Currently I live in Menasha, Wisconsin, in a house built in 1863. As I was driving by and saw a For Sale sign, I felt drawn to the house. I adore old things, cars, houses, furniture and, the older I get, the more I like them.
Back to the house. I went home and told my husband he must come with me to look at a house. We drove by and he was also impressed with the house. We called the owners, made an appointment to view the home, kept the appointment and fell in love. We bought the house and closed within four days, this was in 2002.
My first experience in the house seemed unusual but not necessarily of a ghostful nature. My husband, sister and myself were sitting in the dining room. The chandelier was directly above my head and it was a stormy day. I have a large, framed photograph of my grandmother. The frame needed a little TLC and I was going to hang it in the upstairs hallway. I told my husband where I wanted him to hang it and he said he thought we should put it in the living room. However, I didn't like that idea due to the frame's condition but, he really thought she should be there as the picture is over one hundred and twenty years old. It didn't matter that it was my grandmother I was talking about, he wanted it in the living room. So I gave in and said okay. I stood up to go in the kitchen and as soon as I took one step away from my chair, lightning came through the chandelier and extended approximately one foot below it. Had I been sitting there I would surely have been struck. I made light of it and said that the original owner of the house was not happy that Johnny Reb had moved in or my grandmother was not happy about my thoughts of her hanging in the living room.
Approximately a month after we moved in is when the real fun began. One night as I was talking on the phone with a friend, I heard loud banging on the stairwell wall. The only person other than myself in the house was my husband and he was upstairs in bed. Supposing it was him, I called out but got no answer. The knocking started again. I told my friend to hold on and went upstairs to see if something was wrong but, no one was there other than my husband and he was in bed asleep. I went back downstairs and continued talking on the phone and it happened a third time. I told my friend I was going to hang up because apparently the ghost didn't like me on the phone. I hung up and there were no more noises.
Over the next few months I would find photos that were setting on the floor. They didn't appear to have fallen, they were on the floor, propped up against the wall. And there would be one photo of my grandchildren that invariably would be laid face down on the shelf. Never any of the other numerous photos on the shelves in the study, only that one photo.
Different times, while passing through the dining room, I would smell a very sweet scent, like a floral-based perfume. In the downstairs bathroom, I would smell the scent of a pipe with cherry tobacco. As people usually thought I was imagining things about ghosts, I never mentioned the odor of a pipe in the bathroom. One day while one of my sons was visiting, he went into the bathroom. When he came out, he asked me what was that smell in the bathroom. I asked what he thought it was and he said it smelled like a pipe. I was so very excited and told him I thought it was my ghost or one of my ghosts.
About three months after we moved into the house, my husband had gone up to bed and about fifteen minutes later, he came down and looked rather pale. I asked what was wrong with him and he didn't want to tell me. Finally I got him to tell me and he said he was almost asleep when he felt like someone was in the room with him. Thinking it was me, he looked toward the bedroom door and saw the form of a man in a union soldier's uniform. It really shocked him. I asked what the man was doing and he said, "just standing there, looking at me." He was rather disturbed, I was very excited.
A couple of months after this incident, a man came to our door and introduced himself. He had been raised in the house on the lot behind our home. His great, great grandfather had been the man that built our house and three generations of the family had lived in our home until 1976. At that time the home was sold to strangers. The man asked if he could come in to see the house. When he was growing up, his two aunts and one uncle lived in our house. I let him come in and look around. He was very happy as the house, other than modernization, looked pretty much as it did when it was originally built.
We talked about many things. He told me the family history and the history of the home. Local indians had helped his great, great grandfather bring stones from the local lake, as it was being dredged, to build this home. As a result of this, they felt as though they had a viable interest in the home. The owner, being a generous man, had a side door that led into a stairwell leading to the basement. There was also a door in the stairwell landing that led directly into the house, which was always locked. During inclement weather, he would allow the indians to come through the side door and go into the basement so they could be warm or safe if it was during a storm.
The great, great grandson asked me about ghosts in the house. I told him there was definitely a presence and told him of some of my experiences. When I told him about the perfume, he told me that one of his aunts always wore a floral, sweet scented perfume. The pipe scent, he said, definitely had to be his uncle because you never saw him without his pipe.
For the next four or five years nothing new happened, just a continuation of the usual. But then, about two years ago, my husband was out of town and I was asleep in bed. I awoke to something poking me, ever so lightly, on my side. I just lay there a few seconds and it happened again. I knew it was one of the ghosts, no one else was in the house. I just told it to stop because I needed to go back to sleep and, it stopped. About a month later, it happened again and knowing what it was, again I just told it to stop. It has never happened again.
However, a few months later, my husband got two puppies. The boy, Brother is his name, can be sitting, usually in the dining room or the living room, just looking around and all of a sudden he will, very quickly, jump, literally, jump up and start running to wherever my husband and I are sitting. It scares him but it's rather comical. I truly believe, based on the ghost poking me, that the ghost is doing something to him that frightens him and the ghost apparently finds it humorous and has continued doing it for the last four years.
I have spoken with the previous owners and asked if they had any ghostly experiences and she told me of an encounter their four-year old son had on numerous occasions with a man he called Tookie, that would come to his room at night and read to him. Sounds rather like an indian name, wouldn't you say? I asked if they had ever talked about ghosts around him and she said no one had ever discussed anything about ghosts in front of him and that he wasn't scared, he thought the man was very nice to read to him.
They are not bad ghosts, they just like to have their presence known. It is now 2012, we have lived in the house for ten years. I still love the house and I have become accustomed to and enjoy the antics of our ghosts!