When I was seven months pregnant with my oldest, Madison, her daddy was relocated through his job from north Texas to southern California. We lived in Long Beach, CA for two and a half years; which to me was two and a half years too long. I was ecstatic when we were relocated to north Georgia when Madison was almost three years old.
If you read my post about my love of the fall weather coming then you heard all about how much I loved living in Georgia. Our home was on a little over half an acre and the backyard was full of beautiful trees and sloped down to a natural spring creek. You could walk around the backyard and it felt as if you were out hiking. It was always a lot of fun to look around and find things in the yard. Many times we found old arrowheads lying on the creek or just partially submerged in the ground; if you moved the fallen leaves around you would see them poking out of the dirt. It was always a neat find.
Growing up and even after I became an adult it seemed as if I was some sort of beacon to paranormal activity and it would occur around me sporadically. I know that sounds crazy but for those who have known me since I was child they have learned that in my instance it's not that far fetched. My ex-husband even used to say when we would move to a new home to not tell him if I think I've heard something or saw something because it freaked him out. And one of my best friends as well growing up used to ask the same thing. As long as they were not aware of it they were cool. Hahaha...and I was ok with that. I had become accustomed to it. A shadow in the hallway, a coolness on the back of my neck, a footstep or two in the hallway on the second floor above me, an object being moved from one place to another. I had experienced all of these on and off through my life that it just didn't really bother me because it never felt evil or malevolent. It was just something I was sensitive too and it would happen once in a while. Being a Christian also made this not unusual to me because to be a person of faith means that you believe that there is good and evil. You cannot believe in angels without also believing and knowing that there are also demons. This is why I believe there are residual things in our universe that don't have a scientific explanation because they are not something that was made amongst man but from outside of "our" realm of creation; something that was created within our Creators realm. Hope that makes sense because it's the best way I can think to describe what I'm trying to convey of my view on what we call 'paranormal'.
The house we lived in in Cumming, GA was a beautiful home to me. It had a basement, which I had always wanted. It had shutters on the windows with double hung window glass that made it not only easy to clean the outdoor portion of the windows but allowed us to have the top portion opened or cracked without worrying about Madison pushing on the screens. The floors were bamboo on the main floor with the old timey looking metal grates over the vents in the floors that gave a historical charm to the house that I loved. The back of the house stood three floors high so the main floor in the middle had a large wooden deck that you walked out onto from the den area. The deck was surrounded by a beautiful landscape of a tall mixture of evergreen and seasonal trees that rose higher than the house giving this amazing canopy effect. One of my favorite past times in the early morning was to sit outside on the deck while having my coffee and listen to the birds and the wind pushing the leaves on the trees. It was calming and so quiet. After living in California where you could never escape noise, even in the night while trying to sleep, it was like being in the most wonderful dream that you were afraid was soon going to wake you up and take it away from you. All four bedrooms were on the top floor of the house and since the house was custom built the master bedroom was absolutely huge! It went the whole length and width of the garage below it and then had nearly an average sized master bedroom size master bath with two walk-in closets. Are you beginning to see why I loved Georgia so much? Hahaha.
Now between my love of scary movies my whole life and the 'activities' I experience off and on not much really bothers me. I feel that I was raised to fear things that are real and not fear things that are imaginary. I believe that is a great way to be raised and I am raising my kids the same. I truly believe this is why Madison has never had nightmares, never woken up scared or screaming, never has come into my room in the night afraid of something, and has always slept with no nightlight and her door closed. My youngest seems to be following suit easily too. Emma sleeps with no nightlight and never wakes in the night. And both of my kids watch scary movies with me. I don't let them watch anything with racey things in it but there a lot of the old B-rated movies that I grew up watching as a kid that they find funny and enjoy. They don't get scared and that's what I want for them. Enjoy the make-believe and be mindful and fearful of the realities that you should. All of this has a point I promise because in all the times that I have had different 'activities' occur around me I never felt afraid of them...until the house in Georgia.
From the day we moved in I was on cloud-nine and loved unpacking and setting up my beautiful home. The only issue that seemed to happen was when I would walk down the upstairs hallway. It always felt as if someone was watching me. A lot of times I could swear I could feel someone breathe on the back of my neck or touch my shoulder. Never have I had an issue with walking down a dark hallway but in that hallway I could not walk through it without turning the hall light on. But even then that uneasy feeling was always with me. I tended to walk fairly quickly down that hall to get to my bedroom, which was at the very end of the hallway, farthest room from the stairs. Since my ex did not like to hear about my experiences because it creeped him out I never let him know about it and kept it to myself. I would talk to my mom about it during our phone calls sometimes but she never believed in such things and just said it was the house settling or my imagination. Even though she knows something happened in one of the places she and my father lived when I was college age that could not be explained she always stated that this stuff wasn't real to her.
