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Meeting the Deceased at the Wake


My dad had 7 sisters and 5 brothers, making 13 siblings in his family. As they grew up things were pretty rocky, financially. Some married pretty young and began their own families, moved to other parts of the United States and began their own lives. Having said this, needless to say I have many, many cousins and a large extended family.

As I grew, I would spend time with a few family members here and there, just depended on what was going on at the time. With a family this size, you become accustomed to numerous family gatherings and obligations cropping up repeatedly and at short notice.

One Thursday afternoon, we received a call from my Aunt Jamie. This call was one of the calls you dread ever receiving. My uncle had passed away. He was unfortunately hit by a city bus. He had gotten off work at a local factory and stopped off for a few drinks with his buddies. Instead of driving home after his 2 beers, he decided it best to walk home. He stepped in front of the bus as the bus left one of its stops. The vehicle was not going very fast, but the impact was enough to knock him off of his feet, he hit his head on the raised curd of the side walk. The head injury caused bleeding, he never woke up.

The final arrangements had been made to afford the family and friends services to pay their respects. Both my mother and father had to work and were not able to go to the services as it would be 2 or 3 days away. It was decided that I would accompany one of my aunts to the services to pay respects for our branch of the family. We would be staying 2 nights and 3 days in Sioux City, IA to attend all of the functions.

Although I was only 15 years old at the time, I had been to several funerals prior to this, unfortunately. Again, this is what sometimes happens with a large family. I was not frightened or nervous about the services; at this point I had come to accept these rituals as part of life. I was, however, not happy about having to be gone from home for an extended time. When you are 15, 3 days can seem like a life time!

As we drove the 2 1/2 hours to Sioux City, much of the conversation revolved around my Uncle Danny. I had not seen him since I was 8 years old. He had gone off the so called beaten path. He did not choose to go to church, to be involved with a lot of the family after he moved to Iowa, so he was not always around. My aunt I was traveling with mentioned that he had gotten involved in an cult. She was not sure which one, how or their beliefs, but for a somewhat rural type family anything out of the norm such as a cult was just ghastly!

We arrived at a huge rambling older home. There were 6 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and many, many other rooms including a concrete basement that spanned half of the house below ground. As we arrived, many other family members were already there milling around. I was kind of surprised that for a single man, my uncle had lived in such a large house. My aunt that I came with explained that someone had left the home to him in their will, my uncle fell in love with it and kept it. He apparently only lived in about half of the house, keeping the other rooms closed off.

I was assigned to a bedroom on the top floor of the three story home for my stay, right near my aunt I had come with. We climbed the stairs to the bedrooms to freshen up before the wake.

While climbing the stairs with my aunt behind me, my leading the way I kept getting the shivers. I thought maybe the air conditioning was turned up, it was August and a humid and sweltering 89 degrees out doors. I told my aunt as we climbed that I was cold. She said I was just tired. I mentioned the air condition and was informed that the house did not have air conditioning as it was too old and my uncle really didn't see the need for such frivolous comforts.

We reached the top landing and I was directed to got 2 doors down on the right and I would be staying there, apparently other family members had been up to clean and air the rooms and halls because the place was immaculate and spelled faintly or lavender. My aunt indicated that there was a restroom directly across from where I would be sleeping. All of the doors on this floor were closed. I found that odd, but thought maybe family was occupying these rooms and had the doors closed to get ready for the services.

I picked up a bag in each hand and started down the hallway. My aunt informed she had forgotten something in the car and would be right back; she ascended the stairs leaving her two bags lying at the top of the stairs near the landing.

I was road weary and couldn't wait for a shower and a change of clothes. I looked up and there were 3 white shadows hovering in the middle of the hallway. 1 of the shadows had a human shape to it, the other 2 just a dense white fog. I blinked a couple of times, and then heard what sounded like wind chimes and they were gone. Poof! Gone!

I ran down the hall and entered my assigned room, closed the door and locked it. What the heck! My heart was beating so loudly I couldn't stand it. I sat down on the bed and tried to find logic in what I had just witnessed.

