My children and I moved into a house built in 1903, in Lancaster, Ohio. The year was 1985 when my 5 year old daughter began talking about a girl who was in her room. We lived in the upstairs apartment and another family lived in the downstairs so I suspected one of the kids downstairs had once again gotten into the house to play with my kids.
A full search of the house proved that no one but our family was in our apartment but my daughter insisted that the girl had been in her room. As time went on my daughter began to tell me that this girl would pinch her or hurt her and even show me the red mark on her arm to prove it.
My sister in law came to me one day to tell me my daughter was playing tea party with a friend and I laughed. She grabbed my arm and said quietly but firmly that the "friend" was real. I laughed again but she grasped my arm so hard this time that I had no choice but to go where she dragged me.
She was adamant that I listen and watch the tea party in progress and I did just that. I looked at her and asked what the problem was and she demanded this time that I keep my eyes on my daughter's mouth and listen for some time to be sure I heard it too. I asked what she heard and she said there was another voice, not my daughter's, but was also a young girl's voice.
I let out a large sigh and said, "Is that all!?" I said, "She does different voices all the time."
My sister in law wasn't having any of it and looked at me with consternation saying, "Don't you think I've heard all of them too?"
Well, at about that moment my daughter began serving tea and talking to all the dolls and stuffed animals she'd set up around her in a circle. My sister in law pointed out the large vacant space but I shrugged and just said, "Oh, she's got an imaginary friend, that's all!", and I laughed. She, however did not and gave me a look which took me aback.
She said my daughter might need an exorcist and seemed dead serious about this. I began to laugh but stopped in the middle of it when I clearly heard the voice of another girl in the area where my 5 year old was holding high tea. That's when I began to watch my daughter's face intently to see if this might be a voice I'd never heard before. I knew full well she had a limited repertoire when it came to voices. Still, who knew if she'd invented yet another.
The first time I heard this "other" voice I could not clearly see my daughter's face but the second time I heard it I did and she didn't even have her mouth open. I looked at my sister in law and she at me and I said, "What? She's a ventriloquist?"
She said rather sternly, "I don't think so? What are you going to do about it?"
I said, "What do you mean what am I going to do about it?"
She said, "You have to do something, your daughter is having tea with someone we can't see but whom we can hear very well."
Frankly I was still in shock at what I just heard and I was trying to get my mind around this. To my mind there had to be a reasonable explanation but I just hadn't thought of it yet. My sister in law said if I wasn't going to do anything she was and she grabbed my daughter by reaching over the threshold of her bedroom door without stepping inside. In one fell swoop she yanked my daughter out of the room and grabbed my arm saying we were all going outside for a very long walk.
Once outside and off the property of the house I asked her what in the world just happened in there. She asked me to tell her what I remembered. I told her what I've just told you here and she said, "Yup, that's about it!"
I said, "No, tell me what you saw and heard!", and she said, "I saw and heard the same things you did."
We must've walked eight or more blocks before we realized we didn't want to return to a dark house. My daughter began preschool and my sister in law and I talked about how to handle this. She suggested I take a walk to the top of the hill and talk to the local catholic priests.
I felt it more important to play along with my daughter, as if the girl was real, and ask my daughter what she looked like. Not knowing what to call them she described button up shoes which I'd only seen as a very small child myself. She described how the girl put them on and took them off by saying she used a hook. Indeed this is how these are worn but again, I hadn't thought of this since I was very small watching grandma put her's on.
My daughter remarked how the girl hated wearing them since they hurt her feet and ankles very much. she said they rubbed her skin raw. Days later I remembered seeing such marks on grandma's feet and ankles when I was young and she was still wearing her's. My daughter knew the exact places where such shoes rubbed the feet and ankles and I know very well that she couldn't have known this.
She kept saying how the girl hated the "high collars" as she called them and the sleeves that buttoned up to the elbow. The girl said they were tight and very uncomfortable.
My daughter, a connoisseur of tights at that time, took note of the girl's knit stocking and asked where she'd gotten them. The girl said her mother had made them, as would be the custom at the turn of the century. The girl said they were scratchy and hot. My daughter asked what wool was and told me that the girl's stockings had been made of wool. Indeed, I had been taught as a very young girl by grandma that they were made from wool. Grandma explained how some wool was better and softer than others. I'd never spoken of this to my daughter.
The girl had long curly red hair which my daughter was envious of. She also had a large red velvet bow which held it back. Again this is a hair style from the turn of the century.
She said the girl was very pale, very white complexioned and coughed a lot. She said she'd asked the girl if she felt well and the girl said she'd been very ill with a fever. She told me that the girl said she was nine years old.
