Let me preface this by saying that it is exactly what the title implies– an actual encounter I had with a ghost. This is amazing for two reasons:
1) I was a firm skeptic until it happened, and even after the event, it took me a few months to accept that I hadn’t hallucinated it;
2) I am THE biggest wuss who has ever lived in the history of mankind, except for my dear mother, and the fact that I did not go legally insane or physically die is a miracle in and of itself.
I used to love historic buildings. I was the annoying person who would sneak away from the tour group to go investigate areas that were off-limits to the public and later get caught and asked to leave while trying on a trunk of old hats (that did happen). So when I had the opportunity to stay at a 200-year old plantation in Louisiana, I just about lost my mind with extreme joy. I was planning to find secret passages and shit, ya’ll. And maybe buried treasure. I gleefully packed my “explorer” clothes (all black for being sneaky and kind of old because I didn’t want to get dust and musty smell on my nice stuff) and mapped out my route using the online floorplan. I knew where the secret passages would likely be located. And the treasure.
My excitement reached fever pitch as we rounded the dirt road and came up the driveway to the three-story mansion. It was majestically coated in golden light from the setting sun and was surrounded by small outbuildings and acres of sugar cane. I was bouncing in my seat like a toddler on cocaine by the time we parked the car, squealing like a piggy. The only thing that marred my jubilation was a small, niggling feeling of uneasiness in the back of my mind. I didn’t know what it was or what was causing it, but I was getting a little bit of a weird vibe from the place, as though the ground were vibrating with some sort of energy. I pushed it to the back of my mind and zipped around the property the way a hummingbird goes after a flower garden. I looked at every barn, every shed, every old farm implement, every old car and tractor. I peeked inside every box and trunk I could find. It was too late to tour the main house, so I explored all the outbuildings instead.
The only place I didn’t go was our room. We were staying in a brick building, separate from the main house, that used to be the kitchen back when kitchens were kept outside in case of fire. It had been turned into a double bungalow. We had a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and massive fireplace. And every time I went inside, I got the motherfucking creeps like nobody’s goddamn business. I could swear up and down that someone was watching me in there. Every time I turned my back to the room– to use the sink or turn down the bed– I had to stop every few seconds and glance over my shoulder, so I minimized my time in that area. As night rolled in, we realized that there was a faint glow of fire all along the horizon behind the house. They were burning the sugar cane. It was so beautiful, no lights except for the stars and the flames in the inky blackness. After awhile, I grew tired, so we went inside to go to bed.
Because of my growing uneasiness, I made my ex leave the TV on until I fell asleep. Despite the light and sound from the television, I could hear loud creaks and groans and occasional pops, all of which I assumed to be the old building settling as the cool, night air sank around us. After about an hour of adjusting and readjusting my position, throwing blankets and pillows all over the place, I finally fell into a fitful sleep. Sometime after that, my ex turned the TV off, and every sound of the building settling would startle me half-awake.
I woke up fully at 3:30 in the morning– I remember because the red numbers on the clock next to the bed were the first thing I saw when I opened my eyes. The numbers looked funny though, as if there were a fog floating in front of them. I blinked a couple of times, assuming it was my eyes since I had just woken up. But as I blinked, the fog actually grew denser, and I suddenly realized that it was forming into a shape. To my complete and utter horror, the black fog took the shape of a woman in a long dress. I couldn’t see her features, but I got the distinct impression of a lady in 19th century servant dress with her hair tied up in a scarf. I didn’t get a feeling of evil from her, but just the fact that I was seeing her at all was enough to scare the living daylights out of me. I tried to reach over and shake my ex awake when I discovered that I could not, in actuality, move. I was so terrified that I was completely incapable of exerting any control over my muscles. I had no idea what to do besides panic (because panicking always helps), so that’s what I did. It seemed like minutes that I was stuck in that frightened, immobile state, staring at the figure next to the bed, but in reality it was probably only a few seconds. I blinked and suddenly recovered myself, so I did what any normal adult would do– I punched my ex in the face as hard as I could and screamed at the top of my lungs, “TURN ON THE FUCKING LIGHT FOR FUCK’S SAKE!!!!” Most people don’t respond well when woken from a sound sleep with a right hook to the face, but in my defense, most people also do not respond well when woken from an unsound sleep by a friggin’ ghost.
My ex sat bolt upright and turned on the lamp, yelling, “WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON???” I couldn’t answer. I just sat there hugging my knees and shaking and sweating profusely like a boxer at a prize fight. “Just turn on the TV,” I said. “Why the hell did you punch me in the face to watch TV???!” He exclaimed in disbelief. “I HAD A NIGHTMARE!! JUST TURN IT ON!!” I yelled back. So he huffily grabbed the remote and turned on the television, the light and noise of which enabled me to relax enough to doze a little.
After tossing and turning the rest of the night, we got up about 6:30 and went to the main house for breakfast. While we ate, and my ex bitched repeatedly about being absuively awoken in the middle of the night, I tried to explain what I had experienced, which I still didn’t fully understand myself. After we ate, the caretaker asked if we’d like a tour of the property. So we followed him around as he took us from the front yard all the way through to the attic, telling us along the way about the many murders, suicides, and executions that had occurred there over the past 200 years. And the ghost stories. I began to understand why I had felt so uneasy the whole time we’d been there.
“Now that you’re about to leave,” he said, “I’ll tell you what happened in your room.” And he proceeded to tell us how, 170 years earlier, the cook had been poisoned by another servant and had died there in the kitchen where we had spent the night. He also told us how people often claim to see her in the middle of the night, standing next to the bed or sitting in the chair in the corner of the room. As he told us this story, I watched my ex’s eyes grow wider and wider, as I’m sure my own were doing, and I felt the blood drain from my face. My ex turned to me and said, “Tell him about your dream.” Which is what my ex assumed it was, since he couldn’t believe in anything he hadn’t seen himself because he’s an enormous butthole, but that’s a story for another day. So, wringing my hands and tripping over my words, I told the guy in detail what had happened. And the look on the caretaker’s face never changed. He listened to my story and at the end of it said, “You have no idea how many times I’ve heard that same story.” Which totally didn’t help because I’d been hoping he’d say something along the lines of, “Ghosts aren’t real. I just told you all that crap to freak you out, and we drugged you to make you hallucinate your encounter. You’re a twat for being so gullible.”
After that night, I became obsessed with finding out more about the paranormal, thereby better understanding my own experience. And since that night, I have had more experiences, although none quite so shocking. I have learned that there is a lot more to the world than I ever thought possible, that it is much bigger and is made up of far more than anything I could imagine. And that’s pretty fucking cool. I have also learned that ghosts are dicks, and they seriously should be a little more gentle about making their existence known to people, instead of shocking a perfectly innocent person out of a sound sleep in the middle of the goddamned night. You, ghost, are an asshole.