Thursday, October 23, 2014


It's most likely that someone you know has told you that they've seen, a ghost, or knows of a house, graveyard, or other spots which are haunted. By haunted I mean the cold drafts where there should be none, weird smells, misty objects that move and then disappear (especially around stairways), and sounds that can't be explained, such as rapping on walls, thunks, or objects that move or fall off walls. Or, maybe you've had such experiences? Either in your own home, or in another? And it need not be as creepy as these places either...

I've dealt with a ghost in our 1906 farm house from time to time, although as of late (for the past several years), it's been very quiet. The original people who built the house homesteaded the area. Their last name was McGurr, and I'll come back to this in a moment.

If you go to your bookstore (if you still can find one), right now I'll bet you can find a dozen or more coffee table books on haunted places. If you go on a tour of older homes, you'll likely be told that it is haunted. I've been told many times by people who work in the older buildings at NIU, where I drive a bus. Libraries and basements seem to be the best chance to find a ghost. There's a multitude of famous dead people who are said to be haunting famous places. Like Anne Boleyn who they say haunts the Tower of London. Or Rose who walks a famous graveyard near Chicago.

And some who have an unusual amount of supernatural, or unexplained phenomena happening night after night open up their homes around this time of year and attract thousands of visitors every year for tours, and make a little loot off of their ghosts--and why not? The glowing mist floating around the room would really raise the hair on my arms, for sure!

It's believed that around this time of year, Halloween, or Samhain (pronounced sow-'n) is when the veil between our world and that of the dead is thinnest, and it would be relatively easy to communicate with the spirits of loved ones who have died during the previous year.
Some people hire a spirit medium in order to contact the dead person who may be haunting a house. There are also those who investigate hauntings. We have people who do that in our area. I'm sure that is an interesting side-line.

Now, I'm going to tell you about our ghost(s). We've had some nights where banging on walls and other phenomenon happened around this old house, especially when we first moved in. One night, we were sitting watching TV when a strange clattering sound came from down in the basement. It sounded to me like a large round piece of metal fell, and made that wobbly sound before it settles. We have a cistern, that isn't very deep and I thought it sounded exactly like a covering might sound if someone were to lift one end and just let it fall. But there was/is no such covering on it.

We've lived in the old McGurr house for 20 years now. In the beginning we had a LOT of weird sounds and happenings. The usual was rapping on walls at night. Once I swear while in bed the sound of what might have been a shoe dropping maybe three feet on the other side of the bed had me holding my breath for a minute, waiting to hear anything else. My husband claimed to be asleep at the time. There were the steer horns that were above the threshold that fell, missing my husband by only a few feet, and a glass that--by his description--shot out of the cupboard and shattered when he opened the cupboard.

But the weirdest thing that happened was the day before we were to host the descendants of the McGurrs on a walk through the house as part of a family gathering (they requested it through the park district superintendent, and since we live here as park managers, we complied). This meant we had to clean the house, top to bottom. There are three floors--if you include the roomy attic. We were nearly finished, and left the one room that had a bad bug problem for last. the floor was littered with dead flies and so forth (bad seal around a window), and one of us had to go up and sweep the bugs up. My husband went up to do this, while I was busy doing something else at the base of the stairs.

 About a minute later my husband calls down to me "Did you sweep up the bugs up here?" he asked from the top of the stairs.

"No," I said.

"Well... who did? There isn't a bug anywhere," he said.

I ran upstairs, thinking he was joking. I got to the room and he was right. There wasn't a bug to be found anywhere. And unless one of us did this during an episode of sleepwalking (we aren't sleepwalkers), there is no explanation other than the ghost we came to call "Old Mrs. McGurr", who we had heard a number of little stories about, had come up and cleaned this room, knowing her off-spring were coming to visit. Weird. Right?

Well, the next day the grandchildren of the McGurrs--all grown with their own grand kids--came out for the tour, each of them had a memory about some part of the house. It was a nice visit. When the tour was over, I took a couple of the ladies aside, because they were talking about ghosts, and told them what had happened the day before. They looked at one another, and then one of them said, "That was the old mother." In other words, Mrs. McGurr, who slept in a small room, downstairs, which had become a bathroom.

Do you have any stories of hauntings, or ghosts?

Grumpy Has the Floor

This is a picture blog today. I go back to work next Tuesday, and the Grumpster just helps me get through it. Let's see how he reac...