We have a running joke in my family: Our women can attract any man they want…as long as he’s a weasel or creeper. In my mom’s case, he doesn’t even have to be alive.
When I told my mom I was posting ghost stories all month, she was interested. Why wouldn’t she be? She is a witch, after all, and she has seen a spirit or two (well, ok, a lot) in her day. I told her that I was short a scary tale so she gave me one I’d never heard before. It goes like this:
The yellow brick ranch-style house where my grandfather saw the ghost of a miner was quite haunted, it would seem. ZZ knew it, my aunt knew it, and my mother knew it. They all ran into spirits of one type or another during their years there. It was an evil spirit, though, that haunted my mom.
Mom is certainly not afraid of ghosts but she is aware of them and they do follow her around, bugging her, giving her icky feelings, creeping her out because that’s the type of energy she attracts. Similarly, questionable men have always been interested in her; same principle, just one set of jerks is alive and the other, dead. (I just called my dad, Jim, icky. Sorry about that! You’re totally not! Well, not anymore, at least)
My grandparents left the yellow rancher for something smaller and more manageable, handing the house over to my growing family. Noelle had just been born and our little cabin on Yampa Street was too small to accommodate everyone. I was thrilled to move into ZZ & Poppop’s house; I loved that place. My mom, though, not so much. The malevolent spirit she’d felt when we’d lived there earlier was still there, still mad, still giving off bad vibes. And you know what really got it riled up? Noelle. After Noelle came along, my mom experienced more harassment from that malicious entity than ever before. I’m going to call it The Menace. You know, like The Phantom Menace, only far scarier.
When Noelle was brand new to this world, ZZ & Poppop came to stay, to help out with the new baby, I assume. One afternoon, Mom was in her room folding laundry while tiny Noelle napped in her bassinet. Dad and Poppop were in the living room, watching a game, Chris and I were probably outside, and ZZ was downstairs in the guest room. Mom felt someone watching her and assumed it was a family member come to check on her but when she looked at the doorway, it was empty. She went back to folding but she knew someone was there, someone who was angry, someone who started breathing heavily. Her discomfort grew and became sharp, panicky, and then she heard a voice, a deep, growling voice, a voice completely unfamiliar and terrifying. She didn’t understand what it was saying nor did she wait to find out; instead, she ran from the room, horror-stricken, through the living room and down the stairs to her own mother. ZZ knew something was wrong immediately and when Mom told her what had happened, ZZ yelled, “YOU LEFT THE BABY ALONE WITH IT?” Both women raced back upstairs, full-tilt, expecting the worst. When they ran into the room, Noelle was sleeping soundly and The Menace, hovering in the room, winked out.
It didn’t go away, though.
There was no shower in the upstairs bathroom, only a tub. There was, however, a 3/4 bathroom in the basement so when someone wanted to shower, they went down there. Unfortunately, that bathroom was made of concrete, mold, and spiders. It was dark, dank, and creepy; even I hated it and I am rarely afraid of a room (unless it’s poorly decorated).
So Mom went to the basement bathroom to have a quick shower one evening. Spiders skittered across the cement floor and a draft wafted through the already-cold room. She felt…something. Someone. Someone was in the bathroom with her, rustling around, making noise. She figured it was Dad though when she called out, no one answered. But someone was there. She showered faster, wanting to get back upstairs, back up to the light and warmth, back to her family. The room slowly filled with condensation, water slid down the walls, the smell of mildew rose from behind warped wood paneling, and something was standing just beyond the shower curtain, getting more and more angry. Mom was rinsing her hair when the shower curtain came rushing in at her face, as if it had been violently punched. She jumped, scared, and flung aside the curtain.
The bathroom was empty.
She turned off the water, grabbed her towel and ran upstairs. When she found my dad on the couch, she yelled at him, “Why did you DO that?” and he looked from the TV to her. “DO what?” He wasn’t winded like someone who had just dashed up the stairs would have been. He’d obviously been sitting there for awhile. And all the kids were already in bed. There was no one else in the house. No one but The Menace.