There was a soft knock on the door, thinking it was my aunt, I jumped up, turned the lock and opened the door. There was a man standing there smiling at me. He stated he had seen me run into the bed room and wanted to make sure I was okay. I asked who he was. He smiled very wide and warmly and stated that he was a related to my dad and he knew just who I was. We entered the bed room, leaving the door open and sat in chairs facing each other, and visited. He was very easy to talk to. He told me stories about my dad and my aunts and uncles as they grew up. I was very relaxed.

About an hour later my aunt was calling to me from the hallway, I stuck my head out the door to acknowledge her. She stated it was time to go to the funeral home for the services. I told her we would be right out. I turned back around and there was no one in the room! He was gone.

I ran out of the room, telling my aunt about my visitor, that he said he was related. When she asked how he was related, I realized I did not know, I had not asked. My aunt stated that the ride and the heat must have gotten to me because there was only one door out of the room and I had been in that door way, there was no where for a person to go in the room. I grabbed my purse and we headed down the stairs.

As we reached the landing to the second, a framed photo to the left reflected the sun and caught my attention. I stepped off the landing into the hallway and walked over to the picture. It was a photograph of the man I had been visiting with! I asked my aunt who the man was. She told me it was the uncle whose wake service we were going to be late for if I did not hurry up. She said they kept the photo there on the wall because the second floor was his favorite. I explained that was the man I had been talking to! She stood there and stared at me for a few seconds the chastised me for trying to upset her by telling a fib like that. I just remained quiet. I was dumbfounded.

I continued through the next couple days services kind of in a fog. Before we were to leave for our trip home, we had tea with some of my other relatives. They were discussing the sale of the house. One of my uncles who were involved in the conversation stated we would not be able to sell until all of that nonsense on the second floor was gone and burned. Well, now I HAD to know what was on the second floor.

I kind of slinked away from the gathering and went up to the second floor. I stopped at the photo, staring at it for just a moment, then (I am not sure if this was a trick of my eyes or not) the photo winked at me.

I moved down the hallway and opened the first door on the right. It was painted bright red with a single kneeler with a red cloth draped over the top in the middle of the room. The windows were completely covered with tin foil so no sun light was visible. I shut off the light, suppressed a shiver and closed the door.

I opened the next room's door; it was painted black with a single kneeler with a black cloth draped over it. Windows covered the same way as in the other room. I shut off the light and closed that door.

As I neared the third door, I could hear a murmur of voices behind the door. I thought well there is other family up here; I am not by myself going through this mysterious house alone. I opened the door and the room was pitch black, there were no lights on. The murmur of voices was still there, very low in the room. I reached over and flipped on the light. The room was again painted black, but there were 3 rows of chairs in the room, each with a black cloth draped over it. There were no pictures or a pulpit or anything, just the chairs. All of the sudden, the murmur of voices got more intense, like being inside a bee hive. I closed the door, forgetting to turn off the light. I ran down the stairs and asked my aunt if we could leave, now! She asked what was wrong. I told her nothing, I just wanted to go home.

We drove for quite some time in complete silence. My aunt then told me in a very no nonsense voice that I should not have went on to the second floor of the house, that it was bad manners to poke around without permission.

We have never spoken of that visit to Sioux City since then and rarely is my uncle mentioned.

What does all this mean? I have no idea, but... It was terrifying and has stuck with me over all these years.

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

DixieChick101 (4 stories) (53 posts)
15 years ago (2009-09-14)
This is by far one of the most interesting stories, I have read on here. It is a favorite of mine. Thank you for sharing. ~Dixie
KimSouthO (27 stories) (1960 posts)
16 years ago (2008-02-20)
I think you may be right. He left the rooms as they had been by the previous owner. I know he did not usually have much company, form the accounts of his neighbors and co-workers.

I should not let the rooms 'bother',e, and they really don't. They have, how ever, stayed in my mind. I think because of the oddity and because of all the stories surrounding them

I feel blessed that he and I visited. I really do not care what he was 'in to' when he was around according to my family. I know I had a wonderful relationship with him when I was young, and talking with him the way I did that day, it was a breath of fresh air.

