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My Indian

 

I would like to begin this story with a bit of a disclaimer regarding the title and my use of the term "Indian" - I use it here as this story involves a dear friend of mine and it is the term used by her people and her perspective, I feel, is integral to the scenario. If the term is offensive to some readers, I do apologize, it is absolutely not intended as such.

I have worked as an artists' model for fourteen years - long before I went full freelance - my friend Anne was the first artist I had ever worked for privately... To be honest, the notion had never even crossed my 20 year old mind at the time and had it been any one other than her (a sweet faced woman my mother's age and even from the same region of North Carolina hill country as my mother's parents), the idea of going over to a veritable stranger's home to sit about attired in little more than a bedsheet while they drew or painted me (as opposed to a structured classroom setting) would have seemed truly alarming (amazing, how things normalize as you get more experience in a field -hah!).

I still remember the first evening I drove to her little house after getting off work for a planned sitting. Her home is in James City County in between the two historic former capital cities (Williamsburg and Jamestown) in a small older development whose name, as many, reflects the history Native American presence in the area. The house itself sits in a deep gully - so much so that on approaching from the street, all you can see of it is a mailbox at the street's edge until you look very closely and realize through the trees that from where you sit on the street you are well above the level of the roof. The driveway (much to my chagrin as, by that age, I had only been driving for mere months... I was a late bloomer in many things, driving being one of them) is pitched at about a 45 degree angle (I'm trying to be conservative with that estimate because, believe me, it feels far steeper) and of pebble gravel. All around, there are tall slim trees that wave in the breeze.

That evening, we had a lovely time, chatting and joking as she drew and making Coke-a-Cola floats. By the time it was time for me to go, it was around 9:30 in the evening and darkness had fallen. Heading out the door, I was already keenly dreading having to navigate that driveway with my fledging driving skills...backwards...up the rutted gravel hill... In the dark. So I tried to dismiss the jarringly foreboding feeling of being steadily watched as I flounced out the door from an evening happily spent. Just the same, it felt like being splashed full in the face with a bucket of cold water so grave was the change in feelings between inside and out. I made my way to the car with my eyes cautiously trained on the woods to my right - fearful of what I might see as I just knew that whatever it was, it was watching me from those woods... The woods that surrounded and seemed to all but swallow up the little house in the pit of the gully. Every footfall in the gravel seemed to shatter the silence. I was holding my breath, my hand trembling when I finally reached my car door, yanked it open, hopped inside, slammed and locked the door, flicked it on and filled the drive at least with the comforting glow of my headlights. Sitting there for a moment, I thought how silly I was to have let my anxiety surrounding the reverse journey up the precipitous drive get my goat like that. Resolutely, I put my little coupe in reverse and carefully powered up the dark drive and away towards the comfort of street lights and civilization.

Everything in me wanted to chalk the feeling up to anxiety about reversing up that crazy driveway; and yet, every time I went back, the feeling was just as strong and just as frightening as I left her door in the dark. You would think that I would, over time, develop some degree of confidence reversing up that hill and those fears would subside and, I did feel far more confident every time, soon as my car door closed shutting me in and away from the eyes in those woods. The fearful feeling only existed in the space between her front door and my car and subsided the moment I was inside my locked car. I returned to Anne's house that fall, winter, and spring almost once per week. And though our sessions slowed a bit, we continued to meet not just for art's sake but to hang out as friends many times over the years. The feeling leaving her home never changed. Something was in those woods. Something was out there watching. Something strong. Something very powerful.

One weekend, I stayed with her as I was working with several photographers in the area and, though my home is within an hour of Williamsburg, it still was far more convenient to stay with her so that I didn't have to get up at four in the morning to get ready and then get to my morning shoots - and it gave us an excuse to have a sleepover and watch movies we'd been meaning to get to for months. This was my first time sleeping in that little house - it really is a charming place filled to the gills with her lovely art and artifacts from her life. The guest room is in the second story loft with an attached full bathroom. Sometime around ten, I made my way upstairs to get ready for bed. After finishing my evening routine, my head hit the pillow and I started trying for sleep as I tend to have a hard time getting to sleep away from home but knew that I needed to get at it if I was going to look my best in the morning. As I laid there, I began to hear footsteps. Mind you, the window was open but she lives in a fairly rural area - I even got up and looked - there was a floodlight that stayed on all night so the visibility was pretty good and there was no one and nothing out there. In fact, it was far quieter than one would expect a country night to be - no chirping bugs or rustling of critters... Just the footsteps, very measured, very clearly human footsteps circling the yard. I could hear them coming so close to the house below the window that it would have been impossible for me not to have seen whoever was making those footsteps. After gazing into the half dark for almost thirty minutes trying to puzzle out those footsteps, I finally closed the window and gave it up. With a sense of unease just like what I felt going out that door in the dark to my car, I laid my head on the pillow and finally managed to sleep.

