I arrived on the front stoop via remote viewing, ready to bust the ghost inside. The ghost, however, had other plans for me, and even with the permission of Lee, the homeowner and co-winner of my Most Haunted House Contest, I couldn’t get in. I asked Lee to physically open the front door, to break any seal the ghost had put on the house, but even that didn’t do it. We went to a side door, the back door, an upstairs window, to no avail. I landed on the back porch and could see inside, even though I couldn’t get inside. I saw brown cabinets. Lee said theirs were white. I cursed under my breath, pretty sure that the ghost had bounced me to the neighbor’s house.
I have never been bested by a ghost, and I wasn’t about to let this one be the first. Lee and I persisted, and after an agonizingly long time, I was in, only to be greeted by a ghostly refrain: “Come and get me” and clouds of thick, choking smoke.
The resident ghost was in the living room, but I couldn’t get near enough to see him directly. He said to call him Don, but I was never sure if that was his given name, or his “The Godfather” name. He had a kind of mob boss air about him, and was definitely accustomed to being in charge of things, especially where “his” house was concerned. I have never seen a ghost so attached to a house before, and so attached to “stuff.”
The house was Don’s dream house, built for him in the mid- to late-1950’s. Modest by modern standards, it was palatial to Don, and the finest house owned by anyone in his extended family or circle of friends. The house was a tract house, similar to others in the neighborhood, but on a big, corner lot, and featuring a lot of custom built-ins that Don added himself. Lee, the current owner, told me about some of the custom features — built-in dressers and desks — and then he physically went upstairs, to help draw my energy in. As he walked, he talked, eventually winding up at what he called “The Anne Frank Room,” which was a storage room on the second floor, accessible through a secret panel. Opening the panel got Don’s attention, and the ghost flew to the second floor, screaming for Lee not to let me in.
That afforded me my first look at Don, an old, heavy-set white guy who reminded me of the Archie Bunker character on “All in the Family.” I asked what he did for a living and he said, “I worked,” and indicated a blue-collar profession that did not require him to get dirty.
His confrontation with Lee continued, and Don’s energy flared in anger. The friction between the living and the dead seemed to center on the house, and I asked both men about this. Lee talked about the house needing renovations, particularly in the kitchen, and said the house needed so much work that for awhile, they talked about tearing it down and starting over. At this, Don flew into a rage, rocked back on his heels, and vowed VENGEANCE.
I saw that I wasn’t going to get anywhere with the ghost until there was a peace treaty between the two men, so we moved to the dining room table to negotiate one. Negotiations weren’t smooth, with Don erupting in anger several times, wanting me to see how “bad” Lee was. Don hated everything about Lee — his lifestyle, his voice, his clothes, his food choices, his lack of a “real” job (Lee just launched a business and is self-employed), his niceness, his choice of TV shows — absolutely everything right down to how Lee brushed his teeth. Lee commented that Don probably didn’t like the liberal-leaning political signs he put in the front yard, and Don exclaimed, “Nixon all the way. That man got a bad rap.”
Lee said that there had been several suspicious incidents in the house. Once, his sister fell down a flight of stairs, swearing that she had been pushed; and several times, people had plates of food knocked out of their hands. Lee asked Don about these incidents and Don proudly claimed responsibility. Don said that anything he could do to make their lives a misery, he did, because he wanted them out of the house.
Don talked about the house as his legacy, and I saw his un-natural attachment to the house as his way of protecting it and making sure it lived on. I got Lee to agree not to tear the house down; I got Lee to talk about how much he loved the house. This led, eventually, to a modest peace accord between the two men, and I could sense Don’s energy beginning to come loose from the house.
Once his anger dissipated and the fits of rage quieted, I saw guilt in Don’s energy and asked what he was guilty of, half expecting to find out that he was a mob hit man. But instead he said, “I was a bad dad.” He showed me his kids — two that he stood beside, one that he disowned and sent away. I asked if he thought his kids could forgive him and he said, “Why should they?” I asked if he was a good provider, and he said, “Yes.” I asked if he could forgive himself for being a bad dad, and asked if he could do better next time. He had to think about that, and then said, “Yeah, I could do that.”
I talked to Don about legacies and how we live on not through our stuff, but through our relationships and the lives we touch. This was an extremely difficult concept for him, but I persisted until he could see what I was talking about. His energy shifted, and he seemed to be able to see beyond the house for what was possibly the first time. He went over to Lee, put his ghostly hand on his shoulder, and said, “I’ll try harder next time.”
I can hardly describe what a big deal that was for Don. Everything shifted with that gesture, and I knew he had made his peace, let go of the house, and was ready to ascend. I asked him about this, and he said he wanted to ascend from somewhere outside the house, because he was afraid that my opening a portal inside the house might damage it in some way. He and Lee said their good-byes, and Don went out under the big tree in the back yard. I followed, opened a portal, and explained that he should push off and “go up” whenever he was ready. He did this, and immediately fell back down. I was astonished, as I have never seen this before. When a spirit is ready to ascend, you almost can’t stop it from happening. I shot a raised-eyebrow look at Don, and he sheepishly opened his jacket, and out fell a TV and a bunch of other “valuables” he was trying to smuggle into heaven. I laughed my fool head off, and up Don went.
Before leaving the house, Don refused to clear his smoke and his energy residue out of the house, wanting Lee to have to “do a little work” to claim the house as his own. It has been several weeks now since the ghost busting, and Lee reports that he has thoroughly cleansed the house, and he feels lighter, and like the heaviness he felt in the house is gone. He also confessed that both he and others had heard a phantom TV from time to time, sometimes loud enough to wake people from a sound sleep, and he was pleased to report that that is gone. I smile at this, knowing that the phantom TV is now under the tree in his back yard.