So life went on and even though the feelings I felt in that hallway seemed not-friendly I never said anything because it was just happening to me. Or so I thought. A little over a year after living in our home my ex-husband asked me out of the blue if I had ever felt uneasy or weird when walking in the hallway upstairs. Needless to say I was taken aback by this question and wasn't sure how much I should tell him so I decided to feel out just how much he was willing to learn by asking him why he was asking. He told me that he just seems to feel funny walking down the hall, especially once it begins to get dark and he has to turn the light on before he can walk down the hallway. I asked him what kind of feeling? He stated just unsettling. As though he has to move a bit quicker to get to the bedroom and sometimes as if someone is behind him watching him move down the hallway. It was as if I was listening to my own experiences and it made me start laughing because I couldn't believe someone else was feeling the exact same things that I was. My laughter was confusing to him and he asked me "What? Have you noticed anything?" I asked him, "Are you sure you want to know?" He said yes and to tell him. So I told him how for over a year I had been feeling everything that he had told me. Of course this freaked him out and he was afraid I was going to say I had the same experiences but I told him I had been keeping it to myself as he always requests.
After that it just became a common occurrence to both of us. It was odd believe me and it was confusing to us how it was only in the upstairs hallway but nowhere else. Not even the basement! I mean how weird is that?! All basements are supposed to have the creepy factor right? Well, it wasn't like that for us. We even turned one area of the basement into a workout room that we both used nearly daily and even at night. There was never an uncomfortable feeling when you were down there or walking back up the wraparound stairwell to the main floor. It wasn't until Madison was about four years old and we had been living there almost two years that odd things were beginning to happen. Madison had begun going to school half-days the year before when she turned three as part of the early intervention program to help special needs kids to better develop intellectually and socially. Her speech and other skills were coming along amazingly. She was constantly wowing not only us, family & friends, but also her teachers and therapists. So at first it didn't seem odd to me when I would find her sitting randomly on the couch in the front room of the house with her bunny, a stuffed animal she always carried, and talking to herself. I would walk past the extra bedroom upstairs that we had turned into a playroom for her and see her talking to her toys as she played. So this was nothing unusual to me to see. But then she began to do it nearly daily. I would hear her talking while in the kitchen or coming up from getting laundry from the basement and see her sitting in the same spot of the couch staring into the corner of the room and talking as if there was someone there. Sometimes I would stand against the wall outside of the room and listen to her. She would say 'hello', 'how are you', 'Madison', and other just random conversation type stuff. And when I was being quiet to avoid her knowing I was watching her I would get that same uneasy feeling of something not-friendly. A few times I would go in and ask her who she was talking to and sometimes she would just stop talking and sit for a minute not moving then get up and go upstairs to her playroom. Other times she would sit silently for a moment then without taking her gaze from that corner just say 'nuffin' (the way she would say nothing back then) then look back at me as if telling me ok you can go away now. Because of the uncomfortable feeling it was giving me I talked to my husband about it and he dismissed it really but it also I could tell creeped him out too. There was a time once or twice that I was able to get his attention without Madison knowing to witness her talking to that corner but other than thinking it odd he dismissed it. I think it was a defense mechanism for him because if he ignored it then it wouldn't do anything to him if it was actually something. So basically I was on my own.
There was a show on the Syfy channel at the time that was very popular called Ghost Hunters. I knew they had several chapters of their paranormal society around the country and so I looked them up just to see if there was one close to me that I could talk to about the stuff I was experiencing. Surprisingly there was a chapter in the southern portion of Georgia (I lived in the northern portion of the state). I emailed them about what I was experiencing and my personal history with unusual occurrences and that I had learned to live with it but seeing my child interacting with something I felt may not be friendly was not something I was willing to just let go. They were very nice and got back to me pretty quick with some ideas. They told me to check out the history of the land our home sat on since the home itself was relatively new (only about 15 years old). It seemed to them that if there was anything to what I was experiencing that it would be coming from the land and not the home itself. They also stated that if it continued to concern me to contact them anytime and they could get me in contact with people they knew in my area that could come and do a check of the home for me. I appreciated that open-ended invitation to contact them again if I became more concerned. Immediately I began to do searches online for land surveys for Forsyth County. I located the site for my area that had all of these archives full of photos of uploaded land surveys for my land going back to the early nineteen hundreds. It was very fascinating to the history lover in me and I spent hours pouring over any and all documents I could find without having to go down to the courthouse or library. After finding the oldest survey on my land that I could find which at the time of it also included my entire neighborhood and all the way to the end of the adjoining road where Madison's elementary school was. I began to search for information regarding the land prior to it which I believe was around 1916. After a week or so of going through and finding information I came across documents that spoke of the land in my county originally being the land of Apalachicola Indians, also known as the Conchakee (or Creek) and possibly many of the Cherokee tribe as well. When the land was being parceled into districts (later known as counties) the colonists offered to buy the land at what I'm sure was a very low price. It was documented that some of the sections of the tribes accepted the payments so as to avoid bloodshed most likely. But others refused and the land was taken forcefully. The descriptions of what was meant by 'forcefully' were written in a way that lets the reader know it was not done in a humane way in some cases. In one article I even read that some altercations ended in hangings of some indians. After reading all of this information I sat back and absorbed it. I began to think of all the arrowheads that we would find in the backyard and down by the creek. Indians or Native Americans have very strong beliefs of being tied to nature and the ways that ones soul moves after they leave their human bodies behind. Learning how there is malice attached to the land that I lived on made it more clear to me why I would feel this unfriendly sort of eariness. One would think I would be ready to pack up and move right then right? Not me. I took a hands on approach of how I could try to settle or calm this issue surrounding me, my family, and my home. Madison continued to speak to the corner of the living room periodically and I kept my distance but my ears wide open to everything she was doing during these instances. As long as she was not feeling scared or uneasy than I was not going to agitate anything. At least in regards to her interactions with whatever this was but I was not going to continue to let it go in regards to its interactions with me.