The next night, started the same way - the weather was too cool for the air conditioner but too warm to be fully comfortable without the windows open. So, with my fingers crossed, I opened the window and got in bed... And there they were again... The footsteps. Around and around the yard - this time pausing beneath the window now and then as if to look up. I couldn't take it, I hopped up and slammed the window shut. Getting back in bed feeling more than a bit uneasy, I laid there staring at the ceiling praying for sleep to come before anything else happened. No such luck. Within minutes, the footsteps were back... And now, they were inside my room. The circled the bed, went into the bathroom, I could hear rustling in there, then they came back out again and roamed the room again. I laid there positively petrified - they circled and circled now and then pausing, now and then rustling something here or there. Finally, I had reached the end of my courage, rolled over and flicked on the lights. Of course, there was nothing there and nothing amiss. I slept with the light on for the rest of the night.

The next morning, over coffee, I finally came clean to Anne about the footsteps and the feeling of being watched in the drive. She smiled and laughed "That's my Indian!"...What?!?!? Evidently, when she first moved in, she had experienced some of the same things (and continued to occasionally) - eventually, she had an acquaintance over who was a psychic - she told her that a Native American was buried somewhere on her property. He was not of a local tribe but had travelled from his home land only to meet with death in this place. She didn't know what tribe he was from or where - she couldn't get that much detail as he wasn't too keen on communicating with her - but she said he "hung out" most often in the corner of her guest room and roamed the woods. I can't say knowing what had been disturbing my sleep made me feel much better about the whole thing.

Several months later, she was kind enough to put my husband up as he had to work an event nearby. I didn't tell him about her permanent house guest - I didn't want to spook him and we live next to a mass grave anyway so I figured it wasn't anything he couldn't handle. When he returned Sunday night, he had a story of his own. Not only had he sensed a presence in the corner and heard the footsteps circling his bed but the light in the bathroom had flicked on and off all night and the taps had turned on and off on their own at least twice.

Anne and I are friends to this day. Needless to say, I don't tend to spend the night there all that often!

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by yourghoststories.com. Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, AugustaM, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

The_Lost_Voyage_11 (2 stories) (31 posts)
 
3 weeks ago (2020-11-07)
Hi Augusta, great story, thanks for sharing! As I'm understanding it, the feelings of anxiety and of being watched only occurred after nightfall, did you ever experience anything in that driveway or from the woods in the daylight? I pose the same question regarding the guest room? Territoriality is the word that comes to mind in terms of this spirits presence around you. Not a threatening presence surely since you frequented the home and property and were friends with the owner, but nonetheless you were a stranger on a stretch of land he considered his own, which seems confirmed by his 'response' when you closed the window on him. What happened next I can believe would be unnerving!
AugustaM (6 stories) (981 posts)
+2
3 weeks ago (2020-11-06)
I don't know that Anne knows much about crossing over ceremonies or if one done by someone outside of his culture would even be truly effective. Who knows if he could even understand her words... They seem to coexist rather nicely, though - she respects his presence and seems to like knowing there's someone else there with her.
Sleeping-with-steve (8 stories) (462 posts)
+2
3 weeks ago (2020-11-03)
Hello AugustaM,
I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post. More so, I found your reply to Lady-Glow, Melda, Rex-T, and Tweed informative.

Like Rex-T said, here in Australia our indigenous have so much respect for their land and people. We have to understand they were here before settlers and respect them in return, which we do.

Your Native American spirit has obviously made Anne's home his home and see's it as being his land still. Anne doesn't seem to mind so it seems to work for both of them.

I would be scared out of my socks sleeping in that spare room. As much as I've become braver in my old age when I see a spirit, I still have moments when I get scared.

Has Anne tried asking her Native American spirit how she can help him? Or maybe guide him to the next realm?

Thanks again for sharing your experience, it's very well expressed and detailed.

Best wishes,
SWS 😘 ❤
LightMight (3 stories) (74 posts)
+2
3 weeks ago (2020-11-02)
Thank you for the fascinating history lesson, Augusta 😉 keep us posted if anything new transpires on Anne's property!
AugustaM (6 stories) (981 posts)
+4
3 weeks ago (2020-11-02)
Thanks for providing that blurb, LightMight, I tried posting a link to an article so folks could read up but it was too long. It's easy to take a thing for granted or as "common knowledge" when you grow up around it:-)
LightMight (3 stories) (74 posts)
+4
3 weeks ago (2020-11-02)
Some Native American groups sent their sons to be educated in Williamsburg because they wanted to maintain good relations with the colony. Through the deerskin trade, the English colonists provided them with weapons, cloth, and other goods and materials that the Indians could not make themselves. The Indians wanted envoys who could speak English and understand the colonists' culture. Initially, many of the students at William & Mary's Indian School were purchased from frontier traders, or sent to Williamsburg as diplomatic hostages to ensure peace with potentially hostile tribes.

