As 12-year-old Chris Wham and his family watched construction workers build their home in St. Charles, Mo., subdivision, everything looked fine. It was 1979.
By 1980, Wham wasn’t so sure.
“In the summer of 1979, my family moved into its first new house,” Wham said. “Not just a new house to us, but a brand new house. In the months before the house was completed, my step-father would drive us out to it and we would watch the men work on it.”
The land was once an apple orchard and sat almost empty as the house went up.
“Our house was one of the first few completed on the street,” Wham said. “So I spent much of the year watching the other houses getting built and making new friends whenever kids would move in.”
A year went by and Wham’s family had comfortably settled in the house.
“It was towards end of summer 1980, school had just started the week before, and I was already playing hooky,” he said. “ I just didn’t want to go to school that day, so I faked a stomach ache so I could stay home.”
Wham stayed in his room until his mother had to go on an errand.
“Near 12 noon, my mother asked me to keep an eye on my baby brother while she ran to the store for more diapers,” he said.
The round trip to the store, Wham figured, might take 15 minutes, and his little brother was sleeping, so he had time to play.
“I told her I would. I’d do anything to get her out of the house, so I could turn off her horrible soap operas,” he said. “As soon as she left I hopped into the big brown La-Z-Boy recliner that was parked in front of the TV and changed over to Channel 11. It was now exactly noon and Green Acres was just coming on.”
As he sat there, the sound of the program drifting through the living room, Wham knew he wasn’t alone.
“No sooner had the theme song ended did I hear, and feel, a rapping over my left shoulder on the back of the big La-Z-Boy,” he said. “A soft thumpity thump, thumpity thump, thumpity thump. The same type of sound an impatient person might create with his fingers on a desk.”
Wham was sure his mother had come home and he was in trouble.
“My first and immediate thought was … ‘Wow, she’s back quick. She must be checking up on me. How did she get in so quietly?’” he said.
But a car hadn’t pull up to the house. No car door creaked open, nor did one close. No footsteps came up the stairs. Fear clutched Wham’s stomach.
“As the thumping continued, I turned my head up and to the left, expecting to see my mother hovering over me,” Wham said.
Something was hovering over him, but it wasn’t his mother.
“I saw a ghostly hand and arm tapping its fingers on the back of my chair,” Wham said. “From the position I was in, I couldn’t see much farther than the elbow, nor did I want to look any farther.”
The entity appeared to be grayish-white and translucent, like smoke – except for the arm.
“The outline of the hand and arm was very well defined,” he said. “I could clearly see the veins and tendons on the back of the hand. The fingers were long and thin with long pointy, dirty fingernails. On the middle finger was a large ring, that even through the transparency of the apparition, appeared to be silver with a large oval black stone in the center.”
Wham turned back toward the television, hoping the arm would go away – it didn’t. The thumpity thump went on.
“I tried to act like I didn’t just see anything,” he said. “I tried to block it from my mind. Then, from across the house, I heard my baby brother as he began to cry.”
The crying broke Wham’s fear. He launched himself out of the chair and ran to his brother’s room holding him until their mother returned.
“As soon as she arrived, I told her my story and she didn’t believe me,” Wham said. “By this time in my life, I had gained a reputation for being a practical joker, and my mother thought this was just another one of my tricks. It most certainly was not.”
Many years have now past at the home without incident, but something lingers in Wham’s mind.
“I do not know if this has anything to do with this story, but the very next day after I saw the hand, I returned from school to find our yard had been tilled over and grass seed had been planted,” he said. “As I walked up and down the rows, freshly dug into the yard, I found my first arrowhead. I’ve long since lost it, but I’ve always wondered if it had something to do with the ghostly hand.”
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 P.O. Box 501, Maryville, Mo. 64468, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Your story might make an upcoming installment of “From the Shadows.”
Jason’s books on the paranormal, “Darkness Walks: The Shadow People Among Us,” and “Haunted Missouri: A Ghostly Guide to Missouri’s Most Spirited Spots,” at Jason’s blog, from-the-shadows.blogspot.com.