“Not so much as a single pebble ‘came’ from New Orleans, any more than any of the people did. Every grain of sand, every rock, every drip of brown mud, and every single person walking, living and loving in the city is a refugee from somewhere else. But they made something unique, the people and the land, when they came together in that cohesive, magnetic, magical spot; this sediment of society made something that is not French, not Spanish, and incontrovertibly not American.”
― James Caskey,
I’ve seen ghosts. Laugh if you want. Call me a lunatic, I don’t care. I’ve seen ghosts. More than once. And other people have experienced these same ghosts. Let me tell you about The Baby in Apartment 107. Just thinking about this (24 years later) still gives me the heebie-jeebies.
In 1992, I lived in Oakland with Older Charming (and also Handsome) Son and his Dad. We had a one bedroom apartment, centrally located, semi-nice neighborhood (for Oakland), swimming pool right outside our sliding glass doors, in a secure, clean, well kept building. Older Charming (and Also Handsome) son was a baby, only a year old, when we lived in Apartment 107. Immediately upon moving in, I started experiencing weird stuff. I would see fast scurrying out of the corner of my eye and when I looked in that direction there was nothing there. I thought we had mice and I was pretty freaked out.
I would only see the movement in the apartment when my son was asleep. Often I thought my son had awakened and was playing, so I’d go check in on him. He was always in the crib, sound asleep. The day that almost drove me to the nuthouse was the day I saw the flash in the mirror. The scurrying was pretty commonplace by then and maintenance men had assured me there were no mice. I could never quite turn my head fast enough to see what was moving and it bothered me, terrified me actually. One day I was sitting on the couch reading while my son slept in his crib. Directly to my right on a wall about twenty feet away, was a mirror. As I sat reading, I saw a huge flash in the mirror, like a camera flash but much brighter. It was so bright I jumped and screamed. As I looked into the mirror, I saw a vibrating ball of light. It was the size of a dinner plate. As I watched, it got smaller and smaller until it was no more than a pinpoint, then vanished. As always, my son was sleeping.
My friends and family had been visitors and overnight guests in Apartment 107 and started coming forward with their own stories. My cousin often baby-sat my son in Apartment 107 and told me that she had been seeing the scurrying for months. My son was always asleep when it happened. When she was washing her face or brushing her teeth, she would see it out of the corner of her eye – never directly head on. Invariably, she’d call my son’s name, assuming he was playing, and say something like “I see you. I’m going to get you.” But every time, he was in the crib sleeping and she would be dumbfounded. My girlfriends told me that they had sometimes seen something small in my apartment and just assumed it was my son playing hide and seek.
One night a co-worker friend came over to play cards, listen to music, drink, etc. and stayed until the wee morning hours. We asked him to stay the night so that he wouldn’t have to drive home so late at night. He slept on the couch. The next morning, he took me aside and asked me why I allowed my son to pester him while he slept on the couch. I told him that my son had been asleep all night in his crib in the bedroom with the door locked. There was no way he climbed out of his crib, unlocked and turned the handle of the bedroom door. It was not possible for him to do that at that age. I asked what happened the night before. He said he was smacked over and over in the face and head by a giggling baby all night long, which prevented him from sleeping. We moved.
The Baby in Apartment 107 wasn’t the only ghost. 1). I once saw a man (who wasn’t there) in my kitchen smoking a cigarette and leaning against my basement door. I could see through him. This was when I lived in the House of Free People. I screamed bloody murder and my gigantic, football player sized roommate came running down the stairs. When he got there, the man had vanished but we both smelled his cigarette. 2). When Tall Handsome Son was about 2 years old, he told me about the dead boy and his father who “lived” in our bathroom. The entire time that I lived in that house (from his age of one week old until he was about two and a half) Tall Handsome Son woke up at the exact same time every night (2:45 AM) screaming inconsolably. There were always dead birds all around that house. On the doorstep mostly, but also out in the driveway, and on the front and back windshields of the car. We moved. 3). I lived in a condo that was a re-purposed high school – the oldest school in the city. There was all sorts of mayhem in that condo but most notable, this particular ghost liked to turn lights on and off and mess up the table cloth. I didn’t renew my lease. Go figure.
Yep, I know all about rational explanations and all that jazz, but I think these incidents have ghostly explanations. My First for today: a night time Ghost Tour, in what is probably the most haunted city in the world, New Orleans. Spoiler Alert: NOTHING HAPPENED. There was a lot of great history, but apparently the ghosts were getting ready for Mardi Gras parades tomorrow. I enjoyed it anyway.