Saturday, July 19, 2008

Rich, Millie and the Saturday Morning Spirit

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood...
-Ephesians 6:12

It was early this morning, the light a soft, golden glow behind the curtains. Millie woke me with a paw to the face. I rolled over and looked at the clock on the nightstand: almost six o'clock. I groaned.

We were at the back of the house, beginning to walk the long hall that splits Freeman House in half, when a voice stopped me still. "Brin, I'm in the bathroom." It was my brother, Rich. He's been staying here, on and off, for almost a year.

"I'm just taking Millie out," I said, looking at the puppy at my feet. Her tail was wagging.

"Um... hang on. I can take her out in a second." He sounded strange. Was he feeling well?

"I'm already up," I said.

"Wait, Brin, please wait a sec...". I ignored him and headed up the hall. He's not the one who has to clean up the dog's messes when I don't get her out in time.

We got to the door leading into the kitchen - at the exact place in the photo above - and I made a sharp right into the still-dark room. The kitchen's on the west side of the house - towards the center - and is one of the last places in the morning to wake up. I stumbled to the door. Instead of following me, Millie sat down in the hall, staring in at me.

"Come, Millie," I said, unlocking the sliding chain lock, the door knob, and easing the door open. "Let's go outside."

She didn't budge.

I was trying to decide whether to make coffee or ... could I go back to sleep?... when Rich appeared behind Millie in the door. "Come here," he hissed. I did.

"There is someone in the house. There was just someone in the house," he whispered.


"Just now. I heard them walking through the front of the house. They just went out the kitchen door, right before you and Millie came up the hall. Look, I have chill bumps," he said, stretching his left arm out in front of me.

He did. I laughed. "There's no one here," I said loudly, punching at his arm. "The chain was locked. No one went out that door."

Rich grabbed my shoulders and looked at me, hard. I looked down at the floor. "No, Brin," he repeated. "I. Heard. Someone. Here. They went out that door."

Slowly, I looked up. We locked eyes. He look scared. My brother, freaked out. Huh. "What exactly did you hear?"


"Heavy footsteps? Where did they go?"

"No. Light. House shoes. Socks, maybe. I don't know. They shuffled. They walked slowly through the dining room and library and then down the hall, through the kitchen and out that door. I heard it open and then I heard it close."

"Well, at least it left," I joked. Silence. My brother. Ever the tell-it-as-it-is, 'you can't pull one over on me' country man. He looked up the hall and back at me, eyes as big as tea cup saucers.

A cold shiver, and my spine was tingling. It's always the library. People always hear footsteps in the library in this house. I have, once. Only once. Christmas night. Last year. I consider myself rather fearless and bold, but that night I got so afraid I called my neighbor, JoAnne, and was shaking so hard I could scarcely open the door when she flew up the porch. We sat in front of the tree and drank hot chocolate and I held her a Christmas hostage for three hours. It was the only time I've ever been frightened to stay at Freeman House.

I was remembering that, Rich still looking at me... looking over my shoulder... when Millie began to growl. I've heard her growl twice before: once at another dog and once at someone in Colorado. She is the quietest dog I've ever been around. But suddenly Millie stood to all fours, took a step into the kitchen and growled the longest, lowest, most frightening growl I'd ever heard.

Nope. I wasn't going back to sleep. Might as well make coffee.

Can't be sure what Rich heard or what Millie saw, but it's been silent as a tomb all morning. I had to convince my brother- promise him twice - that the door was definitely locked from the inside when I reached it. I've never seen my brother so shaken. And Millie wouldn't go through the kitchen to go outside this morning, preferring to sit and wait by the front door instead.

Strange. Strange, but not terrifying. Because we know what the Bible says, anyway: we're not up against flesh and blood. The rulers, authorities, cosmic powers and forces (all named in Ephesians 6:12) don't play by our rules. They're not limited to our spaces or times. We - you and I - are players in two realms... actors on two stages - a physical and a spiritual, but unfortunately for our human eyes, we can only see in the one.

Fortunately for our human hearts, though, we can still fight in the other.

In the meantime, maybe my Mom is right. Maybe I should get carpet. (wink)


Anonymous said...

I'll bet Miss Freeman loves how you
renovated that great old house---maybe she'll leave you another bundle of letters!

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

Oh my goodness, I'm sitting here in daylight shivering! I have had those feelings off and on throughout life, knowing there was a dark presence but He, who is LIGHT, would take it away.

I've never heard footsteps, though. That would be spooky.

Perhaps I should think of getting a dog. My surviving kitty is quite old and she would just turn over and go back to sleep under such circumstances.

