Ann Lilly & Norm Levy
Ann Lilly has lived her entire life in the South. In 2001 she moved from Lexington, Kentucky to Hilton Head with her husband and two daughters following a career in accounting. She’s been an active Realtor on the island since 2004. Ann has been writing for many years and recently published her first children’s book, Scoot’s New Home, an illustrated story about a little boat living on Hilton Head. Several of her stories were in IWN’s 2015 anthology, Time & Tide.
Whose Ghost Is Here
I always knew the house at 333 Kingsway Drive was haunted, but in the ten years we lived there, I had never been afraid. We were the fourth family to live in the house and as far as I know, no one died there. I assumed it was a friendly ghost, or at least one that liked us. Built in the 1930s, the house had its share of creaks and groans that I attributed to settling, but a few things happened that defied explanation.
The first thing we noticed was the closet door in the first floor bedroom. It was always open. The bedroom floor sloped a little, causing the door to swing open, so we had to push really hard and listen for the latch to click to keep it closed. I can’t tell you how many times I found the door wide open after being positive I’d shut it tight.
Then there was the light in the basement—an old porcelain socket with a naked bulb, mounted overhead on a floor joist. It had a metal pull chain, but it was also connected to a wall switch. The light was always on. The light bulb looked ancient… small, yellowed with age, and completely frozen into the socket. The bulb burned for ten years and, for all I know, may be burning still.
For a long time I blamed it on our kids. They played in the finished side of the basement and only ventured to the other side by request, to bring something upstairs or to shift laundry from the washer to the dryer. They said it was creepy over there, especially the big gas furnace with octopus arms. In the winter, my husband returned from work after dark. Driving down our driveway, he’d notice the light shining in the basement window well, and he’d tell the kids they’d left it on again. Then one of them would run downstairs and turn it off.
After living in the house for several years, we realized the light had a mind of its own. It was always on. My husband was convinced there was a logical explanation. He replaced the wall switch, checked the breaker and made numerous attempts to remove the bulb. He’d turn off the light, and within a few hours it was back on.
But the fun really began when we put the house on the market. My husband was the one pushing to sell the house and move to Hilton Head Island; I was reluctant to leave Lexington. One evening, when home alone, he was locking up before going upstairs for the night. He locked the French door in the dining room, and when he stepped back, something poked his foot from under the floor. He said it felt and sounded like someone in the basement hit the floor directly under his foot with a broom handle. He shrugged it off to old house settling. He took another step back and was poked under his other foot. The hair on his neck bristled, and he said, “Hello, anybody here?” He stepped and bounced all over that floor trying to make it pop again.
Now any normal person who has ever watched a scary movie would have enough sense to get the hell out of there. But no, not my husband. What does he do? He goes into the basement! And, the light was on. He’d spent the past ten years renovating the house and knew every inch of it. He was certain he would figure out what happened but could find nothing wrong. I thought maybe the ghost was mad at him.
Several months went by, the house was under contract, and we were getting ready to move to Hilton Head Island. In the middle of the night I woke up to our teenage daughter shaking me out of a deep sleep. She was upset and kept saying, “Something poked me.”
Once she calmed down, she told us she’d been watching TV in the family room and had fallen asleep on the floor. She woke up when something poked her from under the floor. She first thought she had been dreaming, but then it happened again. My husband checked the basement to find nothing out of place, but of course, the light was on. Our daughter camped on our bedroom floor for a week until we moved.
I’ve often wondered if the new people had any ghostly activity. Sometimes when we visit friends and family in Lexington, I get sentimental and ride by to see the old house. The last time was at night, and I stopped and looked down the driveway to the basement window.
The light was on.
“Whose Ghost is Here,” © Ann Lilly (2017), from Ebb & Flow
Norm Levy‘s Iong career in advertising taught him the value of compressed communication leavened with a smidgen of humor. He is the published author of Rhymes for Our Times, a book of rhymed riffs on real news headlines calculated to amuse and to occasionally instruct. He is also a published blues and country western song writer, active on social media, and a proud contributor to the four previous Island Writer’s Network anthologies. More information about Norm’s book can be found at www.rhymes4ourtimes.com.
A tree stands
Branches clawing skyward.
A silent sentinel
The earth below.
Vertical no more.
What I see
Is no longer a tree.
What I see
“Verticality” © Norm Levy (2017), from Ebb & Flow