From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-legged beasties
And things that go bump in the night
Good Lord, deliver us!
– Traditional Scottish Prayer

Never met a ghoul and I have various issues with long-legged beasties, but I can speak from personal experience about “Things That Go Bump in the Night.” Long ago in a house far away, we had our ghosts. Friendly ghosts or at least, friendly to us.

Ghosts have been part of human mythology as long as tales have been told around campfires. Maybe before campfires. I don’t think if any religion excludes the possibility of ghosts. There seems to be a general agreement that ghosts and wraiths are spirits of the dead who linger on Earth after they have slipped that mortal coil. Some are malevolent, others benevolent or merely curious. Ghosts vary by mythology, religion and era. Even today, there are rumors and stories.

I cannot claim to have seen a ghost, but I lived in a house where everyone could hear our ghosts. It was 1965 when for $20,300, we were able to buy a tidy little brick house built in 1932. On the first floor were two bedrooms and a bathroom. There was a big bedroom on the partially finished second floor. The house was small but solid, walking distance from the college where my husband worked and I was finishing my degree.

The ambiance of the house from the moment we walked into it was overtly friendly. It welcomed everyone and made them feel at home. The little house had been built by a couple who had lived, raised children, and then died in it. They were not murdered or anything sordid. They merely grew old and passed on in the home they loved.

We loved it too. My son wouldn’t come onto the scene for 4 more years, but it was a good house to raise babies. I could feel it.

The house was a bit neglected. Not falling down but in need of paint and some modernization of its infrastructure. It still had its original heating system, converted from a coal burner to an oil furnace. Not very efficient and the radiators were huge, old and iron. Oil was cheap; we didn’t worry about it. We’d get to it eventually.


Initially we lived on the first floor since the bathroom was there. The upstairs had been an attic, but half had been turned into a big bedroom. We wanted to move up there. It was much bigger and had wonderful light, but we wanted to fix it up first. Before anything else, we wanted to paint. The entire house was painted pale salmon pink. It wasn’t ugly, but it wasn’t any color we’d have chosen. Worse, it was high gloss paint, like one would use in a kitchen or bath.

We painted the downstairs first. Every night, we heard our ghosts walking. You could hear the sound of heavy, loud footsteps upstairs, sharp, like the soles of hard leather shoes or boots. Everyone on the lower floor heard it. The walking started around eight in the evening, continued for a few minutes. Then the footsteps would pause and restart randomly until around midnight. The footsteps always stopped by midnight and never began before eight at night.

We called them “The Old Man” and “The Old Woman.” They wore different shoes. Her shoes had a sharp sound, like high heels on a hardwood floor. His were clunkier, like maybe work boots. Both of them had died in the house, so they were prime candidates for ghosthood, especially since no one else ever in the house we moved in.

At first, we also heard them on the steps, but after we painted the stairway, the footsteps retreated and we only heard them in the attic and bedroom. After we began painting the bedroom, we continued to hear them for a while in the attic and then, one day, they were gone, never to return.

Were they watching to see if we properly cared for and loved their home? I thought so. Were we all hallucinating? It was the 1960s, so anything is possible, but I think it was the couple who had lived there before us, watching to make sure we did right by the house. We did indeed. I guess they felt it was okay to depart.

Life is full of strangeness. Panicked might be too strong a word, but it was definitely weird. Meanwhile, if anyone has bumped into a long-legged beastie, please tell me about it. I’m dying to know.


  1. Your story is wonderful. I do have a ghost, or more than one ghost, living in our house. Our house was built in 1940’s, and the man of the house died carrying the door for the front closet upstairs from basement, he fell backwards with door, and died from head injury at that time. His wife remained alone for some time here, she was sick, and used oxygen with long tubing so she could get around downstairs, she no longer went upstairs to bedrooms or bath, and used the 1/2 bathroom downstairs, (now closed off, and full bath), off living room, and smallest bedroom, (now our office). She had a home care provider come in daily, and eventually she left her house to this nursing assistant. She and her husband then fixed it up and sold it, she told us these stories. Apparently the lady was smoking in bed, and the downstairs bedroom caught on fire, she died in the fire. The house is painted internally (behind the walls) with that silver paint you use after fire damage.
    I hear noises often, and don’t pay much attention, but my niece was over helping me, not long ago, de-clutter while John and I were out. She said she was standing at sink with her back to dining room door, making food for our dog, she said she felt a funny creepy feeling on the back of her neck, honest, and heard someone say in a loud voice, “You get out of here right now!” she turned around and saw our dog sitting on the rug by the dining room door, nobody else was home, she was spooked out, but tried not to think about it anymore, needless to say, she didn’t want to come back after that incident.


    • Ours didn’t SAY anything, but they were very noisy and not easily missed. I always wonder about it. We call them ghosts and maybe they are, but what they really are and what they mean? I don’t know and don’t even want to guess. This house is ghost free, which is just fine. Actually that one house was the only one that had “live in visitors.” Other old houses, everyone moved out alive leaving the house for us, no problem. Which is fine with me!


  2. Were you never tempted to go and introduce yourselves when the footsteps started? or did you? If so what happened?? I’m curious. Have lived in around 40 different houses and never heard or seen any of this. Closest i came was sharing a house with a buddy: one night he shook me up and said their was someone at the side of the house (was around 2 am) – he said he heard footsteps (we’d both been sleeping but it woke him). We ran outside looked and found no-one anywhere, not even in the street.


