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Haunted in California

This article was written by Elizabeth Phillips
posted under

Following my mother's death in 1992, my husband, sons, and I had two choices: Continue to rent the house we were living in, or move into my mother's old house and renovate. We asked the boys for their opinion, and they agreed with us that it would be fun to take on the old place and make it ours.

Perhaps it was because we were so busy that we noticed nothing out of the ordinary at first. I do know that the first incident was one that I brushed aside-quite literally!

I was with my mother when she had her fatal heart attack in the very bathroom that we were remodeling, and in which the first strange occurrence took place. I had always dreamed of having a carpeted bathroom, so my husband had a beautiful carpet installed after the room was painted, and an antique mirror was hung over the basin. Very soon after these changes, I got up one night to use the bathroom, to discover that the nap of the carpet had been brushed backwards, as if with a fingernail, to spell the words: “Go Away!”

Shades of Amityville! Did I feel chills, get goosebumps, and scream? No-like any intelligent mother, I suspected a prank. I brushed the carpet back and thought no more of it.

We continued to remodel the house, and I began to delve into my mother's past in search of answers for questions that were bothering me. Every fact I uncovered exposed more lies, and raised more questions.

My husband began to complain of feeling a “coldness” when he was downstairs, and of noticing a shadowy figure out of the corner of his eye while he was alone in the house. My youngest son declared that he was awakened late one night by the sound of footsteps coming up the stairs, accompanied by the rattle of a cup and saucer. He had no way of knowing that it was my mother's habit to stay up late watching television, and to bring her empty demitasse cup and saucer (which rattled because she had hand tremors) upstairs when she retired!

One very still afternoon, when I was alone in the house, I heard the first few tinkling notes of a music box tune, and all was quiet again. The problem: My mother's music box collection had been put in storage!

These events were so infrequent that we did not pay them much attention. However, something happened during the holiday season that made it impossible to deny that something very strange and inexplicable was going on in our home. My mother had always made sweet potato pie for the boys. Following her death, I had discontinued the practice, but the boys' nagging finally got me to make one for Thanksgiving dinner in 1994. A sweet potato pie is the last thing you slide into the oven, so I called to my husband and told him to put the cats and dogs outside while I set the table. When it was done, I called the boys in to taste it. They promptly (and loudly) pronounced it better than my mother's. As this was going on, we heard a crash from the bathroom, and I yelled at my husband, “Why did you put the cats in the bathroom?” I assumed that the commotion was somehow pet-related. We rushed into the bathroom to survey the damage. The antique mirror that we had hung over the basin now rested, unbroken, on the floor-as if someone had yanked it from the wall and tossed it across the room in a fit of anger!

-Elizabeth Phillips-Miravalle, Clearlake Oaks, California

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