During this Halloween week, I thought a real ghost story would be in order.

    On this fall evening, I had a few friends over. We were sitting around the fire pit near my patio.

    As is usually the case, we started talking about urban legends. I’ve always thought some truth originated from them, but the location is usually never pin pointed and some have been proven false, but retold nevertheless.

    Someone mentioned the urban legend “The Babysitter.”  I always get a creepy feeling about that story, but I didn’t expect my friend Barbara’s reaction.

    “That really happened to me,” Barbara said quietly.

    We waited. I was torn between wanting to know and not wanting to hear a story that would keep me up until the break of dawn. Especially an urban legend I already found disturbing. I didn’t need to put a real person’s face on it.

    “It’s not exactly like the urban legend, but the similarity cannot be mistaken,” she began. “I was at my aunt and uncle’s house staying with my younger cousins. My parents were having an anniversary party for them. My brothers had dates and that left me to stay with the cousins.”

    She quickly added, “No one was killed.” And, the only similarity to the urban legend is the babysitting part … but I’m sure there are numerous variations.

    I just knew it had to do with telephone calls or creepy sounds upstairs or in the basement. I had to shut off my wandering imagination.

    Barbara’s story took place in the mid 1960’s.

    “We were all downstairs. Aunt Harriet had dinner prepared for us. June and I just had to put it on plates. Brady and Mark were watching an old western on television. They wanted to continue watching their program and set up TV trays for all of us to eat together in the living room. During the commercial, the boys got a cold bottle of soda for each of us and made a big production of popping off the caps. They carried in their plates and the sodas just as the program began. June and I followed with silverware, napkins and our own plates.”

    “I remember just getting settled when the telephone rang.”

    No one was there, but the phone line seemed to crackle.

    Barbara returned to the living room and began eating when the telephone rang again. She got up to answer it. This time there was laughing on the line. She decided it was a prank call and said, “Tell me the joke and I’ll laugh along with you.” She heard a distinct click indicating the call was disconnected.

    “During the commercial break, we refilled our plates in the kitchen, grabbed another roll or two and the boys opened up another bottle of soda for each of us.”

    They were having a pleasant evening together, it was like they were having their own “party” in front of the television.

    After dinner and after the television program, the boys searched for something else to watch while June and Barbara washed the dishes. The boys later put the soda bottles in the garage and took out the trash.

    They rushed in white as ghosts. “Upstairs, we saw someone in Mom’s sewing room.”

    June didn’t believe them at first. She knew her brothers were probably up to something. Barbara immediately believed them. She went outside and the sewing room window was dark.

    The boys insisted the light was on and there was someone in the room, walking by the window.

    “Let’s all go out for ice cream,” Barbara suggested.

    They all got into her car, parked out front. June noticed the light on in the front bedroom window.

    “That’s my room!” she said. “I didn’t have my light on.”

    They watched the window. Nothing crossed in front of it, but the next window lit up. They were sure someone was in the house.

    Barbara carefully drove to the store. She found a telephone booth and all four of them crammed inside as Barbara called her house. Her father answered. She told him what was happening and she and her cousins were at the grocery store. He told her to come home with her cousins.

    She had to pass the house on her way home and saw her uncle’s car parked across the street. She parked behind him. He was relieved they were safe and said he was waiting for the police.

    A couple of police cars pulled up and parked a couple of houses away on the same side of the street as her aunt and uncle’s house. Her uncle got out of the car to join them.

    The police went inside. When they stepped on the porch, the porch light went out. Two other officers went around back.

    Barbara remembered leaving the kitchen light on when they left. It was now out.

    The police went inside and through every room in the house. What they found was disturbing.

    Uncle Roy told Barbara to go home with her cousins.

    “Daddy’s going into the house,” Brady said.

    “What’s in the house,” Mark wanted to know.

    That’s what everyone wanted to know. They waited for Uncle Roy.

    He returned with the police. Neither Uncle Roy, nor the police gave much information, but they asked plenty of questions from what they did that evening to what they had for dinner. Barbara explained about the telephone calls. The boys spoke about the light being on in the sewing room.

    Aunt Harriet remembered checking the bedrooms before she and Roy left for the evening after Barbara arrived. Nothing was out of place she insisted.

    Barbara could attest to the fact that no one went upstairs. The bathroom downstairs was used. All the children were in agreement. Either the boys were together or June and Barbara were together when they were all in the living room.

    They didn’t hear anything upstairs.

    Years later Barbara found out what the police found and why her aunt and uncle moved out of the house.

    No windows were found open. All the outside doors were locked, but something strange had entered the house or been in the house when Harriet and Roy left the children in the care of Barbara.

    It was strange no one heard anything, but the television was on and they were watching a western with galloping hoofs and gun fire.

    Upstairs was a complete mess. Toys were thrown around the room, beds were set upended against the wall, some toys were broken and all the heads of June’s dolls were gone — not in the trash or anywhere in the house. Clothes were ripped, not slashed with a knife while still on their hangers. Drawers were dumped out and the contents ripped up.

    This was impossible for Barbara and her cousins to have done during the two to three hours they were alone in the house.

    It was concluded that it had to be poltergeists.

    Harriet and Roy didn’t return to live in the house with their children. They hired someone to clean the house and remove all the furniture to the dump. They stayed with Barbara’s family for a couple of weeks before moving into an apartment while they were selling the house.

    Whatever was in the house may not have wanted to harm Barbara and her cousins, but since Harriet and Roy were away, it made it very clear that it didn’t want them in the house.

    Barbara has never forgotten that night and still gets chills remembering the laughter she heard over the telephone.

    Did you find that real ghost story creepy?

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Sharon