Tag Archive | haunted house

A Ghost Named Arthur

I purchased my first home at age 27 when I was still single.  I purchased it in the spring of 2003 from a sweet, elderly widow named Doris, who didn’t have the time or ability to maintain a home and yard anymore.  Her husband Arthur had passed away the previous autumn, and she was moving into an assisted living facility.

I moved in with my sweet, elderly kitty Zorro, and set about decorating the home to my liking.  It was a peaceful, charming little rambler on a small lot in the middle of town, three rooms deep on each side.  The right side, front to back, was living room, dining room, kitchen, while the left side was bedroom, bedroom, bathroom, bedroom (yes I know, that is technically four, but you get what I mean).  Running down the bedroom side was a hallway that connected all the bedrooms, with a entry between the living room and dining room.

Like this:

BEDROOM  BEDROOM  BATHROOM BEDROOM

…………………………..HALLWAY

……LIVING ROOM      DINING ROOM     KITCHEN

One morning a few months after I moved in, I was eating breakfast at the dining room table, and Zorro was sitting beside me.  I had just gotten up to take my bowl to the kitchen sink, when I saw a shadow about eye level move across my line of vision, from the living room towards the bathroom.  I was so startled that I dropped my cereal bowl on the floor, and all the milk made a huge mess.  When I got up the nerve to check out the bathroom a few minutes later, there was nothing there.

The Dining Room - I was sitting in the first chair on the left, facing the living room

The Dining Room – I was sitting in the first chair on the left, facing the living room

That was my first experience with the ghost I called Arthur.

I never “saw” Arthur again.  But at some point he discovered my electronics.  He liked to occasionally turn on the television.  But his real joy was the stereo.  If it wasn’t on, he would turn it on.  And whether or not it was on, he would turn up the volume.  WAY UP!  (In case you were wondering, the stereo and the TV were both plugged into surge protectors.)  After the first couple of severe startles, I got used to it.

Eventually I met Jon, and he moved into my cute, little rambler.  When I told him about Arthur, he didn’t believe me.  I don’t think he believed in ghosts at all…  Jon also thought his stereo was nicer than mine, so he hooked his up.  Arthur loved the new stereo!  I believe the first time Arthur tried it out was about 12:30 in the morning, and we were both fast asleep!  Arthur cranked that sucker up and scared the bejesus out of us!  I wonder if he was just trying to let Jon know that he really should believe.  But Arthur usually just played around during the day, every couple of months and fortunately never when we had guests over.

And I must say, even with Arthur’s love of music, I never felt uncomfortable in the house.  After initially being startled by the loud noise, I didn’t remain scared.  I just chalked it up to the goings on of an elderly man who was just waiting for Doris to join him.

Coincidentally, Doris passed away a few weeks before we decided to put the house on the market.  I hope Arthur found peace after his beloved came home.  After she passed away, the stereo was quiet – unless we turned it on.  And the volume stayed where we set it…

Ghost or no?  What do you believe?

Napa by way of San Jose

We flew down on Sunday, July 25th and arrived at the Oakland Airport.  First on the agenda was a stop to the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose.  I have been wanting to see it since I was about 8 years old and saw it on Ripley’s Believe It or NOT!  For those of you who haven’t heard of it, like Jon, Sarah Winchester was the widow of the 2nd President of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company.  Her only child died in infancy, and her husband died when she was in her forties.  She bought an 8 room farmhouse in San Jose, hired a team of carpenters and set to work renovating and adding on.  Legend has it that her spiritual advisor told her that she was cursed, and that she must build continuously in order to confuse the spirits of the people who were killed by Winchester guns.  At the time of her death, her  home had 160 rooms and all sorts of crazy architecture.  Of course, I didn’t realize that now it is right in the middle of San Jose.  There is a mall across the street, and a huge movie theater right next door.

Winchester Mystery House

So, the final verdict…. It is touristy, and we had to wait about an hour for our tour.  They do small group tours though, so you can ask questions and interact, and they give you enough time to look around.  It was certainly worth it and we had a great time.  It had it all: a door that opens onto a second floor drop, windows that look into other rooms, skylights in the middle of the floor!  You can see the progression of her insanity  – at the beginning her renovations made the home much more ornate, but then later it seemed to get more “builder grade”.  I wish they would have told us about the ghosts though!  It did make me wonder if she had lived today, would she had been deemed insane and committed?

We drove to Napa in the late afternoon.  Once we checked in to our lodge, we drove around downtown Napa a bit and got our bearings.  We had dinner at ZuZu, a tapas place in downtown Napa that focuses on locally grown ingredients.  Their mussels were fantastic!  Their paella was good… but we’ve had great paella at a couple other places.  I’m still looking for a paella that can beat the paella I had in Grand Rapids, Michigan of all places!

All in all, the first day was a great day.  The only low point was definitely Jon hitting the squirrel running across the onramp on the freeway.  We had to drown our sorrows in wine.