Author’s note: As regular readers of “From the Shadows” know, I rarely write about my own experiences. This blog is about you, not me. However, after the umpteenth radio talk show host (I can’t blame them; it’s their job) asked me why I’m interested in the paranormal, I thought I’d share it with you.
The day was bright; I remember that; and a Saturday – the greatest day of the week to a 10-year-old boy.
If I’d been asked to design a day to best suit my needs, I couldn’t have come up with better. A morning full of Quisp cereal while watching Ultraman, Bugs Bunny, Superfriends, Scooby Doo, Where Are You?, and Isis (yowza. Even at 10 I wasn’t immune to actress JoAnna Cameron’s charms), then a black-and-white science fiction movie at noon. Perfect.
But by 2 p.m., the fun was over and I had to find something to do until The Love Boat and Fantasy Island after supper. So I decided to read.
I remember walking from my bedroom in our 120-year-old house toward our back hallway bookshelves. As I entered the hallway, I knew something wasn’t right. I don’t remember a fight-or-flight response, nor do I think the hallway was at all cold. What I know is that I saw something – someone – in the hallway with me.
It was a boy of maybe six years old. He just stood there, looking at me.
The problem with a six-year-old boy standing in our hallway was the fact that this was a farmhouse, and I was the only little boy within six miles of anything.
The boy just shouldn’t have been there.
But he was – and he stared at me. He had tousled brown hair and a blue flannel shirt. My eyes didn’t go any further, not because of his vacant, somewhat lonely eyes, but I suddenly realized I could see the bookshelves through him.
I don’t know how long I stood there, staring at the boy. It seemed like hours, but it must have been more like seconds. Then the transparent boy blinked and broke whatever spell of surprise I was under. I turned, walked back to the safety of my room with its NFL comforter on the bed (28 teams), and shut the door.
When I finally came out, the transparent little boy was gone.
I didn’t talk about my experience for 30 years. When I did, I was finishing an interview with psychic Joyce Morgan (she died Oct. 29, 2007, about a year after the interview). Morgan, a member of the Missouri-based Miller Paranormal Research group, often assisted police in missing persons cases and was featured twice on Court TV.
I’d only told Joyce I saw the ghost of a little boy in my house as a child. She filled in the rest.
“The little boy’s name was John. His last name was like Petry or Petty. The little boy died in 1912,” she said. “They either rented the house or were landowners there.”
“John” died of pneumonia, or diphtheria, Joyce said. But what she said next frightened me almost as much as the encounter.
“He had light brown hair,” she said. “He had on a pail blue shirt with puckers on the sleeves. His britches were those kind of bloomy-out britches.”
That was the boy I saw. The same color hair, the same color shirt.
“His father’s name may have been George,” she continued. “I don’t know if he was the landowner of this property or if they were trying to rent it to live in it.”
But, she said, “George” owned cows and sold milk.
“I sat here and it just started unfolding in front of me,” Joyce said. “He had two sisters, Catherine and Nelly or Nell.”
And that was it. She’d described what I’d seen, and filled in as many blanks as she could. I’m quick to say I don’t trust anything someone purporting to be psychic tells me. There are way too many charlatans out there. However, Joyce was different.
During our conversation I mentioned a light my wife kept seeing over our newborn’s crib around 2 or 3 a.m. I’d seen it too, on one occasion. Joyce frankly said, “Oh, it’s just your grandfather (she gave his correct name) looking over his namesake.” I’d never mentioned the baby’s gender, the baby’s name, or my grandfather in our conversation – but she was right. Joyce was the real deal.
I never investigated Joyce’s claims of John or the history of the house because I don’t want to know. As I’ve said in many of my radio interviews, the paranormal’s fun as long as it happens to somebody else.
Copyright 2011 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, 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 newest book on the paranormal, “Paranormal Missouri: Show Me Your Monsters,” is available at Jason’s blog, from-the-shadows.blogspot.com.