The house was originally built by a local banker in the early 1920s. Back then, there was live-in domestic staff, including a gardener, to care for the immense grounds and gardens that surrounded the house.
I’m not sure that I believe such things as ghosts really exist, but I had a few experiences that have caused me to consider the idea that they might.
My first experience happened early one morning. My husband was working 3rd shift, and always arrived home promptly at 7:30 am. This particular morning I had gotten out of bed at 6:00 a.m. I looked at the clock because I saw him lying in the bed in the next room, on top of the covers, in his underwear. I thought it was odd that he was home so early. There was nothing else particularly unusual. He always slept in his underwear, and if the kids were in bed with me, he’d sleep in another bedroom. Sleeping on top of the covers was a little unusual at this time of year. But not any reason for me to think twice as to whether or not it was my husband.
A few hours later, when we were all up, I casually asked why he was home so early. He had no idea what I was talking about and said he arrived home at the usual time – 7:30. I told him my experience of seeing him lying on the bed – he insisted he wasn’t home then. We went back and forth with this for a few minutes. Then I mentioned the underwear detail, trying to convey how I was so sure I saw him.
He blurted out, “You saw the gardener!”
“What gardener?” I asked.
He told me a story of how their nanny would always leave a broom on the bed in that particular room to prevent this “gardener” ghost from taking naps there during the day. Supposedly the gardener also slept in his underwear, according to the nanny, which was the one detail that jarred his memory of this long-forgotten childhood experience.
He seemed to regret having told me the story and whenever I brought it up, he claimed the whole tale was simply a joke meant to frighten me. So, eventually, I forgot about it. He didn’t forget about it though.
From that day on he would brace something up against the closet door in that bedroom, every single night, without fail. He’d get up out of bed, sometimes in the middle of the night to do it, if he’d forgotten earlier. Naturally, I asked him what was up with the closet thing and he mumbled something about a draft. He had never done this before my encounter with the gardener, yet he clung to his story that he had made the entire thing up whenever I tried to talk to him about it. His attitude about the whole thing was just bizarre.
I never was able to get much more information out of him about it other than that he once worked and lived there. I did finally get him to tell me that the nanny instructed them as children to keep the closet door closed as that was how the “gardener” got into the room.
My second encounter with the “gardener” happened shortly before Christmas. I was putting a long strand of garland up along the mantle in the library. I’d securely fastened it using small hooks, the same way I’d done in previous years. It wasn’t going anywhere. I turned around to move on to my next task and down came the garland onto the floor. The first time it happened, I thought, “Okay, it must have slipped.” I went through the process 3 more times. The way it fell from the mantle is what made me think back to the gardener episode. It was as though someone had taken the end and slowly pulled it off along the length of the mantle. It didn’t just fall off the way it would if it wasn’t attached properly.
I was feeling like there was something I couldn’t quite identify in the atmosphere in the library. I wasn’t scared. I never felt fear at the thought of the gardener, he seemed harmless enough. I said aloud, “Please stop it, I have a lot to do today.” Well, I guess that did it because I put it back up, the same way I had the last 4 times and it stayed put.
My final encounter with this entity was during a fundraiser performance by a local opera company that we hosted at the house. There was food, buffet style, set up in the dining room. It was a fancy dress occasion. I was mingling, holding a plate of food, nothing particularly messy, something I was about to be very thankful for. I was standing, chatting with one of the guests, holding the plate in front of me. All of a sudden, it felt as though someone hit the plate, hard, from underneath. The contents flew at this man. It looked for all the world like I had intentionally flung the plate of food at him. I thought I’d die of embarrassment.
There were other encounters, here and there over the years. A fleeting glimpse of something in the attic, things mysteriously moving from one place to another.
Whatever this was, it seemed to be mischievous, but peaceful and even helpful. Once, I went to retrieve a load of laundry from the dryer only to find it had been moved to the bed in the gardener’s old bedroom. Unfortunately, he stopped short of folding it.