Silhouettes On The Wall

Can an obsession be caused by tragic events from long ago?

There’s an old song that came out in the late 1950’s by the Rays called “Silhouettes”.

Brian and Karen are a young couple in their mid to late 20’s. Neither of them had heard the song until they went to an oldies sock hop a friend of theirs was having. It was a Friday night in late July, 2010. They were both in college, but hadn’t met until that night.

They danced to that song. They went out on the patio for some fresh air and they did see “Silhouettes” on the curtain, but when they returned inside, there were no curtains on that particular window. They could clearly see through onto the patio and the pool beyond which were lit up.

It seemed as though they went through some “time warp.”

Karen began to feel uncomfortable and went home. Brian promised to call her in a couple of days.

“That song kept going through my mind that night,” Karen recalled. “I could feel myself dancing with Brian.”

She heard someone whisper her name. When she opened her eyes and looked around the room, she saw two silhouettes dancing. (Her mother always kept the hall light on at night.)

Karen became frightened. Turned on the lights in her bedroom and thoroughly looked around, even under the bed, in the closet and checked the windows to make sure they were locked. Of course, she found nothing out of place, but that creepy, cold, yet clammy feeling enveloped her.

Early Saturday morning Karen got up. Her father was at the kitchen table drinking coffee and finishing his breakfast. Her mother was upstairs packing for their overnight stay at the cabin they bought years ago.

“How was the party?” he asked. “Have a good time?”

“Oh, the party was fine.”

Her father knew her words didn’t match her behavior so he looked her straight in the eyes and asked, “What happened?”

Reluctantly, Karen told him about dancing with Brian, going outside, seeing the silhouettes . . . and the strange silhouettes she saw in her bedroom after someone called her name.

Her father told her it was just a dream, but Karen didn’t contradict him.

“Why don’t you come to the cabin with us?”

Karen knew her father was concerned, but she declined the invitation. She had a part-time job at Target and wanted to go to work. She did, however, feel uncomfortable staying in the house alone that night.

Karen ate her breakfast in silence.

Her father left her to her thoughts.

Her mother came in and sat down beside her with a cup of coffee.

“Your father told me about the party and your bad dream,” she said. “Is Brian a nice boy?”

Karen confided in her mother about Brian’s family owning the local jewelry store and his older sister worked part time in the archives at the library. Her husband was an investment broker. She added, “I hope he calls.”

“I remember Marian, we went to high school together.” Marian is Brian’s mother. “I haven’t seen her for years.”

Karen’s father found his wife and daughter sitting at the kitchen table deep in thought.

“Are you ready to go?” he asked his wife.

Karen was hoping they’d decide not to go, but she also knew there were some repairs her father wanted to make at the cabin.

After her parents left for the cabin, Karen got ready for work.

She stopped by the library to look up any information she could find in the archives about the house on Birch Street. It was one of those restored old homes. Nothing fancy like a Victorian, but one that was built in the 1930’s and had been completely upgraded and modernized. It was on a half acre lot near the country club.

When Karen entered the library, she saw Brian sitting with a woman, studying some old books. She immediately went to the back of the library where the archives were stored.

The woman who had been sitting with Brian walked up to her and asked if she needed any help. Karen assumed the young woman was Brian’s sister. She inquired about the houses on Birch Street and was told those books were being reviewed by someone at the moment.

Karen wanted to know if Brian was having any weird experiences when she very clearly saw the silhouette of two dancers in an aisle to her left.

She became so unnerved by the experience that she ran out of the library without saying anything.

Karen arrived early to work. She hoped her friend who invited her to the party could help her with the history of her parent’s house.

There were others at work, who had also attended the party stocking shelves, folding clothing and straightening up displays. Karen saw her friend and assistant manager, Chelsea, working on a display of Halloween decorations.

That creepy, cold, clammy feeling came over Karen once again. She didn’t see the dancing silhouettes, but she felt as though she was being watched. The whole store was eerily quiet. A few customers were milling around, the canned music was playing softly in the background.

All of a sudden a display of toys fell from the shelves making at first a crashing sound, then beeps, chirps, whirls and screeches. Karen followed Chelsea to the toy department. It looked as though all the items inside the boxes were trying to get out.

