Our resident ghost has made himself known in various ways-through sounds, such as phantom footsteps, or actual speaking (see the story “He Speaks”), to practical jokes, or even kindly gestures (see the story “The Kiss” ), or unexplainable odors of phantom food cooking. It is quite rare however, for our ghost to make a personal, physical appearance. Rare, but not unknown. I myself have seen him, for a brief, but clear moment.
One evening, I made my way into the family room of our home to watch some television. From t he family room, there is a doorway on the east wall that leads to the living room, and another on the north wall that opens into the kitchen.
As I entered the family room from the living room, I happened to glance into the lit kitchen. There in front of the counter along the northern wall, I caught sight of someone pouring coffee from the pot located there. It was NOT a member of my family! I stopped dead in my tracks, shocked at the sight of a stranger in my home. I stood there for only seconds, and when I blinked, the figure was gone. He simply vanished from sight.
The man standing there had been tall, with broad shoulders. He wore gray “work pants” of the type my grandfather used to wear when I was a small child, and a dark blue, denim “jump jacket”- the boxy, square cut type that sports those square patch pockets on the front. He wore a gray or brown felt hat, that looked well worn and sweat stained, and was pulled down low over his ears. I did not see his face, for he was turned away from me where he stood by the coffee pot. I had the impression, by his stance, that he was an older man, probably in his late sixties or early seventies (though I have no real proof of this. It is only the impression I received.) This was my only sighting of our ghost, but it is neither the first sighting, nor the last.
My father, on several occasions, related to me the story of sleeping with his father as a young child, and awaking during the night to see a figure of a man, wearing an old slouch hat, standing over the bed watching him sleep. Being a child, he found these occurrences frightening, and would quietly slip down in the bed until his head was hidden by the covers, blocking the figure from view.
A neighbor, one evening, was approaching our front door, and saw a figure which she thought to be my eldest brother exit the house and descend the front steps. She even spoke to the figure, and was puzzled by his lack of response as he passed her and continued down the front walk, to disappear into the night. The strange thing was, when she arrived at our front door, it was locked, and no one had entered or exited our home the entire evening (at least, no one living ). She was definitely spooked.
On the night of my father's death, my brother and his wife were making their way home, and as they left our driveway, saw a figure of a man matching the ghost's description descend our front steps and make his way through the side yard toward our neighbor's home. None of the family members present had left the house at that time.
For those who adhere to the old adage “seeing is believing”, these sightings should be enough to make believers of them all.
© Paulette Boyd
Back to Appalachian Ghost Stories