GHOULIES AND GHOSTIES AND LONG-LEGGED BEASTIES

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.

Bedford Ave marilyn owen
The house on Bedford Avenue

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 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.

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 ever lived in the house 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.

GHOSTS OF THE SUPERSTITIONS – GARRY ARMSTRONG

We set out early from Phoenix, heading due east for the Superstition Mountains. We hoped to find the Lost Dutchman’s Mine, see if we could discover the secrets behind the legend.

72-MAR-Superstition-011316_099

I’d seen movies about the legendary mine and the souls lost by their lust for gold.

72-MAR-Superstition-011316_088

It was a good day for our trip. Sunny and mild. The air was fresh, crisp, clean. For a moment, I thought I smelled honeysuckle on the breeze.

72-Sign to Dutchman-GAR-Superstition-011316_009

72-Lost-Dutchman-MonumentGAR-Superstition-011316_028

Along the way, the spans of cactus covered desert shadowed by mountains were constant but not deadly companions. They seemed more like nature’s patrol, riding point and drag, to make sure we wouldn’t lose our way. A pilgrim’s awe of God’s country can sometimes lead to disaster.

72-Garry-by-MAR-Superstition-011316_038

We made a stop in Tonto National Park. That’s right, Kemo Sabe. Things have changed. Guess the Great White Father in Washington knows change is blowin’ in the wind.

72-MAR-Superstition-011316_277

No sign of Tonto, the Masked Man, Dan Reed, Silver, Scout, or Victor. Maybe there were off chasing the Cavendish Gang again. Those guys never seem to really die.

72-MAR-Superstition-011316_194

Tonto’s land was beautiful, a fitting legacy to the faithful companion who did most of the work but received little respect or credit. Then, we were back on the trail again, heading higher and higher with majestic mountains all around us.

72-Gabby Johnson-GAR-Superstition-011316_092

Growling bellies were a sign for a stop. Turned out to be part of the vast Lost Dutchman’s Mine country. A town for Pilgrims.

72-Apache-Land-MAR-Superstition-011316_054

72-Movie-Ranch-MAR-Superstition-011316_073

Midday, and the dudes were everywhere. Shops, stores and remnants of the past loomed all around us. Fool’s gold? I’m sure the ghosts of some miners were smiling at all this stuff.

72-Stagecoach-GAR-Superstition-011316_302

We pushed on to another picturesque stop as the road climbed higher and higher, seemingly to the sky.

72-Stagecoach-GAR-Superstition-011316_293

A stage-coach way station beckoned. Could have been one of Jim Hardie’s drivers who worked for Wells Fargo. He seemed impatient to get moving. His horses needed water and cooling down but had to wait with all those damn Pilgrims getting in the way again.

72-Marilyn on donkey-GAR-Superstition-011316_149

Our attention was diverted by a familiar face. His voice and speech pattern gave him away. Unmistakable. Pure frontier gibberish filled the air. Yes, it was Gabby Johnson!! Late of Rock Ridge, Gabby was plying his trade now at this way station.

Photo by Ben Taylor
Photo by Ben Taylor

Gabby was glad to see us. I think he was happy we didn’t mention anything about how he and Rock Ridge had initially treated their new sheriff. Past is past, we figured.

Photo by Ben Taylor
Photo by Ben Taylor

Marilyn and I took turns on Gabby’s Donkey. Photo op time for Pilgrims who secretly think they’re not really dudes.

Photo by Ben Taylor
Clementiny – Photo by Ben Taylor

Clementiny, Gabby’s younger pal, looked on with bemusement. Probably a dawning awareness of what the future held with more Pilgrims looking for their fifteen minutes of cowboy fame.

Photo by Ben Taylor
Photo by Ben Taylor

We were burning daylight as we pushed up the mountain road. Lunch still rested unsteadily with us. The chow had been good but our guts are not what they used to be.

72-At-Sunset-MAR-Superstition-011316_409

We found Superstition Mountain and the land surrounding the Lost Dutchman’s Mine. Nice scenery, certainly evocative of the movies of my youth. Nature provided a clean, pristine, multi-hued vista contrasted with the grainy black and white images of those old movies.

