Ghosts

Ghosts

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by Jack Heath

When I was writing “Salem VI- Rebecca’s Rising,” I wrote from a memory I had of one of my earlier homes in Goffstown, N.H. The house was a classic New England Cape, located on a country road, with a small brook that ran behind our home. It was our first home.

I remember being in a semi-deep sleep when I could sense an older women sitting in a chair in the corner of our bedroom. The chair was a rocking chair and perched in the corner of the room near a closet and a dormer from the window and attic. This sensation would happen quite often especially after we brought our first daughter home from the hospital. The woman’s presence was not creepy, but almost calming. It was like she was just hanging out in the background. She would sit there rocking back and forth and knitting. In the morning, I would remember my dreams and look to the chair in the corner of the bedroom, and it was empty in daylight.

Years later, we moved to another home in a neighboring town. It was not until some time later in the new house that Patty and I spoke of the older woman’s presence. When we lived in that first home, I was working as a TV reporter in Boston and would be gone for long periods of the day. Patty would often be watching over our daughter and home. She became increasingly unsettled when she was home alone, even during the day.

In hindsight, the ghost’s definite presence was one quiet reason why we moved.  While we never went to the extent of verifying “her presence,” we both felt it.  Frankly, I was not bothered by it and rather enjoyed her company.  It was as if she was there for whatever reason, and helping watch over our baby and home.  Patty lost her mother and a sister, and I had lost several female relatives, so it is hard to ever know who that spirit really was.

When I created the Salem Witch Trilogy, I used that memory, and others, to create the spirit of Rebecca Nurse.  In my books, Rebecca enters the life of her descendant John Andrews, and makes her strong presence known, seen and felt in his home in Salem, Mass.

There were other experiences where I have been in a home and felt a ghost’s presence.  I have no doubt that spirits can linger in a home, for whatever reason.  Only once while visiting someone in Charleston, S.C., did I feel the presence of a ghost who definitely did not want me and a colleague in the home.  I found out later from the homeowner that the house originally belonged to a physician who died in his living room when the Union Army invaded.  A cannon ball, I was told, blasted through the wall of the doctor’s home and ripped off his arm and shoulder.  He died shortly after.

On this visit to the downtown home, pictures hanging in the stairway literally popped off the wall as the homeowner gave us a tour.  I felt the ghost’s presence and immediately figured out he knew my friend and I were from the northeast, and I knew he still had resentment over the civil war.  As some say in Charleston, “the war never really ended.”

 

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