Saturday, October 31, 2009

Spirit Tales from a Rational Mind, Part I

Inside, Looking Out

One Autumn evening in my Minneapolis apartment, a domino-like sequence of thuds startled me from the silence I was enjoying. The disturbance emanated from my hall closet and I assumed InstaPurr was to blame.

InstaPurr was my tiny, fearless feline who stopped at nothing to get what she wanted. She opened doors by balancing atop the doorknobs and working them with her paws—much as a logroller does with timber in a river. I headed toward the closet, expecting that upon entering it, I’d find InstaPurr jumping off a shelf or hanging onto a coat.

But before I reached the door, Purr was at my side. I stepped into the walk-in closet to find all the books and records lining its shelves in disarray. Some had fallen in place; others had fallen to the floor. I reorganized them, apologized to Purr for making assumptions, and chalked up the matter to . . . weirdness, I guess.

Days later, as I crossed the living room, several newspapers from a stack on the floor swirled and fluttered, as if I’d just turned a powerful fan on them. Yet, there was no draft, no open windows, no working fan or air conditioner—and Purr could hardly be blamed for such a show. I chalked it up to . . . nothing. There was no explanation for it.

Several days on, I came home from work to find five noticeable “ripples” down the wall between the dining room and the galley kitchen. The marks looked like someone was pushing a hand through the painted wallpaper—from the inside of the wall outward.

Now I was nervous.

I asked the apartment manager about the building’s history. She said it had been a grand residential hotel in the ’20s, but a terrible fire nearly destroyed it.

Aha! I was living with a former tenant who was still trying to escape a gruesome and untimely death. I wanted to help my ghost, but didn’t figure out how before I moved to Chicago with my future husband.

It was my first encounter with uneasy spirits. Yet it wouldn’t be my last.

More Spirit Tales to come . . .

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