November 2, 2009
The Only YankeeRate this encounter: Crystal - Nicholas County, West Virginia - March 2008
Even though my father's family is from Nicholas County, West Virginia, and my mother's from Ritchie County, West Virginia, I was born and raised in Ohio. I am, as my husband says, "A Damn Buckeye Yankee." My husband's maternal grandparents were also from Nicholas County and my mother-in-law currently lives there. I was never fortunate enough to meet either, as they both died before I met my husband. But there are times when I am in their home; I feel them there watching me, the only Yankee that has ever stayed a night.
Their home was built during the Civil War for a Confederate Captain and it sits on a hill overlooking an apple orchard. The two-story home has four beautiful white columns that welcome you. It also boasts a second story balcony just above the porch. The upstairs has four large bedrooms and each has a stone fireplace. The lighting, even during the day is minimal and casts an eerie feel about the floor. There are several barns and out buildings on the property. One in particular was used by the Captain as a sauna. Heated stones were brought in and water, which was brought up from the well in the building, was poured on the stones to cause steam and served as a great place for the war weary soldier to relax. It the front yard sits a large boulder, which is rumored to be a platform for the Captain who was both over weight and vertically challenged. The boulder made it easier for him to mount his horse without looking like a fool in the front of his men. The house was eventually passed down through generations of the captain's family and then was purchased in the late 1950s by my husband's grandparents. The house is now owned by one of my husband's aunts who is repairing the house to move into, but in the mean time it is used as a "hotel" for family that comes into town.
It was the middle of March 2008, there was snow on the ground and the sky was threatening to add more. The whole family was there to enjoy a dinner and reminisce about the good old days. The day quickly turned into night and several inches of snow had fallen during the day much to everyone's amazement. One by one the families left to go home and eventually my husband and I were the only two remaining. Our clothes were out in our truck, so my husband put on his coat and went out into the cold to get them. I may have been alone in the house for about two minutes when I heard someone talking in the kitchen located at the back of the house. I looked around the living and dining rooms to see if anyone was there. Both rooms were empty and the lights in the kitchen had already been turned off. The hair on my arms stood up and a shiver ran down my spine as I quickly walked back to the front door. I stood there watching as my husband collected our things. From the kitchen came the voice again, this time I thought I was able to make out some of what the voice was saying. "Tonight… with… will happen… her…" I turned back toward the door and looked up and down the road, the only vehicle that I had seen was ours. Suddenly it dawned on me, we were the only ones there and I was the only one in the house! When my husband came in, I told him what had just happened. He went with me into the kitchen and we looked in the cellar to find no one. The door to the kitchen was still locked from the inside so there was no way anyone had gotten in that shouldn't have. At that point, I just wanted a glass of wine and a hot bath to calm my nerves. Unfortunately, I had to just settle for the bath since there was no alcohol. After I had drawn the bath water and lowered myself down in, I rested my head against the back of the tub and closed my eyes. "Baby… lost… chance…" My eyes flew open and I sat up straight. The voice sounded like that of a man and it was coming from right behind me. As I turned my head around thinking I would see my husband, there was only a shadow walking back to the kitchen. I yelled my husband's name and I heard him coming down the stairs, which was right above the bathroom tub. When he got to the bathroom, I was already dressed. Again, I explained to him what I had heard and seen. And that since I heard him walking down the stairs I knew it wasn't him. We sat around in the living room by the wood burning stove and talked about the events of that night. "Baby… lost… chance…," those words haunted me since we had miscarried a baby that previous summer. We talked about it until we finally went upstairs for bed. Our bedroom that night was clear at the end of the dark hallway. I decided that it would be a great idea to turn on one of the lights in the other bedrooms so that we could have some light come down the hall. The light from the room barely projected any light, but it was enough to see to get into bed. We had just made love and were getting snuggled up to go to sleep when we heard something in the hallway. Then there was a crashing noise that sounded like glass breaking. We both looked toward the doorway at the same time and saw the silhouette of a man. The shadow disappeared down the hallway and we thought we heard a voice coming from the shadow saying something about a Yankee. It took us a long time to get to sleep that night!
The next morning I mentioned what we had seen and heard to an aunt of my husband. I told her that even though I got goose bumps and shivers, I never felt that any harm was coming my way. She told me that she too had felt the presence of someone there and it gave her a sense of peace that perhaps the three spirits (grandfather, grandmother, and the Captain) were watching over her and the family. A little over a month later, I discovered that on that very night I had gotten pregnant. And now when I think back to the conversations that I heard that night, it all makes sense. I think that grandfather and grandmother knew what would happen that night. I still do not know what to make of the Captain and his watching us that night or what his Yankee comment was to mean. We have been back there several times since the birth of our son in November 2008 and all I feel is peace and safety.