Let me take a quick poll here. When your child fears their room is haunted, how do you respond?
A. You believe the child and immediately call the priest?
B. You show them the movie Casper to illustrate the benefits of having a supernatural friend?
C. You believe them, but convince them it was the dog and then secretly try to cleanse the house of the supernatural.
I’m really hoping there are a lot of C’s out there. That will make me feel better about what I have to say next.
Not a believer in Emily Rose
First, I’m a pretty level-headed person – not prone to exaggeration (unless it makes for a funny blog post, of course), not superstitious, never visited a fortune teller and certainly doesn’t own an Ouija board. Try to keep that in mind while I tell you the story of why I’m pretty sure My Girl’s room is (or rather, was) haunted by a somewhat-friendly ghost.
Three years ago, The Husband and I moved into our current (and forever) home. To say I was hesitant to make this move would be a bit of an understatement, but now that we live here, I will never leave. And it’s not just because I love the house, but also because I love the literal white picket-fenced backyard, front yard leading to the lake, and the best neighbors in the world (including, but not limited to Monica, Chandler and clan).
After a few weeks in the house, I started to notice some strange things – mainly things were not where I left them. The most noticeable in the beginning were things in the guest bedroom. I chocked it up to gravity.
That bag must have fallen off the closet shelf. But how did it end up in the middle of the room? That’s strange…
Ok, maybe I’m a believer
Then came the day of My Girl’s school pictures. Like any okay mom, I bribed My Girl with a teeny tiny bit of make-up if she would move her slow butt while getting ready for the school day (read about our morning struggles here).
And like a truly okay wife, I left the house before My Girl was ready, leaving the make-up promise unfulfilled and The Husband to deal with it. (In my defense, My Girl did not move her slow butt fast enough to warrant the bribed reward.)
Fast forward to later that evening. My Girl had been picked up directly from school by my parents and was playing happily at their house; The Husband had been home for a few hours, relaxing; and I was just heading up the stairs to change clothes before dinner plans.
As I got to the staircase, I saw My Girl’s little bag of make-up and her plastic make-up kit sitting in the middle of the hallway. I called down to The Husband to see if there’s a reason why My Girl’s make-up was in the middle of the floor.
Sidebar: if you’ve read any of the posts where The Husband is even mentioned, you probably know his propensity to have everything organized just right. So I probably don’t need to explain why it is literally impossible that My Husband walked past My Girl’s make-up kit on the floor of the hallway without noticing it, picking it up, putting it away, and simultaneously throwing an internal tantrum about it. Seriously. The house could be burning with a fire of a thousand Chernobyls, raining embers down on his blonde head, and he would still be putting stray toys in their place on his way out the door.
“That wasn’t there earlier,” he said.
I believed him.
I nonchalantly shrugged it off, because, again, I’m not superstitious or prone to jump to the conclusion of ghosts in a situation like this, and also, because I know The Husband is basically terrified about the idea of the supernatural. He doesn’t like to even hear urban legends about haunted highways two hours away. Francesville Lights, anyone? No? Just this Midwestern girl?
Anyways. We didn’t speak of it, but The Husband and I knew the truth.
There was no way in hell My Girl got that make-up out without him noticing. Also, the box of make-up is the size of pencil box. I find it hard to believe that our 12-pound dog moved it AND the bag of make-up to the middle of the hallway where it had to be stepped around.
Did that stop me from insisting that the dog did it? Hell no.
The dog ate my homework and haunted my room
Not long after this strange event, we started having consistent problems. Sometimes it was after we had been gone for a day. Sometimes after only being out of the room for 15 minutes or so.
But we would come back into My Girl’s room or her toy room to discover toys in the middle of the floor. Most often it was Ziploc bags full of Lego sets. Sometimes it was boxes of crayons. This is a creative ghost. These are also the toys my little creative mind most often uses.
The bag or box containing the toys were shredded.
Like with claws — shredded.
I always blamed the dog. Poor, sweet Mr. Darcy. And maybe it was him. On sunny June afternoons, when away from the house and rethinking these events, I can almost convince myself that it was Mr. Darcy.
Except for these glaring facts.
- He has never in all the 14 years we have had him messed with our stuff, even My Girl’s stuff when lying out in the open or on the floor.
- He’s a mini Dachshund, weighing all of 12 pounds and standing about 1 foot high.
- The bags of Legos were all stored in plastic bins that stand over 1 foot high and were not disturbed from their resting place.
