Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ghost #3

Another Burnside ghost.....

James began working at Burnside in 1890 at the age of 16. He eventually became head butler at the Big House. I heard he ruled with an iron hand, and everything had to be 'just so.' The Shoemaker-Johnston clan were Quakers and then Episcopalian and conscious of social mores. The kindness, respect, dignity, and high wages they offered their employees was returned two-fold, and at least in James's case, with great dedication. It's said he only spent 10 days away from the Big House, and when he suffered a stroke, he was so miserable at his own house, the Shoemakers remodeled the Big House to create an apartment for James to live in so he could continue to 'watch things,' convinced that the other workers hired after his stroke were inferior to the task of running the house-hold. Since James died in the 1960s, and I moved into the Big House in 1990, I just had stories and photographs to rely on. I regretted missing meeting him, and another man who cooked -- his creations still get thrown up in my face: "This is great (insert item here) but not like Emory used to make, blahblahblah..." I've heard it for 18 years and so has my MIL...not that it bothers me. I noticed Excy isn't bothered so much he wants to learn to bake or cook....

As I said before, when I moved in an Irish house-keeper came 3-4 days a week, and she would tell me that she'd see James looking at her from mirrors or mirrored surfaces or panes of glass......I remember her saying it gave her the willies to be watched like that.....then one day, Excy heard her scream, and when he ran down the stairs she said that James had stepped on her foot! She described what she was doing, and Excy replied that she wasn't supposed to be doing whatever it was she was doing anyway--apparently James had been annoyed at her lackadaisical housekeeping!

One of the house rules was we were not to do laundry after 10 p.m. C. and S. went to bed early, and even though the laundry was on the first floor, their BR was above the landing and the noise could be disturbing. One evening just after 10 p.m. I was pulling things out of the dryer when I felt the air behind me get cold and it felt charged with an energy---it felt oppressive and my skin began tingling and the hairs on the back of my neck really did start to prickle --- something felt dark and looming behind me -- even the statically charged air seemed to make my voice sound odd, as I said, "I'm just leaving, James, I am getting the clothes out of the dryer now!" I was too frightened to look behind me. I grabbed up all the clothes in my arms and ran up the flights of stairs -- didn't want to chance taking the elevator -- afraid to!

14 comments:

Tamara aka Cheapskate Mom said...

Hi there! I'm going to have to check out your ghost stories when I get a moment! I have three boys home - two out of school on a snow day today!

I am not sure if you got my email but I sent you a button. Well the last button is the button, I think if you think... =)

staceyjwarner said...

Great story! I love ghost stories!

much love

Charisse and Holly said...

Sheesh! Glad I read this during the day. I'm such a scaredy cat. Great story telling. Now I have to go read something funny to get my mind off of it. Holly at lifelaughlatte.blogspot.com

Tater Tot Mom said...

So spooky! I'm loving these ghost stories!

Miss Ottley said...

I have to catch myself up on your ghost stories. But right now I must eat something...

Rook No. 17 said...

Another great story! I love the family history!

Jenn @ rookno17.blogspot.com

ReformingGeek said...

Another good one. The only one I have is that when my grandmother was 13 she saw a ghost in a house down the street, somewhere in Kentucky.

Deborah said...

WOW! I hate that feeling...OK, you are now thinking, she is a real nut case, but really, with the ghosts in my Mothers house and being in New England, they are kind of everywhere, in all the old houses. My girlfriend had her house brought up from Woodstock Ct. and it has about 4 ghosts. Cold spots all over the place!!!

Leslie The Pirate said...

Your friends are correct - you are a good writer. I love a good ghost story.

Eva Gallant said...

cool story!

Robbie S. Redmon, LPC said...

Great post! Thanks for stopping by today!

S.E. Sward said...

I wonder if the new residents of Burnside enjoy James' continued vigilance?

Innocent Owner Of Mad Cats said...

Makes me glad my dryers in the garage and doesn't disturb anybody...or anything.

Betty Manousos:cutand-dry.blogspot.com said...

That was really spooky.
I love ghost stories!
xxx