Friday, March 27, 2009

ghosts in the basement...

My friend believes in the supernatural. Ghosts, really. She has had ghost experiences that just cannot be logically be explained in any other way than they were supernatural experiences. Ghosts....? They follow her home, become attached to her and take up lodging with her in her house. At first I didn't believe her, but over the years I accept it like I accept my Master Card bill when I see another purchase for a new pair of black boots. It happens.

I even bought a house that was 'haunted'. When I arrived to pick up the keys (it was a FISBO) the owner of the property told me, "Oh...and did I tell you about the ghost?". I mean, WTF! What are you talking about lady? A little too much weed smoking this morning? (Yes, on prior visits I smelled the lingering smoke of a pot smoker.)

She had told me about her experiences with "the ghost". She collected elephant statuettes (the owner...not the ghost). They were everywhere. She'd have them arranged just so and when she would return home, they would be moved to all face the doorway. I'm to understand that it is good luck to have an elephant facing the door...but she wasn't doing that. She assumed her boyfriend was moving the darn things around. But he wasn' it was Hazel, the resident ghost.

Needless to say in my area of disbelief, I bought the house anyway. A big 3 family home on the west side of Cleveland. I still own the property and use it as a rental income property. It was one of those great investments you come across every so often in your lifetime. But I have to admit, after the seemingly sane woman explaining to me that the home I just purchased has a ghost living there, it slightly creeped me out.

At that time, since the house was built in 1912, there were pull chains to turn the lights on and off in the basement. That meant as you were nearing the stairs to return to another level you must 'pull the chain' to turn off the light which then leaves you in total darkness....

The first night there as I was leaving the basement after yet another round of "unpack the boxes and put the damn stuff away", I pulled the chain and approached the stairs. I suddenly had this urge to introduce myself. To whom? Haven't a clue. Yet I turned, faced the open, pitch black basement and said, "Hi, My name's Nancy. I'm the new owner of this house. You got any problems, you go through me. Understand?" And with that turned on my heel and walked upstairs.

When I got into my first floor suite, I felt a little foolish for my diatribe to a dark, empty basement...but went to bed and didn't think much of it after awhile.

Over the years I've run into people that lived at the home I now own. One time I was writing out a check for a turntable at "Play it Again Sam's" and the guy said, "Hey, I lived there, you know about the ghost?" C'mon, now. Many have told me their own stories of the ghost, like that guy. And each and every time I shake it off that "these people are crazy". I had shared the story with a friend/tenant who lived on the second floor. It made her 'uneasy'. I used to play tricks on her because of it. I'd go up sometimes and move her candlesticks around just to freak her out. It worked. It did. And I'd laugh....!!!!

When I moved from that house down the street a bit into a single family home, I didn't think much about Hazel Gogan anymore. All the time I lived there there was not one incident (outside of that experience with me introducing myself to the basement) that ever occurred. It was perhaps 6 years after my move I finally had one of my tenants ask me if anything 'unusual' had ever happened there.

I called a lady named Mary, who was a ghost buster. She was listed in the Yellow Pages of all things. She came out to the house to rid it of its inhabitants. Turns out she said there were 3 living there. Hazel, who used to live in the house and was killed by her husband with cyanide. (He was tried of the murder in 1950, but not convicted.) There was a carpenter who helped build the house. Apparently after he died, he decided he liked it there so much he stayed behind. And then there was some young guy who had killed himself by hanging that had followed my friend, Christine, to my home one night after a night out downtown.
All were given the choice to leave or to be banished from the premises. As far as Mary told us, they all chose to leave. She supplied us with quince seeds that we put above all the entrance ways...and we called it a day. I wrote her a check for her services, which I later claimed as a pest remover expense on my taxes.

It made my tenants happy, but I didn't really believe the whole thing. I asked the ghost buster, Mary, why nothing had ever happened while I lived in the house. She told me that I had told the ghosts they had to go through me, and they weren't able to since my soul was in its Dharma. She might as well been speaking Greek, I had no idea what she was talking about...however I was in a quandary how Mary knew I had said that to the basement on my first night there.

Maybe one of my friends that I had shared the incident with clued her in before hand? Highly unlikely. So perhaps there was something. How would she have known?

Later that year the same friend, Christine, wanted to have a psychic party. You know, where you hire a couple of psychics, they do their thing and everyone takes their turns and gets the fortune or palm read or whatever. I was happy to host as I was anxious to show off the new diggs. When it was my turn to see the psychic the first thing he said to me was, "your spirit is in its last stages of Dharma. Dhammic." Okay, that's the second time someones told me that.

He had asked me if things just happen. You mean like the time I was short for making my mortgage payment, totally stressing about how I was going to come up with the money and then a check appears in my mail from an overpayment? Overpayment? Who does that? Not me. I know I didn't...and why would they send the money back to me? Most companies would just hold it and you'd have a negative balance. And get this, it was $10 more than what I needed for my mortgage. Convenient, but odd.

I always chalked it up to a guardian angel of sorts watching out for me. I never questioned it...I just let it flow.

But by now, I needed to know what this Dharma/Dhammic thing is all about.....

From Wilkepedia: Dharma.
"Dharma is the reflection of natural law which was rediscovered by Buddha and shared with the world. A person who lives their life with an understanding of the natural law is a "dhammic" person, which is often translated as "righteous". Buddha taught the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path, the Three Marks of Existence and other guidelines to achieve the freedom and liberation from suffering."

Hmmm. Cool...really cool. So they are telling me that my soul is in its last stages of its Buddhist life? I didn't even know I was a Buddhist! I thought all this time I was a Methodist. Silly me....

But I like the perks of being "enlightened". I'm a little short this month due to that pair of Via Spigas I had to have. I wonder if my Dhammic soul will help me out with my Visa bill.



  1. Fun read! I didn't know you had a picture of Hazel. That's very cool.

  2. I don't believe in ghosts but that creeped me out. I should probably read up on Dharma being that I'm planning to have a buddhist wedding this summer. Great read! Thanks.

  3. Hi Chrissy! Yeah, it is cool isn't it? That photo was actually taken in my house, looking at the fireplace in the front room back in 1950. I'd LOVE to know whatever happened to the portrait! I found that photo from an article someone gave me about uncolved Cleveland murders that ran in the Plain Dealer back in 1994. It really IS an interesting story. Joseph's defense got him off the charge because Hazel always carried a little dog, Mitsi, with her. Supposedly he threw a bag of cyanide in her face and she died. The defense said that she died of natural causes and the cyanide had nothing to do with it because the little dog would have died as well. My neighbot two doors down was 4 at the time and told the police that the dog was on the front porch and not with Hazel at all. Because he was so young they dismissed his testimony and Joseph took the $300,000 life insurance and moved to the east side with his mistress! No wonder Hazel stayed around! She was mad!!!!
    I would be too!
    Thanks for reading and for your comment!

  4. I wouldn't have stayed behind if I was Hazel, I would have followed Joseph and his mistress and haunted them forever.


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