Long time comin’: MAKING PEOPLE UNCOMFORTABLE: MY LOVE OF HORROR AND MY INSPIRATIONS PT. 4

My mom had probably the strangest experience in the house. I had been a sickly child, getting ear infections and strep throat often. The first year of my life I suffered from horrible seizures that luckily went away with time.

When I was just able to start making coherent sentences, I came down with an extremely bad flu and a horribly high temperature. My father was away for the weekend on a business trip to Atlanta, where the corporation he worked for held most of their meetings. She was trying everything in the book to get my temperature down, but the fever wouldn’t break.

I was lying in her room, coughing and sweating, and just staring at the foot of her bed. She was standing next to me, and saw me smile.

“Mommy, who’s that?”

“Who are you talking about? It’s just us here,” she replied. Now not only was her son feverish and suffering from the flu, he was hallucinating, or as they call it in medical terms, “tripping balls.”

“The smiling man at the end of the bed. He’s wearing a funny hat.”

She confessed to me later that she realized I was the creepy kid in a horror movie. Exasperated and considering taking me to the hospital, she played one last gambit. “I don’t know who you are, but please, help him.” It was at that moment my fever started to break. She sighed with relief and I quickly got better. I didn’t remember anything about the incident, and still don’t. I’m a little nervous that my mom would apparently sell the soul of her first born to some unknown hat man in order to save him. That’s not the end of the story though. Far from it.

Fast forward two years. My younger sister is lying in my mom’s bed, sick as all hell. My dad is at the same conference in Atlanta, and my mom can’t break the fever.

“Mommy, who’s that man?”

“What man,” she asked.

“The one at the end of the bed with the hat.” My mom’s blood froze. She hadn’t told my sister that story, and I was too young to remember. My sister described the man, and my mom came to a comforting conclusion. The hat and general attire matched what her great grandfather, who had passed on already, used to wear. Just as she had two years before, she asked whoever it was to help her extremely sick child. Same results: bam! Fever gone.

She told us this when we were a bit older, and it became a kind of spooky, yet also sweet story we’d tell at parties and the like. She would tell the story and then explain it felt like her great grandfather was watching over us. The description of the friendly man in the hat, though non-descript, matched my great-great-grandfather. I had loved telling this story as the final chapter in my life in a haunted house. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I found out I didn’t know the whole story, and neither did my mom it turned out.

For a while my mother worked as the Assistant Manager of a women’s clothing store. Every few weeks when she came home she’d tell us who she knew from the past who ended up walking in the door while she was working that day. One day she called me while I was in college with a bit of a nervous twinge in her voice.

“So, I ran into an old friend at the store today,” she said. I’ve forgotten the name of the friend, however they had been friends when I was in preschool/elementary school. Nothing dramatic, the just grew apart as their lives became busier. She told me roughly the following story, which changed the man at the end of the bed story completely.

The friend asked if they still lived in the farmhouse, and my mom replied that we had since moved.

“Oh good, that place was super creepy. I think that time I babysat was one of the scariest moments of my life,” said the woman.

My mom still doesn’t remember when she asked her to babysit, but it wouldn’t have been unusual. Growing up, we had such a large circle of family friends that all knew and hung out with each other, that she could have called her in an emergency. It was probably one of the times my dad had a kidney stone. You know, before I got them in college. Thanks Dad. By the way, for anyone out there who hasn’t had one, if you have the option I’d recommend not getting one in the future unless you’re wondering what getting kicked in the back by David Beckham feels like.

“What happened?” asked my mom.

“Well, they wanted to watch TV in your bedroom, and you had said that was okay so I took them upstairs. We sat down and turned on the TV, and all of a sudden they started staring in the corner of your bedroom. I asked them what they were looking at, and they said the farmer in the hat moving bags. That was the creepiest thing I’d ever heard, so I brought them back downstairs and pretended nothing was wrong.”

We think we’ve narrowed it down to one of the original owners of the property. The friendly man was simply the farmer who had originally owned the house, and kept an eye out for us. None of us have experienced anything that eerie since, but whoever it was watching out for me and my sister, thank you.

2 thoughts on “Long time comin’: MAKING PEOPLE UNCOMFORTABLE: MY LOVE OF HORROR AND MY INSPIRATIONS PT. 4”

  1. Loved the story. I guess kids will always be more susceptible to seeing these spirits that we can´t see. It makes me wonder of a ghost friend I used to have when I was little; however, these sort of friends are usually referred by adults as “imaginary friends” … it makes you wonder how far imagination can go and where reality begins…

    1. Thanks so much! It was very weird to have this story that I had been told as a child evolve so much over the years as we learned new things. And I agree, I think that some things out there we might notice or fear as kids, but as adults we tend to rationalize them away even if we shouldn’t.

Let me know what you think!