling attack mode type behavior, all from this cute little puppy. No matter how much we tried distracting him, calling him, giving him toys and attention; his only interest was pointed towards that specific corner of our home. Eventually, he refused to even enter the room with the corner that he found so upsetting. Because he had regressed with his potty training, we would keep a leash on him in the house. If we attempted to walk thru the room that upset him while he was on his leash, he would pull, tug and cry and just have a complete melt down. We found that if we took him to work with us, left him in our fenced in backyard or took him for a walk, Duncan was very happy.

The moment he entered back into the home he would lose his mind, with all of his energy focused on that corner. Duncan slept with different family members at night, and at first we fought over who got to sleep with him. However, he became so high maintenance at night, waking up whomever he slept with barking and growling in an attempt to get outside; none of us wanted to sleep with him anymore. He had a dog bed and crate and was content to sleep alone, but on several occasions, he woke the entire family up with more barking and aggressive behavior towards the one corner of our home. As much as we hated to admit it, things had not worked out with Duncan. We wondered if he had medical or emotional issues, but his veterinarian said he was perfect. The impact of Duncan’s deterioration from a loving, happy puppy to a worried and constantly barking mess was undeniable for our family. We were all exhausted, frustrated and at our wits end. We decided that because Duncan seemed to be fine anywhere aside from the inside of our home, with walks and other outings free from barking, his problem was with something in our home. Through our vet, we were able to find a family who were willing to try having Duncan at their house, giving them the option to adopt him if he was happier at their home. Lo and behold, Duncan was a completely different dog at their house, relaxed and happy. The barking stopped and he was a perfect little puppy at this new location. We were so thrilled that Duncan was finally able to relax, and we could catch up on our sleep. However, we grieved over the loss of the little puppy we loved and were so looking forward to sharing a long relationship. We couldn’t help but wonder what was wrong with us or our house that little Duncan seemed to lose his mind. As the days passed after Duncan’s exit from our home, the quiet that inevitably occurred after he left allowed u s to notice sounds and movement within the home that we hadn’t before. These sounds weren’t just regular creaks or sounds consistent with the settling of a home, but indicators of what was to come.

The Drawer

One afternoon my sister and I sat crossed legged on her bed and began a game of monopoly. We were laughing, cutting up and having a good time. Despite the fact that my sister was ten years younger than me, she was always a grown up to me. From the age of five or six, she was very mature and I’ve often thought back and realized what fun I had with her growing up, despite the fact that from the time she was able to remember, I was no longer a permanent fixture in her life. On this day, I don’t remember why we were bored enough to play monopoly. I recall the house being very quiet, and the room where we sat faced the south, so lots of light was streaming through the tall windows beside her bed. On the other side of her bed where our game was ongoing, was her French provincial white dresser with six drawers.

Right in the middle of the game, things got quiet for a moment when we both saw something I’ll never forget. The drawer of the dresser next to us started to slide open slowly, opening about three inches. This drawer in particular wasn’t easy to open, the dresser was old and loaded full of heavy winter sweaters, so opening and closing the drawers normally took effort for us. But, here we were watching the drawer making the same scraping sound it always did when being opened, and sliding forward without anyone anywhere around, except us. We had grown so accustomed to things occurring in the house at this point, that neither of us showed fear. We were of course dumbstruck. We both turned our heads when we heard the scraping the drawer made as it moved outside of its cavity, and watched it move and then stop. Neither of us acknowledged, and did not discuss what had just occurred. One of us looked at the other and said, “I’m tired of monopoly, let’s put this away.” We carefully placed all of the money, little houses, motels and game pieces back within their little compartments, closed the box and walked together to my sister’s closet where we placed the game back in its spot on the top shelf. We left the room and never spoke of what happened with each other, our parents or anyone for at least fifteen years. Later on, after my sister and I both had married and had children of our own, one of us out of the blue brought up what we witnessed that day and we laughed. We both agreed that we were terrified and wanted to run from the scene, but hoped in leaving the situation calmly, more incidentsl were less likely to occur.

Part of life

Without a doubt my parents, sister and I learned to live alongside “the ghost” as they never complained or seemed irritated with things that happened around our home that appeared to be off kilter in some way.

