Do you believe in ghosts? 

I think I do. I would like to believe that the spirits of our deceased loved ones have the ability to visit from time to time and that they watch over us and keep us safe. When we first moved into our present home, I was pregnant with Haley. I hand-stitched a baby blanket for each one of my children and was in the process of making Haley’s. I needed a particular color of thread – a soft lavender that you don’t normally have around the house. I had forgotten to buy some when I bought the fabric (pregnancy does that), but before I headed back to JoAnn’s Fabrics, I decided to check a box of sewing supplies that belonged to my grandma. She was an avid seamstress and made many of my clothes when I was a child. She was amazing. I opened the box containing her old Singer sewing machine, and sitting on top was a spool of lavender thread – a perfect match. I like to believe my grandma put it there for me.

Having your own family’s spirits visit is one thing. But when you begin to suspect that there might be random spirits roaming around your house, it can be a bit unsettling. The family that lived in our house before us consisted of a husband, a wife, her mother and a teenage daughter. From what the husband told me, his wife and his mother-in-law took off and moved to Florida, leaving him to raise their daughter alone. Not the cheeriest of stories. The husband even offered to sell us most of their old furniture and a crystal chandelier he bought his wife for their anniversary. Apparently the two ladies left in a hurry. Suspicious circumstances if you ask me. 

We began our life in our new home. Haley arrived, and things really got hectic. Five active young kids running all over the house kept us busy and distracted from peculiar things that began to occur. Our television would sometimes turn on by itself – no, there was no cat sitting on the remote – and things would go missing. Not that unusual for our crazy family, but the items would never reappear.

When my daughter Mary turned 16, she wanted her own room. She took the bedroom on the first floor. It belonged to the mother-in-law who lived in the house before us. When we toured the house for the first time, I remember there was a big four-poster bed in there. It looked like something out of the Winchester Mystery House. Creepy. We decorated the room to Mary’s liking, and not long after she began sleeping in there, she started having nightmares. They lasted for a few months, and she was really disturbed by them. Thankfully, they stopped right about the time she got a boyfriend. Whatever the reason, we all welcomed more peaceful nights. The room is a guest room now, but when my son comes home occasionally for the weekend, he refuses to sleep in it. He’s says the room has bad “juju” or vibes, and he too has weird dreams! He sleeps on the living-room couch instead.

The most bizarre occurrence started a few years ago. I woke at 3 a.m. to the smell of someone cooking steak! The smell was so intense, it woke me from a deep sleep. By the way, as amazing as a sizzling steak smells on the grill on a Sunday afternoon, at 3 a.m. it is simply nauseating! At first, I thought our neighbors were cooking, but who cooks steak at 3 a.m.? Maybe someone working the night shift? When I opened the window, it was just cool night air. I tried to determine the origin of the phantom steak fumes, and they did not come from my kitchen. One night I went downstairs to the kitchen and half expected to see a little old lady standing at the stove in an apron holding a pair of tongs. To my relief, I saw nothing nor did I smell even a hint of a charbroiled steak. 

I have finally disclosed the phantom fumes to my family, and now they are all freaked out. Maury told me to wake him up the next time I smell it, but why bother? I just turn on the ceiling fan, spray some room freshener and try to go back to sleep. Kaelin, my oldest daughter is very knowledgeable about metaphysical things and has suggested we “sage” the house. This is where you open all the windows in your home and then walk through each room with a smoldering stalk of sage while encouraging the spirits to move on. Well, I’m in. I think it’s time our resident Phantom Iron Chef found a new place to fire up the grill. I just hope we don’t evict my own grandma along with it, as one day I am hoping to make a baby blanket for my grandchild, and I would really like her help.

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