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

I’ve never met a ghoul and I have questions about long-legged beasties, but I can speak from personal experience about Things That Go Bump in the Night.

Ghosts have been part of human mythology as long as tales have been told around campfires. Maybe before campfires. I don’t know if any religion excludes the possibility of ghosts and many have a strong link to them. There seems to be an overall, yet non-specific agreement that ghosts and wraiths are spirits of the dead who linger on Earth after they’ve slipped their otherwise mortal coil. Some are malevolent, others benevolent or merely curious. Ghosts vary by mythology, religion, era, and ethnic origin.

I cannot claim to have seen a ghost, but I lived in a house where everyone could hear ghosts. In 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 a degree.

The ambiance of the house from the moment we walked into it was 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 died in it. 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 in which to raise babies.

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 head 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.

Roof on an old mill

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 had lived in the house since they died. Until us. 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 watching to make sure we did right by the house. We did and I guess they felt it was okay to depart. If anyone has bumped into a long-legged beastie, please tell me. I’m still waiting to meet one and I’m all ears.

Categories: Humor, Life, Magic, Supernatural

Tags: , , , , , , ,

11 replies

  1. I have a friend of 30 years who once lived in a haunted house. She wasn’t given to drama or the like, so when she explained the goings-on, it was believable and true. Every night at exactly 8 or maybe it was 9, they’d hear footsteps coming from the back door, down the hallway to the bathroom and the tap would mysteriously turn itself on, they’d hear washing up and the tap would eventually go off again. On one occasion, they dared to go look as this was a nightly occurrence. The water was running and it was hot water. When they tried to turn it off, it wouldn’t turn off, and when the allotted time was up, it did. They eventually had to move as the mysterious thumping continued and they couldn’t get any sleep.


  2. Sounds like the house I’m in now. I don’t think anyone ever actually died there, but the last owner (the elderly daughter of the original owners) had fallen, hit her head, and lay there until discovered – at which point she was transferred to a nursing home where she subsequently died. I think she probably was close to death while lying on the bedroom floor in the house because when we first moved in, I could definitely feel her presence. I swear sometimes I could see movement out of the corner of my eye. I felt like someone was constantly watching, and maybe judging, me. Then there were those strange noises which both my husband and I heard but couldn’t identify. All that stopped one evening when I stood in the bedroom and shouted, “This is MY house now. You can just leave.” Haven’t seen or heard anything since. I suppose reasonable people would say it was just my own mind playing tricks and eventually coming to grips with what had been a traumatic move. But who knows for sure?


  3. I never actually saw a ghost, but I FELT her, and my mother claimed to have seen her. She was my father’s cousin (I get confused how these ancestral ties work)..the daughter of his uncle. She died from typhoid or diphtheria or whooping cough, one of those diseases foolish people these days think are extinct. She lingered for a time when she got really ill, and her bedroom was on the first floor of my great-uncle’s house. It looked west, out over the Blue Mountains in Blanding, Utah.

    It was shared (oral history) that she loved the view and so, when she passed away, she stayed. The room was made into a nursery for the couple I stayed with when I was a senior in high school. The child (he wasn’t an infant any longer when I knew him – 16 to 18 months of age), had his cot in that room. It was always, inevitably cold in there. Space heaters didn’t help and the parents chalked it up to the very old house (built in the 1800s) and a ‘draft’. But the family dog wouldn’t go in there and the child hated going to bed. Sometimes you’d hear him talking. We all thought it was baby talk – babble to comfort himself because he’d cried or thrown a tantrum at being put to bed.

    Later my mother rented the house (the family I stayed with moved away), and she turned it into a writing den for herself. One night she saw a light on and thinking her teenaged sons (my brothers) had left a light burning, she went down to turn it off for economy’s sake. As she neared the writing room, she saw the light was an odd green color. When she got downstairs, she saw a young girl in the midst of a greenish haze/mist. She said she had the feeling of immense peace and welcome. I don’t know if Ma actually saw the ghost or not, but I know how cold that room was and how much our dogs and my host family’s dog hated that room and wouldn’t enter it voluntarily. My mother did like telling a good story – ghost or otherwise – too, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We truly know nothing about ghosts except that SO many people have had experiences with them. Many many people — too many to exclude the idea. I know what I heard and for that matter, what EVERYONE heard. It wasn’t just me and my husband. It was everyone who was in the house when the walking began. So if you ask me what I believe, all i can say is “I don’t know.” If there are ghosts … why?


  4. Funny how the footsteps stopped when you fixed up one part of the house. They must have been pleased with what you did.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That winter photo is marvelous and so is your story…



  1. Bumping ‘in the night’ | sparksfromacombustiblemind

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