72-Goldfield-MAR-Superstition-011316_044

We sighed in the silent satisfaction you get from seeing those fabled images up close. In my sense memory, scenes from the movies played out in a seamless juxtaposition with all that our eyes now saw and recorded. If you love westerns, it doesn’t get any better than this!!

72-Apacheland-GAR-Superstition-011316_327

Daylight was draining as we rode back down the road, stopping here and there to savor the endless scenes of wonder.

72-Ben & Garry by MAR-Superstition-011316_144

One last sunset beckoned. We found our spot. Our host and old pal, Ben was off somewhere. I spied him lurking amid the tumbleweed and cactus. He had a strange look on his face. Too familiar and scary. Ben reminded me of Fred C. Dobbs in his last moments of sanity in the Sierra Madre mountains.

72-Saguaro-Sunset-MAR-Superstition-011316_305

Maybe we had spent too much time around the ghost of the Lost Dutchman.

72-Sunset-MAR-Superstition-011316_428

Maybe the sun had gotten to us. Maybe it figured to end this way, as sure as the turning of the earth.

GHOSTS | THE DAILY POST

THINGS THAT WENT BUMP IN OUR NIGHT

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. Long ago in a house far away, we had our own ghosts, or at least “night bumpers.”

Brick House HadleyI cannot claim to have seen a ghost, but I lived in a house where we could hear them. It was 1965 when we bought our tidy little brick house. It had been built in 1932. Most of the house was on the ground floor — kitchen, dining room, living room, two bedrooms and the bath. The upper floor had an unfinished attic and a big bedroom. It was a small house. Solid, a short walking distance from the college where my husband worked and where I was finishing my B.A.

The ambiance of the house from the moment we walked into it was cozy. Friendly. It welcomed everyone, made them feel at home. The house had been built by a couple who had lived there for more than 30 years. They had raised children their children and eventually died in that house.

They were not murdered or anything sordid. They merely grew old and passed on in the house they loved. We loved it too.

The house was a bit neglected. Not falling down, but in need of paint and some modernization. Cosmetic fixes. Paint. Floors needed refinishing. The boiler needed updating.

For the first few months, we lived on the ground floor, but we planned to move to the big upstairs bedroom. It was spacious and had windows full of light. We decided to fix it up, give it a coat of paint and redo the floors before settling upstairs.

Shortly after we moved in, our ghosts began to walk. It was startling the first time we heard it. Loud. Clear. Heavy footsteps, like the soles of hard leather shoes or boots. Plus the sharper noise of heels. It turned out everyone — anyone — could hear it. The noise started every night around eight and continued off and on until midnight.

We called the walkers “The Old Man” and “The Old Woman.” They wore different shoes. Her shoes had that sharp sound — high heels on hardwood. His shoes were clunkier, 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 until us.

Initially, we heard them upstairs and on the stairway. After we painted the stairs, the footsteps retreated to the upper floor. Once we began painting the bedroom, we heard them for a while longer, but only in the attic. Then, one day, our ghosts were gone. They never came back.

Were they watching to see if we cared for their home? Were we all hallucinating? Maybe the couple who had lived there were watching. Making sure we did right by their house.

I suppose we passed muster and they felt it was okay to leave.

Life is full of stuff that can’t be explained rationally and we didn’t try. But I’ll bet anyone who was in our house during the months our ghosts walked never doubted what they heard.


 

Trick or Trick

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: WATCH THE SKY … KEEP WATCHING THE SKIES!

A spectral watcher at the window. Seeing all, recording all. Is it one of “them,” those government agents who always have eyes on us? Wooohooo!

96-SkyWatcherHDR_089

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: EERIE – WATCHES AND WAITS

She who watches - 1

A spectral watcher at the window. Who is it? She does nothing, just watches and waits. But for what does she wait?

Watcher - 2

I had so much fun with this. I love doing this kind of messing around. It turns photography into a different art … not quite photography anymore, but something else. Artographs I call them and these are properly eerie, a watcher outside the window. Silent, waiting. Who is it and what does she want?