The haunted house wasn’t my home, but my parents. During the period of my life that they lived in the home, being a college student, I lived a sort of nomadic existence. I lived in the dorms at my college, which was only half an hour away. But because the dorms would close at the end of each semester, summer and other times, I was home with my family pretty often. As I said before, my brother had left home young and joined the military, gotten married after boot camp. His new wife was pretty high maintenance and as hard as we tried to welcome her into our family, treating her as if she was another sister and daughter, it never happened. For the sake of privacy, I will change my sister-in laws name to Annie before I go on. Nothing would have made our family happier than to have had the love of Annie, but you can’t push a string. (The words of my wise old Dad.) I won’t go into specifics, but before I begin to describe the events that took place with this part of the ghost story, I’ll give a little bit of the events leading up to it. My brother Billy moved to Germany with his new wife after they got married, where they spent four years. During that period of time, his wife Annie came to visit us, spending an entire week at least two separate times hanging out with us in the haunted house.

"October Premonitions"

Although we all had the feeling that Annie wasn’t crazy about our family, I have to give us credit for trying to win her over. The semester I took off from college, Annie came for a visit all the way from Germany. We tried so hard to create an environment where Annie could enjoy herself, and we did make some great memories. Still, she seemed to always be moping around, no matter where we were or what we were doing. She was only nineteen, was a little spoiled and I suspected she really missed her own Mom. It also seemed apparent to me that she felt disloyal to her own family in allowing herself to like us. Although I’m uncertain if it was her own inability to allow herself to love/like us, or if it might’ve been Annies family guilting her, looking back I wish I could go back and tell her it’s okay to love your in-laws. A tradition in our town of Franklin, Tennessee is the annual Pumpkinfest. This particular year was one of the first, but every bit as wonderful as the event is today. One of our favorite places to visit on gorgeous Main Street in downtown Franklin was a store called Magic Memories. The store was located in a very old building that perfectly showcased all things Victorian. Miss Gloria was the shop owner, and we loved visiting with her, and had done so so often, we’d become friends. Her shop always smelled so good and she had an enormous Victorian bird cage to one side of the wrap stand that housed her cash register. Two exquisite cockatiels lived in that cage, which was one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen and stood to at least six feet in height. It was always a pleasure seeing Miss Gloria’s store displays, chatting with her and of course the birds were always a highlight.

At one point, Miss Gloria’s cockatiels even had their own little brood, laying four little eggs that eventually hatched, growing into four more healthy and happy Cockatieks. Miss Gloria always had the best window displays and because she was one of the downtown merchants to start the Pumpkinfest tradition, on this year she had gone all out. In Miss Gloria’s window was a sight I will never forget. It was stripped down to bare bones with only a black back drop and a sign that said “Psychic readings donations to Red Cross $5.” Sitting beside the sign, which was propped on an ornate cherry easel was a small table with three chairs. My Mom started giggling the moment she saw the sign and no sooner had the words, “let’s get our fortunes read” had come out of her mouth, the psychic appeared. She was a very pretty woman in her thirties, dressed exactly like a Gypsy fortune teller. She had a multi layered skirt with a piece of lace loosely tied around her waist, beads and bangles worn as jewelery and a scarf tied around her head just like a pirate. She stepped up into the window, brushing her skirt under art her in a very ladylike way, taking her seat and asking us, “will you be the first to allow me to read your fortune?” We weren’t taking the situation seriously and couldn’t stop giggling as my Mom pulled a twenty dollar bill from her purse and stated that she was happy to pay for the four in our group. Annie was more excited than any of us, pushing past the group and proclaiming she was going first. The psychic took Annie’s hand, examining her palm, and began talking. We weren’t paying much attention until the psychic stated facts she couldn’t have known about my sister in law. She knew she was her visiting, had experienced certain health issues recently and that her husband was in the military. After hearing these facts accurately stated, we were all amazed and speechless. The psychic went on to tell Annie that she sees her and her husband (my brother) fighting a lot because of another man. Annie started to weep as the psychic asked her if my brother had lost rank because he had fought with the other man, who was their neighbor and also a soldier. “Yes, yes, “ Annie cried, as the psychic began to advise her of her future and how she could avoid what she sees. We were unprepared for what we had just experienced with this “fortune teller,” and also felt a fair amount of awkwardness in Annie’s secrets out there for everyone to hear. My Mother asked the psychic how could she know these things and she said that she was actually a real psychic and even volunteered from time to time with the FBI and local law enforcement.

