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FINIS

Posted in Afterlife, Ghosts, Hauntings, Paranormal, Stories with tags , , , , , , on February 15, 2013 by Dave Lapham

Hi, guys. Finally, I’m back. Normally, my posts are specifically about the paranormal, ghost stories, ghost hunting information, and such, but today I want you to read a really touching story by my friend and fellow ghost chaser, Joanne Maio who recently lost her beloved–ghost-haunted–house to foreclosure. I just hope the new owners, who are away of the paranormal activity in the house, will find as much pleasure there as Joanne and her girls have. In the meanwhile, I hope some of her spirits, which she talked about in her book, STALKED BY SPIRITS follow her to her new home.

(Vivian Campbell is Joanne’s pen name.)

Finis
by Vivian Campbell on Sunday, February 10, 2013 at 1:29pm •
The old house was naked. For the first time in over 83 years, it stood exposed, stripped of its’ costume of well-worn furniture and framed photos and children’s school schedules and burned toast and humanity. It had fought the bloody foreclosure execution with threats and pleas and temper tantrums. No amount of tossed plates and stair-stomping and shadowy wraiths could stop the banks. Greed has no empathy.

It didn’t matter how the change had happened. It just did. The last time the house had seen this was in 1928, when it watched its’ birth-family, the people who had built it out of the remnants of a receded, black-soil lake, forced out of its’ womb by money-hungry men whose dark suits paled only in contrast to their darker souls. The family couldn’t pay the street tax, so they were forced out into it.

The next twelve years morphed into a tangled hodgepodge of renovations and short-term tenants, often culminating in months of abandonment. Finally, in 1940, my grandmother walked in and turned the lonely house into a home; over eight decades later, her descendants were still embraced inside its rooms.

We always lived in the castle…until now.

I sat alone on the wooden landing that broke the middle of the twisted, three-leveled stairway. It was the heart of the house; the vortex. It was the invisible revolving door for our resident and visiting spirits; it was the lookout point for my golden retriever when he sat, lion-like, to survey the goings on of the house; it was the place where I sat when I needed to think.

How do you say good-bye?

A few weeks ago, I had waved the white flag and signed over my homestead to a private investor, who would hopefully short sell the house and save me from bankruptcy and foreclosure. There was no way to save my broken heart.

The house knew when I had given up the fight. For the past year, it had watched and felt my stubborn battle against the Big Brother Banks. The jig was up when I began raiding local liquor stores, not for their booze, but for their cardboard packing boxes. On the first day, every dusty book from our library room evaporated into the cardboard cluster. Three days later, my great-grandmother’s bone china was wrapped in newspaper and bubble wrap. Photo albums disappeared. Suitcases were jammed with clothing that would never return home again. The ghosts vehemently protested the abortion. Frying pans whisked through the air in the middle of the kitchen, in an effort to escape capture and moving box imprisonment. The stairs shook with angry stomps climbing up and down and up and down them. Not even visiting friends were spared:

“There was something standing at the top of the stairs, just now! I saw it!”

“What happened to that black cat that just ran in through the front door and disappeared in the boxes? No, it didn’t climb into the box; it freakin’ disappeared into the side of the box!”

“Oh, my gosh. I swear I just saw a WOLF standing in the doorway! It was there just a second …”

The biggest kicks happened to my older daughter, Erin, as she packed her room. One night she heard a sound like something sliding across the hardwood floor. Turned out to be one of her toys, a stuffed cat, which was flopping its little kitty arms and writhing like a ballistic zombie … all by itself. The next night, Erin heard scuttling coming from her dresser, on which she had placed seven empty horseshoe crab shells that we had found over a year ago. The crafty little things were moving all over the top of her dresser, just as if they were alive. Somebody forgot to remind them that they were dead.

Boo.

Despite the ghosts’ spookiest efforts to thwart the move, the rented Hertz van appeared. The wraiths watched in helpless agony as my daughters and I loaded furniture and boxes like frantic passengers escaping the Titanic. All through the day, Erin saw shadow people marching on my heels, mimicking my determination as I marched in and out of the house and cavernous back of the van. One time, I walked up behind Erin and asked her if she had a big marker with which I could mark another box. She jumped, whirled around to face me and exclaimed, “You’re behind me!”

I stared in confusion at my daughter. “Uh… yeah…”

“Mom, I just saw YOU walk out that open front door, like, a second ago!”

I had been upstairs for the past five minutes.

Packing up five generations of my family’s legacy was emotional water boarding. The house and I gasped for breath together.

