My husband was convinced the ghost of our home's former owner was watching him

Tracey Folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.

When my husband and I first became homeowners in our early twenties, we bought a three-story house with five apartments. The previous owner had passed away, and he left the house in his will to his second wife. His second wife, his widow, sold the century-old house to us.

We were making many changes to the home, and my husband wondered whether the former owner would be upset if he knew about the demolished walls and decimated floors. Since the former owner was deceased, I assured my husband that couldn't possibly be the case. Unfortunately, I didn't realize my words wouldn't comfort my husband. Instead, my reassurance had the opposite effect.

The previous owner had split the first floor into two separate apartments, each with its own private bathroom. My husband worked to restore the living space into a single apartment with a larger main bedroom and only one bathroom.

It was amazing how the old house was taking shape into a modern home.

Then one night, my husband felt like the old owner had something to say to him, and he wanted to know what it was. "I know he's here," my husband said. "I can feel him watching me."

I was not pleased.

My husband descended the steep stairs into the basement in search of the ghost he insisted was there. I didn't ask him how the former owner of the home could have been watching him renovate the first floor if he was lurking in the basement. My husband wasn't a fan of logic as he proved with his next actions.

"Come out here and talk to me face to face." My husband banged on the walls and pipes frantically, trying to get the ghost of the former homeowner to appear. "I know you're here."

I was terrified to think my husband was talking to a ghost. I didn't know whether he was having visions or hallucinations. Could he actually see the old man lurking there in the basement's corner?

He seemed convinced, and that was enough for me. I decided never to enter the basement alone again, although having my husband for company certainly wasn't any consolation.

Fortunately, things quieted down, and my husband stopped trying to summon the poor man's ghost. I chalked his behavior up to spirits of a different kind: too much alcohol rather than the specter of the man who had lived there before us.

Although I was almost certain there wasn't a ghost living among us, I convinced my husband to sell the house shortly after we finished renovating it. The next house we bought was a single-family home whose owner was still among the living. I wish I could say that meant I saw nothing out of the ordinary while living there, but that wouldn't be true.

A red balloon once followed me down the hallway on the second floor, even though there weren't any windows open. On another occasion, I saw the image of a man sitting on the living room sofa slowly disappear, and a CD played backwards on the same day the singer died.

I've always wondered about those strange occurrences in the new house, but I never told my husband about them. I thought it would be better if he didn't know.

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Writing about relationships online since 2009.

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