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Posts Tagged ‘old houses’

Owning a bed and breakfast joint may seem glamorous to some, like a lot of work to others, and downright stupid to another group. Let me tell you, it’s all of those things.

Inn sign

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I live in Vicksburg, Mississippi, a river town with a colorful and violent history. For 47 days Vicksburg was under siege by the Federal Army, completely surrounded and cut off from the outside world. Many people lost their lives fighting for a cause they believed in. (more…)

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caspar-ghost

Photo courtesy Google Images.

When we first bought the Baer-Williams House, the previous owner told us some fantastic tales about “ghostly happenings,” that allegedly occurred in the home. Keep in mind, I’m a skeptic so I simply smiled and silently said, “Okay.”

The previous owner, bought the house in 2005, after his home in New Orleans was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. He’d always loved old houses and always wanted to run a bed & breakfast. (more…)

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abandoned-houseHouses have souls. I’m sure of it. Have you ever noticed that a house starts to deteriorate when it is no longer occupied? Why is that? I believe it’s because when humans move out, the house loses it soul. Without a soul, it dies. (more…)

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Photo courtesy Google Images.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

So, I live in an old house. As old houses go, mine’s pretty cool. But, I’ve discovered that if you have an old house, especially in the south, you have to have a ghost. So, naturally, we have a ghost (or 2 or 3 if rumor is to be believed).

According to the “experts,” (http://paranormalistics.blogspot.com/p/types-of-ghosts-and-spirits.html) a ghost is nothing more than: “the energy of a person or animals soul that once lived.” Okay. It makes sense that we’d have a ghost then since people did live in this house.

According to the same site, “There are multiple reasons why ghosts make themselves known to us and how they interact with the living is usually determined by what personality characteristics they had when they where alive.” Cool.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

So, what does that say about our ghost(s)? Nobody has actually seen a ghost in his house, but many have captured shadowy figures in their photographs, or so they say. I’ve taken lots of pictures and I got zilch, nadda, zip. But, I’ve learned that there’s many different ways to be “haunted.” This was news to me. Apparently ghosts make their presence known in several ways.

http://www.ghostsandgravestones.com/types-of-ghosts.php explains it like this: “Many of us have weird sensations about seeing shadows or shapes out of the corner of our eye, only for it to disappear when we turn to look. And while you may be one of those people who are not afraid of such a paranormal experience, did you ever stop and wonder just what kind of ghostly apparition you encountered? Maybe, like most folks, you didn’t even consider that there could be different kinds of ghosts out there.” (Me, me – raising hand.) “But the fact is, experts in the field have put together a list and definitions of the types of supernatural phenomena that exist and it may come in handy, especially if you’re headed out on a Ghosts & Gravestones Tour.” (Or perhaps the Haunted Vicksburg Tour.)

1. The Interactive Personality – The most common of all ghosts spotted are usually those of a deceased person, someone you know, a family member or perhaps even a historical figure. These ghosts can be friendly or not . . . ” (I vote for friendly) “- but often show themselves to others in a variety of ways. They can become visible; they can speak or make noises, touch you or even emit an odor like perfume or cigar smoke, etc, to let you know they are there. Experts say that this type of ghost retains its former personality of when they were alive and can feel emotions. And often, they are visiting you to comfort you or let you know something important.”

Aww, I feel so comforted. Or maybe I’m just missing something. Something . . . important. Hmmmm.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

So, to recap, there are the filmy white apparitions seen by the naked eye. There are “vortex” ghosts who freeze people out of a sound sleep. There are the “smelly” ghosts, who like to scare people away by filling a space with fragrance of some kind. And then there’s our ghost – the kind that most often “materializes,” in an auditory form.

Here’s how http://www.ghoststudy.com/types.html explains our most common type of “haunting”: “CLAIRAUDIENCE: the ability of hearing the paranormal as opposed to seeing it.”

Ah. Now, I have heard things. Unexplainable things. And others have, too. So . . . perhaps we are “haunted?”

Again, quoting from the paranormalistics blog, “Ghosts were once human, just like you and I. It is believed that you keep your personality characteristics when you die. For example, if you where an evil person in life, you will be the same as a ghost. Mean spirited ghosts usually torment the living at haunted locations, feeding off the victims fear energy. The same goes for good people. If you were a loving person in life, you will be a loving ghost. Good spirited ghosts are usually very protective of families that live in haunted locations. Remember not all ghosts are bad.”

So, if I’ve done my deducting correctly, we have a friendly, even loving, and protective ghost. Probably a family member who once lived in the home. Here’s why I think it was a family member:

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

http://www.angelsghosts.com/family_ghosts says this about family ghosts: “Family ghosts may best be defined as spirits of deceased humans, as well as animals,” (more on this below) “that remain around certain families for a particular function . . . who still care for the family in his or her own way, in a sense, acting as an angel or guardian over the family. And the ways they might find to interact with the living is fascinating . . . Family ghosts are commonly believed to also make themselves knows through use of strange sounds (the hoot of an owl, the sound of a dog, a bird against a window, etc.). Some ghosts of families are said to make everyone aware of them by the cracking of pottery or dishes!” (Or an expensive chandelier, like the sound I heard? Hmmmm.)

So, there you go. We have a friendly family music-loving ghost. Lots of guests report hearing music. Happy music like perhaps from a party. Perhaps a ball? Some have heard the jingling of a dog’s collar. Some hear dripping water (not that that’s particularly happy).