So, we had turn of the century dress, hair style, and shoes, so my next step was to locate official records about any deaths which might have occurred in that house and records to show when the house had been built. It was a fascinating journey reading the old plat maps and the death register. It was very sad reading name after name of young girls and boys who died from fevers, head pain, and countless other maladies. Even older people who died were not very old but mainly in their 60's.
Finally I located the lot on the plat map and this lead me back to real estate records which told me the surname of the owner at the time it was built. From there I followed the trail of owners and made note of each and everyone of them up to the present day. Back reading the death record I knew what surnames to look for then.
In 1903 a young girl by the name of Ida Mae Skinner died of infection caused by accidental shooting. At the local library I was able to locate old newspaper articles about the whole ordeal which was fascinating to read although sad. She was just a teenager when 10 days after being shot accidentally, she died in the living room upstairs which was probably her bedroom. In 1985 it was our living room. Needless to say this girl was not the one my daughter had become friends with.
She began saying the girl changed into a skeleton and would fly right through the window. One day after that I heard my son screaming for me to come quick as my daughter had opened the window and was trying to go out it. There were no screens in them! Needless to say the windows got nailed shut after that. My daughter insisted that the girl had opened the window and I knew all too well that it took some strength to get one of them open.
While my daughter was at school I took the time to talk to the young girl who was obviously there to tell her that we loved my daughter very much and didn't want her hurt. I told her to leave or to leave my family alone or I'd have to get the catholic priests involved in it. I told her to go to god since she was obviously dead. My daughter knew nothing of this and neither did my sister in law.
Once my daughter came home she said the girl said I was mean and that my daughter should come with her. My daughter said the girl turned into a skeleton and circled around in the room before another greenish-grey entity with red eyes came to chase her out the window. She said the girl was terrified of this entity. My daughter said she wasn't scared by any of it but felt bad for the girl. She was scared of this thing catching her.
I told my daughter that when the girl tried to hurt her just to say she was going to call that entity in to come after her if she didn't quit hurting her. It worked!
After that my daughter would say from time to time that the girl was making noise and waking her up. My son said there was giggling over the partition in their room and she clearly had another girl over there! I asked my daughter if this was true and she said the girl and she would talk about things that made them laugh.
My son began saying that someone was pinching him and it hurt. He said he didn't see who was doing it. When I investigated it I could see that he should've known who was doing it. He said it was a girl with red hair when he got a good look at her. He said she was very fast. We'd hear running up and down the hall along with tumbling but I suspected it was coming from downstairs.
They complained to the landlady that it was coming from upstairs. I suspected they just wanted to be mean to get us kicked out. My sister in law and I kept watch in the hallway several nights and noted the times it began and stopped. Usually it went on clear up until about 3 AM each night.
Finally we went to the landlady with this information to tell her we were not to blame. She said she would just rather evict both tenants in both apartments. Fearing she would do this we had a talk with the downstairs tenants. They had heard the running and tumbling for some time, even before we moved in!
I began checking city directories to see how many tenants had lived in that house and the time span they'd lived there. Over the course of over 15 years there'd been as many new tenants. No one ever stayed a full year in that house in either apartment after the original owners sold it. From there it became a duplex, one up, one down. I could not locate any of the previous tenants to verify one way or the other why they moved so quickly.
An 80 year old neighbor across the street filled me in. Past tenants said there'd been ghosts in there. In all we experienced four ghosts. The teen, the nine year old girl, a 50ish man who drug one leg through our hallway all the time, usually at night, and a young robust man. We'd catch glimpses of the young man, the teenage girl and one day before we moved out entirely after six years of hell in that house, we saw the nine year old leave a blur in color of herself as she darted between I and a friend of mine in the hallway. She headed for the kitchen. My friend was utterly shocked.
My daughter began yelling that the girl said she was going to push a pan off the stove. I laughed and saw it was a heavy pan which sat squarely on the stove burner. Besides that there was about a two inch wall on the side of the stove. We all watched it move seemingly by itself to the edge of the stove, come up over that short wall, and fall to the floor.
We all looked at one another and my daughter screamed again that the girl was heading for my crockery bowls sitting about six inches from the edge of the countertop. When I began to see them move towards the edge, again, seemingly by themselves, my daughter ran to save them from falling to the floor.
She yelled at the girl that she no longer wanted to be friends with her because she was a very bad girl. I praised her for being straight with the girl and telling her like it was. My daughter was like a little rooster when you got her angry. We knew the girl ghost hadn't a chance.