One Sunday, it happened. The house and I were suddenly alone. Not a speck of furniture or boxes remained; only dust and memories. The investor and his renovation crew had kindly elected to leave the house early that day, purposefully leaving me alone to say good bye. I was grateful. It needed to be done. But, how ….?

So, there I sat on the stairs, just me and my spooky old house. It was time for me to cut the umbilical cord, at least physically. I had already baptized the place with three hours of tears. I walked from empty room to empty room, retelling tales from each. I spoke the names of every, single person that I could think of associated with the house, beginning with my grandmother. My epitaph had begun mid-afternoon, as the Florida sunlight was still streaming in. My house listened. It shared my sorrow. It wasn’t even angry … not with me, at least. When I was in the hurricane’s eye of my tears, I wandered upstairs to find the bathroom light switched on. I smiled. The house understood.

Now, I sat silently on the stairs. My stairs. Afternoon became early evening. The sun sank and the shadows lengthened. The quiet began to disappear. I felt the house’s demeanor change from empathetic friend to serial killer patience. It was waiting; a monster ready to snap at the next bug of a human who crossed its enchanted threshold. By the time darkness had completely engulfed the house, even I couldn’t stand to remain there any longer, even though it posed no threat to me. I had been one of its three matriarchs, along with my grandmother and the woman who originally built the house in 1927. The house respected me. We were entwined. The next residents would have to pass its test.

I walked to the open front door, inserted my key into its lock for the last time, then turned back toward the mass of empty, breathing rooms that had been my forever home.

“I love you. Good bye.”

I shut the door and walked away. Part of my heart stayed with my house. It will always be there.

MARY HASTINGS Part Three

Posted in Afterlife, Entities, Ghosts, Hauntings, Paranormal, Saturdays, Stories, Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 24, 2012 by Dave Lapham

“Probably a case of nerves, Sis. Don’t worry. Besides, I can get over here in a couple of minutes.” He smiled.

“Yes, I suppose you’re right. Living out here in the country isn’t like the city. I guess I’ll have to get used to it all again. Want to stay for breakfast?”

“Naw, I’ve got to get busy. Betsy said she’d be over after a while, though.” Waving his hand he stepped out the door and walked to his truck.

The following days were filled with putting the house in order, spending time with family, and renewing old friendships. Mary had no more disturbances and slept like a stone for several nights running.

One night, however, a slamming door awakened her. She didn’t know whether the sound came from downstairs or the second floor. She only knew it wasn’t a dream—she had definitely heard it. She turned on her light, grabbed her pistol, and headed out the door. Turning lights on as she went, she walked through the whole house and found nothing. All the doors and windows were closed and locked. She could not explain the slamming door. Finally, she went back upstairs to bed, leaving all the lights on.

The noises continued on later nights and increased, doors opening and closing, footsteps on the stairs, and in the hall a man’s laughter. Mary began to think she was having mental problems—or was the house haunted? The first few times noises occurred, she’d phoned Travis, but he never found anyone or any evidence that someone had been there. So she stopped calling him.

One night as she slept soundly, something grabbed her big toe. Mary bolted upright. There at the foot of her bed stood Will, big grin, cow lick, and all. She couldn’t believe it. Will, her big brother. Of course, she knew it wasn’t actually him but his ghost. She wasn’t afraid. She was filled with peace. Will. Will. His image faded, and she flopped back to sleep, smiling.

Periodically over the next few weeks, she heard the usual noises, but they didn’t disturb her anymore. She knew Will was there, and most nights she slept straight through. Once she tried to tell Travis about Will, but she couldn’t quite bring herself to explain that their older brother’s ghost resided in the house. Travis seemed to be happy that she wasn’t bothered by inexplicable noises anymore.

Then one evening she awoke to the sound of breaking glass. She flicked on the light just as the bedroom door opened. There stood two men, one with a scraggly beard. They sneered and reeked of alcohol. Mary gasped and fumbled for her pistol in the night stand. Rushing forward, the bearded man yanked her out of bed and slammed her to the floor while the other grabbed the pistol out of the drawer. He knelt beside her and jammed the muzzle against her temple. She froze, her pulse pounding. Both men laughed.

At that moment a glowing apparition with a big grin and a cow lick appeared out of the wall and came toward the intruders. Screaming, the bearded intruder jumped up and raced out the door. The other man followed close behind, dropping the gun as he ran. The first man tripped and crashed through the banister. He landed on the floor below, his neck broken. Then the second slipped, his leg snapping as he tumbled down the stairwell. He lay whimpering at the foot of the steps as the smiling ghost stood over him.

