Ghosts and things that go bump in the night…



MY DAD always joked and called my mother a witch because of her uncanny psychic abilities.  She had the ‘gift’ and was able to see things either before they occurred or during the event.  She had both waking visions as well as dreams predicting future events.  There are too many to list here, but for example she saw my father nearly killed in a couple car accidents and was able to tell my father in detail about his experience when he made it home.  Another time she saw a fire of a large building, at first she felt it was a fire of a structure near to my home, but later on the news she saw a story of an old dance hall burning down and realized it was a place her parents went on dates and perhaps fell in love.

As I grew older I too begin to ‘see’ things and feel or sense danger in people and future events that later showed to be very dangerous. Again they are too many experiences to list here.  On one occasion I was walking my dog late at night and a young man I had never met, ran past me.  I felt extreme danger and evil in him.  A few days later I saw his picture in the newspaper and read he had brutally murdered an elderly woman for a few bucks left over from her social security check.

I have seen ghosts and spirits occasionally through the years.  I was always ashamed if I told people I saw spirits they would make fun of me or harshly judge me, or worse think I was mentally delusional! Even now I take the risk of friends and past acquaintances thinking ill of me or possibly feeling sorry for my  pathological hallucinations.

In 1984 I moved into an old house that had been built by a African American man in 1853.  He was a ‘drayman‘ and with his wagon he would pick up supplies at the railroad depot and deliver the items to people around town. I researched and read about his children and his wife.  I found it fascinating he lived and worked in Ohio years before the American civil war.  In old drawings of the town in the early 1860’s his home, my home is clearly seen on the map. In the 1940’s the old house was made into a duplex.

I had not lived in my home long before I was awaken by a woman with her arms reaching out toward me in a flowing purple robe floating above my bed silently calling for help. I awoke to see the woman reaching down and started screaming like a crazy person!  I awoke the neighbors, at the time, on the other side, and I could hear them discussing and wondering what was wrong with me.

For the next four years I experienced a number of ghostly encounters.  The most common occurrence was someone or something walking up and down the steps to the second floor.  One night I was sitting in my bedroom talking to a good friend on the phone facing a window.  The second floor window was directly across from the stairway landing and my bedroom door.  I was talking to my friend and felt if someone was watching me.  I looked up and saw a tall thin man in a flannel shirt reflected on the glass.  I was so stunned thinking how could a man be outside my second floor window?  Then it dawned on me I was seeing a reflection of a man standing on the landing.  I turned to see the ghostly apparition dissolve and vanish.  I kept mumbling to my friend on the phone, “… A ghost … a ghost … I just saw a ghost!”

In 1989  a lady friend of mine joined with me and we purchased the home.  The first night I thought she had moved in beside of me.   I heard doors and closets and drawers opening and slamming for hours.  The next morning I saw her carrying boxes into her new home and I mentioned she must be tired after such a busy night.  She looked at me with an expression of confusion.  She told me she had spent the night at her other home and this was the first time she had entered the house!

As the years went on I saw the ghost several times including a portly female ghost.  One evening my friend and I sat with our mouths hanging open with astonishment as a specter head  and shoulders peeked down at us as it stood on the steps and gazed out between the steps and the opening of the stairway!  An author named Chris Woodyard  described our ghostly encounters in her Haunted Ohio Book Three, in the chapter called the ‘Shy Ghost.’

My mother visited one time and was feeling tired from her drive and recent surgery.  As she laid on my sofa she watched an unseen hand pull back the curtain I have hanging at the bottom of my stairway.  My lady friend experienced many strange sounds, voices, and smells.  For years we could smell the sickening smell of sweet rotting fruit.  Other times we smelled tobacco smoke.  I heard voices, singing, and knocks on the wall.  One night while my friend was gone to another State for a vacation I heard knocking on the wall outside my bedroom door.  I sat up in bed and listened to the knocking.  When I stepped onto the landing it stopped.  Exactly one hour later I again was awoken by knocking on the wall.  Again I sat up in bed and I was sure I was not asleep and dreaming.  I got up and the instant I stepped on the landing again the knocking stopped. One more hour passed and a third time I heard loud knocking on the wall.  This time I stood at the edge of my bedroom doorway dangling my foot over the landing.  The moment my foot touched the landing floor the knocking stopped!  The spirits must have been in a playful mischievous mood!

