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Piano Asking To Be Played


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.

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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, BettinaMarie, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will participate in the discussion and I need help with what I have experienced.

BettinaMarie (14 stories) (80 posts)
6 years ago (2018-04-08)
Augusta-Thank you for reading. I will attempt to better explain my experience. Your questions are similar to questions I myself have, that I am asking for help with.
We did not know Fred well enough to know if he did drugs or what his deal is. When he called me up as I was headed to his house and asked me odd questions, Andrew and I speculated that Fred was staging some kind of dramatic "haunted event" to coincide with our entrance. We decided to visit anyway to be polite and say hello to his ill Mom. Not that we had planned a ghost hunt or lark, simply suggested that he was exaggerating for attention, not suffering the presence of his father's ghost. So we withheld ourselves from expecting any real impressions of a haunting.
Once we got there Fred casually launched from one psychedelic supernatural theory to another. In sum, everything he said sounded like total disrespectful paranormal hogwash. I have no idea if anything he said, including his story about the piano, was true. Whether or not he actually had anything from the wreck, the Vandalia did crash out on the coast. It later surprised me that he had not made the Vandalia wreck up, as well. I know now he lied about his father being dead at the time, and all his spiritual paranormal hokey pokey. He just wanted attention, and found me an easy mark. Andrew came so I was not alone at a strange house.
Andrew sensed an angry man who had hung to death near their house or garage. Their house was the second modern home built on that lot. I am not clear if the hanging was a murder, or if either a murder or the hanged man had to do with Fred or his family. I did not pick up on any overtly negative energy from anything but the old steamer chests and some bed frames.
No one can explain the lady talking in French, like soothing to put a baby asleep. Were the angry hanged man- whom I had no awareness of- and the French lady voice both different from the seashell voice? Did all three have to do with separate murders? I always wondered if the death tokens were part of some War memorabilia, or perhaps the seashells themselves.
I sensed no presence or ghost at all unless you count hearing the seashell voice or French voice. Does one count these strange happenings if I am the only one who heard them? I do not know. And how did I know the piano wanted to be played? Why did that mild, silly suggestion, alone, seem to make Fred uncomfortable? My other sensitive friend made no comment about these points.
The chests scared me, and I am not sure why I thought of them as coffins, before I had even noticed them amongst the towers of random furniture and junk. We had been concentrating on the feelings/temperature around the fireplace. I do not know why I felt so strongly that the chests should be removed and/or buried, or if they had to do with the Vandalia wreck. I did not touch them, or the piano, nor take any refreshment in the home.
AugustaM (7 stories) (996 posts)
6 years ago (2018-04-08)
First of all, weed does not cause depression in adult users or have any lasting physical or psychological effects after the drug has worn off. Formal studies in the US have been spotty at best and often times inconclusive - most conclude that while heavy marijuana use in adolescents can have damaging psychological effects, adults are far less at risk if at all.
If an adult individual is already diagnosed with depression, marijuana *may* make symptoms worse after the drug has worn off - however, this is not experienced in all patients. Even the paranoia, which not all users experience and varies from strain to strain, dissipates as the drug's concentration in the user's system naturally dissipates. Mind you, I am neither a scientist nor a doctor. I took a degree in psych while attending university in Canada and it happened to have come up quite a lot in our text books.
Further, when I was 28, having never tried the stuff, I decided I would but not before doing one heck of a lot of research to be very sure of what I was getting myself into. So I make the above comments NOT as any form of expert but merely as someone who has done her share of research. "Reefer Madness" is simply outdated political propaganda. Fred sounds like a real winner but his character flaws were all his own not because of his marijuana use - though if he was high at the time of your encounter with him -which by the sound of it, he well may have been- it certainly would have amplified his essential "Fred"-ness...lucky you...

