A Ghost Story that Makes You Wonder
© C.L. Beck, 2009
We've never been big believers in ghosts—at least, not the kind that floats in the treetops on Halloween night, giving the trick-or-treaters a chill. And when my husband, Russ, and I moved into our hundred-year-old home in Ephraim, UT, we didn't even give a moment's consideration to the fact that it might be haunted. That is, until we rescued a Siamese-mix cat from a Salt Lake City animal shelter.
We named her Slippers because she had little white markings on her paws that resembled … well … slippers. She’d sit looking into space, her sapphire eyes crossed, which made us wonder if she saw everything in double vision. Her unfocused gaze sometimes gave me the whim-whams and even Russ commented on it. (No, not on my whim-whams. On what Slippers was seeing.)
"What do you think she's doing, staring into the distance like that?"
I shrugged my shoulders. "I don’t know. Figuring out her taxes? That’s how I look when I’m doing them. Cross-eyed and spaced out.”
We usually closed the door to the TV room when we watched television and Slippers loved to sleep on the back of the couch. Or on Russ’s head. It wasn't long after we brought her home that we noticed an odd phenomenon. When we sat in the TV room with her, the door would slowly swing open.
The place had its share of creaks and groans, but what old house didn't? Creaks, groans, and a door that opens by itself aren't indicators that a house is haunted. Right?
Or … (scary organ music plays) … are they?
For a short while we dismissed the "haunted house with a ghost" idea, until one evening when the TV room door swung open by itself once again. Slippers had been sitting, cleaning her face, and when the door opened, she stopped and stared at it. Then, her eyes followed something as it moved slowly across the room.
The hairs on Russ’s head stood on end. All two of them. A chill ran down my back, and I gave a shiver. Russ jumped up from the couch, and walked over to see if there was a small moth or insect flying in the air where Slippers stared.
He waved his hands around as if directing traffic. Nothing. Not even so much as a gnat, waiting to make a left turn.
The scene repeated itself for the rest of Slippers' life. Some days the ghost would open the door and Slippers would watch the doorway for a second and then go back to sleep. Other times, the ghost would open the door and the cat would follow it with her eyes as it crossed the room.
Naturally, not wanting to believe in the “creepy haunted house” theory, we always attributed it to the “Slippers is just a weird-o cat” theory.
Slippers lived with us for fourteen years, and we grew accustomed to the ghost who came to visit. Even though we didn't believe in ghosts. And when we laid Slippers to rest in a little spot out on the back half-acre, it never dawned on us that the ghost would no longer haunt the house but would go with Slippers.
To our recollection, however, the TV room door hasn't opened on its own since Slippers passed away. It makes us wonder. Did a ghost come with Slippers when we rescued her from the animal shelter? Or had it lived in the home all along, became emotionally attached to Slippers, and then decided to go with her to the next life?
Then again, maybe a ghost never haunted us at all. Perhaps we simply lived in a creaky, old home with a door that didn't latch right, and owned a spaced-out cat that watched microscopic particles of dust as they floated through the room.
I'll let you decide.
(Scary organ music played by that masked guy in the furnace room comes to a crescendo.)
What's playing in my head (You're definitely gonna want to click on this link!): Theme from Ghostbusters.
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