There were other things the girl ghost did which horrified the neighbor boys. Late one night when there wasn't much light outside they came around our side of the house heading for our door to ask for something for their grandma next door. When they did knock on the door they were absolutely terrified. They said they'd seen my daughter outside at the back corner as they came around it. She hissed at them like a cat and growled like one too before they noticed her eyes were glowing red in the dark! I'm glad I didn't see it myself.
We all knew my daughter was in the apartment upstairs the entire time and that whoever they saw was not her. This terrified them even more. They went home to tell their grandparents about this. Both residences, their grandparents and our house shared the young male ghost. Through the newspaper articles I discovered he'd lived in their house when he was alive. His dad, a renowned doctor in his time, had once owned and run his doctor's business out of our house.
We later found his "shingle" in the basement of our house. Through a series of circumstances I discovered why the young man was in our house. When I wore my hair up, I was the spitting image, of the teen girl who'd died in the front room upstairs. In those days it was the duty of a true friend to honor the last wishes of the dying. The young man loved the teen girl very much from all accounts. The horror of that age was being buried alive. So, then, this accounts for the young man's behavior at seeing me alive and well. He thought I was her.
I woke up late into the night one night with large hands squeezing my throat. When I tried to fling myself up to get away from this I was held fast. I had to fight my way out of the covers and discovered that my pillow had been placed underneath my back below my neck.
It wasn't until many years later when I discovered how the last wish of the dying was carried out, to make sure they were indeed dead before being buried. What of the covers being tucked in tightly all around me up to the neck with my arms to my sides? This is how they set the body before rigor set in to where the body could not be posed for viewing. What about the pillow? Again, this was done in order that the corpse looked as natural as possible. Laying flat in a pine box in the normal state without help to hold the neck forward meant that the jaw would be pushed down towards the chest. Problem solved by setting the body with the pillow just below the neck.
when I fought my way out of this choking to flip the light on to have a look at my neck I saw large finger marks on my throat. While fighting my way out I heard a man scream in horror. Thinking back on this I laugh ... the young man thought the girl he loved, whom he'd seen die, had somehow come back to life. Here he was choking her as her last wish and ... well you know the rest, lol.
Poor guy! I finally had a long talk with this guy that night and showed him the calendar along with bills with the date on them. I explained what year it was and who I was. Although I could not hear him audibly I could hear him in my mind telling me this couldn't be so.
He showed me outside the bathroom window that there were large low barns which held horses and carriages. It was fascinating to see all this as he showed it to me. The bathroom wasn't a bathroom at the time he was living and I could even see the inside stair well which I'd never known was there before. Later on I verified that this did indeed still exist below our bathroom closet.
I asked the young man if he knew anyone who'd died already and asked him to think about them. I saw a very bright light in my mind and he saw it also. He said it was OK and seemed to be content to go into it. I was glad to get to go back to bed at least for a few more hours. I didn't sleep but kept going through the entire experience in my mind for hours trying to figure it all out.
I learned more about the young man from the woman who was living in the house where he'd once lived, across the alley. She was Pentecostal, and to me this was a bit out there, but we discussed the young man's coming and going in their house and our's. She'd talked to the young man as if he was one of the family.
Then another man seemed to be coming in too. This one was older from the sound of his walking and the sound of dragging one foot. One day I laughed because I could fill in the blanks of who he was. I knew how he got that way, an industrial accident. He'd once lived in our house. He often made himself known by opening our dead bolt lock and door no matter what time of year it was and leaving it open. He'd then come up the stairs clomping his heavy boots the entire way. He walked heavy through the upstairs hallway at night too.
I and the neighbor laughed at this. One day she told me she knew why this man came to her house also. The doctor lived next door even during this man's time in our house. In other words, it was the doctor next door who was treating him! Mystery solved.
You can imagine the times we had with all four of these ghosts in that house. Some were hilarious like the time my sister in law asked me how I got into the kitchen without her seeing me when I'd just come out of the bathroom down the hall and gone into my bedroom. She'd been standing in the hall the entire time and I couldn't have gotten past her without being seen.
When I said I was in the kitchen the entire time she told me not to speak to her again and slinked into the living room which was her room at the time. She sulked there for some time before finally telling me what she'd seen. I told her a quick goodnight and good luck before acting like I was heading for my own room at the other end of the house. I laughed at seeing her face but sensed I should get her into a better mood before I left that room. I told her to sleep with the light on if it made her feel better. She did.
After submitting her story to us Patty has written more information about what she and her family experienced with her daughter's imaginary friend. Read more about the events surrounding their ghostly experience
Author's Comments on her Daughter's Imaginary Friend
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