“What on earth . . . ” Chelsea whispered. Her eyes were huge as she looked from the mess to Karen.

Chelsea’s boyfriend, Frank said, “Stand back, I’ll take care of this.” He was calm. Almost too calm, as though things like this happened all the time.

The truth was, things like this did happen all the time to Frank.

The background music immediately started playing “Silhouettes”. Chelsea burst into tears.

Karen and Chelsea went to the employees lounge.

When Chelsea composed herself she explained, “When we first moved into that house, I found a box of old 45 records and an old record player in the basement. I fell in love with that  silhouette song and many others recorded in the 1950’s. I believed that era was the best thing ever. I studied everything I could get my hands on about the 50’s and 60’s. It became an obsession that my parents thought was weird and sent me to a psychiatrist.”

She explained how she saw kids dancing in the living room with the furniture pushed back and shoes off.

“I could hear the music in my mind. I would even dance with them. Then things started to get strange.”

Chelsea started seeing silhouettes of dancers everywhere she went — school, home, the mall, even at the psychiatrist’s office. She was sent away to a psychiatric facility for extensive therapy.

“After being away for a year,” Chelsea explained, “I returned home and continued therapy.”

She didn’t see the silhouettes of dancers and she no longer was obsessed with the 50’s and 60’s until she met Frank.

“All that therapy down the drain,” she lamented. “Frank had an old restored T-bird. He had all the old songs on CDs and played them constantly.”

Chelsea fell right into the trap of Frank’s obsession which rekindled her own. It felt so natural to her. She thought she had a past life in that era and had some unfinished business her soul needed to work out.

But, what did this have to do with Karen? Why was she seeing silhouettes and dancers? She knew she had to see Brian and wondered if he was still at the library.

Karen volunteered to take Chelsea home and before returning to work stopped by the library. Fortunately for her she saw Brian leaving the library. They met at a restaurant to talk.

“I couldn’t get that silhouette song out of my mind,” Brian began. “Or what we saw.”

He contacted his sister at the library and told her what had happened. She looked through the archives at the library looking for anything that shed light on the situation. The only thing he found was about a fire in the old high school gym back in 1959. It was believed to be arson, because the doors to the gym were chained with padlocks. There was a spring dance in the gym at the time. Many students and chaperones had died in the gym from smoke inhalation  before the fire trucks arrived.

They crossed referenced the list of names of the deceased students and found that Chelsea’s great-aunt had died that night in the gym.

The strange thing was that Frank’s great-great-grandfather owned that house on Birch Street and he lost a son in that fire.

Brian and Karen believe that Chelsea’s great-aunt and Frank’s great-uncle are the silhouette dancers they saw that Friday night.

Were these spirits trying to give Brian and Karen a message? Or were they just caught up in the energy of the moment?

There are still unanswered questions for the young couple, but fortunately they are no longer bothered by the silhouettes, but they will never forget their experience.

‘thanks for stopping by!


Hazel’s Antique Telephone

As you read Hazel’s Real Ghost Story, you may wonder as I did of how much is real and how much imagined …

I have a friend who told me when she was a child how she would rock her grandfather’s rocking chair and have long conversations with him.

She was very aware of her own imagination at play. This was abruptly brought to a close by her mother who was afraid that her daughter could invite the ghost of the grandfather . . . or something else.

This was running through my mind when I met Hazel and heard her account of the antique telephone …

You decide for yourself.

Hazel had an old antique telephone she found at an estate sale.

She set it on her grandmother’s antique desk.  It was a novelty item– it was not plugged in. Hazel felt closer to her grandmother and loved ones who had passed. As she sat at her grandmother’s desk, she imagined the letters her grandmother penned at that writing desk and the calls that would come in. An invitation to tea? Family coming for a visit? Birth announcements? Wedding announcements? It was a lovely way Hazel liked to pass the time.

She remembered the days of party lines and by counting the number of rings would indicate that the call was for you or for someone else.

That thought just entered her mind when she heard the old telephone chirp out two short and one long ring. It did it several more times before Hazel answered it.