There were some parts of your account, which I found somewhat difficult to follow. For example, you state:
"So Andrew and I decided to go anyway, but not take the whole haunted thing very seriously, as it seemed to require staging."
How do you mean? Staging?
Then you said that while in the basement, you didn't credit Fred's claim regarding his possessions of certain artifacts recovered from a shipwreck then go on to state that you verify that there was a wreck. There have been many many shipwrecks over the years some more publicized than others - what about your having verified the wreck he happened to reference made you believe his claims? Trunks=coffins?
Then there's the information you received from your other friend who spoke of murders in the house... Tied with Andrew's comments about "an angry man who hanged on the property" might sort of make sense. However, I am uncertain whether you meant "was hanged" as in executed or "hung out" as in stuck around.

I will confess to being somewhat confused by this none the less interesting account.
BettinaMarie (14 stories) (80 posts)
6 years ago (2018-04-05)
Lucia- I have wondered this too. It seemed a very odd spot given the spacious upper storey, as well. Perhaps like in my own family this "heirloom" piano was fought over. Maybe it was chucked in the basement so no one else could claim it (purely subjective speculation on my part) and therefore even more resentful of its misuse? It was not even possible to get within 15 feet of the piano, so I am not sure if it was in playable condition. Not that I would have touched another object in that house on purpose.
BettinaMarie (14 stories) (80 posts)
6 years ago (2018-04-05)
Lucia-Fred said that workers had to remove the basement stairwell to get the piano down there. I have no idea how it was leveraged down, but I hope a tow truck or something-not people- did the job. For all I know it is still there. God knows they had not cleared a stick from that space in a while. I am sure we have all felt the need to hold on to a bulky item passed down. My own family bickered over an inherited piano, since no one could afford to move it, but everyone wanted it.
LuciaJacinta (8 stories) (291 posts)
6 years ago (2018-04-04)
There are some things in this that lead me wondering hmmm. One is how it came to be that a piano ended up in a basement. We are a piano family ourselves and had to move a few times last year. Moving that piano was so hard. We only had a few steps to go down and it took 6 adults to move it 3 or 4 steps. It was so hard. How they got a piano to a basement is beyond me.
BettinaMarie (14 stories) (80 posts)
6 years ago (2018-04-03)
Thank you all for reading. I always thought one had to touch an object like the piano to get an impression of its origin or history and I certainly did not touch anything aftert the box of shells. If anyone has any idea how this all came through from across the room, I would really like to know.
Ruskin- I learned my lesson for sure. I would rather never repeat this type of experience. I keep closed off better, mentally, and would no longer put myself or my friends into mystery situations. Your story of hitting a wall while "dowsing" made sense to me, as I believe our intentions sort of fly before us.
Rex-As to Fred, I really did not know him well. I cannot judge his situation growing up, but he seemed to have a "taker" personality as a result. He had me going with the "haunted by dead father" schtick right up until we got inside the house. I am not sure what he was smoking or how much but dude was paranoid. He may not have been any sort of the goofy 70's mama's-boy I took him to be. I only have gossip, his poor behaviour and my own judge-y judgements to go on. I quit working at that bar years ago. I know for sure his father outlived his mom. I think the cold spot was the draft from chimney, or suction caused by the grow equipment.
Rex-T (5 stories) (288 posts)
6 years ago (2018-04-02)
Hi BettinaMarie,

I've been acquainted with people like Fred and watched them slide into depression/hating the world, with the more weed they ingest. Was the weed opening up his mind to the negative energy or is this a form of self medication to counteract that energy?

I'm surprised that the cold spot by the fireplace was not suspected of being a portal and the girl's voice sounded like a residual haunting of the seashell box.

Strikes me that maybe you are more sensitive to these phenomena than what you think.

PS. Being a geology nut, loved your Mt St Helens experience. I'll comment when I can.

lady-glow (14 stories) (3094 posts)
6 years ago (2018-04-01)
RCRuskin - look in the mirror, if you didn't get a big red nose then look at the calendar and you'll see the circus is in town today. 😁
RCRuskin (9 stories) (788 posts)
6 years ago (2018-04-01)
one of my clowns? I swear, I am not on any medications that would make me type something like that.

One of my posts.

First paragraph of this post in fact:
RCRuskin (9 stories) (788 posts)
6 years ago (2018-04-01)
Fred sounds very much like a person I know. I mentioned him in one of my stories, but since his house was not haunted except by his imagination, I didn't share it. Perhaps I will, and we could compare notes?

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