Seconds later Mary ran into the hall, gun and phone in hand. The ghost evaporated. Travis arrived within minutes and took charge. The injured intruder kept babbling about being attacked by a ghost. No one took him seriously.

Nothing ever disturbed Mary’s sleep again. She lived for many years in the house and died of old age in her own bed overlooking the lake. She was buried next to her brother, Will, in the family cemetery.

Don’t forget 12-21-12. Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.

MARY HASTINGS Part One

Posted in Afterlife, Entities, Ghosts, Paranormal, Saturdays, Stories, Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 10, 2012 by Dave Lapham

Mary Hastings pulled off the highway and stopped to check her dad’s mailbox before heading up the drive to the house. He’d been dead two weeks, but he was still getting mail. Even her mother, who’d died two years before, received an occasional piece of junk mail. Sure enough the mailbox was full, and none of it was for Mary. Laying the stack of mostly advertisements on the passenger’s seat, she closed her door and drove on.

As she continued up the orange tree-lined road to the house, now hers, she felt a warmth which made her smile, even after thirty years. She had grown up among these groves, swum in the lake, learned to drive dodging around citrus trees, received her first kiss by the water tower, enjoyed birthdays and holidays with her friends and a loving family. But she also felt a sadness. Her parents, her grandparents, her brother, Will, killed in Vietnam, were all gone, all now buried along with her great grandparents in the little family cemetery on the north side of the lake. Only she and her younger brother, Travis, remained.

She was thankful that the place had remained in the Hastings family. Mary had chosen to go off to college up north. At the time she wanted to get away from this place, this backward way of life, this boring little town of Lake Wales where nothing ever happened. The big excitement was a Friday night high school football game or a Saturday night movie. So she had elected to attend the University of Virginia, one of the biggest party schools in the country, and the home, more or less, of Edgar Allen Poe. She wasn’t a big party girl, but UVA did sound exciting, and academic standards there were high.

But that was a long time ago. She had majored in English Literature and had gone on to get her PhD. A series of teaching jobs at several universities followed, and suddenly it was thirty years later. Mary retired when her dad died, and now she was coming home for good.

In the meantime Travis had remained in Lake Wales and had taken over managing the groves just as his father, his grandfather, and his great grandfather had done. And he had harbored no ill feelings toward his sister because she’d chosen to do other things. As far as Travis was concerned, he’d always said, “No problem, Sis. When you get ready to retire, come on back. There’ll always be a place for you.”

In fact, there was. Travis and their father made sure that Mary was taken care of. At Travis’s request, their dad had willed her the family house and the adjacent five acres on the lake. The property was beautiful, covered with old live oaks, a well-maintained beach, and a large pavilion for family gatherings and parties. And the house. The two-story house was too large for Mary, five bedrooms, an expansive kitchen and adjoining dining room, and a wide, screened porch surrounding all four sides, but she loved it.

Approaching the house and seeing no cars there, she drove on to the family cemetery above the lake. It was a pristine spot. Her dad and grandfather had wisely kept the trees around the shoreline, so that anywhere a person might sit, he would feel the tranquility that only a forest and a lake can provide. The cemetery sat back several yards off the water on high ground. Enclosed by a filigreed wrought-iron fence, it was spacious, large enough to hold many more graves. Mary walked to her parents’ resting places and bent down to pat the fresh mound of earth covering her father.

Will was buried on the other side of her mother. Mary smiled down at Will’s grave and sighed. Even after forty-five years, she pictured him in minute detail, his brown eyes, strong jaw, his big grin, even the cow lick on the crown of his head. She had idolized her big brother. He’d taught her how to drive, how to smoke, how to drink, how to fend off unwanted attentions from the boys. When she was a girl he was always there to protect her. She loved her little brother, Travis, but Will was her hero. He’d been such a terrific young man. What a waste.

Does anyone like my stories or am I whistling in the wind? Let me know what you think. I’d appreciate it.

BUCK WARREN Part 2

Posted in Afterlife, Demons, Entities, Ghost Hunting, Ghosts, Hauntings, Paranormal, Saturdays, Stories, Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2012 by Dave Lapham

No one would go with him, and we couldn’t actually see Crazy Crickbaum’s grave from the gateway. I wanted to make sure Buck didn’t cheat, so I rode around to the other side of the cemetery where I had a perfect view. Sure enough, just after I got off my bike and settled in to watch, there was Buck Warren marching boldly up to the grave of Henry Crickbaum.