The Virginia colonists tried several strategies for recruiting Indian boys. Governor Nicholson instructed colonists who traded with Indian tribes to look for suitable Indian students. Later, Virginia officials negotiating treaties with Indian tribes such as the Tuscarora, Chickahominy and Catawba tried to convince the native leaders to send boys to the school. Students came from both local "tributary" tribes - such as the Pamunkey, Chickahominy, and Nansemond who lived fairly close to Williamsburg and paid tribute to the colony - and more distant tribes, including the Catawba in North Carolina, the Cherokee in the southern Appalachian mountains, and the Delaware and Wyandot of the Ohio River Valley. Enrollment reached a height of 24 students in 1712, but declined to eight in 1754 and stayed at about that level until the school closed.
Lealeigh (5 stories) (502 posts)
+3
3 weeks ago (2020-11-01)
Hi Augusta!

Great story. You write very well. I grew up in the woods in North Georgia and, in and around my town, there were a few burial mounds from Creek Indian tribes. These were discovered as the town grew and trees were cut down. About twenty years ago, they built a Super Wal-Mart and found a mound. Hundreds of people in the area protested its destruction and what ended up happening was that the developers of the lot built a white fence around it and erected a memorial plaque to tell people what was there. The mound is in between the Wal-Mart parking-lot and the bank.

I'm rambling. I grew up there before the town became a city. As a young teenager, I used to walk to my friend's house alone and I usually heard footsteps with me. It was almost always day-time when I walked. Hearing footsteps in the day was enough to ensure that I always left my friend's house before dusk.

In my feelings, I always connected the footsteps with a Native American - even though it was before they started finding mounds in the area. I don't think I ever felt like anything was going to "get" me; but it was watchful.

I can relate to your story - thank you for sharing it.

- Maria

Also, I think that artists are like beacons in the night to spirits. Maybe spirits hang around where their activities can be noticed. Artists see the world in many different ways.
AugustaM (6 stories) (981 posts)
+6
3 weeks ago (2020-11-01)
Lady-glow - thank heavens, NO! Ha ha ha definitely NOT stick lol oh boy, the very idea of operating a stick shift on a healthy slope is probably more frightening to me than the resident ghost ever was 😆 I do hope the man is not troubled as well... He frightens but doesn't threaten so at least, I don't suppose he is angry or vengeful.

Rex-T - I have heard that Anne's (adult) daughter isn't super keen on staying in that room. I don't know off the top of my head whether any other men have been interfered with on their stays.

Melda - Yup, having seen a full bodied apparition traipsing through the woods likely would have scared me off for good or at least had me dialing 911! And don't worry, your questions are in no way silly!
I get what you mean by his possibly having felt insulted by my closing the window - that makes sense. Maybe he was "showing me" that a mere window was no barrier to him.
I am assuming that the Native American on her property was inhumed sometime between 1607 (Jamestown's founding when the English landed there) and 1780 (when the Indian school closed and capital moved to Richmond). Jamestown served as the first capitol then in 1699, Williamsburg was made the capitol with one of the more established "roads" in the colony going between the two of them. Constructed to face this road in 1700 was an Indian School located on the campus of William and Mary. The school took in male students from many regions including individuals from the Nottoway, the Cherokee, the Delaware, Nansemond, Meherrin, Tuscarora, Tutelo, Saponi, Weyanock, Pamunkey and many others. Her home is right along that road between the two colonial capitols. Given that location, it is possible that a displaced Native American man could be there do to a connection with the school.
However, Native American presence in the area didn't begin in 1607, of course - their villages, hunting grounds, trade routes, contested territories etc were spread across the area since time immemorial and her "roommate" could just as easily have dated from that time.
Footwear for Native Americans in the region was typically soft soled - made from materials like tanned leather. The footsteps were over grass littered with crunchy leaves, mulch, gravel and wooden decking.
I think he may well guard the little gully.

Tweed - that is quite a coincidence! Maybe the creative energy of artists attracts entities?
And yes, the circling behavior was a bit off putting but perhaps, he didn't mean it that way?
I wish I had more information on the experiences of other men in the space but she doesn't have many male guests to stay.

