I don't consider myself a particularly psychically sensitive person. Most of the time a ghost would have to hit me with a brick to get me to notice it. But Antonia is off telling ghost stories, so here is mine, even more rubbishy than hers.
When we bought this house back in 1991, the original farmhouse and barn were still standing. Okay, mostly standing.
The old house had had a huge tree limb fall on the roof ridge, which was cracked in twain, and the windows had been boarded up with interior panelling, which weathered into attractive peeling strips that fluttered in the breeze.
The first time my husband's grandmother ever came to see the place, she came up the driveway with his aunt and got out of the car saying, "Oh, my God." She thought we were trying to live in that house. (The narrow end of our house faces the driveway, so I guess she mistook it for a shed or something.)
I had brought with me from the house in Grand Rapids about a thousand pounds (weight) in perennials, and since we moved in January, I arranged to go back and dig them in March. I stored them in boxes and buckets and plastic bags inside the old decrepit farmhouse until the soil thawed enough to transplant them..
The farmhouse: it had been nested in by raccoons. It had the SAME wallpaper in one room as my old bedroom at my parents' house. It had lots of odds and ends of rubbish in it, stirred around and crapped in by the raccoons.
It was the coldest empty house I have ever managed to go into. I used to dive in there, drag out a bag of plants, and feel like I would never get warm again. It wasn't precisely haunted, it was just creepy. It was a great relief when I had every last bulb and root and rhizome safely in the ground and didn't have to go in there any more.
Then the insurance company declared it an attractive nuisance, and said if it wasn't torn down, they would cancel our house insurance. So with the help of our families, we tore the old house down and filled the hugest dumpster we could get, the kind that goes on the back of the big truck, three times.
When we were done, all that was left of the house was a big flat floor: the floor of the porches, the concrete steps, and the floor over the sand-walled Michigan basement.
And a green-vinyl-upholstered chair, one of the least rubbish-y things that had been inside the house. I thought I had heard my husband say he wanted this chair to sit in while he burned odds and ends of trash. Maybe I imagined this.
I could never sit in the chair myself. It always felt too cold to me, no matter how warm it was in the summer. Cold and creepy. I really got to hate that chair, sitting there on that big flat floor. It felt like someone, something, was sitting in it. Sitting in it, watching. Gack. But I put up with the thing because my husband had wanted it.
Then one day he said, "Can we get rid of that chair? It always feels like something is sitting in it, watching."
Yes! Yes, we could, and we did.
But there was still a creepiness about the rest of the old house, which clung on until we pulled all the flooring off and filled the cinder block spaces that had been the crawl spaces with mushroom compost, and made them into gardens.
And there was one last clinging cold spot in the very corner, which finally gave way to lots of sunshine and columbines in bloom.
Like I said, a completely rubbish ghost story. I never saw anything. I never heard anything. Nothing ever moved around. But it was still creepy.