I Met My Father-In-Law Years After He Died -- A True Ghost Story

Tracy Stengel

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I once lived in a Victorian farmhouse built in the 1850s and inhabited by a ghost named Al. Decades earlier, Al died in a car accident just yards from his driveway. Sadly, his four children witnessed the crash.

Years later, I married the eldest son and we lived in his childhood home. The fact his dad’s spirit remained in the house didn’t scare me. I was more curious than anything.

I waited for anything weird and whacky, but for months, things were woefully normal.

I longed for an eerie moan, some unexplained shrieking. The house was almost 150 years old, for crying out loud. Couldn’t I get a bump in the night?

Then, our four-year-old nephew ran up the spiral staircase. He made the turn and dodged to the right as if avoiding running into something and said, “Sorry, Grandpa.” He continued up the stairs as if nothing had happened.

I started to believe.

My first interaction with Al was in the middle of the night. He sat by my side of the bed, his legs crossed, casual-like. I thought I was dreaming.

We stared at each other. Somehow, I felt a message from him instead of hearing it.

He liked me. I brought life to the house. He was happy I married his son.

I wanted to speak, but couldn’t, afraid to shatter the moment.

After that, I saw a lot of Al’s pants and shoes. I’d pile laundry on the couch and start folding clothes and Al would show up on the other side of the couch. Just his crossed legs and shoes. No torso, arms, or head. I found it amusing.

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One morning, my husband woke up early for work.

I took advantage of the extra bed space and buried myself in blankets and laid diagonally across the bed. Only my foot stuck out. An ice-cold hand grabbed my toes and gave my foot a shake.

I threw back the covers and bolted upright, prepared to mount a high-pitched protest to my husband to let me sleep in.

No one was there.

What?

Now, wide awake, I hopped out of bed and found my husband at the table. There was no way he grabbed my foot mere seconds ago.

Al and I peacefully co-existed another year or two. He didn’t trip me with those legs, and I didn’t step on his toes.

I bought a NASCAR steering wheel and gas pedal — accessories to a computer game. Then, the computer went haywire. When the repairman came, Al decided to shake things up.

I was cooking sausage links on the stove. The computer desk was in my kitchen. I kept an eye on breakfast while showing the technician the problem.

He was a chubby, friendly sort.

My back was turned when he gasped.

His mouth hung slack as he gaped at the NASCAR steering wheel. It spun wildly to the left and the right. Swishhh it whirled. Whoooshhh it twirled.

“Wow,” I said, swallowing hard. “How’d you get it to do that?”

With wild eyes, he said, “It’s unplugged! What’s going on here?” He dangled the cord as evidence.

“Huh,” I said. I knew Al was behind this. “I am really dumb with technology, so …”

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A new look of horror appeared on his face.

I followed his gaze.

One of the six sausage links in the pan flew eight inches into the air, did a few flips, landed in the pan, and then cartwheeled above the pan again.

I bit my lip to suppress a smile. Al was having fun.

We watched the dancing sausage in awe. This was Al’s greatest performance yet.

“We have a — ” I couldn’t say it.

The man shoved his tools in his bag. “I’m outta here,” he said. “Call somebody else.”
 He peeled out of the drive before I could apologize.

I turned off the stove and put five links on my plate.

I didn’t eat the crazy one.

I was afraid it’d come back to haunt me later.

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Tracy explores the world with a positive eye, an open heart, and a sprinkling of humor. Without laughter, she would be lost.

Onsted, MI
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