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The Dirty White Dress


As a child it is expected of us to draw pictures of everything we see. For example most children draw their families, pets, friends, cars, flowers. My favorites were rainbows, mermaids, and suns. The last time you read of my life I told you of when I was three years old and living in a funeral home in Cleveland Ohio. We haven't jumped too far ahead. My next story takes place in a small town named Madison Ohio. Just east of Cleveland and many miles away from the gentle eyes that had still managed to frighten me so much. In this story I am six years old, and still getting used to a new home.

My mother and father, now married, were ecstatic to finally have a home of their own. Desperate to create a better life for my sister and I than what they had, had consumed them for several months. They asked any question a home owner should know the answer to. How is the neighborhood? And the schools? When was the roof last checked? Plumbing, walls, and carpeting all as it should be. However, still they were fairly young. Questions may have been asked but no one said the answers were the truth. If not even stretched in the least bit.

The small three bedroom, one kitchen, one bath home sat narrow and thin much like a trailer on Claymoore Street. The first few nights in the house were as expected. Pandemonium and cluttered. It wasn't until we were all unpacked and settled that things began to seem...unordinary. At the end of the long hallway a single step separated mine and my sisters rooms from the rest of the house. The light brown carpet cut off and gained an opening to a sea weed like green carpet in my room, and a dark blood red in my sisters. Though we always meant to change it we just never did. The fabric was not placed well and curled at the entrance to the rooms. Often causing us to trip.

Many nights passed of me sitting quietly on the highest mattress of my bunk bed. Still I wanted nothing to do with the floor even as a small blue and purple dinosaur night light illuminated every corner of the room. I would listen to my parent's talk of their days and eventually, peeking from my barely shut eyes I would sadly watch as the two parted ways and went to sleep. Then, the house grew silent. One night as I tossed my blankets from my body in the unnatural heat of fall in northeast Ohio a small sound caught my attention, my closet door. Finally a reason to keep awake in the late hours. And so I did for many nights.

Then one day my mother sat in the living room watching a re-run of ER and I sat below her, construction paper and crayons in hand. The top outline of a girl nearly finished seemed to be my project for the day. A commercial came on and my mother smiled down at me. "Another mermaid?" she asked. I shook my head no.

"The girl" I replied and kept drawing. Thinking nothing of it at first she went on to get herself a drink and wait for the show to come back. My crayons fast at work I drew all through the hour and by the time the show had ended my mother had noticed that my picture was close to finish but this time it was not something she had seen before. My small hand shook the paper and handed it to my mother with a proud smile on my face.

"Who is this?" she asked such hesitance in her voice that as a child I would have never realized the problem.

"The girl in the closet...she's my friend" and she was. The woman I had drawn had long beautiful dark hair and pale skin. Her eyes sunk in deep and dark as well. And now, as I recall back most everything about her was. Her hair, her eyes, her lips, and the dark dirty splotches on her white flowing dress. This woman in my closet, she would stay there until the night time and then she would come to play. She asked me many questions. My name, my favorite color, or animal. We would play games until I as too tired to keep my eyes open.

My mother seemed thrown by this concept, taken back by the thought that her six year old daughter was playing with some one who did not exist. Had it not been my family then perhaps it would have been tossed aside as an imaginary friend. Had the girl I drew not looked so upsettingly horrifying then my mother would have further allowed her presence. But it was our family and the woman in my closet looked how she looked. That night when my father returned home from work the two of them came to my room and asked me many questions about her.

It wasn't until then that I realized this woman was not simply my friend. Had she been then why did my parents seem so scared. I sat on my bed in-between my mother and father and told them everything. On the first night the woman asked me about myself. On the second she played with me. On the third day I asked her things. And on the fourth day my mother realized what was happening.

"She likes to tell me things" I said as I played with my stuffed Simba. "Like my room, and Erica's room used to be a garage and that's why we have a step there" that was why, and it was told to my parents prior to the move. So my parents did some deeper research on the questions they thought they knew the answers to. They never asked if anyone had ever died in the house. Documents on our house were not easily obtained. Where I came from doing that type of research cost money but what we did have was the neighborhood who seemed to know plenty. All telling the same stories.

