What the Others Saw

As time went on, more souls were to experience the unexplained, creepy and unusual happenings which took place in our Madison, Wisconsin house.

But these experiences were secondary as these additional house visitors were there to assist me with the care of my rapidly declining, terminally-ill mom.

Due to her lengthy battle with frontotemporal degeneration (FTD), my mom had been through two hospice agencies, and over ten hospice teams.

Usually people in hospice die more quickly, you see. But not my phoenix mom.

She was a real Joan of Arc spitfire and she never seemed ready to let go. And that doesn’t usually make a difference as we don’t have a lot of say about when we go, but somehow my mom continued to ward off death.

And so we met a lot of hospice workers.

And the Agrace Hospice team who were assigned to Mom when she moved into our home was the best hospice team we had ever had.

That was beyond great, as we had seen quite a few.

Also, in her transition home, Mom appeared so much happier and more animated after her final move.

However, in physical terms, she also rapidly declined.

It’s not like she had been tap dancing previously but what distance she had left to decline she made within the first couple weeks of being home.

And I feel it’s because she felt she was home.

Thus, she became completely bedridden which meant big decisions had to be made and I had to learn some new CNA “tricks” fast.

Courtney, my favorite Agrace Hospice CNA, took the time to show me how to change bedsheets/change clothes/do all things for a bedridden person without moving said person from bed and… I wasn’t a natural but I figured it out.

And Mom was happy and comfortable.

However, in the beginning, the original caregiver agency which was supposed to supply me with respite caregivers did not have anyone who was willing and/or able to help with my mom. Again, my mom was cognizant but she couldn’t speak or walk, and relied on others for most tasks.

Thus, in order to provide her care, a person had to be intuitive and skilled, qualities which were apparently in short supply during that period of time.

In any case, I was soon exhausted but then saved by a dear friend, Kristi Jo, who had once been a hospice CNA. She stepped up to provide me with a respite break.

The day of that break, I walked out of the house for the first time in over two traumatizing but satisfying weeks, and looked around at our neighborhood.

It was like I was seeing it for the first time. I blinked around in wonder.

This is a feeling more of us can relate with after many of us have now experienced a global quarantine.

In any event, the caregiver staffing agency eventually came through, and we accumulated a rock star team of additional respite CNAs, two of them being Alesha and Cory.

Our house became a flurry of activity. And, eventually, my husband David and I were able to take a few hours off together, here and there.

And, over the course of the next eight months, the hospice staff and the respite caregivers were all to have their own experiences in our haunted North Street house as the activity had dramatically increased.

For the others, the most memorable experiences occurred at night when David and I were gone on a break, and the skilled caregivers were left alone with Mom and and our ridiculous rescue mastiff, Hemingway (Hemi).

I had been so desperate for help I didn’t inform the caregiver staffing agency that our house was apparently haunted.

Fuck the ghosts. Help my mom.

Fortunately, our team was composed of professionals who did not scare easily.

Yet, the others also had some quite freaky experiences which they shared with me.

Alesha’s paranormal experiences in our house were composed of mostly feelings and visions.

She always felt a presence on the stairs and she didn’t like having to pass the oval mirror which hung at the foot of the stairs which had been included with the house purchase. “Join the club,” we told her. We were simply too freaked out to remove it.

Unfortunately, our house only had one bathroom for most of the time we lived there, and it was on the second floor. Consequently, everyone had to pass the haunted mirror and walk up the dark stairs to use the solitary house bathroom.

Again, we tried to kill all potential bad energy with Christmas cheer. We put Christmas decorations up on November 1st and then just kept it all up for most of the year.

Yet, despite our attempts to quell any looming activity, Alesha felt that someone watched her as she walked up and down our stairs.

In addition, as she returned to her seat next to Mom, she’d continue to feel the eyes of someone follow her.

She describes seeing in her mind a young woman with brown hair and a light-colored nightgown who stood, watching her from the stairs.

Furthermore, more tangible unexplained occurrences involved the pendulum clock which hung on the wall in my mom’s room.

The clock had been a wedding gift to my parents.

Live shot of Clock in our current Milwaukee apartment

Previously, Clock had hung on the wall above the piano in my childhood home, and then it hung in the kitchen of the big family home in the country where my parents later moved.

Yet, it had stopped working at some point after its move to the country.

After my father’s death, I was responsible for going through all my parents’ belongings and I brought the clock home with me to Madison.

Yet, for many months to come, Clock simply laid on the floor in our living room, broken and motionless, staring up at the ceiling.

