Monday, September 17, 2012

The Poltergeist In Our Old Farm House

Years ago, my son moved into the big white Victorian house on our other farm. We have two farms quite near each other in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, and both homes are well over one hundred years old. Some of his guy friends moved in and everything was fine, then he and his fiancée (now wife) began remodeling the house. At first, no one thought much about the noises. Neither of them mentioned a thing to me. Then one night my son called, alone and uneasy. He was hunkered downstairs with the cat. His opening question was, had I said cats ward off ghosts?

No, I'd said they have a heightened awareness of them.

Oh. He informed me about the footsteps he couldn’t account for and an upstairs bedroom with a door that wouldn’t stay shut. No matter how many times he closed it, come morning it was always open. Earlier that week, his fiancé had been distressed when the bathroom doorknob turned and the door opened on her. No one was there. It freaked the cat out. Didn’t do her much good either. She was promptly converted from a disbeliever in ghosts to one strongly considering their reality.
Now, she’d gone away on a trip with her church and none of my son’s other friends were around. The last of his roomies had moved out. I suspected all the remodeling they’d done to the house had stirred something up. So, I went over.
Here, I’ll digress to say I’d dreamed earlier of a small grave plot way back in the fields behind the house and of a restless spirit associated with both. As it turned out there is just such a cemetery, an antiquated one. After I arrived that evening, my son and I went upstairs to the suspect bedroom and shut the door. I wanted to scream, and not just because I’m claustrophobic.
We held hands and I repeated the Exorcism prayer sent to my mother from an Episcopalian woman in England. She’d written my mother about visiting her church manse at the invitation of the new priest who was plagued by a poltergeist–one so violent, it had flung portraits down from the hall and hurled a saucepan lid across the kitchen. But the congregants, along with the priest, had prayed it out. As this was a Christian prayer, my son and I did the same. Never again did he or his fiancé hear footsteps or have any more trouble with doorknobs turning. That bedroom door remained as they left it and the chill feeling I had in the room dissipated.
Now, what do you think of that?
Here’s the Anglican prayer. Do not try this alone if the presence you sense is evil, only with a strong group of Christians, the more, the better. And join hands. Even if you think I’m nuts.

“In the name of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, may this distressed soul be relieved of his obsession with this world and sent to where he belongs.”
I added, ‘go to the light,’ although a truly evil presence won’t, but a troubled, restless one may. Seems only right to offer that as an option.
This is one of the experiences that influenced the writing of my ghostly time travel romance novel Somewhere My Love.