God Bless!
Flutterofwings (13 stories) (428 posts)
16 years ago (2008-02-19)
[at] KimsouthO, now that you explained that your uncle inherited the house from a minister that the family, called a witch or demond. I think what may of occured here is that, your uncle just left the rooms the way they were when he got the place. Maybe he didn't want to disturb what ever may of been in those rooms. Or maybe he was afraid of the rooms, so stayed away from them, after he seen what was in the rooms.
I don't have the feeling he used them rooms at all.
But do have the feeling they were used for worship of some sorts.
Since your family said" witch or demon," that could explain the colors, demon black, witch red. Can't never tell.
But I do think your uncle came to visit with you, so you would know he was not this kind of person, that the gossip may of been about how he was, to just kind of discard him from the family.
I think I would just let this go, and not ponder why the rooms were the way they were, just think of the great visit you had with your uncle.
KimSouthO (27 stories) (1960 posts)
16 years ago (2008-02-19)
First of all, Thank you all for commenting!

I am not sure if he would have still visited with me had I recognized him or not, I did not know him well in the years preceeding his death, so, I am glad I got to know him then.

Thank you. I would agree, those rooms were set up for prayer of some type, with worship of some type in the room with several chairs, what type and kind, I have no idea 😁

you are right, why was no light let into these rooms? I am not sure, but... That part makes me un-easy. The choice of colors in the rooms makes me un-easy as well.

once again, you have hit on some very strong points. I know that as Danny and my fathers family were raised, they were raised Christian. As the rumors grew of the cult activity, as well as Danny de-nouncing Christianity, who knows what occured? At the point he made that declaration, that is when my fathers family decided to spend little, almost no time with him. The reminisicing was related to his younger years and the 'what went wrong' talks. I am not sure what religion (cult) it was said he was affiliated with. Now when I ask it is 'Don't speak ill of the dead' so...

I think so, whatever my uncle did or did not do in life, he took that time to comfort me and to out me at peace in the house. He also made the time to become re-aquaiinted with me. He kept up on all of us neices and nephews. After all of his belongings were removed, picture albums kept on his night stand near his bed had photos of all of us, some out dated, most not.

my family is very religious, but blindly so, if you know what I mean, They never question anything... Very od fashioned in their beliefs. I KNOW there were (and are) many fears of what occured in that house. Many, many. His one child (who did not attend services when he passed, my uncle and his mother did not marry, barley dated and did not spend any other time together after fdinding out she was expecting) has said the 'evil' was un-yielding. I do not believe that, but... To what extent was there... Presence...?

Chris B--
thank you for taking time to read and comment. I was TERRIFIED when I realized it was him!

I truly believe that if others had seen ot spoke to him-- they would NEVER admit it! That is simply not done. Others might think you are 'touched'!
The lavendar permeated, very lightly the entire 3rd floor of the house. I could not smell it on the 1st or 2nd floors.
According to bits and peices, the person my uncle inherited the home from was a 'minister'-- my fathers family all called him a witch or a demon.

Any of you who have read my stories or comments realize that I do not put all stock in colors. I do not think that all black is evil, all read danger or evil or all white good. I do. However, feel that in this case, these color choices were significant.

I do not know, how ever, I do know that when visiting with him, there was no anxiety on my part, no negatvie feelings, just family love, warmth and peace. I can not say for sure what I felt when I saw those rooms, but... I was terrified and I think that took over any and all other rational thoughts and feeling.

