I have been telling this story for years. It has achieved legendary status in our family because it is supported by no less than five people. This is not necessarily a ghost story, but exhibits some sort of connection between family members.
This story involves my late grandmother on my mother's side, Margaret. She was an amazing woman who excelled in art and enjoying life. She was very gregarious, articulate, loving and open-minded. She believed in a world in which things are not always what they seem. Though I personally put a premium on science, she kept my mind similarly open to the possibility that the world is bigger and more diverse than most people think.
This tale takes place in the early '60s in central Ohio. My family has lived in the region for over 150 years. My grandmother and grandfather lived in Columbus, but had a little summer cottage south of town in a little vacation community called Hide-Away Hills near Chillicothe. The house they maintained there had electricity, but no phone. This was not unusual in rural communities at the time.
One night, my grandparents were there alone. They had gone to bed at a normal time, but my grandmother was tossing and turning most of the night. In her sleep, she kept imploring my grandfather, "Richard, answer the phone! We have to get the phone! It's ringing, answer the phone!" My grandfather (Richard), knowing there was no phone in the house down there kept telling her so and trying to get her to stop thrashing about. She told the story as he having said, "Go to sleep, you old bat, there's no phone here!" He is a practical and often stoic man, but he loved his wife beyond words, in spite of the "old bat" reference. Still, she slept fitfully and murmured throughout the night about a telephone.
In the morning, she told my grandfather about the strange dreams she had that night. She related to him that she had dreamt of a dark room in which a pink coffin was standing upright. In the coffin was her mother. Around the coffin were here four siblings chanting, "we tried to call you, we tried to call you, we tried to call you..." He confirmed that she had been wailing about answering a phone, but of course, there was no phone down at Hide-Away, so he was confused and assumed she was having a nightmare.
They soon packed-up and drove the short hour back north to their home in Columbus. Upon arrival, they opened the front door and the phone in the kitchen was ringing. My grandmother went to answer it. On the other end was her sister: "Margie, Mother died last night. We tried to call you all night, but nobody would pick-up. I'm so sorry, we tried to call you..."
My grandmother's blood did not chill. Based upon the strange occurrences she had throughout her life, she half-expected something like this and was pretty tense the whole ride home. As the family began to deal with the passing of their matriarch, it became clear that as word had spread that night, many of her siblings had tried to contact my grandmother to let her know.
What is this beautiful, strange and mystical connection between family members? Family is my religion.