Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Helpful Spirit of Seward, Nebraska

College student Micaela Daley’s family moved to an older, two-story home in Seward, Neb., in 1991 when Micaela was five. It didn’t take the house long to let them know it was watching them.

“My mom was pregnant with my brother and my sister was 15,” she said. “My sister had the typical ’90s big hair. The thing that was seen, my parents thought it was my sister.”

Micaela’s mother was home on a workday with morning sickness when she saw someone walking to the second floor.

“She went upstairs,” Micaela said. “She thought it was my sister. Then she remembered Wendy was in school. It was the middle of the day.”

As Micaela’s mother ascended the steps, she heard water dripping. When she got to the bathroom, she noticed someone hadn’t removed the plug from the bathroom sink.

“The sink was almost ready to overflow,” Micaela said. “My mom was really creeped out.”

But the family soon discovered it wasn’t just Mom who was seeing things.

“Friday and Saturday night my dad likes to stay up and watch movies on TV,” she said. “He was sitting in the living room. He thought he heard someone walking around in the kitchen so he got up. He thought he saw someone who looked like my sister walk through the door.”

But Wendy had already come home for the evening and was asleep in bed. Micaela’s father started to look for the figure he’d seen, but smelled something burning in the kitchen.

“There was a bag of hamburger buns sitting on a burner that had been left on and was about ready to burst into flames,” Micaela said. “It was probably my sister. She’s kind of careless.”

After he moved the buns and turned off the burner, Micaela’s father looked for someone in the house – but only his family was there.

But whatever was in the house wasn’t finished warning the Daleys when something was wrong.

“We were all sleeping and my mom has this ridiculously good sense of smell,” she said. Her mom smelled something burning. “Dad checked it out. He heard someone in the basement walking down the stairs. He went down there and he saw the furnace had caught fire. We stayed at a hotel that night.”

The Daleys were never really uneasy with the figure – who looked like Micaela’s sister – because it only showed up when something was wrong.

“The first couple of things were helpful,” Micaela said. “That all happened within the first year. Nothing happened to me until I was a little older.”

When the Daleys moved into the house, they didn’t have air conditioning. Young Micaela left her door open for the breeze. After air conditioning was installed, she started closing her door at night.

“I collected Beanie Babies,” she said. They were lined on a shelf high on her wall. “The first night I kept my door closed, I heard the bean sound. Thump, shunk.”

She tried to ignore the sound of Beanie Babies striking and sliding down her wall and eventually fell to sleep.

“When I woke up the next morning there were five Beanie Babies on the floor near my door,” she said. “But they were only the ones with wings. That happened three times.”

Micaela thinks whatever is in her house didn’t like her door shut.

Wendy and Micaela would oftentimes smell pipe tobacco in the house, although no one in the house smokes. The Daley family also occasionally saw figures move in their periphery.

“All of these things happened between the ages of five to eight,” she said. “My dad talked with the family that lived there before and the parents thought the kids were crazy because they didn’t experience things, but the kids did.”

Wendy is convinced there are two spirits in the house: the girl her parents have seen and a child that may have thrown Micaela’s Beanie Babies. But since something has saved the Daley’s house from fire and flood, they’re not eager to rid their home of its helping spirits.

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 jasonoffutt@hotmail.com. 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.