Tales From The Wise Sloth: My Ghost Story

Poteen House Paris Texas

I don’t believe in ghosts because I haven’t seen rigorous scientific proof that they exist. However I don’t believe they don’t exist. I’m agnostic on the topic. If anyone ever produces evidence that passes rigorous, repeatable double blind studies that prove ghosts are real, I’ll pretty much accept it, but that hasn’t happened yet. I wouldn’t be too surprised if scientists do one day discover something that we would call ghosts though. Humans know as much about the universe as ants know about global politics. As ignorant as we are, there’s a 100% chance that forces exist in this universe that we’re ignorant of.

The story I’m about to tell you is real, and some people would site tales like mine as proof positive that ghosts exist, but I’m not one of those people. As convincing as my story may be, the phenomenon I experienced can’t be measured, reproduced or fully explained. Since I can’t fully explain what I experienced, and you can’t verify it, then this story can’t be used as proof of anything. 

My story takes place in a creepy, elegant house in Paris, Texas. It was built in 1818 in the style of a Southern Victorian plantation home. It had two floors with a large staircase for the owners and a smaller staircase in the back of the house for the servants. Black slaves must have worked there, which is depressing, but the old woman who lived in that house during America’s civil war took in a wounded Union Soldier and nursed him back to health in the room that became my older brother’s. This woman would have been hung as a traitor if anyone ever found out. So she cut up the soldier’s uniform and hid it by sewing the pieces into a quilt, which has been passed down through the family ever since.

The last tenant of the house before I moved in was a yoga instructor back before yoga was cool. He looked exactly like a red headed George Carlin and acted like one too. A brilliant and eccentric man, he remodeled the entire house to reflect his personality. The bedrooms had sinks and faucets. In the room that became my bedroom he’d mounted heavy wooden posts and poles in one corner so he could hang from the monkey bars in contorted angles. He installed a porcelain bathtub with hot and cold running water into the back porch. There were hidden compartments in almost every room and a hidden room underneath the stairs. On the front of the house he embedded an orange start with a black diamond in it, which was his personal logo, and he named the house, “The Palmer House” and posted a tasteful white wooden sign in the front yard with the houses’s name in black beveled letters.

The man poured his heart, soul and finances into projecting his personality into his house, and in the end it took his last breath too. He fell off a ladder while doing repair work and suffered crippling back pains. His doctors told him his condition was irreparable, and the only way he could manage the pain was to be on pain pills the rest of his life. He ended the pain by shooting himself in the mouth with a shotgun underneath the heavy wooden breakfast table mounted to the floor in the alcove where the slaves used to eat.

One way or another he had always planned on dying in that house. He named it after his brother, Palmer, who shot himself in the mouth with a pistol in the room that became my twin brother’s room. The leather recliner he did it in was still there when we moved in. Their mother died of pneumonia in the room that became my mother’s. The bed frame that she died in was also still there because it was built into the floor.

This didn’t spook any of us out. The way we looked at it, people die in houses every day. That doesn’t make those houses cursed. The story of a person’s death is the story of their life. Death stories are life stories. They’re golden threads in the rich tapestry of history. But we didn’t have to get that philosophical. The house was just way too amazing to pass up, tortured spirits of the dead be damned.

 I didn’t/don’t believe in ghosts, but I still never got up for a single midnight snack the entire time I lived at The Palmer House. I hoped I’d experience something, but I didn’t expect it, and I never lost sleep out of fear… except for one night.

To understand what happened that night you need to know the layout of the house. It was built almost in a perfect square. All four corners of the second floor were bedrooms. The stair case ran straight up the middle of the house so the whole floor had one square shaped hallway that wrapped around the staircase. Since both the stairways and the halls were made of old, hard wood, you could always hear where everyone in the house is by the sounds of their foot steps creaking in their path.

I was laying in bed one night around 1am tossing and turning when I heard footsteps creaking up the stairs. That didn’t surprise me, because there were three teenage boys living in the house. I assumed I was listening to my older brother trying to sneak in the house without waking my mom up. Since I could hear the footsteps from my room with the door closed, my mom would be able to hear the sound from her equidistant room if she were awake or sleeping lightly. So I stopped rolling and listened to the footsteps slowly creep up the stairs.

I listened to my brother walk about halfway up the stairs and then stop. I assumed he realized how noisy he was being and paused to lay low. So I waited for the creaking to start back up, but the next three steps I heard were on the second floor near my mother’s door, which sat at the opposite end of the hallways that the stairs opened up to, which meant my brother would have had to climb up the railing, which was possible, but I definitely would have heard that.