I began doing small things such as redoing the flower bed next to the front door and creating a flower bed on the other side of the front door to match. I planted native flowers and shrubs to the area. Plants that might have grown there naturally on their own. I tended to the landscaping of the yard by allowing plants to grow naturally as they would sprout from the ground and only remove dead debris or harmful obstacles such as Kudzu that is not native to the United States but was brought over from Europe and is the most irritating ivy like weed ever! And so as I did this I began to feel the uneasiness around me sort of lighten. It's hard to explain but it felt as if doing these small items I was in some way, to whatever this was, displaying a gesture of respect to it from respecting the land.
I never fully lost that uneasiness from the hallway or from my daughters conversations with the corner of the living room. But it felt as though some sort of compromise had been reached to live and let live. I was showing my love and respect of the land I was living on and I think that may have eased whatever this was and we all lived quietly, so to speak.
After five and a half years of living in our beautiful home, wonderful neighborhood of great friends that had become family & still are very much so to me, and living in a beautiful part of the country we unfortunately had to pick up and move once more to follow my ex-husband's career. This next move was taking us to South Carolina about 4 hours drive from our current home. Physically not too far but emotionally it felt like across the country. As we began the staging process for the realtors to begin finding prospective buyers the old uneasiness began to stir. I knew it was because of the changes we were having to make to the house and land. All the walls had to be repainted, new holes had to be dug for the deck and more feet of concrete poured to ensure an earthquake couldn't move the deck if it should occur. You know all the stupidly absurd things that you have to do to avoid issues with the buyers that come in with unrealistic expectations of buying a 20 year old house that they expect should be in brand new condition. I began to avoid walking down the hallway upstairs as much as possible because the unfriendly eariness was so strong that I found myself racing down the hallway to my bedroom to take care of things instead of just walking a bit faster. As the days went by with more changes being done the stronger it became. Madison had even begun to avoid the front room so I knew it was getting worse and I only hoped that our moving date would arrive before something other than wariness occurred.
Thankfully nothing beyond the feeling of oppression occurred before we left our home for good to start the next chapter of our lives in another state, another home, another neighborhood. I remember, once the last items were packed amongst our two cars for the drive to our relocation townhome in South Carolina, standing in the front room of the house and saying in a soft voice so my husband wouldn't hear "I'm sorry". I'm sure that sounds like a funny or cliche movie thing to say but I did it and I meant it. I had worked so hard to ease the bad feeling away from myself and my family because I truly loved my home and the beauty of the nature I felt blessed to have. I felt as if I had come to some sort of equal ground with my land and the history of those that lived on it before by displaying a respect to it that it felt it was not being given. By leaving it and allowing others to alter it I had somehow broken that gained respect and was walking out on it as if it meant nothing. A pain washed over me in that moment that stayed with me for days that I never shared with anyone. I still feel it off and on as that home periodically comes to mind. I feel that home will always be with me and maybe that's what that feeling was that came over me that day standing in the front room in Georgia. The land and whatever it was that kept it's spirit attached to it was attaching to my soul a piece of the heart of that piece of land to ensure that I never forget what I once was a part of.
Over the years I have looked up my old address in Cumming, Georgia and have seen it come up for sale a couple of times. Looking
over the pictures attached to the realty sites advertising what the house has to offer and the changes made to it that make my heart hurt to see because they are so disrespectful to be beauty it had. And seeing this I always wonder if that spirit in the land made itself known to the new owners as it did to me but instead of finding a way to ease it they just fled due to fear. Maybe. Guess we will never know for sure but I know what I know of my time in the home. I know what my daughter experienced and my ex-husband as well knew of something. And that's how the story goes.
Hope you enjoyed this latest October story. It is a true story and if it weren't for a family currently living in my old home right now I would gladly show pictures of the house and rooms discussed. I still hold a strong respect for that home and in so doing I will respect privacy deserved of the current homeowners. Have a wonderful week and I will have another story for you next week. God Bless!!