Thanks again, YGS family for being there

❤ ❤
ChrisB (6 stories) (1515 posts)
16 years ago (2008-02-19)
Wow now that was a great story. I almost saw everthing while I was reading. I was quite surprised when you were talking to your uncle who passed away. But for sure I wasn't as surprised as you were! I loved reading your story. I wish I could tell you what Happened but I just don't know how. Maybe He wanted to let your family know how much he loves you all. I hope to hear from you soon and take care
Bellissima (12 stories) (792 posts)
16 years ago (2008-02-18)
Hi Kim. The second floor sounds ominous! Your family must have had some negative thoughts about your uncle's life style to have shunned him. Do you think they knew the whole or true story? Maybe they frowned upon him because he didn't follow the same beliefs, I get the impression your family is very religious. It sounds like he was a really nice guy, you felt relaxed and comfortable. I think that says something important about him, especially since you are such a sensitive, receptive person in these matters. It's curious what the rooms were about but I don't think it even matters, it's lovely that you had the opportunity for a friendly, enjoyable visit. Maybe since the family disapproved of him, he wanted the chance to make an impression on someone with no preconceived ideas of him or how he lived. It might be better if you didn't know what the second floor was about, keep the good memory of your short visit a pleasant one. I really enjoyed this story, Kim. Thank you for sharing it.
mustang (5 stories) (749 posts)
16 years ago (2008-02-17)
Hi Kim. I think that your Uncle came to you to make up for lost time and to make sure you weren't scared. I wonder if he would have shown himself to you if he knew you would have recognized him like FRAWIN had asked? It seems like your Uncle was sweet and gentle. WB has it right in my eyes. For anyone to say what he did or didn't do, good or bad, unless they saw him do it, should not be saying anything negative about him. I don't know what to think about the rooms. That is strange. Who's to say what those rooms were actually used for unless they were there and used them theirselves. Thanks for sharing your experience, I enjoyed reading it.

rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
16 years ago (2008-02-16)
Actually,after reading Whitebuffalo's comment I think that...yes,without more facts, as she very well said, it would be unfair to make any type of speculations about a man who, even after his passing, cared enough to return so that he could have this intimate moment with you and somehow make up for the lost years. I feel quite bad for my previous associations between "light and darkness" and realise that life is far too complicated to be narrowed down to mere images. I meant no disrespect Kim, I hope you know that ❤
whitebuffalo (guest)
16 years ago (2008-02-16)
I forgot to mention, wouldn't it be wonderful to find out that the lavender scent was a gift of peace from your uncle to all who would enter his home at that time?
whitebuffalo (guest)
16 years ago (2008-02-16)
What is so sad, Kim, is that when people decide to delve into matters that are usually better left alone, they leave an imprint of the activity behind. It is not necessarily like a residual haunting, but it IS a FEEL to the place. Some of the material things may leave a bit of a bad taste in family members mouths, but without knowing what really went on, there is no way that any of us still here could judge them for it justly.
Uncle Danny may have been a minor member of a cult, but you described a man that many people would wish to have in their family. You talked about the shared love of family members and he reminisced on a time that, for him, was much sweeter. He was smiling and you obviously did not have any bad feelings about him, or you would not have let him in the room. You may never know what went on in those rooms, and for me, I would think that would be better. Sometimes when we think to deeply on something that we do not understand, it invades our very being and prevents us from being who we are. Who is to say that those rooms were set up like that when the home was willed to him? Perhaps he was paying homage to a deceased friend himself, by leaving a couple of rooms that he would not be needing just as he found them.
Without first hand accounts of witnesses stating that they saw him do this form of worship, I would be hard pressed to prove that he had. That really does not matter. What does, is that he came to you in peace and shared a wonderful "prewake" with you that you shall always remember. Not because of the frightening things that happened during that hour, but because of his gentleness.
Thank you.
rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
16 years ago (2008-02-16)
Fascinating story!
What makes me wonder though is, if he worshipped God, no matter how he named him, there would have been light in the rooms he used for praying(you know... God of love, God of light!).Darkness,and I don't mean any disrespect since it's only speculation, is associated with the "unholy". Could that be the case?Oh, too much literature in my blood, I don't know...
Flutterofwings (13 stories) (428 posts)
16 years ago (2008-02-16)
Wow now that was a good story for sure. Will go in my favorites as well too. Certainly seems he was praying for something in those rooms with the kneelers in them, what? I have no idea on this one.
Was that the only time you ever seen him?
FRAWIN (guest)
16 years ago (2008-02-16)
Hello Kim. WOW! I thought that I have had some strange experiences. This has completely blowed me out of the water. I wouldn't have any idea what the rooms were used for but you know for yourself whatever your uncle was involved in -worked.I know why he chose you to talk to but I'm wondering if he would have talked to you if he thought you would have recognised him?
Thanks for sharing this thought invoking story with us, it is definitely going into my favorites. Take Care and God Bless You.


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