That’s right, it’s not just people sounds. Remember above I mentioned the jingling of a dog’s collar?

Here’s what I unearthed about animal spirits: According to http://listverse.com/2013/03/27/10-little-known-mysterious-ghost-types/, “Animal ghosts make their presence felt not just in manifestations, but also sound and smell. It is not unusual for a person experiencing a haunting which includes animal ghosts to hear the pitter patter of the invisible animal, or whimpering, panting and scratching on the walls and doors.” Add to that list, the shaking of the head so that a collar and metal tags jingle merrily. Could we also have an animal spirit hanging around?

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

So, why are we experiencing paranormal activity but the neighbors aren’t? Here’s what the paranormalistics think: “An area can become haunted for many reasons, not just untimely deaths or tragic accidents. Sometimes an area can become haunted because it was the favorite place of a person who has passed. People do not have to die at a location for it to become haunted and it can technically happen anywhere. The architecture of a structure, the minerals in the land, underground springs and other water sources can have a major factor as well. For example, you should never build structures on top of limestone or water tables, because limestone retains energy and water is a conductor of energy. This belief dates back over 5000 years in ancient China and other areas in the region.”

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Okay. There you go. We have at least 2 cisterns below the house previously used for water collection. Hmmmm. Are we a conducting ground for paranormal activity? Could be.

Stay tuned for Part Two next week. Maybe after hearing a little more about the history of the Baer House, we can discover the whos and the whys. Until then dear readers, have you ever experienced a “haunting?” Did you know there are different types of ghosts? Is your house built on a limestone foundation? Inquiring minds want to know.

Word of the Day: Panoply

Fun fact about me: I’m glad we’re out of pumpkin season.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, November 2015.

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American Author, Ernest Hemingway (1989-1961) once said: “All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse, and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was.”

Photo courtesy Google images

Photo courtesy Google images

While I’ve never pondered my book reading in such a way before, I can surely see how that statement is true. Oft times I have finished a book and felt anxious, tired, surprised, happy, or whatever the main characters were feeling. How many times I have finished a book and wanted immediately to get my hands on the sequel because I needed to know if certain characters were going to get together, or solve some deep-rooted problem?

I’ve given this quote a lot of thought lately with regard to my own writing. I wonder if I’ve managed to capture and keep interest in my story. So, I’m conducting a test. Immediately below is an excerpt from my latest WIP. It’s the conclusion of chapter two of my manuscript entitled “The Ties That Bind.”

Photo courtesy Google images

Photo courtesy Google images

Shiloh blew out a breath. The air puffed out into a white vapor that wafted upward. She pulled the hood of her jacket over her head to keep her ears warm. She’d freeze to death down here if she didn’t work fast.

Shining the flashlight’s beam in a slow circle, she located the breaker box behind the wooden stairs. She stepped around a few boxes of tools, discarded machinery parts and cans of paint. With icy fingers, she fumbled with the latch on the box’s metal cover. It wouldn’t budge.

Flooded with disappointment and a growing sense of urgency, she lowered the light to her feet and squatted down to examine the contents of the boxes. She rummaged through greasy tools and jars of nails and screws until she located something that might help her win the battle with the latch. With a somewhat oily screwdriver in hand, she attempted to unlatch the cover again. She grunted with each effort until the latch scraped upward with a screech.

“Finally.”

When the metal box cover swung outward she shined the flashlight onto the breaker switches and squinted. They all looked the same. Was it possible that every breaker could have tripped at the same time? The floor creaked overhead. She held her breath and shot her eyes upward. Nothing but darkness was visible beyond the radius of the flashlight’s beam. Damned old houses!

She focused again on the breaker box and randomly flipped switches from side to side. Nothing happened. The floor creaked again and she stilled. A flash of white zipped across the opening in the ceiling. Shiloh held her breath then blinked a few times. Maybe she’d been staring at the flashlight too long and her eyes were playing tricks on her. Or maybe the storm had intensified and lightning had flashed.

With a grunt she flipped more switches, cursing softly when nothing changed. Panic was starting to set in. By now it would be too late to drive to Twisted Fork.

Photo courtesy Google images

Photo courtesy Google images

Abandoning her efforts at the breaker box, she instead picked her way across boxes and plastic tubs of ancient holiday decorations toward the furnace against the adjacent wall. She could light candles for light, but without heat she’d have little chance of surviving through the night if the temperature kept dropping.

She lifted off the bottom grill portion of the furnace. After setting the flashlight on the floor she aimed the beam on to the pilot light and groped around on the floor for the metal box with matches her father always kept nearby. The faint smell of kerosene struck a chord of familiarity. She remembered her father smelling of kerosene on the drafty nights he’d come down here to re-light the pilot light of this old ornery furnace. This new wave of nostalgia brought fresh tears to her eyes.

Now is not the time to reminisce. Find the damn matches and get upstairs!

As she lifted the lid of the matchbox, a bright ray of light switched on behind her, followed immediately by the commanding words of a man who obviously meant business.

“Don’t. Move. A Muscle.”

So tell me dear readers – does this leave you with any feelings? Do you feel as if this has truly happened to you? Do you want to know what’s going to happen next? Have I managed to capture Hemingway’s sentiment about good books? I look forward to your comments. Go ahead, be honest. I expect nothing less from my friends.

Word of the day:  Bezique

Fun fact about me:  I love sour candy.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt (June 2013)  Photos courtesy of Google Images

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