Yes, I'm a geek, or maybe a nerd. I'm whatever you'd call someone who has a deep-rooted passion for old buildings. I love the architecture, the smell, the feel, and most of all the history behind them. This passion has led me to many wonderful places and has allowed me to meet the most interesting people, both in and out of body.
Before your eyebrows return their proper place, let me assure you that I am indeed talking about ghosts. For those of you who've read On Haunted Ground, you know that I've lived with ghosts for over twenty-eight years. I bring this up so you can fully appreciate the impact of me telling you that I've recently experienced the most bizarre encounter of my life.
It all started when friends told my husband, Wes, and I, that they were moving into the one hundred-thirteen-year old Windham House. (The name has been changed for the sake of privacy.) When they invited us to come for a visit, we began planning our trip.
While giving them time to get moved and my husband time to schedule his vacation, I was left waiting…and waiting…and waiting. Knowing nothing more about their home than the last name of the original owner, I turned to the Internet to see what I could find.
I soon learned that the Windham brothers had once owned a prosperous business in town. Before long, I found an old picture of the store, and of one of the brothers. Knowing my friend was as nerdy as I was, I gathered all the information I could and made her a keepsake "history book" coupled with the now framed pictures I had found.
On the day of our arrival, following the tour of their home, I gave them their gift. Not wanting them to take the time to read the "book" right then, I told them the basic content of it as they placed both pictures prominently in their living room.
As the evening went on, our talk turned to the paranormal. We all enjoy this topic, especially when it involves ghosts. I was thrilled to learn that since moving into their historical home, they had already experienced some ghostly activity. As our first evening was ending, we all decided to go sit out on the front porch and enjoy the cool breeze. Settling in, I turned on a ghost app that I had on my phone. I explained that it was supposed to help indicate paranormal activity.
According to the app, there were several ghosts in the vicinity. Some of the words that came across the screen were "family," "brothers," "fighting," "company," etc. Not knowing for sure if this app could truly detect the presence of ghosts, we were intrigued with its mention of brothers. Even though my research never talked about the brothers fighting, probability suggests they did.
As our vacation continued, we fell into the routine of Wes and I going into town for a few hours each day to enjoy the sights and shopping. Every evening we would sit on the porch and turn the ghost app on. The app never failed to mention either the words "family" or "brothers," and there was always something about fighting. I'd used this app many times, and had never seen it so insistent on one topic.
On the third day of our stay, my husband and I loaded up the car for our trip into town. That day was particularly hot, so I suggested we take a quick drive through the cemetery so we could enjoy the air-conditioning a little longer. Right before we pulled in, I said, "Let's just cool off, and then we can go shopping."
The instant we drove through the gate, we knew that this wasn't going to be an ordinary drive. Something was…different. There was an eerie closeness, and I felt tremendous pressure in my ears. Wes said he felt as though someone's hands were pressing down on his shoulders.
He drove in a short distance and parked the car. We got out, both feeling that we were supposed to be there. While he walked toward the front of the car, I walked toward the back and continued down the road. In less than a minute, I saw what I can only describe as a very large cloud go across the road about one hundred yards in front of me. This didn't make sense on this sunny day.
I knew I needed to continue walking in that direction. With my eyes focused on the cloud, I tried to get Wes's attention as I watched it vanish. The cloud didn't dissipate; it simply disappeared. Even though it was gone, I grabbed my digital camera and snapped a picture of the road where it had been just seconds ago. I took my cell phone and turned on the ghost app to see if it could give me some insight. By this time, the pressure in my ears had increased so much I felt as though my head was going to explode.
When I stopped and tried to get my ears to pop, I noticed that Wes was trailing a few feet behind me. He said he felt a slight pressure on his back as if someone was pushing him forward. Going only a short distance, he said he was going back for the car. I kept walking. The feeling of needing to continue onward was overpowering. With each step, my head hurt a little worse; the pressure in my ears was almost unbearable and now I was getting nauseous. Going a little further, I stopped. I knew that I was where I was supposed to be. But why?
I felt like I was supposed to notice something, but everything appeared normal. Hoping my camera could see something I couldn't, I began taking pictures. Even though no one was there, I felt like I was in a very crowded room with all eyes on me. A severe wave of nausea hit, and I was sure I was going to get sick.
I took a few steps and realized that I was weaving. The unrelenting pressure in my head was causing my vision to blur. My stomach churned as I tried again to get my legs to work. I stumbled again just as Wes pulled the car up beside me. I grabbed for the door handle and told him I was sick. On wobbly legs, I plopped into the seat and shut the door. Almost as if someone had flipped a switch, I felt better. The nausea was completely gone. The pressure in my head and ears was still there, but had decreased to a tolerable level.
Wes had the same "pull" to be in that area as I'd had, but at that time, I didn't feel like I could stay. He wasn't yet ready to leave, so he slowly followed the curve in the road. Trying to come up with a reason to stay, he pointed out a huge headstone toward the back of the cemetery and said he wanted to go see it.
By the time we drove the short distance, I was feeling almost normal. When we got out of the car we knew that even though the feeling wasn't as intense as it had been in the other section of the cemetery, something was off.
