The church was built over a century ago and through the years the small clapboard sanctuary had been the recipient of many additions. My office was on the 2nd floor, and butted up against the attic over the chapel. To allow easy access to this buttress exposed storage a regular door had been installed. When you opened the door the only light available was coming up through the eaves, until you groped around and located the pull string for the light fixture. Items that were no longer needed, but held too much sentimental value to part with, such as old wooden children's chairs and small pews, had been stashed here. This was not a neat orderly collection, rather it was tossed and created piles that allowed your imagination to flow toward the ghostly.
One day I toted my son and his friend, who were about 14 years old, into the church to play while I completed a few hours of work. They quickly vanished upon arrival and I set about getting a lot accomplished while the air was full of peace and there were no small children to demand my attention. As the time ticked away I noticed that they were making a little noise, but it was in the indoor acceptable range so I let them go. Thumps of the wrestling and goofing off nature were added to the equation within a short period of time. But, again, it was not intense and I didn't need to get onto them. I did, however, become even more industrious because I knew this increase in activity indicated that they were getting bored and my window of opportunity was closing. We'd need to head home soon.
And then it happened...
Suddenly the kind of banging and thumping that would require dry wall repair started. As I worked feverishly I shouted through my office door, "Hey, stop that!" The bumps mellowed but didn't stop altogether.
Then they intensified again, and I yelled, "I am serious. Stop that son, before you cause damage!"
No answer drifted back to me, but it did quiet down.
The third time this happened I was hot. I snatched open my office door and practically screamed, "Stop it! Do you hear me? Stop it now!"
And then the situation became chilling.
Downstairs a door that opened to the outside yanked open. And I heard my son shout, "Mom, are you calling me?"
My brain started to evaluate the reality of the situation, as my heart and intestines turned ice cold and heavy with anxiety. If my boys were outside they couldn't have been upstairs creating the noises that had made me get out of my chair to yell at them. They were hot and sweaty and had been playing football on the lawn. The realization that I had been alone in the building through all of this wall smacking racket, made me lean against the wall, and I worried that my knees were going to give way. They saw my face go white and became worried I was going to pass out and fall down the stairs.
They ran up to greet me and I darted into my office grabbed my laptop and purse and ran from the building in record time. They trailed behind peppering me with questions. When I got outside I explained the situation and they were determined to go in and search the building. So, we returned inside and scoured every closet and room near my office. We didn't find anyone.
As we drove home they explained their side of the story. They told me that while playing football on the lawn, they had heard me barking at someone intermittently over the past thirty minutes, and wondered who was with me inside. My last exclamation had been so stern that they had come to the door to find out if I was upset with them.
And that was the first experience that left us spooked in this old church. Much more to come...
This post is linked with the writer's workshop at Mama Kat's Losin It.