A few moments later I heard five or six footsteps walk past my door, which was located caddy-corner from my mother’s room, on the opposite side of the house with a staircase hole and railings between them. Then I heard two steps come from another side of the hall. I laid under my covers for what felt like thirty minutes listening to intermittent footsteps walking up and down the stairs and around the hallway, and they always started and stopped absurdly far away from each other. In my panicky, scientific mind I considered every possible explanation for the chaotic spread of echos, and I ruled out every logical explanation.

I did consider just getting up out of bed and investigating, but part of me didn’t want to know the answer. I also considered the fact that if there was something malevolent in the hall, hiding under my blanket wasn’t going to help me in any way. Yet I still chose to just lay there inhaling recycled breath and contemplating my position on the existence of ghosts.

If you’ve got a personal ghost story and would like to share it, feel free to leave it in a comment for the rest of us.

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Chapter: 14 Random Stuff


3 responses to “Tales From The Wise Sloth: My Ghost Story

  • Anonymous

    Hi.

    Big fan of this blog for a few months now. Agnostic/Atheist (Agnostic in the sense that I cannot prove or disprove the existence of a god or gods, Atheist in the sense that I do not accept any of the current diaspora of religious/mythological deities available today), and I have one of the lamest ghost stories to tell.

    I don’t (didn’t?) believe in ghosts, but I have had an interesting living experience in an apartment here on the island of Oahu, in the state of Hawaii.

    I was living with a friend at the time, and generally it would just be me and my friend in the apartment playing videogames. It quickly became apparent to me however that it wasn’t just the two of us living in this apartment, and that we were living with a prior (and presumably deceased) apparitional tenant.

    I should note the layout of the apartment. It is very simple, with the front door of the apartment (on the 10th or 11th floor, I can’t recall) leading into the living room, which was adjoined by a small kitchen. The living room held our TV, which meant our backs would be to the front door and kitchen while watching it.

    There would be times at night where me and my friend would be watching a movie or playing a videogame, and we would hear someone opening our kitchen cabinet drawers and rustling through our utensils, and dishes, as if they were trying to grab a fork and plate for an incorporeal dinner.

    Then there would be instances where our front door, locked and padlocked, would simply open… slowly… as if our ghostly tenant was slipping on its invisible shoes while opening the door, and after it got its kicks on its satisfaction, would slowly close the door with a solid bang at the end. This happened pretty much weekly, if not daily. And if it happened once during the day, chances were good that it would happen again sometime later that same day. When it did, I would often welcome our illusory flatmate home from wherever its ambulations had taken it. I would also ask for its share of the rent. I never got it. (Maybe my pants have been stacked with ghost bucks and I just never noticed)

    I should note that this isn’t an instance of air pressure in the apartment or gas dynamics, as some of my friends whom I’ve told this story suggested. Our living room had a sliding glass door which led to the outside loft, and it was always open to let in a breeze. Also, the door always opened far… too… slowly, and with I daresay “distinction”, for me to think that it was anything so pedestrian as one door closing in one part of the apartment that caused the front door to open. By itself. After being locked.

    Also, I was not the only witness to this odd occurrence. Not only my roommate at the time, but sometimes we would have friends over, and our front door would open… stay open for a few moments, and then slowly close… always with that distinctive bang. It tripped out more than a few people.

    It should be noted, that despite the presence of this ghost (I certainly don’t know of any other word to describe this experience), I never felt threatened in any way. In fact, this was probably the most benign ghost I have ever had the pleasure of rooming with. And the only.

    I have since moved on from that apartment. But I often wonder how that ghost is doing.

    That is my lame ghost story.

    Like

  • Fred

    Its a little late for Halloween, but I enjoy this topic. First I have questions. Do you have any pictures of this house? Or can we google earth it? It sounds neat. How old were you when this happened? Finally How long ago did that Yoga guy commit suicide under the table? Just curious.

    I also have a twin brother and we grew up in a farm house that was built in the 1890s. Sometimes it did get spooky in the house and in the barn, especially at might when we were trying to scare each other with ghost stories.

    There was this once incident that stands out in my mind that i still haven’t be able to explain. It was night. My parents were out of town. (They are musicians and would be out late playing clubs on the weekend). We were probably 12 or 13. I remember I was trying to scare my brother and i was saying something about poltergeists. I don’t remember exactly what I was saying but right in the middle of that the stereo in the living turned on and a mans voice came over it. He said a couple sentences and then went silent again. We just froze there and stared at the stereo Finally I worked up the courage and walked over to it and found out that the power was off. I was literally shaking. It happened so fast that I was able to catch what the man was saying.

    When my parents came home we told them what happened. My dad concluded that someone was talking on a CB radio and some how the stereo picked up his reception. Well okay. Maybe that is possible, but it seems a little unlikely to me considering that the power was off and that had never happened before or since to my knowledge. If that is what happened the timing sure was spot on as I was going on about ghosts right before it happened.

    Do I believe in Ghosts? Not really. but I do have a wild imagination.

    Like

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