I have never claimed any psychic abilities, but I am of an opinion that we as a species just rarely use or rely on these senses in our safe, convenient, mechanical modern environments. Additionally, I have trusted friends who can straight-up see spirits. I never have seen a ghost with my eyes and that is okay by me. This story is a little long, but I cannot explain or forget it, and would value any opinions or thought from YGS readers.
One of my especially sensitive friends we will call Andrew, whose gifts come down through his family. After knowing him for many years it was clear that being able to see and sense things is not always pleasant. He does not toot his own horn and doesn't really talk about it very often. Which is to say he does not show off.
When a customer, Fred, said his house was haunted I asked Andrew if he would just come and look. Fred had elaborate ideas as to what he was experiencing. Most of them centered on his late, rotten father. I myself felt that Fred sincerely wanted rid of this worrisome negative energy so I kind of talked Andrew into checking it out. Andrew and I arranged to come to the house at 8:30 p.m. This was roughly the regular time when Fred said the most activity occurred. He lived there with his elderly Mom, and I brought her a bottle of zin like she ordered at my work. Fred was clear in his concern about the ghost eventually bothering her, too.
Although I had heard Fred's theories as to what was in his home, I mentioned nothing to Andrew. Andrew prefers this, and always asks the host/ess not to speak as they show him a space. He will ask them random questions, but other than these brief responses, he asks them not to share or elaborate until after he walks through. His questions make little sense to me, and are usually quite specific. I have also seen him suddenly question strangers like this, then tell me later that they confirmed attachment to or messages from some nearby spirit. This freaks me out some but I wanted to confirm or disprove what Fred was experiencing. Since I was just along for the ride I planned to write down any impressions I got, and we'd compare later. We also separately wrote down our impressions of what we might learn, to compare later. I figured it was a standard sort of residual or family spirit (that I would not see or feel.) I anticipated very little to record. My only impression was a sort of box or squarish mechanism like a bolt lock. Unclear and boring.
Right before we headed out Fred called with all these odd questions like exactly which direction we were coming from and how long it would take. This gave me some reservations, as he knew our arranged time was 8:30 already. Since Fred's mom was recently home bedridden from a hospital stay (hence the bottle of Zinfandel) I did not want to disappoint her if she expected us. We were both raised by polite church ladies. So Andrew and I decided to go anyway, but not take the whole haunted thing very seriously, as it seemed to require staging.
We got turned round in the rainy PNW night trying to find the address and pulled up a little late, so any staged surprise was lost. However, at the moment we came in it was clear that we had been invited to a wild goose chase. Even while I gave his mom my regards Fred stood in her room and went on how he saw his dead father's ghost in the closet sometimes. It was obvious that he did not need help, but an audience. Andrew had little chance to speak, even after his usual request for quiet. When Fred went ahead of us to "turn the lights on in the garage" Andrew told me he felt something in front of the fireplace in the formal sitting room. I had not.
Fred went on about demonic portals and his dead abusive narcissistic father hiding in the crawl space over the garage and tapping their phones, how the property was on the edge of a gateway, how he had been followed by angry entities, how the neighbors found human teeth in their garden, you name it. At one point, very bluntly, Andrew asked him outright if he was creating the whole story, which Fred denied. I could tell Andrew was aware of something unseen, and wanted to explore the whole house, but I doubted it had anything to do with Fred's dead father. We continued on through with Fred yammering the whole way. I was embarrassed since the visit was my idea.
When we were in the basement is when things got weird. On the stairs Andrew asked if I could feel anything but I got nothing other than your standard, dark-basement-at-night-piled-with-junk vibe. Fred insisted on having the lights off, and went through first to the furthest room and turned on a radio, which he then tuned to static. Rolling his eyes at the theatrics, Andrew humoured him anyhow when he came back to join us. Fred went on, showing off his sickly bootleg marijuana plants, some old tools he felt were possessed by his dead uncle, and piles of random furniture inherited down the years.
