As a very young child, I would often see ghosts wandering about the house and historical grounds of the large 19th century farmhouse in which my family lived. I would awake in the middle of the night to see them sitting beside my bed, and I would have screaming fits that brought my parents in to the room, often to spank me for poor behavior.
As I became older and began to understand what I was seeing, I grew quieter about the subject, hiding it from my mother who came from a long line of psychics and mediums. I didn't expect her to understand, despite her lineage and interest in the subject.
It wasn't until the birth of my sister when I was nearly 6 years old that I began to speak up about my experiences. My family murmured about my beautiful baby sister, murmured to each other that she obviously had "the gift," despite the family belief that the "gift" skipped a generation, or that it appeared in a pattern of strength, weakness, strength, weakness...
I knew then that what she had was impermanent, and it made me jealous that they believed they saw in her what I knew was in myself.
I remember one day in particular that my mother put my sister in her crib for a nap, and returned several minutes later to the sounds of the baby crying. When she and I came upon the nursery, we discovered that the firmly closed door was ajar, and that my sister was yet again snoring softly. What my mother did not know about the experience was that I saw a middle-aged woman sitting in the chair next to the crib.
When we moved into the house we had built further along the lane of the same property, it was apparent that the ghosts had a connection to the land, not just the previous house. I would see them more and more frequently; I even began hearing them by the time I was about 12.
When I was 13, I entered a phase of fascination with the American Civil war. I had antiques of the period lying about my bedroom, and I believe my avid interest may also have stirred long forgotten figures of the past. I began seeing soldiers, not only in my house, but outside the house. These events sparked memories of my experience of Gettysburg, a schooltrip taken when I was 10.
During that trip, we visited a battlefield, and the sounds of gunfire and yelling reverberating in my ears were too much for me to handle, and, with hands over my ears, begged my teacher to let me return to the school bus. Of course, this is another story to be explained at another time.
So when I began to see the apparitions around my own home, you can only imagine how frightening it was to me. One in particular appeared to me every night without fail, at the end of the hallway outside of my bedroom. It was a Northern soldier with a scraggly beard and hollowed (but not missing) eyes. Each night, he advanced closer, frightening me to the point where I was afraid to leave my room, night or day. It was in mid-afternoon one summer day that I opened my door, and there was the angry soldier, staring directly at me from less that a foot away. I ran screaming onto the porch, where I fainted at my father's feet. It was then that my mother knew I indeed had the gift.
Over the years in that house, members of my family and myself frequently saw a black cat darting up and down the stairs, a farm doctor we lovingly named Doc who would turn the television off when he felt the program was inappropriate, his wife who often comforted me during my times of distress, and many more, all stories for another day.
We are now living in a different house, full of paranormal activity that I shall write about in another post.