Our ghost presided in our house on Poplar Street. The first time I met her I was doing dishes at the kitchen sink. I had the strangest feeling someone was looking at me from the doorway to the dining room. I turned and saw nothing, but for some unknown reason I said “Hello, I’m glad you are here,” and went back to my dishes. Almost immediately I felt a gentle brush across my shoulders. I smiled, feeling for sure I had just encountered our ghost.
Let me back up a bit. Several months before, our son came down to breakfast one morning and asked, “Who was that lady at the foot of my bed last night?” We figured he was just dreaming ... well, maybe not!
I had known the family we bought the house from for years. We had been good friends. Their mother passed away with pneumonia shortly after their youngest child was born.
There were five children. The oldest boy had married soon after, and 16 year-old Janice took over the duties of raising the family. Their father, Pappy, was a fine provider. There were James, Joanne and Susan. Joanne was my friend and we all walked to school together. They had a wonderful floor register that we would stand over to dry our coats, gloves and such.
My mother and Janice became good friends and we went on hikes and picnics together. The family grew up and got married, same as I did. Then about the time my husband I were thinking about buying a house, Pappy had decided it was time to sell his. He was asking $5,000 but we couldn’t come up with the amount needed for the down payment. He wanted us to get the house, so he lowered the price so that what we had met the required amount. I don’t remember the exact figures.
When we moved in, there were a few books left on the shelf at the top of the stairs. As I was packing them away I noted one titled “Dante’s Inferno.” I put it in the bottom of the box, thinking I would check it out later. I then stored it in a closet in the north upstairs bedroom, which later became my son’s room. It was several years later before I got the box out again, but “Dante’s Inferno” wasn’t there. This was also the room in which I sensed her presence most often. My son knew nothing about the book and it was never found. I wondered if she had disposed of it because it wasn’t appropriate reading for the family.
Somewhere along the way I asked Joanne if they were aware of the ghost. She emphatically answered “yes!”. The ghost would make all kinds of noise, open and shut doors, wave curtains and even play the piano. The family would be so frightened they would gather in the kitchen until it all settled down.
When visiting with our neighbor, Mrs. Harris, across the fence, I mentioned the ghost. She knew all about it and thought it to be the children’s mother. She said their mother was a sweet person and her husband would lock her in the shed when he was upset with her. They would visit and she was worried about the children. Mrs. Harris felt when all the noise and opening doors was going on their mother was trying to get them to leave.
I was never frightened by the ghost; I felt it was a friend. When we sold the house, I told the new owner about the ghost, but she didn’t believe in such things. A few years later she told me she had met my ghost but didn’t go into detail. The house was later sold and became a business office. I went in once and asked if they had ever encountered the ghost. They just laughed and said no. I asked if I could check the north bedroom to see. When I did there was nothing there, not even the feeling. I guess since all those she cared about were long gone (even me) she wasn’t needed anymore.
This essay was written by a former Leadville resident who grew up in Cloud City in the mid-1900s. The author changed real-life names and locations to protect the privacy of others. She also asked the essay to be published anonymously in the spirit of Halloween.