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The Weird Vase From The Estate Sale


My Aunt Lily had a passion for flea markets, yard sales, and especially estate sales, but let me tell you, one time she brought something home she didn't expect! She bought a cardboard box from an estate auction full of odds and ends and she found a strange-looking vase in it.

It was ugly, maybe a foot tall and it wasn't painted exactly, it kind of appeared to be stained a brownish color like homemade dye. It has two small handles on each side and is very unfinished, its texture is rough and it still has marks from a pottery wheel on the bottom so it's obviously homemade.

So she placed her find in a glass curio cabinet along with her collection of other vases, but when my uncle sat at his computer desk, his back was facing squarely towards the cabinet. He got to where he hated that vase because he swore he could feel it looking at him and he stayed covered in goosebumps while doing his online work. He finally put his foot down and the vase traveled to my Aunt Shae's house up the road.

Well, it didn't live there much longer because her son, a toddler at the time, was terrified of it but was too young to explain exactly why. Next it was sent to my parents' house until my dad threatened to smash it because his beloved yorkie howled when the vase was brought near him.

So I was chosen as the next owner of that monstrosity of a vase. I put it in the living room foyer beside the front door on one of those triangular shelves that are made to fit into corners. Well, now my dog is being terrorized. He never goes to the front door to ask to go out anymore, he chooses another door no matter how bad he has to go. I was watching him once while he was tossing one of his toys up in the air and it landed dangerously close to the monster in the corner, lol. I told him to go get it and he crept slowly sideways towards it, never taking his eyes off that vase, then snatched his toy and darted away with his tail between his legs.

This was enough to get my aunt interested in finding out as much as possible about where it came from and so on. Turns out, this vase was an urn for human ashes! Now that we knew that and took a closer look, down inside the neck of it are distinct marks from where a cork had been in place. Of course it's empty now and we have no idea who it was and where those ashes are.

Fast forward a few years later and I still own the vase, it sits in the same spot I first placed it in. No one likes it and my dog is still wary of it but I refuse to get rid of it because my aunt that found it so fascinating passed away not long after from breast cancer. I can't bring myself to get rid of something she gave me, and besides, it's never bothered me a bit so it continues to reside its corner.

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

MaggieMay_Not (15 stories) (106 posts)
6 years ago (2018-01-20)
Strangely, from the description I knew it was a funerary urn. Asian maybe? I almost think Japanese and I do not know why. I have a very definite image of it in my mind. Going to sound dumb but... May I suggest some chrysanthemum and lotus petals in the urn? I am not a flower person, I don't even pretend to know what flowers would help, but those two... And maybe violets. UGh. Just to see if it 'feels' better?

Thanks for sharing.

AugustaM (7 stories) (996 posts)
6 years ago (2018-01-17)
I agree that dogs' sense of smell is incredible. Cadaver trained dogs can find human remains in all sorts of conditions through unbelievable layers of rubble etc. But these dogs are highly trained to recognize specific scents. I am uncertain that a regular untrained house pet would have such an intense reaction to the trace scent of ashes long gone.

And as the OP pointed out, that still doesn't explain the human reactions to the object.

Sad irony that the lady who acquired and was so intrigued by this little urn would soon need a similar vessel herself. Has activity around the urn changed at all since her passing? Perhaps it came into her life as a harbinger.

I am sorry for your loss and hope your family has been able to heal and find peace ❤
Mandee (9 stories) (20 posts)
6 years ago (2018-01-10)
If I can figure out how, I will upload a photo of the vase but for the most part my dog completely ignores it now, as he really has no reason to be in that area of the house. He won't go near it voluntarily and my dad would probably blow a gasket if he caught me messing with his precious yorkie and that hideous vase. And as I said before it's never bothered me, but why would my uncle- who neither cared about nor noticed the new addition to the vase collection belonging to his wife- suddenly get the creeps, as well as my toddler cousin being terrified of it?
publicways (32 posts)
6 years ago (2018-01-07)
You should take a video of your dog acting strangely around the vase. Also a video of the yorkie howling at it - it would be interesting to see that. It's possible the odor of the urn was irritating the dogs - their sense of smell far exceeds ours. All in all it's most likely just an ugly, stinky vase and probably not haunted:)
Jubeele (25 stories) (882 posts)
6 years ago (2018-01-05)
Hi Mandee, thanks for reminding us to be aware that used objects and antiques all carry their own history. Not everyone may be as sensitive to these echoes, but our furkids will often let us know when we've brought something "extra" home with us. 😟

Some years ago, I bought a small yellow-patterned Chinese ginger jar dating from the late 1800s, Qing dynasty, Guangxu period. I had recurring nightmares around that time too. Now that I think about it, the nightmares seem to stop after I did a general spring clean of the glass cabinet where I displayed it. Hmm, it could be a coincidence...?

Maybe you can give the vase a little prayer, cleansing and general blessing, and then see if your dog feels happier around it. 😊

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