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Wartime Ghosts In Countryside


For the record I am describing historical events to set the background and not trying to shame any parties of WWII. This is not my personal experience but an event told by my grandmother. She is still around, a perky 90-year old lady. She told me about her experience when she was young but for obvious reasons is not able to share the story herself.

She was in her teens when WWII rolled over Latvia. At that moment it was a tug of war between the Ally and Nazi forces and since the front line changed a couple of times, they experienced alternating waves of Nazi army and USSR army with all the carnage they brought. In those turbulent times my grandmother was living in the countryside and her family was hiding their Jewish neighbors (an elderly couple) in their basement. Hiding Jews in those times was dangerous business. If you were to be discovered, you'd be shot on spot along with the people you tried protecting.

Normally my grandmother lived with her mother, father and brothers; however, the temporary Nazi government had forced all the able-bodied men to join the ranks of soldiers. Her father and brothers were no different.

On that particular evening it had been a two days since her father and brothers were summoned and her mother had gone to the train station to bid them farewell before they were transported to the training camp near Riga (the capital). My grandmother was alone at home, not to mention the people in the basement. She was preparing gruel porridge on the stove. At certain moment she felt like she was not alone and she turned around and called to her mother, it was getting dark and she was expecting her mother to come back soon. However, no one replied so she continued her work. After a while she again felt that someone was looking at her. This time she went to investigate for fear of having burglars at home. She came back empty-handed and went on to put the porridge into a bucket for their neighbors. Yes, I know it sounds uncivilized now, but take into account it was 1940s wartime countryside and they had to be discrete. The entrance to the basement was located outside the house and bringing bowls and cutlery there would have looked suspicious.

She was finishing her work in the kitchen area and bent down to pick up the bucket, her back facing the door that was the exit to their house, when she felt a sudden chill run through her, she felt a presence behind her. She was scared because someone had snuck in without her knowing and her family was hiding Jewish people in their home. It was not unusual for the neighbors to report each other to get benefits from any standing government in those times. Any unusual activity could be reported. A bucket of porridge is too much for a household that now has only 2 people.

Gingerly she let go of the handle of the bucket and straightened out to look the intruder in face. To her surprise there was nobody there, the only thing that was off was a smudge on the door that had not been there before. It looked as if the bottom of the door had burnt and all the soot had accumulated in the center of the door. Mind you the door had not burnt. Her first thought was getting the soot off the door before her mother returned. She was afraid that her mother would think my grandmother had been playing with fire and would scold her.

She reached for the cloth to wipe the smudge, but when she turned around, it was gone. My grandmother blinked making sure she was not seeing things, as the only source of light in those times was candles. She put the cloth down and reached for the bucket of porridge again. When she looked at the door, the smudge was back, but this time it was moving, it was wavering at the edges as if the particles of soot were lifting off the door surface and billowing around the edges of the smudge. My grandmother took the candle and held it closer to the spot to see it better. Mind you, her hand trembled and she did not dare getting too close to that door. The shape stayed there and was not affected by the flickering of the candle, it seemed like the light did not reflect off the surface of the smudge. Suddenly my grandmother got angry - she is temperamental like that, even now. She thought "God help me", put the hands on her hips and said angrily. "You either help me or get out!" Within a blink the smudge was gone and so was the odd feeling. She did not consider it a ghost, but rather a "pestelis", which would be a mischievous nature spirit that could be harmful at times or a spell cast by a witch. She did not relay the events to anyone else in the household though, at that moment they had other things to worry about. As far as she remembers the "pestelis" had not mate itself known again.

For the record, my grandmother's brothers survived the retreat of Nazi army but were later sent to Siberia by the USSR government for helping the Nazi army - no one cared that they were forced to do it. A couple of years later one of her brothers returned so ill that she believes he had been sent home to die.

As for the people they were hiding in the basement, they left when the Nazi forces had left the area for fear of what the USSR officials might do to them. The last of what she knows about them is that they were leaving to the capital - Riga - and from there taking a boat to then liberated Sweden. Grandmother has never heard back from them though, she fears that they might have perished on the way.

I hope you enjoyed the story.

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Comments about this paranormal experience

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, HoppingCorpse, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

Unexplained (2 stories) (122 posts)
6 years ago (2017-07-22)
An excellent story but a very sad one. Thanks for sharing this.
HoppingCorpse (2 stories) (42 posts)
9 years ago (2013-12-01)
Arwen, I see what you mean. Many people underestimate what the german people suffered themselves under that regimen.
Arwen1957 (7 stories) (46 posts)
9 years ago (2013-11-27)
Times of distress such as a war can stir up things for god or bad This could have been a warning to save you Grandma and others from something terrible Since she never had this happen again that is most likely what it was. Your Grandma and her family must have been so brave to face such things. Please let your Grandma know her story really touched my heart
babygoatpuller (4 stories) (432 posts)
9 years ago (2013-11-27)
I love these historical accounts and you told it so well. And good on your grandma for telling that thing where to go! Gotta love spunk! 😁
spiritwaiting (42 stories) (843 posts)
9 years ago (2013-11-24)
Dear HoppingCorpse, You narrated your Grandmothers story with so much grace. I have watched older movies, about those times. And my Great Grandmother came from Germany during the Great Depression. Her story is a quite similar. Its heartbreaking, and yet so full of strength. She sounds like a strong lively woman. I would have done the same thing, telling the "pestelis"to help or leave. She most certainly didn't need any extra trouble around. Great Story 😊
freakedoutfreddy (1 stories) (75 posts)
9 years ago (2013-11-23)
Hi dude, I would like to know what happens when trying to do something physical to an ethereal being. Like if you trow rocks to a spirit or if the lady in your story chased it with her broom. Do the spirit's substance get dispersed or the thing just go throug it?
Could some body tell me what happens? 😐
HoppingCorpse (2 stories) (42 posts)
9 years ago (2013-11-23)
Thank you for your insightful comments. Indeed it is crazy how many things people lived through those times. And what I like the most is that they had stuck around long enough to tell it to their grandchildren,
Swimsinfire (11 stories) (556 posts)
9 years ago (2013-11-23)
That was a very heart touching story. Thankyou for sharing.
josephgogi (2 stories) (34 posts)
9 years ago (2013-11-22)
Thank you. That was a very interesting story. I could see where her fear of being discovered was much greater than any supernatural phenomenon.
BadJuuJuu (guest)
9 years ago (2013-11-22)
There isn't much to say about this except for wow and thank you for sharing! ❤
HoppingCorpse (2 stories) (42 posts)
9 years ago (2013-11-22)
To Lady-glow: I'm gald you enjoyed it! As for "pestelis" I think she would have chased it out with her broom had it stuck around much longer.:D
lady-glow (13 stories) (2989 posts)
9 years ago (2013-11-21)
HoppingCorpse: welcome to YGS.
I really enjoyed reading your story... It is so sad to think about all the atrocities people go through during a war.
I think your grandmother had nothing to fear from the 'pestelis', humans were the real threat at that time.
Thanks for sharing this interesting story.

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