Apart from strange beams of light, cold spots, clicking light fixtures, and a freakishly smiling doppelganger of my stepbrother, life in the Ellis Street house was boringly normal. Still, visits to my dad in North Carolina were a welcome respite to the strange goings-on in Georgia, where there was always an undercurrent of tension.
One such visit to my male parental unit showed that the supernatural isn’t always so devoted to location, location, location. No, whatever it was that haunted Ellis Street wasn’t that loyal to a piece of real estate. It liked me. Or at least, it liked hanging around me, giving me the willies. Which begs the question, was it ever the house on Ellis Street that was haunted, or was I?
It was the summer visit of my thirteenth year. Vacations with my dad were fun. We went fishing a lot, and I would check in with old friends from my former school. There was a handsome dark-haired Marine who lived next door for me to have a crush on. And he had a handsome blond friend, also a Marine … double crush. They would even consent to talk to me once in awhile.
I was enjoying myself enough to even pretend I didn’t hear the sound of a pull-chain light fixture every now and then. There were no such lights in my father’s house to make such a sound. When that distinctive click rang through the room (and I was always alone when it did), I kept on doing whatever it was that I was doing. I refused to acknowledge anything strange was going on. Didn’t hear that. Nope. Left that weirdness back in Georgia.
But it would not be ignored.
I had just gone to bed one night. I was settling in, my closed eyes beginning to trade the darkness of the room for the darkness of sleep. I was on my side facing away from the wall the twin bed was up against, leaving a little room behind me.
Something got in bed with me. I felt the mattress behind and beneath me depress with the weight of a body. I was wide awake all at once as it settled there. It was close enough that I should have felt the press of another right up against me. But nothing touched me. It was just the sensation of the mattress, sunken enough that I felt I should roll into the hollow that had been created.
I kept my eyes closed. I pretended I had fallen asleep. And I waited for something else to happen with my heart galloping fit to burst out of my chest.
Nothing did. Gradually the mattress returned to normal until there was no hint of anyone lying next to me. I finally went to sleep in the wee hours of the morning.
I never felt anything crawl into bed with me again … well, nothing paranormal anyway. And nothing remotely as frightening as that has happened since. But through the years, no matter where I went, I got hints I was still being followed. Every time I would move -- and I moved often throughout my twenties and thirties -- I would get a reprieve that lasted about six weeks. It was as if when my address changed, my unseen companion would get lost and have to search for me. Or maybe it was just settling into the new digs itself. But sooner or later, I’d hear that pull-chain light fixture. And there would be movement I’d see from the corner of my eye. Cold spots. An occasional object moved from its regular place or fallen from its sturdy perch.
For a long time, I was still scared silly of the unseen, and I wanted it away from me. I researched and found old folk remedies against hauntings. The most effective defense seemed to be a clove of garlic and a pinch of salt in each corner of every room. The moment my tagalong announced its presence in a new apartment or home, I would place these objects in their places. The activity would cease until six weeks after I moved again.
When my husband and I spent three years living in an RV, I didn’t perform my little ritual. Maybe my ghostly companion didn’t like the cramped living quarters, because it never showed up. Ditto for the apartment that followed and the house we now own. Maybe it got the message I didn’t want it around. Maybe it found someone better to scare. Perhaps I willed away whatever it was that allowed me to see, hear, and feel the other side. Whatever the reason, it seems I am no longer haunted. This is funny, because I’ve gotten over my fears and would welcome the opportunity to go ghost hunting, to converse with something supernatural. Doesn’t that just figure?