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"I saw a ghost!"

First let me say, this is a true story. Only the student’s name has been changed.

We have all been on class trips in school. It’s always exciting to get out of class and take a bus trip to somewhere. Well, almost always. One such trip didn’t go so well for one of the students of Paradise Hills Elementary School in San Diego.

It was 1988 and the class was taking a trip to Old Town. They were going to visit the Whaley House as a pre-Halloween treat. Jessica was so excited to go. Her mom gave her a hug and sent her on her way, both unaware of what lay ahead.

The day went as usual for the mom. She was sitting in a recliner watching her favorite soap opera, “Days of Our Lives”, when Jessica came home from school. She looked all pouty and came in and plopped down on the sofa and folded her arms across her middle. She looked to be nearly in tears.

“What’s wrong?” her mom asked. “Didn’t you have a fun time on the class trip?”

“No!” she replied. She had a quiver in her voice. “Today was the worst day of my life!” Her eyes now filled with tears, but hadn’t yet spilled over onto her cheeks.

“Why? What happened?

“Today, I saw a ghost!” she blurted out.

“You did?” Her mom tried not to smile. She knew her daughter had quite the imagination.

“Well, I did!” Jessica said loudly, and then her eyes could no longer contain the growing well of tears.

“Awe, honey, don’t cry. I don’t think you really saw a ghost. I’m sure they had the place rigged so that you’d all have a good Halloween story to tell.”

“I saw it in two rooms and outside, too!”

“Well, like I said, I’m sure they had the place rigged to make it more fun for you all.”

“On the bus, too?” Her eyes got really wide, and her mom could feel her own eyes widen a little.

“Oh, it was probably someone from the exhibit playing with you guys on the bus.”

“No. She was following me. She was trying to talk to me, but I couldn’t hear her.”

“Her? It was a woman?”

“Yes, and she was dressed just like the lady in the picture at the Whaley House. She was an old lady.”

Jessica’s mom was now getting a little nervous that perhaps her daughter had really seen something, but she tried to make light of it so as not to scare her any more. Jessica was clearly upset. “Oh, I’m sure it was just someone from the exhibit playing it up as a send-off for all of you kids.”

“Back in the classroom, too?”

“In your classroom?” her mom was definitely feeling uneasy now. Maybe there was something to this.

“Yeah, she was kind of dim, but I could still see her. She was talking to me, but I couldn’t hear her. I could just see her mouth moving. She seemed like she was trying hard to tell me something. She came really close and stood right in front of me. Then I heard my friend saying my name over and over and could feel her shaking me. Then the lady disappeared and I was looking at my friend’s face. She was saying, ‘Jessica, I’ve been talking to you, why wouldn’t you answer me?’ I said, ‘What? When? I didn’t hear you.’ And she got all mad at me and said she had been talking to me for like 5 minutes and I wouldn’t even answer her. But it wasn’t my fault, Mom. I didn’t see her there. All I could see was that old lady trying to talk to me. Now my friend is all mad at me.”

Jessica’s mom was stunned, but was trying with all her might not to show it. “Oh well, I’m sure it’s no big thing,” she calmly said to Jessica, “it was just your imagination, I’m sure.”

“I don’t know.”

“Well, I do, honey. They had all that stuff at the house and your imagination just ran away with you. That’s all.” Jessica’s mom laughed and tried really hard to make light of it, so that her daughter would believe it was just her mind playing tricks on her.

“Oh, okay, if you really think so. But it seemed so real.”

“I’m sure it did. But it was all in your mind. It didn’t really happen. Sort of like a vivid daydream, that’s all.” Jessica seemed to relax some with that. She needed to believe that her mom was right. Her mom could see it in her eyes.

Nothing more was ever said about that trip to the Whaley House. Not until this very day, nearly 30 years later. Her mom always felt that if she ever spoke of it again, that it could open the door for the spirit to come back, and then there was always that dreadful fear that there would be others. That more spirits would come and to try to contact her daughter. The mom often thinks of it though, and wonders if Jessica even remembers it happening, and if not, she prays reading this doesn’t awaken the memory.

Copyright © by Kaelin C. Murphy 2014 Written for blog

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