The house was built in the late fifties, for a young couple. But families grow and the money was not. It would have cost more to add onto the house than it would have to sell it. So with in a few years of the house sitting empty a new owner came along. He and his wife decided to get rid of the garage on the end and build bedrooms. One for their daughter and one for themselves.

Tragedy struck the family years later when they're daughter got in a car accident on her prom night. When the family heard of their daughter's death all they were given of her was her dress. White, dirty, and blood covered. The neighborhood stories say that that night the mother took her own life by hanging herself in the closet of her daughter's room, wearing her daughter's dress. Again, this is all hear say, not fiction just unclear of what really happened. All I know is this woman lost her daughter so spent all her time playing with me. Hung herself in the closet, and stayed there until I was alone.

That next day after I played with her for the very last time, the church came to my home and chased her out. I remember the priest holding his hand up in the air and yelling "She's here!" and "I can feel her" they ran from room to room saying that she was running, saying that she was an evil presence. She wasn't. If someone chased me I would run too. If I missed my daughter I would find a way to see someone who reminded me of her, she wasn't evil just lonely. I never saw her again after that night. And still do not know if the story of the prom girl and hanging mother is true or a demon who tried taking advantage of a naive little girl.

What I do know is she was not alive, but I saw her. As clear as though she was my mother, or father, or you standing right in front of me. And I heard her. And I played with her. And I drew her... For years to come.

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, Tempe_Toxic, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

taz890 (12 stories) (1380 posts)
13 years ago (2011-10-28)
wow tempe_toxic 34 stories!
Something to look forward to then 😊
Tempe_Toxic (10 stories) (35 posts)
13 years ago (2011-10-28)
Hey guys,
I've gone through all of my stories, I have picked at least a good 34 that I will share with you. Once I hit my teens the stories become closer and closer together. That is until I hit 19. Those will be the ghost stories that happened this year and in the present. They will still be in order. I am informing you of this to make a few things clear 😁 Now these are a lot of my stories but not all of them. I picked the ones that stuck out to me most. Since as I got older more and more things started happening to me, since my gift seemed to get stronger I swear to tell you each story as it happens to me once I catch up to the present day. Thank you so much for reading. It sounds silly I know but it really means a lot to me, just to get my story out there.

-Tempe ❤
Tempe_Toxic (10 stories) (35 posts)
13 years ago (2011-10-27)
Wow, wow, wow! I never expected such a turn out. Thank you all of you. I've been sick and coming back to read all your great comments has really lifted my spirits. Let me start by addressing a few of your reader questions.

I am still working oon finding the pictures to post them, I am sure they are still with my mother somewhere.

DeviousAngel. My mother at that point had already hiden the pictures in their closet. So though I am not ceertain I believe the neighbors had not seen my drawings.

Zetafornow. No I no longer live in the house, after several years and a few more stories my family and I no longer wished to stay in the house. And until now I really haven't thought about searching the house online.:)

Stephyw2001. I believe what upset my mother so much is that she had grown up for the better part of her childhood with the same thing. Perhaps she expirenced more evil than good? Perhaps her religion forced her to believe in the evil of spirits much like police are forced to believe in the evil of criminals. My mother and I never had a close relationship. Not close enough to talk about it. In conclusion when she had herself blessed she had hoped she had gotten rid of it. When I began to see them... It must have made her feel guilt in herself for passing it on... But again this is just my own guess work.

A commom statement from all of you seems to be how sad it was that she was chased away. I'd have to agree. I often think about her. What would have happened had I kept her to myself. Had she not been forced away. I wonder... Would she have followed me? So yes, her loss was very sad, but I believe now after reading some of your comments to trust my gut. She was not evil. And I miss her very much.

Thank you so much again. I can't wait to get more up.
stephyw2001 (guest)
13 years ago (2011-10-26)
Sorry I'm late, finally catching up. I agree with Darkness on this story. I find it sad that they chased her out. What made your parents so upset? Most parents would think it were an imaginary friend. Even if they believe in ghosts, surely they don't think all are evil? I'm with you that I don't think she was evil, but lonely. I feel bad for spirits like that, who had something tragic happen to them. If they couldn't move on in life, I'm sure the afterlife is no easier. I hope that lady finds peace.
DARKNESS (3 stories) (2022 posts)
13 years ago (2011-10-19)
Tempe_Toxic: Have to say you have a fantastic way of writing, great descriptions, well done. 😊

I find it sad that she was chased out, thinking she was evil, this must happen so often by stern religious folk, its a shame they cannot see things from another point of view.