“Hello?” Hazel asked timidly. She felt a bit awed by answering the old telephone that wasn’t plugged in.

“Is that you?” came from the antique instrument.

“This is Hazel.”

“Oh, wrong number.”

Was this a call from heaven? Hazel wondered. She thought about this. Grandma was that you? Was it for someone who owned the telephone?

The more she thought about it, the more she thought the antique telephone was connected to the previous owner. She wondered how she could make it hers and receive messages from her loved ones.

Was Hazel asking for trouble?

She got out a smudge stick, lit it and allowed the smoke to envelope the antique telephone and antique desk.

“This telephone and desk are one,” she said. “The desk belonged to my grandmother and now the telephone belongs to her, too.”

Hazel thought a moment and added others thoughts she had to this ceremony she was conducting.

“I will receive messages on this telephone from my grandmother and loved ones who have passed. This is my direct link to them, just as in the days when they were here on this earthly plane of existence. I love you all and miss you.”

Hazel allowed the smudge stick to burn as she placed it in a bowl on a trivet and meditated while sitting at the old antique writing desk.

The telephone interrupted her meditation with one long and two short rings.  Hazel thought that must be for me, since the two short and one long was for someone else. She answered it by saying, “Hello, this is Hazel.”

There was laughter on the other end of the line.

“Who is this?” she asked.

More laughter.

Hazel wondered if it was children playing a prank as in the old days. “Do you have Prince Albert in a can? Well, let him out!” Referring to the pipe tobacco.

That thought brought a smile to her lips as she hung up the telephone.

Hazel truly thought she had made a connection with the beyond. She just hadn’t connected to her loved ones.

A few days passed and the antique telephone remained silent.

She thought that since it was an old telephone, maybe an old number would reach her loved ones. She got out an old address book that belonged to her mother and looked at the list of names and numbers. Some numbers were scratched out and replaced with newer ones. She found one for her grandmother who had died in the 1960’s and using the rotary dial she placed her call with great anticipation. She also wondered how much this call was going to cost, but since the antique telephone wasn’t plugged in, she dismissed the thought as mere foolishness.

She heard ringing through the instrument. She was making a connection, if only someone would answer. It just kept ringing. She tried another number. The old number that belonged to her parents. She got a message of “That number is no longer in service.”

Hazel wondered how far back she had to go in order to connect with her loved ones. With determination she dialed number after number.

Exhausted from her efforts, she went into the kitchen to make dinner and think about this some more. She was truly obsessed with making a connection. She got out an old recipe book that belonged to her grandmother and even made the raisin oatmeal cookies she always had in her cookie jar. Hazel even brought down the old cookie jar from the high shelf above the refrigerator.

She almost fell off the step ladder when she heard the antique telephone peal out three short rings. She set the cookie jar on top of the refrigerator, stepped down to the kitchen floor and dashed to the telephone.

“Hello?” she answered breathlessly.

“Stop! Just stop what you’re doing!” and the line went dead.

Hazel was delighted! She had no intention of stopping. She made a connection!

It happened when Hazel was drinking tea and eating raisin oatmeal cookies around 2 in the afternoon. The antique telephone would chirp out three short rings. Hazel would answer it and receive instructions. She would follow them to the letter from cleaning out cupboards to running errands. She was also instructed to go to a particular thrift shop to buy what her grandmother referred to as “house dresses.”

Everyday Hazel would have her tea and raisin oatmeal cookies at 2 P.M. anticipating her telephone message. She was obsessed and some believe possessed. Her care provider never heard the antique telephone ring, but she would see Hazel run to answer it and bake more cookies or do something in another room or even get out in her car. Sometimes she would take a nap.

Whatever possessed Hazel, didn’t seem dangerous to her family, just odd. The care provider thought differently. She did file a report and the family dismissed her and hired someone new.

Hazel seems happy enough with a new care provider, her tea and raisin oatmeal cookies and telephone messages.

Is this really happening? Is it all in Hazel’s mind? Is the antique telephone haunted? These are all questions I can’t answer, but I believe something is going on with Hazel and that old antique telephone.

Please leave me a comment.

Thanks for stopping by!