Lost Arts studio

A lot of the fiber arts I enjoy are things like tatting, netmaking, chair caning, and even weaving, where people will come up to me when I demonstrate and solemnly tell me, "That's a lost art."

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Location: SW Outer Nowhere, Michigan, United States

On the Internet, nobody knows you're a chicken. (With apologies to Peter Steiner.)

13 June 2009

Ghost Stories

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.


Blogger Donna Lee said...

I never totally believed or disbelieved in ghosts until my cat died and two days later I saw her. Really saw her. She looked at me and smiled (I know, but I swear she smiled). My brother and his wife swear their house is haunted. Strange noises, lights and doors opening and closing. I've never experienced it so I can't judge.

8:43 PM  
Blogger TinkingBell said...


But thank you for Debi Gliori's website - I love her stuff - espeically the pure series - lots of fun and silliness!

2:06 AM  
Blogger Antonia said...

I love it!! Especially The Chair, with an invisible staring, watching person, and the fact you turned it all into a flower garden. I'm going to be thinking about haunted flowerbeds all day.

4:39 AM  
Blogger Roxie said...

I love that you released the creepies into flowers and sunshine and mushroom compost. Good job!

9:13 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

All I'm gonna say is, I've seen a lot of REALLY weird stuff in my day.

And I've studied the occult and you did pretty much the best possible thing for dealing with a haunted house, completely by instinct. Which I find interesting.

9:15 AM  
Blogger Olivia said...

I find this stuff fascinating. But I am very glad I don't seem to be too sensitive to such things - my aunt is, she had visits from each of my grandparents just after they died.

10:21 PM  
Blogger HobbygÃ¥sa said...

I don't know if to belive or not in ghosts, but I sure hope I never meet one :-)

8:25 AM  
Blogger Knitting Linguist said...

And yet, sometimes you just know when you're not supposed to be somewhere, and that Chair sounds like one of those places!

12:48 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Wonderful! Thank you for sharing that, I'm sure I've heard that story before but I had forgotten the details. Aren't mushrooms marvelous? Their magical mycelium transforms death into life every time.

(For any reader who is yet unaware of this, Alwen is actually extremely sensitive, but also extemely logical and scientific, so while her friend Beth is revelling in the spooky weirdness of it all, Alwen is busy saying, well that's not all that weird, look, I have the scientific explanation right here! I LOVE her for that!)

11:51 AM  
Blogger velocibadgergirl said...

Actually, that's not a bad story at all! BRRR!

11:55 PM  
Blogger Felicia said...

Not too bad of a story for someone who didn't think they had one!

9:37 PM  
Blogger TattingChic said...

YIKES! That is creepy! I believe it...sometimes things just "feel" that way! LOL!

Oh, I managed to blog-hop over here and saw your blog intro said you like tatting and I think that's really cool! I have a tatting blog. I hope you share some of your tatting! Stop by my blog anytime you like! :)

11:29 AM  

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