Saturday, October 2, 2010

Goodbye, Haunted House...

...I'm going to miss you.

Since I write ghost stories for middle school readers, I often get the same question when I visit a school: "Have you ever seen a ghost?" For years I had to answer, "Not yet," which saddened my enthusiastic fans. Then we moved to Bozeman, and my husband found a haunted house for us at 3242 Gardenbrook Lane. He didn't know it was haunted, because the house's ghost chimed, and my dear husband is rather deaf. But I heard it, loud, clear, and irregular enough in its chimes that we often seemed to be carrying on a conversation as I responded in turn.

At first, I'll admit, I was kind of spooked. I'd be minding my own business, writing, watching TV, playing games on my Mac, and then I'd hear this chime. I'd ask my husband, "Did you hear that?", knowing even as I asked that he wouldn't have. He didn't always hear the question. But the chimes seemed friendly, and after a while I started talking to the spirit, and discovered we got along very well. How wonderful it was to be able to tell young readers at schools that I might not have seen a ghost exactly, but I'd heard one in my very own house and we had interesting conversations (even if the chimes sounded without benefit of a translator, we still seemed to understand each other).

Where did the ghost come from? I don't know, and I never minded - we got on well together. Perhaps Keegan, the builder, built on a piece of land where someone had been buried in time long past? It was a new development - no house had been built there before, so someone could have been laid to rest beneath our home. It's possible.

But now we're moving, so I guess I'll never find out. I hope the new owners, Steve Parks and Cristina Boyles, like my ghost friend and are nice to it. Or, if they intend to sell the house, I hope they find buyers who get on well with the ghost. I'm sure if they make it feel welcome, it will welcome them in turn. As for me, I'm left with photos of my old home, and with memories of the ghost who befriended me.