Something else possibly of note is the presence of running water - given that the house is in a fully within a mile or so of the river, there is a little creek at the bottom. In addition, she has more trouble than anyone I know with burst pipes, water leaks and flooding from interior sources.
LightMight (3 stories) (74 posts)
+4
3 weeks ago (2020-11-01)
Hi Augusta,

Great story! I had a little chuckle when I first started reading your story because it reminded me of something my mother would say whenever she heard the term Indian being used as a reference to her heritage. She knew there was no harm meant in the word, but she would smile cheekily and say, " Why do they call me indian, I wasn't born in India" - she had a funny way of pointing things out to people...

Regarding the information that the psychic told your friend about a Native American being buried on the property, and assuming that this spirit was one in the same, I wonder if the spirit was once a Native American slave? Maybe he was enslaved on the property, or possibly he escaped to the wooded land nearby? It wasn't unheard of for tribes to trade slaves with european colonists, and other tribes - sadly, it was a custom used back in early America. By mentioning this, I am not trying to offend any particular race of people, I'm just stating facts based on American history...

Do you know if your friend has researched much about her property or surrounding area?

Thanks, LightMight
Tweed (28 stories) (2327 posts)
+3
3 weeks ago (2020-11-01)
Forgot to ask, do you know if men who stay there get more of a hard time? Wonder if gender is important to this spirit for some reason. Or maybe your poor husband just got on his nerves lol.
Tweed (28 stories) (2327 posts)
+3
3 weeks ago (2020-11-01)
Augusta, this really struck a chord. I used to study still life and my teacher had a ghost hang out in her spare room too, doing pretty much the same stuff as this one did, minus the taps and outside activity. I never stayed at her home but I got to know her family pretty well, we remained friends for years, her ghostie didn't like anyone staying in her spare room either. Maybe there's something to be said for sniffing too much paint, really brings out the protective spirits!

The circling/closing in, finally inside the room, reminded me of predatory behaviour, as in an ambush hunter exercising stealth before the strike. Yet here the behaviour seemed cautious, curious, not necessarily threatening. Although I'd have been too afraid to sleep in that room! Very interesting spirit by the sounds of it.
Had the same thoughts as Melda regarding him taking on some kind of guardian role for that area.

Thanks for sharing. Artists be haunted! 😳
Melda (10 stories) (1338 posts)
+4
3 weeks ago (2020-11-01)
Augusta - Certainly enough to scare the living daylights out of anybody.

Considering the fact that you always felt uneasy when walking to and from your car, If you had seen the spirit of this man watching you, do you think you would have returned to Anne's house?

Then the footsteps progressing to inside the room? That is scary stuff, way too close! Outside is one thing but inside will definitely press my adrenaline and fear buttons! Perhaps he felt insulted when you closed the window 😕. After all, that bedroom was one of his "hang-out" areas.

Do you have any idea when this Native American man would have joined the tribe which inhabited the area at the time? I realise we would be talking many, many years back. Anne's house obviously stands in close vicinity to where this tribe once lived and as you mentioned this man was buried on her property, probably along with a number of others.

If I ask questions which come across as ignorant, please exercise a little patience. Being South African and never having researched the indigenous tribes of America, I have limited knowledge on the subject.

As far as hearing the footsteps is concerned, did you hear these on a porch, grass, leaves - or which surface would he have been treading? As far as my limited knowledge goes he probably would not have been wearing boots or shoes - or is it possible that he did?

I think there's a likelihood that he became a self-appointed guardian of the portion of land which includes Anne's house. Just a thought.

Your poor unsuspecting husband, off he went without an inkling of the entertainment awaiting him!

A very interesting account Augusta.

Regards, Melda
Rex-T (5 stories) (276 posts)
+5
3 weeks ago (2020-11-01)
Augusta,

Firstly, I've got to tell you that after driving for 40 years, the prospect of backing up or down any kind of driveway still scares the daylights out of me.

Your friend's explanation of the Native American's fate filled me with sadness. To meet your end in a strange land, far from family and one's own people is bad enough, but to then be stuck walking this land in the afterlife is difficult to comprehend.

Our own indigenous people have ties to their land - they are the land and the land is them. If the Native Americans have similar links... Well this is sad indeed. I'm hoping that one day his spirit can be released and find peace.

Interesting that your hubby received, what appears to be more "attention". I wonder if everyone that stays in the spare room gets a visit.

Stay safe.

Rex-T
lady-glow (13 stories) (2734 posts)
+4
3 weeks ago (2020-11-01)
I hope your car wasn't stick shift!

Hi Augusta.

Fascinating and very well written experience. The spirit behaved like a real gentleman by "not" disturbing the lady's sleep but being more active when your husband spent the night there.
Such a mysterious presence, hopefully not a troubled one.

Thanks for sharing this great story with us.

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