With his usual thoroughness anyway, Andrew walked around each area of the basement. I was just sort of following him around, and I casually picked up a small box of seashells. Clear as day in my head a girl (?) child's voice exclaimed "those are my shells." I set them down real quick. Andrew and Fred said they had not heard any sound. Nothing like that has ever happened to me before or after. Andrew really did not hear it which freaked me out almost as bad as my own hearing it did. It was a voice loudly and drastically unlike my own "inner monologue" and distinctly high and childlike. Like when your sibling whines because you touch their toy. After that I was keenly listening to try and place the source of the voice, to hear it again even though it scared me.
Then we had to walk right by the fireplace, exactly underneath where Andrew felt something upstairs. He stood there for a minute and I was right behind him. It became very cold and off. We began searching the hearth for drafts with my back to the room. The thought came to me, "don't stand by the coffins." I turned and looked behind me to find two stacked, enormous old steamer trunks. They were dark, discolored and obviously very, very old. They freaked me out so that I was very ready to go back upstairs, but we had half the basement left to explore.
We moved past stacks of furniture and boxed up crap that clearly spanned decades of styles, some very old. The main basement space was as big as the whole upper story, and the unused fireplaces on both floors shared a chimney. The room was PACKED with everything from brass bedsteads to marine welding equipment and an upright piano in the far corner. It occurred to me that the piano wanted very badly to be played. I have a very silly mind, and this thought did not seem strange to me, an inanimate object with wants, so I said nothing and didn't write it down. This silly thought helped dispel my uneasiness over the little voice, too, and chalk it up to my imagination.
I was eager to go, but as promised we sat down with Fred to discuss Andrew's impressions. At this point I figured Fred would just go along with any suggestion. While he ignored Andrew and went off on yet another long tangent, I could hear very faintly a smooth, alto, female voice speaking very softly, almost whispering, in what sounded like French. It was like when you can only hear one side responding in a phone conversation. I wrote out phoenetically what I heard but I don't speak French. Meanwhile Andrew wrapped up by sort of sternly suggesting to Fred that he was unintentionally attracting and collecting negative energy and that is was entirely in his power to be done with it. Then to my surprise they both asked me what impressions I had got, as I had been scribbling.
I told them about the seashell voice and how the steamer trunks should be buried. I also said that all the unused beds needed got rid of, but I am not sure what I meant by that. Andrew agreed on the trunks needing to be gone, but Fred seemed disappointed that I had not picked up on his "demon" either, and implied that I was making up the little girl's voice. ("Whatever,"I thought,"this after all his mumbo drama queen jumbo.") Anyhow, I just sort of casually joked back about how "well, yeah, and that piano downstairs really wants to be played."
For the first time Fred got real quiet. He squirmed and, almost reluctantly, said that the piano had sat originally in a railroad boarding house and then at the state school for the blind. At both locations it enjoyed regular use by students and the public for many years. He said it had required taking out his basement steps to get it down there. It had belonged to a relative from the Oregon coast who had worked at the school, and whose belongings also included some items recovered from an old and tragic shipwreck. After his bluster and "supernatural" BS all evening, this piano info was shared like he was disappointed to be led to explanations which might actually make sense, although it freaked me the hell out. Nothing else, including his shipwreck comment even seemed close to genuine.
We finally found an excuse to leave when Fred's mom called out for him to come assist her. Her rough smokers voice is croaking and ragged. Andrew said after we got home that he had sensed someone in the garage -an angry man-who hanged somewhere on the property, but that the negative energy was Fred's personal drama manifesting. Andrew had not felt a portal or a demon. He had not heard any voices either. I could tell he was not amused. I haven't brought up that wierd night since. We are still good friends, though.
I later shared this entire story with someone unrelated to the incident (who had never met Fred, or seen his home) who much surprised me by stating very forcefully that there were mementos from murders or harms done at the house and that I should never go back there, and was foolish to go the first time. This scared me, because they were very sober and certain, and this person has been right before about true things they could not possibly know first hand. I have no proof to back up what they said, but no reason to doubt.
The only information I ever could verify was that the property was part of the original Fort Vancouver compound, and that the tragic shipwreck did actually, famously, happen on the coast. And that Fred's father is alive and well. So who knows.
Any suggestions as to what the hell that little girl voice belonged to, and who was speaking French would be helpful and appreciated. I will look for the notebook where I sounded out their words, and try to translate them. Thank you for reading my long account.