Monday, December 28, 2015

Ghosts in the (non-Grave)Yard


This morning, I was looking out the window in the kitchen and seeing the winter that El Nino has withheld from us for the past month or so. Not that I'm complaining about that, mind you. I don't mind that we've almost made it through December without needing to shovel, not at all. I didn't even mind that Christmas was not white this year. But today, we've got a winter storm going. Not tons of snow, no. This is nastier. This is freezing rain, sleet, slick streets, cold temperatures, and a wind that's gusting up strong enough to knock branches off our trees and pelt crystals of ice against the side of our house. Winter.

And I looked out over our yard, at the dormant leafless trees, the decaying skeletons of plants, the browning grass, and I wondered (being me) about ghosts. Which brought to mind a ghost story a good friend of mine once told me.

Like me, she once worked for her local paper. And like me, she did an annual ghost story feature around Halloween. She told me a story related to her by a homeowner in her town. Apparently, shortly after he purchased his house, he went out to mow the lawn, as any good homeowner does at the height of summer. And was pulled up short by a woman standing on the grass in his way. He looked around and noted that there were actually several people standing in different spots in his yard. They did not interact with him, they just stood there. I don't know if he decided to mow around her, or if he realized that he could actually mow through her, but the upshot of it was that he called his realtor. Who promptly informed him that his house had been built upon cemetery property.

Holy Poltergeist (the original)! Was this man's house built on Phase I? The place where they didn't move the graves, they only moved the headstones?

I realize as I type this out that I am missing details about the story that I would have loved. Did he decide to move immediately? Were the graves actually moved, and if so, why were all these people hanging about? How was it that he was able to see them when he mowed the lawn but didn't up until that point? 

Despite the lack of details that I have (or have retained), I like the story because it's so dang quirky and unsettling. I don't think I would enjoy looking out over my yard and seeing a bunch of silent staring strangers standing in various places on my property. And I am very grateful that when I looked out over my yard today, the only dead-looking things I saw were the trees and the plants.

So, winter or not, mowing the grass or not, I wonder if this man sees these dead people to this day? Or if he moved? And if there are new owners, do they see the same thing? Maybe this man was like my friend, Michael Penfield, and had the ability to see dead people. Whatever the case, I'm glad I live on old farmland and not an old cemetery.

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