From the author: This is the first of two-parts about Linda Jessogne, who discovered that once the doorway to the other side is opened, it won’t shut.
Footsteps thumped slowly up the stairs as Linda, then five years old, lie in bed. She knew the sound was her father coming home, so she slid from under her covers and walked into the hallway to see Daddy.
But Daddy had died that night.
“I could hear what I thought were his footsteps on the stairs, and when I went to greet him, he wasn't there,” she said. “I could feel him there, smell him, but couldn't see him.”
Linda, now Linda Jessogne, of Sleepy Hollow, Ill., told her family about her encounter and immediately regretted it.
“They all told me it was my imagination,” Linda said. “After that, I vowed never to tell anyone, including my family, about this. I kept feeling my father, along with others, and never said anything to anyone.”
Feeling the presence of her father was Linda’s first paranormal experience, but it certainly wouldn’t be the last time she felt someone – or some thing – she couldn’t see. While in junior high school, Linda discovered the entities she was sensing could be dangerous.
“I had spent the night at my best friend's house where I played the Ouija board for the first time,” she said. “It scared me – a lot.”
Linda and her friend sat on the girl’s bedroom floor, laughing as they moved the plastic, triangle planchette across the board. Then things changed – spirits were answering the girls’ call.
“Suddenly, I felt all these spirits crowding into the room wanting to talk and becoming very annoyed when they had to wait their turn,” she said. “My friend took her hands off of the triangle and mine were almost glued to it.”
The planchette began to move faster and faster, Linda’s arms thrashing as she tried to pull her hands from the plastic triangle. Then everything stopped.
“My friend jumped up and turned on the lights, and just like it never happened, it all stopped,” she said. “It freaked us out and we hid it under her bed.”
But later that night, as the girls were playing a game, something slammed into the bedroom door from the hallway.
“We both thought it was her little sister trying to scare us, but when we went to the door, there was no one there and her sister was fast asleep and snoring in the next room,” Linda said. “I had a really bad feeling, like whatever did this was not a good spirit, and we went back into the room and locked the door.”
The girls eventually fell asleep, but whatever slammed into the door wasn’t finished with them.
“The next morning when we woke up, the door was wide open,” Linda said. “I didn't tell her, but I had marks all over my arms, almost like claw marks, yet I don't remember a thing. They weren’t very deep, but they were there.”
Linda never used a Ouija board again, but she found that when the gateway from the spirit world into her life was opened, it is difficult to shut.
“I've been visited by several of those bad spirits, yet none had ever bothered me quite like that,” she said. “I've always thought of myself as being weird, not as a medium or anything. I feel them, I can't hear them or see them, however I can tell what kind of spirit they are, and what kind of mood they are in.”
And the mood is usually bad.
Next week: Linda discovers who’s been haunting her house.
Copyright 2008 by Jason Offutt
Got a scary story? Ever played with a Ouija board, heard voices, seen a ghost, UFO or a creature you couldn’t identify? Let Jason know about it: Jason Offutt c/o The Examiner, 410 S. Liberty, Independence, Mo. 64050, or email@example.com. Include your name, address and telephone number. Your story might make an upcoming installment of “From the Shadows.”
Jason’s book of ghost stories, “Haunted Missouri: A Ghostly Guide to Missouri’s Most Spirited Spots,” is here. Order online at: tsup.truman.edu, www.amazon.com, or visit Jason’s Web site at www.jasonoffutt.com.