The air had the same heavy feel to it, and both of our ghost apps showed a lot of activity. If these are accurate, it meant we were surrounded. Letters were coming across the screen, but no discernible words had appeared. I then saw a message that the app had unexpectedly shut down. Even though this doesn't happen often, I'd seen it before. I closed it out, waited a few minutes and turned it back on again. As before, the screen was full of dots indicating activity.
Looking at his phone, Wes told me that his app had also shut down. Like I'd done earlier, he rebooted it and started it again. A short while later, just as I'd walked passed him, I heard him make a guttural sound and then say, "Whoa." I turned to look at him and heard his app say the word, "experiment."
He looked both shocked and exhilarated as he replied, "I felt your experiment!" With his hand on his chest, he told me that something had just gone through him. As he described a coldness entering his chest and going out his back, his app once again shut down.
Hoping that whatever had went through him was still close by, I turned my camera on and aimed it in his direction. It beeped, showing a low battery and it, too, turned off. Deciding to use the camera on my cell phone, I went to close the ghost app only to find that it had shut down again. As I tried to switch it to the camera mode, my phone froze.
Just as clear as though someone whispered the words in my ear, I had the thought, "You don't need these things. Use yourself."
Feeling a little rattled, I told Wes that I knew this sounded crazy, but I felt as though someone wanted us to turn off the gadgets and use ourselves. He nodded his agreement and later told me he had had the same thoughts at that time.
With no electronics turned on, I again looked around knowing that I was supposed to see or do something, but I still didn't know what. I continued to walk, letting my instincts guide me. Seeing a bench that sat across from the big tombstone, I went over, sat down, and closed my eyes. An overpowering sense of grief hit me. In my mind, I could see a woman, sitting where I was sitting. Her pain was so raw and so real, I felt like I was somehow intruding. Watching her silent sobs, I had to get up and walk away.
Knowing the large tombstone was that of a teenager, I felt this "vision" was of the teen's mother. I'm not that familiar with this type of phenomena, but from my understanding, very strong emotion can somehow leave an imprint or a mark on our world. All I knew was that this cemetery was certainly leaving its mark on me that day.
I found Wes and told him I was ready to leave. Getting back into the car to wait on him, I put my camera with its dead battery away. I grumbled to myself that now I couldn't take any more pictures of our vacation because earlier that week I had lost my charger. In the same manner that I was "told" to quit using these devices, a voice in my head told me to reach behind me. With the car door still hanging open, I reached my hand behind me into the back floorboard and touched a cord. Grabbing it and bringing it forward I could see that it was my charger—the same charger I'd last seen in my friend's house.
When Wes got to the car and saw me holding the charger, he asked me where I'd found it. When I told him what had happened, he shook his head in disbelief. He said that when we couldn't find it in the house, he had searched the car and it hadn't been there.
I was overwhelmed and wanted to leave. Wes put the car into gear and drove…very slowly. I could tell that he wasn't ready to leave, and even though I was, I also felt like I needed to go back to the spot where all this madness had started.
As the car inched forward, he asked what I wanted to do. With a resigned sigh, I told him to go back to the area where he'd picked me up earlier. As we got closer, I could feel the pressure in my head increase. We drove on in silence. I was looking out my passenger window when a name on a headstone seemed to jump out at me. My words caught in my throat as I tried to say the name "Windham." Wes slowed the barely moving car.
"What?" he asked. I blurted out the name again. He looked at me as if to say, "So?"
I reached out and took his arm. "Wes. It says 'Windham,'" I practically screamed the name.
He had something else on his mind, and his overwrought brain was not connecting the dots. "Okay," he said, confused.
I couldn't believe that he didn't understand. "What house are we staying at?" I asked.
He slammed on the brakes and put the car into reverse. "The Windham house!" he exclaimed.
As he backed the car, the names became clearer. There they were. The first and last names of the people we had been talking about all week. Their graves were located right across the narrow street from where I'd gotten so sick. I got out of the car and walked around each tombstone of the Windham family. I turned the camera on my phone on, which now worked fine, and took pictures of each stone.
When I told Wes that I wanted to go show our friends the pictures, he asked me to give him a minute. He said I had found what I was supposed to, but he hadn't yet found what he was supposed to find. While he walked across the road, I went to the car to text my friend and told her we would be coming back sooner than expected.
Just a minute or two later he got into the car and handed me his phone.
"This is what I was meant to see." Looking at the picture, I saw the name on a grave marker of a man that we'd met in the past. Even though we hadn't known him well, we had admired him and his work and had been very sorrowful a few years back when we'd heard about his passing.
After returning to our friends' house and telling them about our experience, we all got into the car so we could show them where the Windham family was buried. Driving through the gate, each of us felt the change in the atmosphere. My friend pointed out how vastly different the weather in the cemetery was compared to the rest of the town. She was right: the sky was darker, the wind was up, and it looked as though it could rain at any time.
After showing them the location of the graves, and watching the sky get darker with each passing minute, we headed out. Driving through the gate, we could see that the sky was again clear and the winds were calm.
Being one who seeks out the paranormal, I'm used to strange encounters. I've experienced unexplainable things in my life, but never so many, so intensely as that afternoon. I can't explain how these things happened or why. All I'm sure of is that one-hour span of my life is one I will never forget.