Eventually, as part of Mom’s homecoming, it was finally once again hung and this time it was placed on the wall in her room. It hung in the corner between a big photo collage, which hung above the TV, and the windows on the exterior wall which lined our driveway outside.

However, Clock was still broken. I still had not had it fixed. Thus, it just hung there on the wall, silent and still.

Or so I had thought.

For, as she sat with Mom in her room, Alesha describes a few instances when she would watch the door of the clock open very slowly.

And, she emphasized, the clock’s door did not open a few inches… it opened all the way.

In the photo above, I opened Clock’s door to show that its door is not small. And, to be honest, with its door open, Clock kind of looks like it’s flashing us.

But I highly doubt Alesha was thinking that as she sat in the candle-lit dark with Mom, watching the clock door slowly open on its own.

Cory, the respite caregiver who came to make life-altering music mixes and become my kindred, describes his own experiences with the clock.

He also saw the clock’s door slowly swing open. Yet, in addition, Cory claims that Clock chimed on a few occasions.

Personally, I can’t imagine that happening.

Things being all chill in Mom’s room with the music and the aromatherapy and candles and then, out of nowhere, the broken clock dong-dong-dongs out of the blue?

Oh hell no. I hadn’t heard the clock “dong” in years. I would have flipped.

And, for Cory, that was the most scary thing he remembered while he stayed with my mom.

But he’s from Detroit so not much really spooks him.

He just sort of rolled with whatever happened. He also remembers Hemi’s odd behavior and the unexplained footsteps upstairs. He remembers how I’d talk to him about feeling someone behind me, watching me, as I sat next to my mom in her room, a similar feeling to that which Alesha had experienced.

But Cory also experienced a distinct and unusual incident which is set apart from the unusual happenings which occurred indoors. And this also freaked him out a little.

One day, the broken clock chimed and was immediately followed by the sound of someone knocking at the front door.

I imagine it was more the sequence of events that momentarily rattled him.

Moreover, there was always an automatic tension which rose up and hung heavy in the air when anyone unexpectedly came to the door.

But this could be explained by how our mastiff Hemi would dramatically rise to her feet and start to rumble-growl at a low pitch whenever anyone approached the house, which, by this point, had become her habit.

Sidebar: David and I were thrilled as this was a dramatic change for our sloth, skitish dog.

Yet, the attention Hemi dedicated to the interior and exterior entry areas at the front of our house remained unnerving.

On the other hand, it felt good to know our dog was suddenly on watch, protecting Mom and us from things we couldn’t see.

Regardless, the additional thing that set Cory on edge that evening was not how a stranger had knocked at our front door. We lived in an urban neighborhood, after all.

Rather, the weird thing was how this person did not knock at the exterior door which is where most strangers knocked.

Instead, when he got up to answer the door, he was surprised to see a girl who looked to be in her mid 20s, around his age, peering back at him through the slits of inlay glass in our interior front door.

It was quite forward for someone to walk up our sidewalk, disregard the doorbell posted to the right of the porch door, pull open the door to our porch, walk inside to the more intimate space and then knock on the heavy interior door which had no knocker and no doorbell.

But whatever.

People do weird and unexpected things all the time.

So Cory warily opened the door and asked the girl standing on our porch what she wanted.

He claims that the girl asked for, as he describes it, “an older person’s name.”

Cory told her that that person did not live there.

And then she turned and left without saying anything.

The short interaction creeped him out.

He felt like he was in a scene from The Strangers. 😂

Yet, it could have been an estranged member of the family who had previously owned the house before us who didn’t know that it had been sold.

However, when Cory told me who the girl had been asking for, she had not named the woman who had lived there before us.

But maybe that young, weird girl who lacked social skills had forgotten her relative’s name.

Kids these days.

Or maybe she was part of the crime crew that consistently robbed the nearby Walgreens, Papa Johns and porn shop. Maybe they were considering branching out to residential homes around this time and she was sent to scope out our house.

And Cory flipped his hair and breezily bounced her, thwarting their criminal plans.

In any case, it was an especially weird shift for Cory.

And it was clear that our haunted house had also continued to branch out and step up its game, spooking not only us, but everyone who now spent any extended time in it.

In addition, the house now apparently seemed to be a beacon to entities in the dark beyond who were seeking port.

I’m still not sure if that was a good or bad thing, but, throughout the final year of our home ownership, the outsiders just kept coming.

3 thoughts on “What the Others Saw

  1. Aw. Well, some things are better left unsaid. We loved seeing you. Today’s post is… well, it’s kind of… funny/wondrous. 🙂 I’ll have it up by 9AM so you can read it along with your Early Grey. 😘


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