January 2004 Page 15
The Little Old
Ghost of "Party House"
by Jean F.
When my stepson, Chuck, first came to live with his father and I in his mid-teen years, Im sure he thought I was pretty much of a nut. I have always been a creative sort of person and, coming from a conservative southern upbringing, Chuck probably chalked up my interest in psychic phenomena, hauntings and things of that nature, to my being a "Crazy California" native. Within a few months of his coming to live with us, though, I noticed his skepticism regarding this type of phenomena start to disappear.
It began after he and I had watched an episode of "Unsolved Mysteries" on TV together. At the end of an exposé about a man who had killed his wife and escaped, Robert Stack had issued his usual request, "If you know the whereabouts of _____, or have any information about this case, contact Unsolved Mysteries." I said to Chuck, quite matter of factly, "He's in Las Vegas."
I still recall the "you must be kidding" look that Chuck gave me as he said, "What would he be doing in Las Vegas? They never said anything about Las Vegas! The guy was from Texas - lived there his whole life!"
I answered him, "I dont know what he's doing in Las Vegas, I just know that he's there - I see him in a motel - he's on the second floor." Chuck just shook his head, too polite to pooh-pooh me to my face, Im sure he thought I was truly crazy.
The very next week, we happened to be watching "Unsolved Mysteries" once again when they broke into their regular presentation for a "special update," and there was the fugitive from the previous weeks show being arrested from his second story motel room in, of course, Las Vegas, just as I had predicted! Within the next few years, I credit my psychic abilities with opening Chuck's mind to the fact that there are "more things on heaven and earth than [were] dreamt of in [his] philosophies."
When Chuck was in his early 20s, he became good friends with a kid named Artie. Artie was a couple of years older than Chuck, and had more or less been drifting ever since his parents' untimely deaths. Old enough for college, Artie didnt even have a steady job, much less college plans; so the house he had inherited at the death of his parents had become somewhat of a "party house" for all of his buddies. I had never actually been there, that is, until one day when I received an invitation... One evening Chuck told me he had a favor to ask and wondered if it would be possible for me to go over to Arties house and just see what I "felt about the place." He declined to elaborate any further, but I knew almost immediately that some kind of "phenomena" was the cause. I told him that the following day I had planned to spend with my friend, Pam, and asked him if it would be possible (since Pam shared my interest in hauntings and the like) to bring her with me the next afternoon. He said that would be fine, so the next day, she and I braved the steep, washed out, gravel driveway which lead to the back door of Arties house. It was certainly no mansion, I thought, as I took in the overgrown shrubbery and the cracking stucco... We were met at the door by a smiling Chuck, introduced to Artie and, afterwards, led from room to room, by Chuck who introduced us here and there to their other young friends throughout the house.
Our trek through the house took the better part of an hour as we explored each room thoroughly. All the while, Pam and I spoke little to each other about what we were feeling about the place. When Chuck informed us we had seen the entire house, we returned to the front room where all of the young people we had met during our exploration had joined Artie to hear what our "impressions" were.
"So," Chuck said with some anticipation, "did you 'see' anything?"
Pam and I looked at each other briefly and I said slowly, "Well... you mean, besides the old guy..." Pam finished my sentence for me, "...in the overalls?"
I smiled knowingly at Pam and said, "Exactly! What was he - about this tall?" as I indicated the fairly short stature of the spirit I had seen.
"Yeah," Pam answered. "About that... with a hat."
"Yep," I answered. "That's exactly what I saw. But he's a real quiet, old man. Seems to be pretty harmless, as spirits go, doncha think, Pam?"
"Oh, totally harmless," she answered, "He seems like he's just interested in the place - I felt him more outside than inside, didn't you?"
I agreed, "I think he's really interested in the fruit trees and grapevines and such outside more than the inside, really..." Pam nodded.
I was suddenly taken aback at the looks on the faces of this small assembly of young people. I dont believe Ive ever seen that many people, all with the same look of astonishment, at the same time, in the same place, before in my life!
The entire room was silent for an awkward minute or two until Chuck spoke: "Does that sound like what you saw, Karen?" he asked of one of the young women sitting in the room. Poor "Karen" looked shocked and just nodded her head a couple of times. Finally, she said cautiously, "Yes, exactly like what I saw."
Artie finally spoke up, "More than once Karen has come running into my room screaming that she saw a little old man who just disappeared when she looked at him... and she's not the only one... I've never seen him, but plenty of others here have." Several heads nodded in agreement.
Pam said kindly, "Well... I wouldn't be afraid of him, kids. He's probably just a former owner of the property who was a farmer or something. Neither of us think he means any harm..."
"Karen" was starting to look more relaxed already... "So," Chuck said, "Neither of you feel anything, like, evil in the place, right?"
"Absolutely not," I answered. "Just a harmless little old man. I certainly wouldn't be scared of him. Just be cool. He's a nice, old man.... really."
As Pam and I drove home we marveled at how we had both, without saying anything to one another, perceived the same presence in the house.
"Maybe we could be GhostHunters," Pam said with a laugh.
"You know," I told her with a smile, "Maybe we already are..."
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