My Mother and I were so excited and overwhelmed, it was hard for us to focus on what the psychic told us of our own futures. But, the moment my Mom sat down, she asked her if she was aware that she has a male spirit living in her home, and that he was even with us that very moment. The rest of the visit with this lady who was actually a medium was pretty much a blur, with her agreeing to come to our home a few days later to see what she could find out about the ghost. The moment she walked in, our medium started laughing as she asked us if we used to have a dog. As we nodded emphatically yes, she went on to laugh and say that the ghost really didn’t like that dog. She said he didn’t mind the dog so much, but did mind the fact that we let him come and stay in our house, get on our furniture and sleep with us in our beds. She said pardon him (the ghost) but he comes from a different time and was brought up on a farm, and dogs were not allowed in the home. Seeing how upset we were knowing our dog had probably been so scared and upset, she reassured us that he was much happier where he is now in his new home and that we did the right thing.

The medium walked around the home, touching pieces of furniture and walls and stated that she was feeling a wonderful feeling of happiness and contentment being within this home and with our family. She went on to tell us our “ghost” was a very young man, no older than 18. In his life, he grew up nearby our home and was a soldier during the civil war. He had fought in the Battle of Franklin, dying nearby knowing his family was so close. She said she felt that he had actually passed in the field which would now be part of our neighborhood. My Mom became very emotional when the medium described to her how the ghost soldier had watched his own family grow old and move on, and he missed them so much. But since they had, he had never met two people better suited to be his parents than her and my Dad. These facts were all stated in a very matter of fact way and made all of us cry. We knew what she was saying was the truth, because we had all experienced it from the moment we moved into the home. Validating our experiences and telling us their meaning was so wonderful. It was also great to hear that our ghost was a kind one.

"The scariest experience of all"

A few months went by and before we realized it, it was the holidays. My brother Billy and Annie were able to travel from Germany to stay with our family over Christmas and we were so excited. On the first day my brother and his wife arrived, my Mom had plans of cooking a big southern dinner. Everyone but my Mom and Annie went out to do some last minute Christmas shopping, as my Mom wanted dinner to be perfect. Annie sat at the round kitchen table, in the very seat my dad usually sat when the ghost would play the little game of opening the door over and over. My Mom was busy and had multiple things cooking at once, but also was seated at the table peeling potatoes. The conversation flowed and all was well, aside from Annie feeling tired from the long flight. My Mother was so caught up in cooking, and failed to realize that while she and Annie were chatting, the door behind Annie’s chair was continuously opening. Getting aggravated because it wouldn’t stay shut, Annie called attention to the “broken door” to my Mom. Giggling a bit, my Mom informed Annie, “the door isn’t broken, it’s only our ghost. You should be flattered because he usually only plays that game with her husband (my Dad.) Annie obviously had never experienced a ghost, because she not only laughed at my Mother, but began to taunt the ghost. As much as my Mother tried to calm Annie and explain, she wouldn’t listen. “You are stupid ghost! I don’t believe you are real anyway! If you are so real, why don’t you come out!” Annie continued despite my Mothers protestations, “Come out, come out wherever you are you dumb ghost! Show yourself!” I’ll never forget my Mothers description of the moments that followed the taunting Annie had chosen to express. My Mother said the chandelier above them slowly at first began to flicker and then swing, both increasing in frequency as a darkness enveloped the room like she has never experienced.

The ground below them seemed to shake like an earthquake had just occurred while all around them the most frightening growls, which could only be described as something from the deepest bowels of hell created some of scariest seconds of my Mothers life. Annie being a very petite person, was so frightened, she jumped up on the kitchen table, crawling as fast as she was capable grabbing my Mother and pulling herself into her lap, holding on to her for dear life and screaming while looking up at where she thought the ghost might be, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it. I believe, I believe!” Turning to my Mother, Annie held her even tighter, tears from fear streaming down her face she screamed, “I’m sorry Mom, please don’t let it hurt my baby!”

This was the moment my Mom found out Annie was pregnant with her first grandchild. My brother and Annie would have a beautiful baby girl the following August.

So many events transpired following the appearance of the ghost during the months following the attack on Annie. She and my brother stayed at my parents home for an entire week, and as far as we knew, the ghost kept to himself. But, this story did not end here, as the haunting continued on for years afterwards, even in other locations. This will be part one of my Ghost Story, because I have so much more to tell.

Picture of Thanks for reading ... Kimberly

Thanks for reading ... Kimberly

For more on Kimberly, please visit the About page on this website

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