Ghost was not our first conclusion.
Ok. That was a lie. Ghost was 100 percent The Husband’s first conclusion. In the back of my mind, it was mine as well. But I was determined to take this route:
Deny. Deny. Deny.
I did this to stop from being terrified myself, but mainly I did this to keep The Husband from being terrified. Let’s be clear. It’s not because I’m this compassionate wife that hates the thought of her hubby worrying at night. I did it because I knew if we truly admitted we had a ghost problem, The Husband would have that house up on the market before you can say Love It or List It.
And while I didn’t particularly want to move to this house, I sure as hell didn’t want to move out of it. I only agreed to this move because The Husband promised it was our last move until retirement. For a little context, this house was the fourth house we had bought in our less than 10 years of marriage. It was also our seventh move.
So to him and to My Girl, I blamed the dog.
I’d do about anything to prevent having to rebox up the kitchen cabinets.
Privately, The Husband and I agreed that maybe it wasn’t poor Mr. Darcy’s fault. So I made him call an exterminator to exam the attic. There was a ninja raccoon living above My Girl’s rooms, sneaking in when it knew we were way, that oddly didn’t make a single sound ever, or make any odd odors, but liked crayons and Legos.
Yeah… The exterminator wasn’t convinced either. But he dutifully checked the attic, found nothing and recommended we start hanging crucifixes in the upstairs rooms.
Luckily, he didn’t bill us for that advice.
My Girl’s supernatural playmate
Then came the day I couldn’t deny it anymore.
My Girl came running down the stairs freaked out. When I asked what was wrong, she told me about her own paranormal experience.
She was playing with her My Little Pony figures when Rainbow Dash moved across the table by her own accord.
At least, that’s what My Girl said.
At any other time, in any other room, I would immediately, without a single doubt in my mind, chock this up to My Girl’s overactive imagination, or a breeze in the room, or the tremors of a 2.5 earthquake.
But with my knowledge of recent occurrences, my thought was: At least My Girl has someone to play with now.
Obviously, I didn’t say that to her. I just assured her that it was her overactive imagination. Or a breeze in the room. Or the tremors of a 2.5 earthquake.
At this point, though, I was convinced that there was a ghost in our upstairs, who really wanted to play with My Girl.
I couldn’t blame it. My Girl is pretty awesome. But I also had flashes of Regan MacNeil or those kiddos from Children of the Corn. Influences from another realm are not what My Girl needs. She has enough problems behaving on her own.
So Casper needed to go.
The Exorcism of the Somewhat-Friendly Ghost
I waited until a weekend I knew The Husband was going to be gone. I didn’t want to admit to him that we had a ghost living in My Girl’s toy room, and thus put the house back onto Zillow. So I continued to deny any such existence until he packed his overnight bag and drove to Ohio with his dad and brother.
But I couldn’t do this exorcism on my own – mainly because I couldn’t figure out how to get the screens out of the window frames, and I wanted to give the ghost easy exit points.
So I enlisted the help of my mom.
If you know my mom, you would realize how ridiculous that statement is. My mom won’t even watch any Marvel movies because they are too scary. That’s why I didn’t tell her what we were doing until after she took the screens off the windows.
I sent her downstairs with My Girl while I opened the Bible, turned on K-Love and spoke to the ghost: “You need to leave. I’m sorry, but there’s not enough room in this house for you and us, and I’m sure as shit not moving again.”
Ok, so it’s not quite what Father Karras would have done, but this was my first exorcism.
And the result?
Well, my mom and I left the house for dinner and a movie and came back with some trepidation three hours later.
Walking into the living room, I could see that my words had some effect.
All the books on my shelves were knocked off and in the middle of the living room floor.
Damn. That ghost knew how to cut me to the bone. Don’t mess with my books.
After a weekend where I was terrified to stay in my own new home, but I refused to be ran out of it, I came to a realization.
Maybe sharing the new house with a ghost who sticks up for My Girl in arguments isn’t such a bad thing.
For the next few months, our invisible friend made minor mischief: opened a few Christmas presents, left the dirty dish towel in random spots around the house, made bedtime story suggestions by dropping specific books in the middle of the floor. But other than that, it didn’t try to play My Little Ponies with My Girl again. I don’t blame it. That TV show is brutal.
So it seems I came to an unspoken agreement with the ghost in My Girl’s room: I won’t mess with it if it doesn’t mess with her.