Welcome to Spookytown! A weekly blog post about, you guessed it… all things spooky. Ghost stories, books, hauntings, movies, music, history and so much more!
Ghosts have always been part of my life and have definitely been present in much of my childhood. I was fortunate to grow up with many storytellers, whether they be tall-tales or stories of the beyond. One of my favourites was my Great-Grandpa Bill who was always willing and ready with a tale.
Great-Grandpa Bill came to live with us after a devastating fire burned the farm house he had built with his own hands, many, many years ago, to the ground. Not only did he inspire me to write my own ghost stories, he was my best friend. I was an odd, incredibly shy kid, who preferred the company of the old farmer with the green Volkswagon Beetle. His eventual passing would effect me on many levels, including strengthening my belief in spirts.
My transition into the house on top of the hill, started out rocky. Not only was I not aware that we were moving, imagine the shock of returning to the home I had grew up in, until that point, to discover it empty except for the broom, mop and pail leaning against the kitchen counter. I walked through the house yelling for my mother, with the sounds of my voice echoing off of the walls. Thankfully, our landlord, who lived in the basement and heard my desperate calls. When he found me standing in the middle of the living room, he asked me why I was there. I told him I’d come home from school. As he wiped my tears he explained that we had moved to another house. He drove me to my new home, while I still tried to process it all. Though I’m sure my mother had told me we were moving, and likely several times, being a kid and all, I somehow forgot.
When I finally crossed the threshold to the red brick Victorian, I immediately felt that there was something strange about that house. From that very first day, I always felt like something was watching me. Especially, when I was in the living room or the basement. Years later, I would discover that I wasn’t the only one who did.
The house on top of the hill had some history before we moved into it. One of the most fascinating stories, was the fact that famous bank robber Edward Alonso Boyd’s parents lived in our house for a few years after Glover Boyd retired. (my parents hoped some of the missing money would show up as they renovated the house — it never did) Being a Victorian built home and located in a small town, I’m certain some must have also passed away within it’s walls. It wouldn’t be until a few years later when I saw my first ghost.
As I mentioned earlier, when my Great-Grandpa Bill passed away, I was devastated. It took me a long time to process his loss. A few months after his passing my parents had finally found the strength to clean out his bedroom, as his death was equally as hard for my Mom. She was also very close to him. Once they had completed his room, they decided that they needed to move one of their children into that room. Being the eldest of four children and the fact that it was my Great-Grandpa Bill’s room, I insisted that I move into that room. I also really loved that it was on the main floor, off of the kitchen and away from everyone else. It didn’t hurt that it had its own washroom and walk in closet. Being in that room, also helped me process my Great-Grandfather’s passing.
I know some of you may already be making predictions about what should happen next. I may or may not disappoint you. It was a few years after my Great-Grandfather passed away before I saw my first actual ghost.
I was awoken in the middle of the night when I felt a person standing beside my bed. I was on my side, facing away from it. The presence was so strong that I rolled over to see who it was. Standing beside my bed was a very tall man, however, I could only see their plaid flannel, long-sleeved shirt. This didn’t frighten me. For what ever reason, I didn’t feel any threat from that person as I knew it was my Great-Grandpa Bill.
That morning when I made may way to the table for breakfast I saw that both my father and uncle where incredibly hungover (That evening my Uncle Danny stayed over. He and my Dad had been drinking and they didn’t want him driving home.) That happens when you drink into the early hours of a hot summer eve. Before I sat down I asked my Dad if he had come into my room the evening before to use my washroom. I wanted to eliminate this as a possibility. My mother piped up that it was unlikely that my father or my uncle could have, as they were both passed out all night long. This confirmed that I had seen a ghost. I told them about the man in the plaid shirt and they both laughed at me, saying I was seeing things. It was upsetting that no one believed me. I refused to talk about it after that.
Fast forward several years. By this point of the story, I have moved to Toronto.
One of my nephew’s also had an experience in the house I grew up in and once again, this happened during the summer. My nephew was a toddler at this point.
One afternoon my sister was visiting my parents with her young boys. Her youngest at the time, my nephew, was quietly playing in the basement. Suddenly, he started screaming and my Dad ran to the basement to see what was wrong. My nephew was in hysterics and kept yelling over and over that there was a man in the basement. Holding my nephew, my father checked the back door to the basement and it was locked. Occasionally, that door would be open, as it was also an exit to the back yard. After thoroughly checking the basement my father determined that no one was there. He carried my nephew upstairs and around the rooms trying to calm him down. As he walked around the living room, my nephew began screaming again as he pointed at a picture (see below) and kept repeating “That’s the man! That’s the man.” There was no way that my nephew would have seen that photo on his own, as it was really high up on the wall.
Many years after I was laughed at for saying I saw Great-Grandpa Bill, I was given an apology. To this day, no one in our family is laughed at when they tell a ghost story.
I also recalled my youngest brother talking about some strange occurrences in the house. He talked about seeing reflections in windows that were not him, and the door on our mother’s buffet cabinet slowly open on its own a few different times. I’m sure there were other incidents with my other siblings, but those will be for another time.
If anyone ever tells you a ghost story, please don’t laugh at them. I know that over time some stories can be embellished, but there is a reason that story began.