Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Pour Water for the Dead

The Missus was up and about this morning. I tend to notice her activity more when it's bright and cheery out. Contrary to the usual ghost stories of gloomy nights and darkened castles, our specter likes the day time sunshine and birdsong. See, our house is haunted. It's not a bad thing - but it can be a bit disconcerting, especially if you don't live here with them. They tend to show up when you least expect them to, scaring the crap out of you.

Our home is old - it was built in 1921. That makes it almost a hundred. The foundation was hand dug, and the stones they took out of the cellar became the walls. The body of the house is brick and mortar, with a skin of plaster. It looks old - my brother says it reminds him of a Stephen King novel. I like it here. The rooms are well proportioned, and the ceilings are high. It's not fancy inside - we've put a lot of the trim and decorations up to make it more elegant. But it had good bones to start with.

I began to notice the spirits immediately after moving in. Never mind the doors that opened and closed on their own, or the lights that came and went. No, it was the actual sighting of The Missus that made my hair stand up on end at first. That's what we call her, The Missus, as I suspect she's the wife of Dr. Jarvis, the man who built our house. Mrs. Jarvis had dementia, and after setting fire in six of the ten rooms, she succumbed to her bodily ills and passed away in one of the bedrooms upstairs. Dr. Jarvis lived here in the wreck and gloom, the porches falling off and the roof caving in until one of his sons moved him out for his own safety. It reminds me of a doomed love story - Jarvis so missed his wife, he choose to live in squalor, rather than leave the house he built her. But I think he knew The Missus was still wandering through the rooms, and so he kept company with a ghost.

We moved in four years ago - and the 'events' began almost immediately. Doors opening and closing, the lights going on and off upstairs (when we were all downstairs). Then the auditory events started. A woman's voice calling down the staircase, saying "help me!"  -- in the middle of the afternoon no less. The third floor seems particularly active. I always hear shuffling feet, doors opening, floors creaking and the occasional "Hello". People who stay with us report the same thing when they overnight on the third floor.

I was surprised when I first saw The Missus. She was standing in a nightgown at the second floor landing, her hair undone. She actually looked more startled than me. She gazed in amazement as I sallied by with the dogs in tow. I can only imagine how she must have felt -- a total stranger with animals in her house!

So now, when I pour water at my altars in the temple, I also pour for her. She's an ancestor of a kind. She lives here on our Lakou. She died here, so her spirit has a tie to this place. Her husband so loved her, he stayed behind to keep her company, until he couldn't be here any longer. If there is such a thing as 'eritaj land in the US, we're definitely living on it. 'eritaj land is the heritage of the family, the place they first stayed on, that tied them to a place. The Jarvises definitely were tied to this piece of property.

Our house is in the oldest section of Norristown, and has oodles of stories to go along with it. Not just with the Jarvises, but also historical events took place here. There is a marker just across the street, stating that Lafayette's army encamped here during the Revolution. That explains the military stuff that goes on all the time. We hear voices at night, men talking low. One time we heard a cannon fire - a cannon for heavens sake. The first time I heard that, I called the police to report it. They laughed at me, saying it was probably a truck. But there's always a lot of activity in the evening that is unrelated to The Missus - who as I mentioned above, likes to stroll around in the daytime.

In fact, I am writing this because she just goosed the dogs into a barking frenzy. Everyone was sleeping, and then Uriel jumped as if he had been touched. Then Bodhi startled, followed by Mignon on the other side of the room. So you will have to excuse me, but I need to go pour water and ask The Missus to leave the dogs alone. I have writing to do, and between her and the poochies, I can't concentrate. It's always something round the lakou.

No comments: