Monthly Archives: December 2011

Farmhouse Haunting II

I should have knocked on wood.  Lo and behold, a few days after I wrote a post about ghosts, I had my first ghostly encounter. Of course, it was at night, which seems to be a prerequisite for paranormal experiences—at least according to horror movies and ghost hunting TV shows. What time of night it was exactly, I’m not sure, but I woke up to the sound of laughing.

The laughing wasn’t the ghostly part, but it was strange. Natalie occasionally talks in her sleep, and she was apparently laughing in her sleep then. But instead of her normal laugh, it was a child-like giggle. I asked her if was she was having a funny dream, and she responded, obviously still asleep, with the following: “I’m counting without numbers.”

“Okay, that was kind of funny,” I thought, and knowing she was so averse to mathematics, it seemed reasonable to believe she was dreaming about bypassing numbers. I should have gone back to sleep.

Instead, I rolled over and opened my eyes, and what I saw was an old woman standing beside the bed in front of Natalie. The woman just stood there. I couldn’t see anything except her outline and silhouette, in a smoky-gray color. There was no detail to her face or texture to her clothing, but her outline resembled that of a woman in a traditional dress with an apron tied around her waist, with her hair pinned up in a bun (like Granny, for lack of better example, from The Beverly Hillbillies). A few seconds later, the figure just dissipated.

For the two of three seconds I saw or imagined the figure, I didn’t feel scared or threatened, and the woman didn’t look real enough for me to wonder if an intruder was indeed in the house. It was just strange and surreal. Eventually, I closed my eyes and refused to open them again. The next morning, I asked Natalie if she had any dreams. To my surprise, she said she had a funny dream, but couldn’t remember what it was about.

Why a ghost would appear next to Natalie while she was dreaming a funny dream, I don’t know. Maybe the ghost has a sense of humor. This could explain why she appeared a few days after I wrote about never experiencing ghosts in the house. Or, maybe I had been thinking too much about ghosts and imagined the whole episode. Whether or not it was a figment of my imagination, the woman’s figure had a striking resemblance to  Natalie’s great-great grandmother Ponola. Thankfully, Ponola seems like a very pleasant lady in the pictures of I’ve seen of her.

Of course, we’ll keep you posted if we have any other paranormal activity.

Ponola seems happy enough

I’ve got sand in my shoes

As a chicken keeper, I’ve learned chickens don’t handle change that well. It’s one of those things, like flock integration, that just takes time.

Recently we’ve had a lot of rain, resulting in a soppy chicken pasture and a soppy chicken run. In an effort to remedy this pile of muck, I thought a change in the run flooring was in order.

Well, over the weekend (while planting 3,000 trees ….with lots of family help….at Stephen’s grandmother’s home in the sandhills of SC) I came up with a genius idea that I knew would be perfect. We would simply take several boxes of sand back home with us!

“The chickens will be so excited!” I thought, “They love scratching around in Stephen’s compost pile…..sand has got to be way better than that.”

So in went the sand, in one big, happy pile…..just waiting for chickens to come scratch, wallow, and play. The chickens approached and stopped at the door. No one went any further. They backed away wary. Not even their favorite treat could bring them close to the pile of sand.

The chickens were terrified. The floor was different. The poor chickens didn’t know what to do!

All great changes are preceded by chaos –

Eventually nighttime arrived, and none of the chickens could bring themselves to walk past the pile of sand to get in the coop. Stephen and I caved, and we walked down to the coop and helped each chicken past the sand and into the house where they sleepily went to roost.

My guess is that they’ll have to figure out what to do with the sand tomorrow. Like people, chickens apparently need time to adjust to big changes, sand being a “big change” in the eyes of chickens.


Farmhouse Haunting

Occasionally, after people learn that Natalie and I live in an old farmhouse, the topic of conversation turns to ghosts. Apparently, ghosts and farmhouses are closely linked in people’s minds. To date, Natalie and I have never experienced any supernatural behavior in the house, except for that of Chip Coffey (if you’ve never watched Chip Coffey, check out some episodes of Paranormal State or Physic Kids—you’ll laugh.)

Occasionally, the house does smell like Natalie’s great-grandmother, Vicie, or tobacco smoke, yet no one’s smoked in the house for decades. Although the house  creaks and cracks at night, I no longer attribute these noises to dead folks. Still, the noises can be a bit spooky. For me, it didn’t help knowing that Natalie’s great-grandfather was “laid out” in our bedroom. Back then, since they didn’t have funeral homes for visitations, a body was laid out in the home till the funeral. We’ve had quite a few family members laid out in our house…..uncle Abner, however, was resigned to the front porch, that is a funny story for another post.

Great-great-great grandpa Joe Camp standing beside the coffin of his brother Abner

Perhaps the saddest death that occurred in our house was that of Claude, the twelve-year-old son of Natalie’s great-great grandparents, Lawson and Ponola. He died at night of an unknown ailment that caused “flying rheumatism,” or severe pain that “flies” from joint to joint. The very next day, his grieving mother gave birth in the house to another son, Burl. I can’t imagine the emotions that family must have experienced in such a short time.

An addition from Natalie:

Though many people cringe at the number of people that have been laid out here, and that at least one person has died in the house – it really doesn’t bother me. My Poppaw and his father were just two of the many babies born in this house, my mom spent time here as a child, I used to play in the back yard when I was little. This house has LIVED, it’s seen life through multiple generations, joyous times, sad times, hard times. This house’s story is so complete, yet so circular and never ending, and I take comfort in the fact that it’s been here all this time observing, watching us change – we’re all so different, yet still so much the same.