    Liked by 1 person

  3. I was there. Marilyn is telling the truth. We all heard them. They became regulars at our parties. And we had lots or parties. They went away when they painted the attic. I sort of miss them. The night my dog George died many many years ago my brother and sister in law heard odd sounds coming from upstairs. My six year old niece looked up the stairs and said “Hi George”. True story.


    • We don’t BELIEVE in any of this … but you can’t not believe stuff that really happened. So you … well … sort of run with it. By the way, bought Civilization VI. I need some serious distraction.


      • I prefer to take a cautious position on whether or not to believe in ghosts. We know so little about so much that even science is proving the existence of stuff we never thought possible, on a daily basis. Black holes, Worm holes, Dark matter, anti-matter etc. All that in a space outside the earth, so what,s to say there are things right here on the mother ship, Biosphere 1, that are yet to be discovered. Maybe we do morph to a pure energy form upon death.., and somehow some of us have difficulty giving up our things. BOO!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I have lived in a lot of old houses and even a castle at one point but never heard any strange noises other than the occasional creaking of the floors. I just put that down to settling and noises that houses make.


  5. I don’t believe in ghosts, but I don’t discount them either. There’s a lot of stuff out there that we can’t explain.

    My mother in her last years at home told me once that every now and then she would hear someone in the big bedroom down the hall, used to be my room when I lived at home. She said. “you know how sometimes you wake up and KNOW there’s someone else in the house? Well I woke up the other night and KNEW there was someone in the big bedroom.” She was also totally deaf without her hearing aids. I asked her who she thought it might be and she said, “all I can think of is Uncle Al (her brother), after all , it was his bed…”
    “Did you ask?”
    she laughed. “no, I was afraid he’d answer.” (he’d been dead for 30 years)

    I”ve always wondered, and I strongly suspect it was her strange neighbor, snooping about. Mother never locked her door (long story there) into the main house, and figured no one could get in.

    Im hoping Im wrong, and it was Uncle Al, sleeping in his own bed again.

    Liked by 2 people

    • There’s a lot of things we can’t explain. As I’ve gotten older, it’s gotten easier to stop trying to explain them. I can’t say why we had our ghosts, but we sure had SOMETHING. And then, they went away. Maybe we’ll understand more someday.


  6. My house in San Diego was definitely haunted as was my house in Descanso. This one? It doesn’t seem to be. I think it was a rental for such a long time that its spirits decided to let go. I’m OK with it either way. 🙂


      • When some close friends died, they visited me. I didn’t expect that or believe in it and I still don’t, but there they were. All the weird stuff with my novels, I don’t believe that, either, but there it is. I’m pretty down with Hamlet’s take on it, “there are more things in Heaven and Hell…etc.” I still catch sight of Lily rounding the corner to the kitchen and I suspect Dusty does, too. I think we all probably live in a world with more layers (dimensions?) than we begin to perceive. Meanwhile, I’m actually very logical and fact driven. Crazy…

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree, Marilyn. I’ve witnessed my share as has my family and several friends. No explaining the unexplainable. But there it is, and there it was too numerous to count (occasions that is)


  8. I don’t really do ghosts. There would have been enough of them in Bethnal Green in London, but the only ghosts I heard pattering in my bedroom were the mice behind the walled in fire place. I coudn’t even tell mum as she was terrified of mice. But a colleague of mine once stayed in a holiday place with her husband and kids until someone screamed every night, and what a scream. She left after two nights, they went home. The owner of the property ask why they left so soon, but she did not tell him. This is what she said, and she was not the type to invent stories – I don’t know, but I still don’t believe in them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t believe in ghosts, but it happened anyway. Everyone who knew us when we lived there heard them too. So it is what it is. That’s the thing about stuff like this. It just is and there’s no explaining it.


  9. Many many people have had experiences with ghosts. They are often Souls that are stuck here for one reason or another. Some are in distress and can be a problem – but most are harmless. A lot of them don’t even know they have passed – but can be helped over. Some people specialize in that. Why stick around here? I’ve moved around a lot and lived in plenty of old places, but I know how to ‘Clear’ the place of any unwanted entities or vibes from previous occupants. I like to be able to sleep.

    Liked by 3 people

      • Funny I don’t remember hearing footsteps in the “Bedford” house, but I do remember Jeffrey mentioning them.

        Gino was the guy who owned the house I now live in. I knew him as he was a musician, an oboist with several symphonies and ensembles around the country and Europe. He purchased this house when he and his wife separated.., then he died of cancer 10 years later. According to the neighbors, and his wife, he had plans for this dwelling, a 1950s block house, but he was never able to carry them out. I bought the place in slightly run down condition but could see the potential in it.., and it was just what I needed to get out of my then home, and into a less expensive place with no “HOA.” I carried two mortgages for a little while giving me time to fix the place up. I drained my savings doing so but made a bunch back selling my previous house.

        Once I moved in I would hear noises in the house at different times. Surprisingly I was not apprehensive as I determined it was Gino inspecting the work I’d done to his place. Yeah, I still considered it his for a short while. I figured I needed him to be satisfied that the house was receiving the love he would have given. I’m sure he also appreciated that there was music played all over the house. Gradually, after the last bits of improvements the noises stopped and he, I believe, gave me permission to own it. Thanks Gino, I promise to take care of it as best I know how.

        Liked by 1 person

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