The story itself may have been embellished a little but I suppose you will never really find out exactly what happened. Haha I can understand why your parents were worried though, it's not your average every day thing to deal with. 😁

Thank you for sharing.

zetafornow (4 stories) (447 posts)
13 years ago (2011-10-17)
Hi and I would first like to compliment you on your descriptive relay of this story. You seem to have a very vivid memory and know how to describe it well.

This must have been very frightening for your parents. You sound as if you were "fine" with it and I know that children are more accepting of these things than adults... Not so jaded.

Question for you; do you still live in the house? Have you been able to get any information via internet or old newspaper archives? Also... I don't know why but I have a hard time imagining a priest running around the house chasing this spirit.

Good luck to you and thanks for sharing. Zeta.
DeviousAngel (11 stories) (1910 posts)
13 years ago (2011-10-17)
Very interesting story... I agree with ngute that it is a bit difficult to swallow the story the neighbors told you. It just sounds too urban legend-y. Did you guys show them the drawing or mention the dress before they had mentioned to you that it was a dirty prom dress the mother had hung herself in? Had your drawing reflected that description? I suppose it would put more stock in the neighbors' story if they knew that detail without being told or shown it before the explanation.
geetha50 (15 stories) (986 posts)
13 years ago (2011-10-17)
If the feeling you got was that the lady was not evil, then probably she wasn't evil. Like you mentioned in your previous story your mother got herself blessed. I think your mother surrounded herself with people who think that every spirit is evil. I don't know how much of the information you found is true but I think the spirit interacted was nice and if you had the change you probably would have helped her.
BeautInside (3 stories) (326 posts)
13 years ago (2011-10-17)
What a great story, really enjoyed it! It's sad though, she only wanted some company. If she was evil you'd had been affraid of her.

God bless ❤
Javelina (4 stories) (3749 posts)
13 years ago (2011-10-17)
Thank you for sharing your experiences here. I find them endlessly fascinating. I especially like the way you rationalized these events as a child. In your own way, you have shown the difference between the acceptance of the reality of the spiritual realm from a child's perspective, as opposed to how the adults around you went straight for the more malevolent as an answer to what they were not a witness to.
What stands out for me in this particular experience, is the "chasing her out" reaction to what you had told them. They went with the rumors of what they heard around the neighborhood, instead of studying the easy way you felt with the spirit. That was very interesting.
I am looking forward to your future posts. And thank you again for sharing.

Diskonnekted-X (1 stories) (6 posts)
13 years ago (2011-10-16)
In a strange way children can always tell when something is wrong or when someone has a lot or stress or negativity on them so if you say that the woman was not evil go with it because you would know better than the rest of them, trust your inner child! ❤
Tempe_Toxic (10 stories) (35 posts)
13 years ago (2011-10-15)
I believe that may mother may have stashed a few in her keep sakes. However I could look for them the next time I visit her. Ngute80 I agree about the daughter on prom night, I blieve thtwhe it comst he supernatural and there is no out front explaination for it then people will stretch and make up stories that make sence to the and after awhile people begin to believe it as the truth. This is what I believe happened with the young girl at prom. Safe to say that our house was some what popular. Thank you for reading. I'll have more up soon.
ngute80 (220 posts)
13 years ago (2011-10-14)
It is amazing how children see spirits and its completely normal to them. I believe you saw a spirit and she told you about that step outside your room because you didn't find out until your parents told you. I'm a little hesitant to believe the the story about the daughter dying on prom night and the mother hanging herself in the closet though. I think the neighbors were telling you a tale. And a story like that just sounds like something kids would make up and repeat to one another as truth. Thank you for sharing.
Moongrim (2 stories) (871 posts)
13 years ago (2011-10-14)
Fascinating, utterly fascinating. Just as a suggestion, do you still have those drawings? And if so, can you post one or two?

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