Mia said...

I believe him.

Kathleen Grace said...

Ew, creepy, I got goose bumps just reading it. I had something similar happen to me as a newlywed. We lived in a townhouse apartment and my husband left for work vry early in the morning. One morning as lay in bed, half asleep, I heard the door open and someone come up the stairs, come to my side of the bed, and kiss my cheek. It did not feel like a dream. I mentioned to my husband that night how sweet it was that he stopped by for a kiss when he was in the area and he denied being there! It continued to happen, and while I felt awake and aware, I could not open my eyes when I heard those footsteps. I never really felt threatened, but I finally asked God to stop whatever it was from continuing and it never happened again! I will never forget it, but I am so glad I could call on God and make it stop!

Anonymous said...

Wow!! Sweetheart, you've got one mean dog there if she is growling as a puppy. I've never heard a puppy growl. She must have been frightend to her very depths and returned to her wild instincts. I would move.

Jenny said...

Spooky-Ooky! Yowza. Does your brother still want to stay there? That is SO neat, but so "oh my!". I think it's Millie's low, throaty growl that would have done it for me. Just think, If you get carpet (wink) maybe your brother could follow the footprints. :)

L said...

WOW! I couldn't stop reading...thinking maybe you figured out what it was. Whenever I get tht weirded out feeling, I pray out loud and always feel better. I'm sure you do as well so you will always be safe and secure...

Leigh Ann

Julie said...

Okay, Brin --
If you're a Baptist and can admit to it -- then so will I (as a fellow Southern Baptist!)
In the garage apartment that my husband & I rented as newlyweds (built before WWII) our 1st encounter with ??? was the 1st night there. My husband was asleep and I lay awake looking out the window, I hear our kitchen cabinets opening and slamming in rapid succession. I woke my husband up who asked me just WHAT all that noise was and he went to check it out. As he approached the kitchen, it stopped. He didn't see anything or anyone. Didn't have anymore trouble until I was expecting our oldest -- he had to leave for work much earlier than I, so I was alone starting the day's chores (cleaning the breakfast dishes, making the bed, sweeping, etc.) Several times, after making the bed, I would leave the room and come back with it un-made or with a behind (rear-end) imprint on it. It was startling, but I tried to ignore it. Finally, I just couldn't be alone, there, when one morning I heard something in the kitchen, went in there and a whole canister of sugar was spilled out and turned upside down. After that, I left when my husband did and didn't go home until he was with me. About a year after we moved out, our landlords tore it down and built another.

No trouble with our next home, but then we were staying with my parents. They had an old Victorian with a history of suicides and strange deaths. (Did I mention that my mother is a "nut"?) One night, my Mother & I were watching a movie (in separate rooms, on separate floors) & when the news came on (they were talking about the Excelsior in Jefferson, Tx) and the lightbulbs in my lamps shattered and both my mother's and my tv's went off. MUCH more happened there -- but I've already taken up too much space. Hubs & I never liked staying there, needless to say!

Be safe! It sounds like you know WHO is on your side and if HE is with you, who can ever be against you?!


Unknown said...

Sounds like one of the ghosts from the books "Ghosts In Texas." Freaky, Freaky! After my Grandma died, my Mom and Dad moved into her house. It was where my Dad was born. One night the bedside lamp came on, not really a big deal...except the lamp was unplugged. Totally freaked us all out. Strange things happen!

Anonymous said...

Sometimes old houses seem to hold echos of past tenants. Unnerving (!!) but hopefully not negative. I'd have had the same reaction you did on Christmas. What seemed more threatening to me, though, was the person Millie growled at in Colorado - I wonder what she was picking up on - something bad I'd think - I bet you gave him (her?) a wide berth. Good for Millie! Dogs sense beyond the physical, that's for certain.

Anonymous said...

My mother who attended a religious college in Big Sandy Texas in the early 1960's said she walked into her dorm room and all the books were flying around the room and the chairs were floating. She immediately started to pray and they dropped. Someone once told me if you walk with God, it was just a matter of time before you would be visited by spirits (not of God). I would not be too scared with puppy there! ;0 Jesus talked to spirits and rebuked them. But your story did make for great Saturday morning fodder!!

Vee said...

I'm nodding my head for we had things like this happen all. the. time. at our old circa 1840 house. It ended, for the most part, when our pastor came and prayed in every room. People hate it when I say what I think "it" really was. Everyone likes to think of friendly ghosts. ;D

~Molly~ said...

