Thursday, October 20, 2005

"Ghost Hunters" and my own experience

I've been watching "Ghost Hunters" on Sci-fi while working on knitting Christmas presents off and on today. I've got two more dishcloths done! (Yay!) I'd post pictures but I don't want recipients to possibly see them. Anyway, as I've been watching "Ghost Hunters," I got to thinking of a few incidents I experienced when I was in the Carolinas this summer. Haven't really told anyone about them, but I figured I should take the opportunity to write them down somewhere and this seemed as good as any. To preface, I've been going to historic properties all my life, from darn-near everything in Washington, DC and the surrounding area, to Gettysburg, to Oak Alley in New Orleans and a whole mess of places in between. Never felt or seen a thing in any of those places that I can remember. Although at Gettysburg, because I was in charge of picking hotels on that trip (when I was 11), I made sure we slept several miles away from all the action, outside Tarrytown... I'd heard the ghost stories and I *did not* want to chance it. Did the same thing in Concord, Mass (when I was 14) when we stayed at an inn older than the United States that was reputed to have several ghosts... I made sure my mom told the concierge when making reservations that we didn't want a room anywhere near where ghost activity had been known to occur. So I've purposely avoided ghostly activity pretty much all my life...

The first incident this summer was at the Borough House in Stateburg, SC in "Aunt Rinda's House." The older part of the house is one of the oldest buildings on the property. Only the main part of the big house is older from what I understand (?). Also from what I think I remember from stories of the property, it used to be the home of the kitchen slaves for the big house, and Aunt Rinda was either born a slave or within a few decades after the Civil War on the plantation, she took care of the family's children and worked and lived in the house that bears her name and died there in the first half of the 20th century. Please, correct me if I'm wrong. Now, I didn't know all of this going in. All I knew was that it was an old house called "Aunt Rinda's" and Aunt Rinda had lived, and probably, died there, and I knew some about the structure (which I think is *so cool!*). I went to visit and was given what I later found out was Aunt Rinda's room. Early in the evening, I went to go sit in the small parlor room, which was a part of the old kitchen, I think, and I got a strong feeling that I shouldn't go in that room, that I wasn't welcome, almost as if something was trying to bar me from it. Then, when I went to go to bed that night, I was preparing for bed and I started to get an uneasy feeling everytime I passed her door. There are two bedrooms on that floor and the other didn't cause that feeling. I told myself this was silly and I needed to chill, and went to turn the lights off, got in bed, and within minutes the uneasy feeling had grown to the sensation of being watched and I ran across the small room to turn the lights on again. I was, of course, the only person in the room, but I couldn't bring myself to turn them off again and fell asleep several hours later after reading and praying that no bad things would happen. I woke early the next morning, when Jason knocked on my door. By then, the light from outside was illuminating the room enough that I felt comfortable turning the light off and went back to sleep until breakfast was ready, if I remember correctly. I really wanted to chalk up the whole thing to sleeping in a new place, but I'd never reacted to sleeping in a new place like that before.

We left to go up to NC to where my younger siblings live for two weeks and then came back. I slept in the same room again, and although I still felt like I was being watched, the feeling I was getting wasn't causing me to be afraid and I was able to sleep with the light off without any problem. The next morning as Jason was making us breakfast, he asked how I had slept the night before. I said, "Fine." And I'm pretty sure that the conversation went something like this... He said, "You know, that was Aunt Rinda's room you slept in." "Oh really?" "Yeah, you know, she's still here." "What?" "Oh, yeah, both me and McKenzie have heard her walking around up there." I think I kinda blinked at him, like, "And I slept in there?" Then he said, "I've been in bed at night and heard her puttering around in there, or I'll be down here and hear her upstairs. I usually just tell her that it's late and to go to bed and the sounds will stop. But I haven't heard anything since we got the cats." I think Susan came downstairs at that point and that discussion stopped, but about an hour later while I was taking photographs outside, Jason brought me an old photo album and showed me a picture of Aunt Rinda. She looked like a very nice older woman, very caring, and she was cooking over an old cast-iron stove, I think. The look she was giving the camera struck me as a little funny, like she must have had a good sense of humor. He also showed me a picture of what the house looked like when she was still alive too. It's changed a lot. I was surprised at how much. After getting home, I wondered if my little sisters, who sleep in that room when they are there, have ever seen or felt anything. I doubt it, but I'd be interested to find out.

Then, before that day, when I was in Charlotte at the Rosedale Plantation, I got some creepy feelings. Funny enough, it was not when I was on the back porch where the tour guide said the possible haunting was. It happened twice. The first time was when we were walking from the master bedroom on the first floor up the stairs to the loft where the daughters of the family lived in the 19th century. As we were walking up, the hair on the back of my neck kinda stood on end, like a draft had gone across my neck or something, but it didn't really go away up in the loft. It was pretty steady. I walked around a little bit, looked at the furniture and architectural features of the loft, and then when we went back down, the feeling dissipated just as steadily as it had come on. In the rest of the house, I felt nothing out of the ordinary. Then we went down to the basement, which was the old kitchen. We went down from the outside, I noted as we exited, on the same side of the house that the loft is on. As we walked down the steps, passing under the area where the loft is above, I felt it again - same feeling, just as fleeting. Nothing concrete, but... creepy... Don't get me wrong, it was *very* cool... but kinda creepy.

Watching "Ghost Hunters," I think it would be really cool for TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) to do a study on the Borough or Rosedale. I think it would be cool if they found anything, or proved that it was all nothing, since that's what they do best. They've gone to North Carolina before, to survey the USS North Carolina battleship and the Mordicai House in Raleigh. They didn't find anything at the house, but they found lots of bizarre things on that ship.


sophronia_ said...

what hallowe'en stories!! you know, it is interesting that both rooms that apparently gave you the shivers housed slaves. wonder if there is a connection? ok, i don't remember you mentioning this at all when you were visiting, but now i'm going to have to check out aunt rinda's more carefully. as far as we all know she was a very kind, caring, and loving person, and supposedly is still watching over "her" house. the bitties haven't said anything or had any trouble going to sleep in that room, but i will keep watch on that. only mackenzie & jason claim to have heard her. i personally think it is squirrels in the attic but have more sense than to mention it!
love, s.

Rachael said...

Yeah, I didn't mention any of it while I was up there. I thought it was all a little crazy and that I was being an extra-special kind of paranoid until Jason said he and MacKenzie have actually *heard* things... although, as you say, it could be squirrels.