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SUBMITTED STORIES FROM THE AREA


September 9, 2007

My story begins approximately five years ago while my children and I were living in the small town of Sesser, Illinois, where I had gone to high school, married, had my children and then divorced 1998. As you read this, please keep in mind it is a conglomerate of all our experiences together, as told by me.

I was a single mother at the time and doing the best I could to raise two teenagers on my own while simultaneously working two jobs to try and pay the bills. Having married right out of high school I was also single for the first time in my adult life and was attempting to create a social life for myself so I admittedly did not spend as much time at home as I should have during those years. That left my children with too much freedom for their young age and my home became a magnet for every teen within a thirty mile radius.

One night in the summer of 2001, I am estimating in about June, I came home to find a group of boys, including my sixteen year old son, Bradley, sitting around a Quiji board placed on my kitchen table with candles burning all over the house. Unbelievably I scolded them only for burning candles in the house while they were home alone and did not concern myself at all about the fact that they were trying to contact the dead. In hindsight, the candles should have been the least of my worries.

Although I have always believed in and been fascinated by ghosts, spirits, the supernatural and the paranormal, I had no real fear about what séances, Quiji boards, etc. could bring about. Being a believer is much different than living through an actual experience.

While I was going around the house blowing out candles and picking up empty soda cans and candy wrappers, the kids were all talking at once, trying to tell me about all the different “spirits” they had conjured up throughout the evening. One was a young man named Sam who had been killed in a car accident, the kids all relating to me the gruesome details of his horrible death as had been told to them via the Quiji board. There were also a couple of other souls they had supposedly contacted that I don’t remember much about but I definitely remember one story they told me which occurred while two boys who had never been to our house prior to that night had control of the board and contacted someone identifying herself at first only as a female.

When the spirit was asked where she was. The answer: h-e-r-e. The next question was how she died: no response. Then they asked when she died: no response. Next they asked how old she was when she died: 16. They asked why she was here. Answer: s-i-s.

Now I will pause for a moment to tell you that at the time of this occurrence my daughter was fifteen years old, just about five months shy of her sixteenth birthday and was very typical of a girl her age in her taste of décor. Her room was done in yellow and blue daisies. They were all over the comforter, the wallpaper border, throw rugs and lamp –all matching. She also, very typically, kept every flower arrangement she had ever gotten and had them above her mirror on her dresser with the ribbons hanging down framing the mirror itself.

Because she was rather particular about her room and her things –the complete opposite of my son -she made a practice of locking her bedroom door when he had a house full of boys over so they wouldn’t be going through or messing up her things. This is a habit that caused much controversy and a little later you will see why.

Now, with that said, the next question the two boys asked of the mysterious guest was: “You’re here because of Bradley’s sister?” Answer: yes.

“Why?” Answer: f-l-o-w-e-r-s.

…as the story goes, just about this time my daughter comes home. She, like me, is very much a believer and is just as fascinated. So when her brother told her what had just happened it sent chills up her spine as she went down the hallway and unlocked her door so all the boys could see her room….filled with flowers.

Now they decided to test their guest. With the two newcomers still in control of the pointer, my son, without his hands on the board, does the questioning: “What number is repeated five times in my Social Security number?” Answer: 2. (Correct.) “What are the last four digits of my driver’s license number?” Answer: 4-6-3-1. (Correct.)

So after I arrived home and continued to pick up around the house and get ready for bed, I admit that I was only about half listening as my kids told me all of this. At this point in my life, I was much more concerned about how I was going to pay the electric bill that month than whether or not a ghost had just moved in with us –which, I believe, is exactly what happened.

Now things did not progress as you see in the movies. Nothing seemed any different after that night for many months. From what I have read throughout my research, it seems that interactive (or “intelligent”) spirits tend to get braver as time goes by as they realize the living can do them no real harm. So the summer and early fall of that year went by uneventfully –or at least unnoticed.

By late fall, however, I would wake up several times a week and notice that my daughter had gotten up in the middle of the night and moved to the sofa to sleep. Since the kid’s rooms were on the opposite end of the house, I didn’t think much of it and just wrote it off to separation anxiety since she has always been my clingy child and after the divorce this magnified immensely.

Then one morning in mid-November with the kids already off to school I was running late for work, as usual, and was rushing around trying to pack everything into my car. I was partially backed out of the driveway when I remembered my coffee mug was still lying on the kitchen table. Without pulling back into the garage, I got out of the car and rushed in the back door to retrieve it. When I flung open the door there was a girl standing in the middle of my kitchen with her back toward me looking toward the family room at the back of the house. She had long chestnut hair, the same color and almost the same length as my daughter’s. She was wearing a black ribbed-knit turtle neck sweater. I stopped dead in my tracks. She started to turn her head toward me –and disappeared. I did not get a good look at her face.

What happened next was like a bad cell phone commercial. I immediately called my sister at work from my cell after I got back in my car. “Hey, have you got a minute?”

“Yeah, what’s up?”

“I just saw a ghost in my kitchen!” I said more than a little excitedly.

“You just shot a goat in your kitchen?” (–bad connection.)

“No!!! I just saw a GHOST in my kitchen!”

From that moment on it has been like this huge puzzle that I cannot completely solve. I told the kids what happened and my daughter’s face turned completely white as she told her brother and me that the reason she had been sleeping on the sofa was because strange things had been going on in her room.

Twice she had woke to have a particular Mariah Carey CD playing in her CD player that she could have sworn was in its case when she went to bed. She would wake up with her alarm clock going off at odd hours of the night when she had set it to get up for school. The lamp by her bed would turn on or off by itself as would her television.

Now, whether the activity heightened or we all just became more aware of it, I will never know but since that day there have been too many strange occurrences to possibly go into as I do not have the time required to write a novel. I will try my best to give you the highlights:

My daughter was a cheerleader in high school and as I sat in the gym at Benton High School waiting for a game to start, my cell phone rang. “Home” came up on the caller id but when I answered it, no one was on the other end. I immediately dialed the number back but no one answered. As I had a slightly worried look on my face, my friend sitting next to me asked what was wrong. I told her my phone had just rung and it must be Bradley trying to get a hold of me because Jamie was out on the floor. She looked at me and said, “Diana, Bradley’s sitting right over there. He couldn’t have called you from the house.” After the game was over I gave the kids strict instructions not to go into the house until I got there. When we arrived, all the doors were locked. Nothing had been disturbed. I retrieved the call from my phone list and double checked it. It had been made from inside the house.

On another occasion, one of my son’s closest friends who lived just diagonally across from us came to the front door. He was a regular at our house and treated like a member of the family. This particular night Bradley was gone but that never stopped Kent from coming over to play videos, raid the fridge, etc. Jamie was decorating for the upcoming prom to be held at Benton Civic Center when her cell phone rang. It was Kent, “Hey, let me in!”

“In where, Kent? What are you talking about? I’m in Benton.”

“Very funny. I can see you through the window standing in the living room. Now let me in.”

“Kent, I am in Benton decorating for prom. No one’s home.” He ran home and locked his doors.

The next spring my daughter wanted, and got, a puppy –and my son hated it. Since he would always get home from school before her, instead of taking it outside and helping out his sister, it became his practice to put the puppy in her room and close the door. Of course, she usually had some surprises in her room when she got home, not to mention all the things it chewed up and destroyed. So she started locking her door before going to school. This caused all kinds of drama around the house, with him mad because she didn’t come home and her mad because he wouldn’t take the dog out …on and on. I told her to quit locking her door. It was her dog and she should take care of it.

One day I got a phone call as soon as he got home. “Mom, I can’t even watch TV in here because of this dog aggravating me and Jamie’s locked her door again so I can’t put it in her room.” We argued back and forth as most mother’s and teenage sons do until one of us finally hung up and I headed home. When I got there things were no better and the argument continued until Jamie finally arrived. I told her to go and unlock her door and that she was to come home after school and take care of her dog. She looked puzzled and said that she hadn’t locked her door as this had been an item of contention lately. Bradley, himself, walked back to her room and the door opened right up. It was never locked and he swore he had tried it several times.

In 2003 I remarried. My son, then eighteen moved in with his father for a few months and then took an apartment in Carbondale just a few blocks from campus. For him, it appears to be over.

As of now my daughter lives with us in West Frankfort and our female visitor is here as well. We have learned to live with things like the television turning on in the middle of the night, which could be explained by a crossing of another remote. Except that when it happens it is always between 3 and 3:30AM and the volume is always turned up as high as it will possibly go. Doors open and close by themselves and I don’t mean that they swing open or closed at a slow, creepy pace. You can actually hear the knob turn and the door to my husband’s and my bedroom will swing completely open until it hits the wall behind it. This has happened several times just after we have gone to bed.

My daughter’s door will slam shut with a fierce bang when there is no one even close to it. Then the next time you walk by it will be wide open.

My husband and some of his buddies were working in the garage one night and when I came in the house I heard water running in my bathroom. When I went in, the shower was on full blast –all hot water. It was like a steam bath in the room so apparently it had been running for a while. Our bathroom is in the very back of the house just off our bedroom so it is not used by anyone except us and as far as I know, there had been no one else in the house.

I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom one time and all the cabinet doors were open, under the sink as well as the six-door linen cabinet. Ten cabinet doors in all.

My husband came home just recently and heard a female voice coming from behind my daughter’s bedroom door. He tried the door but could not get in. When I came home, I opened it easily. It had not been locked.

Even though all these things have happened over the years, I must admit that they are getting fewer and farther between. It has been over two months since the last time we were sitting on the sofa and Jamie’s bedroom door slammed shut and it was at least two months before that when the unlocked bedroom door would not open for my husband.

From what I have read, when a young spirit attaches itself to a person of the same age, they begin to lessen their visits as the person matures and more or less outgrows them. Since my daughter is now approaching her twenty-second birthday and her young friend is still sixteen, I am assuming she is beginning to wander; possibly looking for someone now closer to her own age to hang around.

Everything I have written here today is true as well as my memory serves me. I have changed mine and my children’s names because posting something like this could cause future repercussions that they may not want to deal with.

I may sound calm and like I have just accepted all this. But this is not true. I am no longer terrified like I was in the beginning but I am not about to lead you to believe that it doesn’t rattle my nerves.

At this point, I am mostly curious and have so many questions that I am afraid will never be answered: Did a couple of teenage boys really conjure up the spirit of a young girl with a piece of plastic and some cardboard at my kitchen table? …I have no other explanation as to how she came to be with us. I would like to know who she is, what she wants, if there is anything I can do to help her find the peace that she so obviously does not have. I would like to know why some souls end up wandering around down here and some do not. Do they have a choice or is it something they did or the way they died? Did she have unfinished business or was she the victim of a horrible crime?

I have no way to communicate with her except to go once again to the Quiji board and I freely admit I am too afraid to ever do that. I have done all the other things that have been suggested: told her to go home….to go into the light…to go back to her family. (As crazy as it sounds, I felt a pang of guilt while saying these things.) I have told her that Jamie can never be her friend and she needs to go to where she belongs. I fear she does not know exactly where that is.

Above all, please know that I am not a lunatic. Productive feedback is welcome. If you don’t believe me then I will be under the assumption that you do not believe at all and that is your God-given right so I very much respect your opinion. But that doesn’t make this story any less true.

Submmitted by: D.C. in Illinois