Buck stood at the foot of the grave, arms crossed, feet spread apart. I was actually impressed. We hadn’t made any arrangements for him to pick up something from the area to prove he’d been there, but he bent down and grasped an old vase of dead flowers. Then he straightened and stood staring at the headstone.

He had been standing there motionless for about three minutes when a luminescent, chartreuse mist oozed out of the grave and formed a funnel, like a small tornado. As the mass rose, the top of it changed into a human-like torso with an indescribable, fiendish-looking head. Piercing eyes, shark-like teeth, the most evil-looking thing I’d ever seen. I was terrified. I almost vomited.

But Buck. Buck was magnificent. He dropped the flower vase, picked up a fallen tree branch, and swiped at the monster, who darted out of the way. As the beast closed in on him, Buck realized that his defense was useless and backed up, then turned and ran. The demon came after him. Buck looked back, tripped, and fell. The awful creature now hovered over him. I screamed, and the demon looked towards me with his fiery eyes, even though I was a hundred yards away. In that instant Buck leaped up and raced toward the entrance, faster than I’d ever seen him run on the football field. The demon turned to follow him for several yards, stopped, and then vanished from sight.

I jumped on my bike and raced back to the entrance. Panting, I slid to a stop and dropped my bike. Buck was sitting on the ground leaning against one of the arches. His hair was snow white—and he was crying. Everyone else stood there in petrified silence, not knowing exactly what had happened to him or what to say. I looked at Buck and related exactly what I had seen. Well, Buck became a hero, a true legend of Washington Junior High School.

But he was forever changed. He no longer bullied anyone, and even though he was as aggressive on the football field as ever, he treated everyone kindly. He’d hit a runner with a jarring, teeth-rattling tackle—and then help the guy up. Buck and I became good friends and remained so, even though I moved to Cedar Rapids, a hundred miles away.

Several years later, Buck and I joined the Marines and went to Vietnam in the same unit. On Halloween, 1966, our company was overrun by a North Vietnamese battalion. Buck Warren died that night saving our company and me.

Buck was buried in the Ottumwa Cemetery not far from Henry Crickbaum’s grave. The demon there has never been seen again to this day.

BECOMING A PSYCHIC

Posted in Afterlife, Ghost Hunting, Ghosts, Hauntings, Investigating, Paranormal, Psychic, Stories, Updates, Wednesdays with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2012 by Dave Lapham

I came across a book the other day, HOW TO Develop and Use Psychic Touch, by Ted Andrews. (This book was published in 2001 by Llewellyn, the same folks who published Vivian Campbell’s Stalked by Spirits.) I was intrigued when I saw the book. Ted Andrews, who died at a young fifty-seven in 2009, was a best-selling author and teacher of animistic and shamanistic lore and was most noted for his mystical writings about animals. But more than that, he was really a Renaissance Man. He was a healer, a musician, a clairvoyant. You name it, he did it.

What intrigued me were the titles of some of his books, How to Heal With Color, How To See & Read the Aura, Sacred Sounds, and most especially, HOW TO Develop and Use Psychic Touch. I didn’t know much about Mr. Andrews, but this particular book looked interesting.

In this day and age, we have so much technology at our disposal, ghost hunting has become almost a science. We have instruments to measure electromagnetic fields, to capture photographic evidence of shadows and apparitions, to hear voices from the other side. Even the most insensitive slug (me?) can find evidence of the paranormal. And, yes, most teams have a psychic or very sensitive person on the team, but for most the preponderance of evidence is collected with technology. The psychic on the team sort of mops up and confirms the findings provided by the technology.

So it’s interesting what Mr. Andrews has to say. Here are some random thoughts covered in his book. They are his not mine, but I believe what he says is right. I have just started reading the book, which has exercises at the end of each chapter.

We are all psychic. Almost everyone has had a psychic experience. Have you ever met someone who you think you might have known, and yet you know you’ve never met them. You might even know something about them. Or, when you’re driving down a certain street, and something tells you to turn when you hadn’t planned on it, only to learn later that an accident had occurred farther down. It may be a premonition that something was about to happen, a sudden insight, a hunch. Or you might have heard someone say something to you, either inside your head or out. It may have been a dream, a passing thought, or a smell. We’ve all had them. For example, I normally go to yoga at 6:45 Wednesday mornings. This morning I overslept and didn’t wake up until 6:46, a minute after class began. I awoke to the distinctive smell of the yoga studio. Psychic event? I don’t know, but it was really weird.

