I admit to having an active imagination. And I admit to a fascination with the occult and love of all things spooky and unexplainable, but I tend to view it all with a healthy does of skepticism. So, did I see spirits in my new bedroom or have I just watch too many episodes of Medium?
I liked this house the minute I saw it. And once I walked in, I knew it was the right house for us. I tried to like others—ones closer to the base, smaller ones, cheaper ones—but none felt as right as this one. And I tend to go with my guts when I have nothing else to go on. It needed a little work, cosmetic mostly. My real estate agent said it just needed someone to give it a little bit of loving care. Sold! I’m a sucker for being “needed.”
My brother helped us move from Ohio and stuck around to help me paint, put up shelves, and get the house in shape before all the furniture arrived. We painted all but 2 rooms in less than a week. And once our household goods arrived, he got the whole military-move experience with the unpacking and decorating to make temporary housing feel like a home. We all collapsed at the end of each night into deep, work-weary sleeps.
Well, all except me. I’ve never been a good sleeper. As soon as I lie down, my eyes open and my brain becomes active with thoughts on the days behind me and the days ahead of me. And I don’t sleep well in a strange room, restlessly trying to relax and will myself to sleep.
Jay went home and we went about the task of settling into our new home. The hardest part was feeling at ease in our bedroom. New places have weird shadows. They were just shadows, I was sure they were. Moonlight or street lights streaming through the slats in the blinds, creating the illusion of someone standing at the foot of the bed. A man wearing a flannel shirt, with the left sleeve empty, the cuff pinned to the upper arm standing at the foot of my bed.
The next morning, I decided I was dreaming because, really, a one-armed man? This isn’t Poltergeist, the neighborhood wasn’t built on a graveyard. There were no murders in this house, none anywhere around us (yes, I checked). So, once again, my imagination was getting the best of me.
And it got the best of me every couple of nights for a few weeks. I would jerk awake, seeing an image at the foot of the bed. Al said to wake him up, but boy, is he a heavy sleeper. Plus, I really thought I was probably just imagining all this.
Then it got worse. I woke up to see a light moving in the hallway, going into the guestrooms, before coming into our room. This time it was a young woman with long, blond hair and delicate features and holding a candle or some kind of light. She was surveying the room, but that’s all I saw because I closed my eyes and got as close to Al as I possibly could, hoping he would wake up. But, he slept soundly, undisturbed by ghostly movement.
The next morning, I decided that I had had enough. Sleep is a precious commodity, and I was pissed that I wasn’t getting any. It didn’t matter how many times I told myself the next morning that my imagination was getting the best of me, it was those dark hours that I couldn’t control. So, after a little research, I decided I needed to do a cleansing. No, I wasn’t going to hire an exorcist, it was a simple procedure of lighting a sage stick and walking through the house.
We have a store here that had everything I needed—a sage stick and incense, because apparently after you cleanse, you must replenish with a positive essence. The owner of this Wiccan-supplies store told me that.
When I walked into his store, I was surprised at the size of it. I was expecting a little room with jewelry, candles, and incense sticks. It had all those things, but it also had a wall full of books and tarot cards, racks of t-shirts, robes and dresses, crystals, CDs, crystal balls, herbs, soaps, and a classroom—wait. Classroom? They host workshops—Wicca workshops, from what I could gather. It was fascinating!
Anyway, the owner, Charlie, had been on the phone and by listening to the conversation (I’m not a eavesdropper, I just happen to hear some of it), I could tell that he was definitely a business man. But when talking to him in person, it’s as if he turned off that businessman demeanor. He was very enthusiastic about his shop and sees himself as a teacher, I think. I told him about my little problem, and he got the sage stick and suggested some incense. But first, he suggested that I talk to these spirits and find out what they want…Uh huh…Yes, well…No…I don’t think so. I still wasn’t convinced I was actually seeing anything, but if I was, I certainly didn’t want to open the lines of communication any more than they already had been. I didn’t feel like I was in any danger, I just wanted to sleep through the night.
So, I started in the basement. I lit the sage stick and lightly blew on it until a steady, woodsy smoke steamed out. I outlined the windows and doorways and made sure I got into the corners throughout the house. I said something to the effect of cleanse this house and leave peace and happiness or something like that. At the time, it seemed very appropriate, but now it seems a bit silly. Oh well.
After the cleansing, I walked through again with the incense. I think I used cinnamon, but I don’t remember for sure. And it doesn’t really matter because you know what? I haven’t seen anything ghostly in this house since.
So, did my ritual really cleanse my house? Did the act of doing something ease my mind so that I didn’t see anything any more? Did the tricks of the night stop because I tricked my mind? I don’t know. I just know that I don’t see them any more.
Oh, I still don’t sleep well, but not because of shadows. Just good old fashioned insomnia. Hey, I bet there’s an incense for that.