In 1992 I rented a house in Fredericksburg, Virginia following several years of living abroad. It was a rather pleasant house, a ranch design, in an older neighborhood. There were many large trees that gave shade in the summer, and a wooded area behind the house. Along with friendly neighbors and a genuinly placid calm overall, it was a nice place to live. There was not a hint that this house was haunted by an active, though unhappy, ghost.
As ghost implies a frightening specter in my mind, I think I prefer the term spirit. This haunting was confirmed to be human.
The haunting did not begin immediately. Months passed, perhaps a year. It began unannounced; there was no warning of any kind, nor even a hint of warning from the landlord.
On what I recall as a very lovely late summer day, at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, our front entry door opened with a bang, and the loud clatter of swinging Venetian blinds. My wife and son were with me in our family room watching television. My daughter was serving in the military and was far off and unexpected.
Our heads snapped sharply as we quickly looked into each other's faces for a hint of understanding regarding what was happening. There was none. Two probabilities came to mind - the first being my daughter home on unexpected leave with the intent of surprising us. The second was criminal home invasion.
After a moment spent gathering my wits I moved from the family room to the living room. I found our entry door wide open, and the blinds which covered its window still swaying side to side. The door, for those prone to detail, opened inward. There was no apparent explanation for what had happened.
That door was little used by our family and was kept locked. The door was rather difficult to open, as the door itself was simply stuck in the frame. It took a lot of effort to open, and when the door finally did, it popped free rather heavily. As a result of being stuck, or jammed, and the force it took to open it, the metal Venetian blinds would swing, sway and clatter. In all, annoying enough that our front door was almost never used.
After that first experience, things changed. The front door continued to open, although not frequently. The back door would also be found open from time to time. Bedroom doors opened much more frequently, and on 1 bedroom in particular.
As we were never in fear, and there was no show of hostility, we accepted our new reality. There may also have been an occasional noise during the night, but nothing of real note. We simply adopted whoever this was and often spoke to them with simple greetings or conversation.
This came to an end for us in 1998, when it was time to return to my work abroad. Movers came to take away our belongings. While this went on the lady living next door spoke to me over the fence, and asked if anything unusual happened during our stay. I affirmed that it had. Then she told me the following:
A woman and her daughter lived in that house in years past. The girl, a high school student, was 16 or 17 years of age. On a New Year's Eve, the girl wanted to attend a party. The mother declined because of a severe ice storm. The girl went anyway. The mother waited until the early morning hours for her daughter's return before crying herself to sleep. The mother was awakened by crying and discovered her daughter sitting in the chair next to her bed. The girl sobbed " Oh, mother, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry!" The girl repeated her statement, then vanished. After 3 days of searching the girl's car was located upside down in a canal used by a local power company to produce electricity. The girl's body was in the car, which had slid off the icy road into the frozen canal.
The woman who told me this was the sister of the girl's mother, making her the aunt of the girl. They had lived side by side as neighbors, as well as relatives.
I recall all of this with great clarity. This is a true and accurate presentation of what I experienced.