Again I don’t have the room to list all the various occurrences  and experiences.  One night my friend and I came home from diner and we could see a thin man in a plaid flannel shirt standing, looking out the kitchen door window.  I was sure I was being robbed.  My friend watched the ‘man’ in the window as I ran around to the front door.  Of course no one was in the house.  My dog I had at the time would often hear the walking on the steps and go to the landing and bark and growl.  At times I would watch her looking upwards as if she could see the spirit moving up the steps.

I grew annuals in the basement under florescent  grow lights.  I had just gotten a video camera and placed it on a tripod.  (they were huge and heavy in the early 90’s!) It had an option where it would only record every few seconds.  I was trying to film the seedlings growing.  While that was a total failure we realized we had captured something far more interesting on the tape.  In a empty closed basement a shadow of a person could very clearly be seen crossing the lens of the camera!

As the years went on I would tell my friends and co-workers of the various experiences we were having.  Years later  I was told I had been telling exaggerated  tall tales for attention and it was very unbecoming of me to do so.  People either believe or they don’t believe.  I find it very interesting the TV shows about ghost hunting that have been popular the last few years  have had experiences nearly exactly to my experiences!

One afternoon my lady friend and I were sitting in a restaurant out on the main ‘drag’ and she saw a single bolt of lightning strike in town.  It was not raining or storming.  I told her I didn’t care because I was hungry.  We drove up to our house to see the entire property lined with yellow police tape.  The chimney on my side was blown off the house.  A third of the brick chimney  laid in the street, and a third laid in the yard, and the remaining third creaked and moved in the wind.  The lightning bolt had blown up every electronic device in the house and had blown up the main water pipe to the house.  The man who played the huge Presbyterian pipe organ a block away said they could hear the blast over the organ and the choir.  My neighbors across the street said the bang was so loud they nearly wet themselves.  Neighbors on the next block said they were sure a bomb had gone off.

It took a while to repair everything. It was very stressful for me.  There is still a huge crack in the plaster in the living room.  I am thankful the house did not catch on fire.

The most odd thing that happened afterwards was nothing…after the lightning hit in broad daylight we never again saw, heard, or felt a ghost or any other supernatural occurrence. All the hauntings stopped with the bolt of fire from the sky.  It was almost as if the blast of lightning closed some kind of portal and the ghosts could no longer pass through.

Later I learned a man who had lived on my side of the house had worked for the electric company and had been hit by lightning while up on a pole and was killed. The previous owner of the house lost his parents as they were trying to adjust a TV antenna on a camper as lightning struck and the wife tried to pull her husband free and they both perished.  I do not know if this has anything to do with what occurred, but I think it is interesting it was lightning literally coming out of the blue that stopped all hauntings.

When I wrote my 415 Raspberry Picket Trilogy about an evil creature killing plant life on Earth, and a family of witches using their powers to stop the evil; I wanted to have both good ghosts and bad ghosts in my novels.  In the first book, The Seven Sacred Seeds, a ghost named ‘Jake’ who had built the house a hundred years before, assists and protects the present owners as they battle  a horde of evil ghosts in an old cemetery on a cold snowy December night. Jake appears again in the third novel, The Seed of the Wormwood, to help battle evil. Also in The Seven Sacred Seeds the evil Dark Master uses bolts of lightning trying to stop the witches from obtaining one of the sacred seeds.

I have been accused of being ‘strange.’  Some have said I have an overworked imagination.  I have been told I like to tell these wild stories for attention.  (I find this accusation the most offensive!) I am a intelligent, well educated man who does not drink or sees pink elephants!  Several ancient texts, including the Bible has stories concerning ghosts!  But then, there are others who believe and have had similar experiences. If the only ghosts you have ever seen are clad in white sheets at Halloween night maybe you are one of the lucky ones!

R L Patterson

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