And if we’ve had one of these experiences, we can have them again. With study and practice, we can develop psychic abilities that might surprise us. I have a friend who is psychic and who, at one time, had only a vague sense that he was. After a couple of experiences, he decided he needed to find out more and began studying with some well-known mediums. He is now the psychic on a paranormal investigating team.

We know, of course, about our five senses, smell, taste, touch, hearing, and sight. Mr. Andrews considers common sense the sixth sense, which brings our other senses together. When through our experiences we can integrate our five senses, we will often have an awareness of things beyond what those five senses can tell us. “Common sense helps us to see the patterns of our life as defined by the physical senses.” And our seventh sense, our intuition, helps us to recognize where those patterns are likely to lead.

Mr. Andrews goes on to talk about clairsentience and psychometry, how psychometry works, the basics of psychic touch, enhancing your sense of touch, the power of empathy, and so on. If you can find this book, I highly recommend it. (May be a good topic for PIA next year.) In any case, I’m going to plow through this book to see where it takes me.

And on a lighter note, if you haven’t got your copy of my (Parker Lee) Amazon e-book, 12-21-12, do it soon. Time is running out. And if you don’t have a Kindle, Amazon will provide a free app to get Kindle books.

Happy Halloween! (Don’t eat too much candy.)

BUCK WARREN

Posted in Afterlife, Demons, Entities, Ghost Hunting, Ghosts, Hauntings, Paranormal, Saturdays, Stories, Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2012 by Dave Lapham

I grew up in Ottumwa, Iowa, a small town in the southeastern part of the state. We had only fifty kids in our ninth grade class at Washington Junior High School, and we were a tight, companionable group—all except for Buck Warren and his three or four lackeys. Buck was a big guy, a tackle on the football team, and he was really good. In later years he played high school football and went on to play in college. But he wasn’t real smart. I suppose because of his lack of intelligence, he had low self-esteem, and in ninth grade at Washington Junior High School Buck didn’t think much of himself. He made up for it by being a bully.

Because I was a wise acre, I taunted him every chance I got. At five feet two inches and 115 pounds I was quick, and Buck could never catch me, although a couple of times his henchmen did. I paid the price, but it was worth it.

Halloween in 1953 fell on a Saturday. Saturdays were when we played our football games, which usually started around nine in the morning. After the games, we’d all congregate down the hill at the drugstore soda fountain. Buck had played extremely well on that day both on offense and defense, and he was all puffed up and lording it over us lesser human beings. So I decided to rattle his chain.

All of us kids knew the legend of Henry Crickbaum, a Civil War veteran, who’d served in the Iowa Sixth Cavalry Regiment and was a hero. But after the War he’d gone berserk and killed a dozen people. The local sheriff reluctantly shot him when the ex-soldier attacked him with a pick ax. Crickbaum died on Halloween and was buried in the center of the Ottumwa Cemetery up on North Court Street.

That part of the legend was probably true, but there was a companion story that every Halloween Mr. Crickbaum came out of his grave and went after anyone who was nearby. I guess he took his insanity to the grave with him. Anyway, that was the story, which I dismissed as a myth.

Well, you know how kids are, especially about ghosts and most especially about cemeteries. And it was Halloween, so that Henry Crickbaum was a topic of discussion at the soda fountain. Buck popped me on the back of my head and strutted around. “I’m not afraid of Henry Crickbaum,” he said with a sneer.

I grinned and replied, “Buck, if you’re so tough, why don’t you go visit old Crazy Crickbaum at the cemetery tonight. You could really show us how tough you are.”

He smacked me on the back of my head again and replied, “Why don’t you shut up, you little dirt ball, before I crush you?”

That started it. Everyone chimed in. “Yeah, Buck. Show us how brave you are, how tough you are.”

Buck got red in the face, but finally agreed. “Okay, you kooks, I’ll show you. Midnight, I’ll be at the cemetery, if you’re brave enough to come watch.”

And I retorted, “Yeah, and right in the middle next to Crazy Crickbaum’s grave.”

We trick-or-treated just after dark. Then almost everyone jumped on their bikes and headed uphill to the cemetery. We all gathered around the big limestone arches at the entrance and waited for Buck, who showed up five minutes before midnight with his three goons. He got off his bike and looked around, a sneer on his face.

He hitched up his jeans and said, “Okay, you melon heads. Watch this.” And he sauntered off into the darkness.

(TO BE CONTINUED)