What follows is a recollection of an occurrence that came my way back in 2007 and it involves me (a 47 year old male), my seven year old step son, and a very strange girl - all at an isolated sandbox late one summer's evening. Looking back, weighing it all out, I strongly believe the girl was a spirit.
Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words so I have attached a simple layout sketch of the area this occurred.
Moravia is a quiet, small Upstate New York town that had in ways seen its heyday come and go around 1870 or there abouts. The village is situated in a valley and when the sun sets over the ridgeline there comes an extended period of dark dusk - and that is when this event occurred.
I like to try and stay in shape and that desire brought me to the track on this particular night. An ankle injury from my army years prevents me from running, so I opt to power walk instead and I do this at the track located behind the Elementary school. The school is situated on the edge of town and the track is bordered on three sides by tall trees and hills. There's seldom anybody out there when I go there. Thing is, I power walk hard - that means I pump my arms and walk as fast as I can and as a result this also sets my hips and butt to moving in, what I consider, a rather unmanly manner. For this reason, I won't be seen power-walking through town. Instead I do this out at this isolated track and I wait until the sun is nearly set and nobody is out there.
My step-son, who was seven that year, often liked to come out there to the track with me to play while I power walked around the track for a few miles. We would walk there and back from our home in the village.
On the night of this event, it was midsummer so the school was closed and locked for the season. Aside from the trees bordering the place, it is a vast clear and open grassy field and I can say that without a doubt, there were no other people within sight and no cars or bikes either - as usual. It was getting fairly dark when I finished my workout and Jake and I left the track and started walking home. Our walk home would take us across the soccer field, past the small school sandbox area, and on past the tennis courts towards the village and home. Now when I say it was dark, it wasn't quite night time yet but a darker shade of dusk; dark enough that you would have turned on your car headlights - that dark.
As my stepson and I left the track, he asked if we could stop at the sandbox area that was located within a closed-in area within the school (the school was built in a "U" shape with an outside playground within the "U" - see sketch). I told him yes - just for a little while as it was getting late and dark out.
As we walked to this sandbox area at the elementary school, I noticed a girl was there playing at one of the sandboxes. As I got closer I noted some strange things about her:
1. She was dressed odd - like from another period - she wore a white dress that belled out from the waist down like a hoop skirt or "Cinderella" kind of dress. She wore little black leather lace-up shoes. Her long blond hair was done up in curly ringlets - the sort done with a curling iron.
2. She appeared to be about my stepson's age but was out here all alone - in this fairly isolated place at the town's edge - and it was late and fairly dark out. There were no other adults or children anywhere to be seen - and hadn't been for the past hour of my track workout - as the track provides a clear view of the area.
3. She didn't seem to take much notice of our approach but was humming some little song as we entered the little enclosed playground.
My stepson went right over and started playing in the sandbox - kneeling in the sand next to this girl. I sat down at the other side of the sandbox and watched them play. The little girl seemed so out of place. I can't say that she gave me the creeps as she appeared charming and seemed quite happy, humming some song to herself. Also, she looked solid and alive enough. But there was something decidedly off and unnatural about her. I quietly scrutinized her.
As I sat there watching the two of them play, I noticed that my stepson never seemed to notice her. Though he was right beside her kneeling in the sandbox, he never looked at her and never said a word to her - not at all. This was very unlike him as he was then and yet is a very out-going child who loves engaging in play and talk with other children his own age. She likewise never spoke to him. She was perhaps six feet away from me from where I sat and I broke the ice;
"What's your name?" I kindly asked the girl.
To this question she half looked up and quickly nodded her head and hummed out an "Uh huh" sort of reply with her mouth clenched shut. She never looked at me and I never saw her eyes - she kept her head lowered for the most part.
I asked her where her parents were and where she lived. To this question I also got a very quick head nod with an "uh huh" hummed out from a closed mouth. She never really raised her head when acknowledging my questions. She never uttered a word - but quietly hummed something of a song from a closed mouth.
OK, I figured her parents, wherever they were, must have told her not to talk to strangers. I respected that and I asked her no more questions. Her clothing and hair doo seemed so authentic - like a well-made Victorian-era costume. Who would dress their child up like this - and why? If it were for some special occasion, why would she be wearing it out here in the dark playing in the sand - way out in this rather isolated place at this hour? Very strange! Still, I wasn't really thinking she was a ghost at this point in time.
After about 15 or 20 minutes of playtime and it had gotten properly dark, I told my stepson that it was time to go home. As we left, I said goodnight to the little girl who still just hummed out an "uh huh" kind of polite acknowledgement. I felt kind of bad leaving her there by herself in the dark but what was I to do? I had noted that she elected not to answer my questions or talk to me and I had to respect that as what I figured were her parent's instructions.
Did I think she was a ghost? Not at that time - I wasn't sure what to think. I had a feeling that she was 'special' in some way. She seemed nice enough - pleasant too.
Once out of ear shot, perhaps thirty seconds after leaving the girl in the dark, still playing in the sandbox area, I said to my stepson;
"Wow, what'd you think of that girl back there at the sandbox; pretty strange eh?"
To this, he looked over at me quite puzzled and said,
"Huh? What girl?"
I said, "The little girl back at the sandbox; pretty strange huh - what'd you think of her?"
Again, he asked me what I was talking about - what girl. I looked at him wondering why he wasn't getting what I was asking him and he just shrugged his shoulders totally thinking I was talking nonsense to him. He totally had no idea what I was talking about. That's when it hit me straight on hard that he never saw her! That also explained why he never once said a word to her or interacted in any way to her - though they were only a few feet apart playing.
As the boy was already afraid of ghosts, I didn't press the matter but dropped it or he'd never come out to the track with me at nights again and probably not sleep in his own room in that big, very haunted house we lived in - what used to be an old hotel and bar from the 1820's no less.
One closing note, I mention Dry Creek Cemetery in my sketch that accompanies this story for a reason. This long disused rural cemetery has about 200 graves ranging from the late 1790's to around 1880, with most stones the result of regional cholera epidemics from the 1830's and 1840's. It is totally enclosed on all four sides with trees and forest with only a footpath leading in and out. The graveyard is only about 500 feet or so from the school.
About six years before the event of this story took place, my 20 year old daughter and I were walking through Dry Creek Cemetery and saw quite clearly a man and two women dressed in clothes that I would place to be from around 1840. Like the girl of this story, they looked solid and alive enough and we thought them just people in elaborate costumes - that is until we looked away a few moments and then back and they totally vanished from the place with out a trace (another story I might post here). Maybe this is related - maybe this is where the little girl came from. Of course I don't know and never will know for certain, but I am inclined to think so.
Thanks for reading this.