How delightfully creepy! Sounds like you might have a possum under the house! My brother lived in a similar home in Sulphur Springs and had weird sounds and his cats would growl at things now and then. One night he saw one "on alert" and a possum came out from under the house where the cat was sitting in a window seat.


Just A Girl said...

How frightening and yet "Greater is He that is in me."
Hi Bren, I've visited here several times and love your blog. Your writing style really draws in the reader and the fact that your a sigle woman restoring an old house makes it that much better.
I'll be back soon.

Linda Z said...

Hi Brin,

Wow, what an eerie account! Yikes! I got to wondering... have you ever dedicated the Freeman House to the Lord for His use and to be under His protection? I did this with a single friend recently, praying over each of the rooms of her new home. It was such a special time.

Also, I wanted to encourage you with this verse. Romans 8:38-39 "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Anonymous said...

Hi Brin,
Have you ever considered them to be angels in your house and in your presence? This happens now and then here at Durham too.

Love ya
The Cruise Princess

Nana Trish is Living the Dream said...

I believe you had a visitor. It is spooky and has happened to me. It's just that people roll their eyes when you tell them and I'm sure think I dreamed it. I'm so glad you have Millie and Rich there. God will protect you though!

Val said...

oh my! I have chillbumps sitting in my office here at work!

Leslie said...

whoa, that is a scary story. Sometimes i think i see things out of the corner of my eye but when i turn to look there is nothing there. Not nearly as scary as hearing footsteps and doors opening and closing.

Mrs. JoAnne Mabey said...

i LOVED being your hostage! kidnap me anytime! i need a break! but instead of hot chocolate- might we please have some lemoade instead? :) good thing rich and millie were there!

Polly said...

Wow, Brin, sounds like life in my house! We hear things all the time, doors slamming, knocking on the walls, music. The other night, I was alone in the house, at my computer and suddenly my dogs started to bark. I glanced up and saw a dark figure walk down the hall. I thought it was my son at first, but no one was in the house, the front door was locked, and his car wasn't in the drive!
Good times.

Unknown said...

I too think it was Miss Freeman checking on you to see what you've been up too, she just didn't realize your brother was there? A little scary but funny too, old houses do have spirits, I believe! Just in case, keep Millie by your side!

Anonymous said...


Think her and ms freeman may know each other????? creepy creepy!

Anonymous said...

My house is not as old as yours, but it's on the national register of historical houses. We have heard tales of a fire that started in the upstairs bedroom by a young boy who was mentally challenged. When we first moved into the house, I felt the presence of a small child. Always by the fire place in our upstairs bedroom. At first, I was scared out of my mind, then I began to think "Maybe the child is scared" so I started talking to him. It's a boy. That I know. I try to always say reassuring things, like, "I will be right back, just going downstairs." I have 3 grandkids, and just lately, they are afraid to be in the house alone. The have a play room full of toys and things for kids where they would spend hours in. Lately, they want nothing to do with that room. I have never told them anything about the fire or boy. Actually, I tell very few people. I'm not afraid. Like my 86 year old mom told me, "It's not the dead that you need to worry about" so I'm not worried. It's just a bit creepy sometimes and the feeling comes when you least expect it. So do I believe there is some energy in my house...hummmm? Yeah, maybe. But a little child needs to be guided and loved, so that is what I try to do. This is an old neighborhood, and not many of the old timers are left to tell us stories. My neighbor across the street was looking at a bigger house in the neighorhood...she had 3 kids under 5 and found and fell in love with this house, but everytime they went through a certain room, she smelled clorine. So strong it burned her nose. She would ask her husband, "OMG, can you smell that?" He did not. She was the only one who could smell it. She is an attorney and was freaked out by the fact that no one else could smell the clorine. One day, she was talking to an old lady who has lived in the neighborhood forever, and was told that a grandmother was watching her 4 year old grandson and he slipped out of the back door and drowned in the pool. The pool was filled in with dirt and years later, a new owner extended the house and that bedroom with the clorine smell was right over the pool. Freaky, I know. My husband who thinks that people who believe in this sort of thing are wanting to believe it. But folks, he was REALLY freaked out by this. He won't even talk about it. Trust me, why did I know something happened in this house and to a little boy???? I knew nothing about this house past history. But I knew, that I knew, that I knew. I call it "A knowing" I can't explain it.

Anonymous said...

You and Miss Freeman may be related. It's no accident that the house found you. You two are so much alike. I think she likes you being there. Just accept it and let her know that you are just the caretaker...for this period, anyway.

Tara said...

I've been lurking here for a while. I wanted to let you know I enjoy your blog and I've linked to this story from mine. I thought it was so well-crafted I wanted to share. Thanks!