Since I mentioned Major Marsh in my last story about my Aunt Melody's ghost, figured I wouldn't leave you hanging! This story takes place in the late 1980s, in a small town on the coast of North Carolina. I was around 8 or so during most of the activity.
My father is a huge Civil War buff, as well as our family genealogist. My hometown has an interesting history, and we're right down the road from Bath, the oldest town in North Carolina (also home to Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard the Pirate), so it's a pretty great place to live if you're an amateur historian. Both of my parents love to collect old things, and we went to yard sales and antique sales very often during my childhood. Our house was full of all kinds of weird and wild artifacts at any given time.
One of those artifacts was a hat that Dad brought home one afternoon with great excitement. It was the uniform hat of one Major Marsh, in a hatbox, stored in a hatbox, accompanied by a flattened little bullet. (Or miniball? I'm not sure about this detail. Whatever the ammunition, it was a projectile shot from a gun, which was then unfortunately lodged in Major Marsh during the Civil War, removed, and kept in his pocket for show-and-tell for the rest of his long life.) My dad had obtained the hat through some sort of trade with cousins, several times removed. Dad loved that hat, and not long after, he also was given a portrait of the Major, from much later in life. The picture I have in my head of Major Marsh is of a distinguished elderly gentleman with white hair, a bushy mustache, sad but placid eyes, and perfect posture.
Not long after the hat came to live with us, it was clear that so had Major Marsh. Our house had always felt a little weird, which didn't exactly make sense, since it was newly built by my parents, on land that had been a trash dump a generation earlier. No cemeteries or Native American burial grounds or anything exciting, just lots of old bottles back in the middle of the woods. But that odd energy was easily explained away by my dad's sister Melody, still attached to him and maybe me. My mom has also been followed around by a ghost or entity that likes to throw pennies at her, and occasionally she sees a ghost cat running through the house, but we were all used to the THUNK! Of a penny being thrown across the room out of nowhere. When Major Marsh entered the mix, things started to get weirder.
At first it was things getting moved around. Nearly all of the activity took place in my dad's library, where the hat was stored in its hatbox, next to the portrait. Sometimes, books would go missing, or switch shelves. One night, we were eating dinner in the dining room when there was a giant crash. We all jumped up from the table and ran to the library to see that a stack of books that had been sitting on the desk was spread across the floor of the library. It might have just fallen, but the way that the books had fallen, the way that they ended up sitting, and the force with which it had happened looked like someone had swept them off the desk with their arm. Some were half open, across the room, pages bent. My dad took one look at the mess, went to the dining room, and set another place at the table for the Major, asking him not to upset his daughter (me) please. No other angry or scary things happened in the house while I was home.
Maybe six months later, the Major came to visit my mom. She wasn't exactly overjoyed.
My dad worked about 5 minutes' drive from our house, and would often come home during the day to pick something up, or to have lunch, so it wasn't unusual for him to just walk in at any point in the day unannounced. One afternoon, Mom had finished up with some yard-work, and was taking a nap before I got home from school. She'd just started to doze off when she heard our heavy oak front door open and close. Since the door was so heavy and they didn't keep the hinges oiled, it made a very particular sound, and closing it shook the house a little. Mom knew that my dad must be home, and yelled out "Hey babe!" No answer. She heard heavy boots striding across the downstairs - a heavy man, tall, like my dad. Maybe he just hadn't heard her. She poked her head out of the bedroom door and yelled down the stairs, "Hey babe! What are you doing home?" No answer. The footsteps started to go back across the house, towards the front of the house and the library area. Mom decided it was an intruder, and grabbed the shotgun. "I'm coming down with a gun, so you'd better get out!" (I have no clue why she didn't call the police, except for as I've mentioned before, this lady is completely unflappable. I would have locked the door and hid under the bed, lol.)
The front door never opened and shut again. She heard no more footsteps. She cautiously went downstairs with shotgun ready, passing from room to room, expecting to find the intruder in the library, where it had sounded like the footsteps were headed. There was no one in the house. She looked out to the driveway (we lived a mile outside of town, deep in the woods, with a very long driveway) - no one. Then she checked the front door. It was still locked and dead-bolted from the inside.
A year or two later, Major Marsh visited with her again. This time, Dad was away on a trip, and she was feeling anxious. We'd recently had an actual robbery, where two guys had come into our home when we weren't there and had stolen some valuable items. It made all of us feel on-edge, and she wasn't happy that my dad had to go away and leave us for the weekend. That night, she had me help her pull a heavy chair from the living room in front of the door, and we double checked the bolts on all the windows. I didn't know it then, but she slept with her gun beside her, too. This night, as she was getting ready to go to sleep, she asked Major Marsh to help keep an eye on her and me, and make sure we were OK. In response, she felt someone sit on my dad's side of the bed. She said it felt very friendly and reassuring, like "I'll be right here, don't you worry."
My parents moved out of that house when I was in college, and I don't think that Major Marsh came along to the new place. If he did, he's been keeping his activity to a minimum. My mom still gets pennies thrown at her, and sees the ghost cat, and there's other strange goings-on, but nothing specifically related to the Major. Maybe he's taking it easy in his old age, or maybe now that I'm all grown up, my mom's anxiety for my safety isn't keeping the Major from getting a good rest.