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The Ghost I Knew

NolineshouseYou cannot have a ghost story without a spooky, somewhat mysterious house and where I grew up in rural Forsyth County was nothing like that but things change.

My mother moved back to 347 West Pine Street (pictured to the left) in Mount Airy the fall of 1963. I came home to that house for Thanksgiving that year, my first at McCallie, the military school I was attending in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

My bedroom had moved from our non-spooky house in Lewisville about thirty-eight miles away to Pine Street which certainly had the potential for spookiness. My dad had been in a house at that location since around the turn of the century.  My mom lived there from the mid-twenties until just before I was born in 1949. For many years, she ran a beauty shop on Main St. just walking distance from the Pine Street house.

The house also had a lot of history, some of it gruesome which is certainly helpfully when looking for ghosts. Many of stories that the house's four walls could tell never got explained to me before everyone who could shed light on the mysteries died.

Some the questions that I wanted answered never got addressed because no one ever wanted to talk about them. There were things that I did not even know to ask when I was growing up. 

The house at 347 West Pine Street is an imposing home. That was especially the case to a country boy who was more comfortable in the woods than in a big fancy house. By the time, I got old enough to care, I was on a mission to get away from the house and Mount Airy. That mission took me to Canada by the time I was twenty-two.

Upstairs above the floor with the bedrooms was a full stick-framed attic complete with walnut banisters. If ever there was an area that could house ghosts along with mysterious steamer trunks, this attic was it. The house even had a laundry chute which went all the way to the basement where there was a bedroom and bathroom for a maid.  The kitchen, dining room, and great room were on the second floor along with the bedroom my father was reduced to using because of a stroke.

It did not take me long to figure out that the history I did not know about was powerful in the minds of others.  My Aunt Molly when she visited would not stay in the guest bedroom. She always slept in one of the twin beds in my mother's bedroom. Eventually I heard the story about my father's first wife's attempted suicide. My mother, who at the time was nursing my grandmother, found my father's first wife hanging from the walnut railing around the top of the stairs. She saved her but the story was born.

I was never afraid of the house but there were some strange things like how cool the hallway always felt between my bedroom and the stairs to the attic. Of course there were strange noises but it was an old house. Then in 1974 after my dad had died, my wife and I were staying in my bedroom after coming back from our place in Canada. It was our first night in the house as a married couple.

We were going to bed and all of sudden the electrical panels started popping. It was like someone was running between the two floors flipping the circuit breakers off and on. The circuit breakers were not easy to move from one position to the other. They also made a loud noise. My mother was sound asleep in her bedroom. She always slept with a baseball bat by her bed but said the ghost had never bothered her.  I thought someone had broken into the house. I took a gun from my gun cabinet and checked the whole house. All doors were locked and no windows had been breached. Things quieted down as soon as I left my bedroom.  To this day, I have never solved the riddle of the noise that night.

My mother died in the spring of 2004.  I often said that if there was a ghost in the house, it would have to deal with the life force of my mother when she entered the realm of spirits.  My money was always on my mother winning any battle of the spirits.

After her death, we were faced with cleaning out the Pine Street house. It took us many years and we often spent weekends working on the house.  One weekend my wife was working in a hall closet on the main floor. She looked towards the foyer and saw something triangular floating from the stairs to the dining room. We are pretty grounded people but we could never come up with an explanation that made any sense. It was probably my imagination, but the upstairs hallway felt particularly cold that day.

This might prove I am crazy but not long after that I decided that the blinds in the attic had to go. I ripped them down and threw open the windows. It was not long after that when I noticed how warm the upstairs hallway felt. I smiled and thought to myself that my mother's spirit had prevailed and the restless ghost had been driven out once I opened the windows and made sure the attic got plenty of sunshine.

Even after that I was the only one willing to spend the night in the house alone. By that time the guns were long gone but so was the ghost.

So that is the story of the ghost that I once knew.



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