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To Dream, or Not?

A child's greatest fear is of the unknown: sleeping in a darkened room, steps behind them in a hall, or just shadows on the wall. Nevertheless, what if the child is a teenager and sees something that they cannot explain?

It's been many years ago, when we had to attend our grandfather's funeral. My sisters and I spent the night at our Aunt Sissa's house in the room where my Uncle Clyde shot and killed himself. Sometime, during the wee hours of the morn, all three of us sat bolt up in the bed. Wendy (age 9) said that she didn't know why, but Kathy (age 11) and I (age 13) looked at one another with the knowing eyes of those that did understand what had awakened us.

I asked Kathy, "What did you see?"

She answered, "Uncle Clyde's body falling out the top of the closet."

That's what I had seen, and it wasn't just an apparition but a falling body that landed with a thump, which is what had caused the three of us to wake up. The closets were the old style in which the top was used for blanket and winter storage, and it was from the top of these that the body had fallen.

My Aunt Sissa's home still sits at the end of the main drag in Sallis, Mississippi. I'm not sure if anyone occupies the house today, but I'm certain that Uncle Clyde has remained in the room of his death.

Zooming forward a few years to a house on Hazelwood St. in Sherman, Texas, and a time in which our children were small, there is another man who hanged himself in a room and refuses to leave. He won't hurt you, but he does come in the middle of the night to stand at the end of your bed and stare at you.

It was summer and all seven our children were in residence -- as three of the children only lived with us two months in the summer and visited every other weekend the rest of the year -- sleeping soundly after a long hot day of play. I had gone to bed exhausted, and probably fell right off to sleep. I'm not sure what time it was but it might have been nearing daylight, as I kept trying to awaken from a dream. In the dream, I would sit up and try to scream, this happened for an eternity, but the cause that seemed to make me feel as though I should scream remained steadfast at the end of our bed. It was as though he controlled my need to awaken. It was a man in his late 30 or early 40's, he was approximately 5'9", wearing a white shirt with black lines running horizontally, and brown lines running vertically. His hair was dark, his skin somewhat rugged, but his eyes stared as though he sought a soul.

In my dream, I sat up at least 15-times, wide-awake, only to realize that I hadn't awakened at all. Finally, as I pushed myself from the pillow my hands went to my face rubbing my eyes and the apparition disappeared. I would have thought nothing more of the dream if my neighbor and I hadn't sat outside watching the children play. Mrs. Cunningham was an older woman whose grandchildren stayed in her home, and we sat on the porch talking about one thing or another when she said, "It's almost like a dream watching the children play."

I understood what she meant, but it caused me to think of my dream. I told her about the strange dream that had awakened me, describing the man in detail and she seemed shocked. She asked, "You do know that that is the man who hung himself in this house?"

"Someone hung themselves in the house?" I asked, and this time it was I who was surprised.

She went on to tell me a little more about it, and then we changed the subject and continued to watch the children play. My husband though, who didn't know about it as I had forgotten to mention anything to him, awakened me a few nights later yelling in his sleep. I thought he was having a heart attack or something, but it wasn't that at all. He had seen the very same man standing at the front door that entered our room, staring at us and had given chase all through his dream. He was running after the man, gun in hand, ushering several explicatives as he chased him. Those explicatives were what had awakened me. After this, we changed the room around so that the bed faced another wall and somehow this stopped the visits. I don't believe the apparition left, but he simply was no longer interested in watching us sleep.

When Mike and Wendy were young teens, we moved to Whitewright, Texas and into a house on Gowdy St. The house had an oddness to it that I could not explain, but it didn't seem ominous by any means. The people that owned the house only told us that their mother had died and left the property to them, nothing more was said about the house itself until 6-months after we moved in. Several things had happened that seemed odd but nothing that couldn't be explained until one night while we sat watching television. The kids were in their rooms, Billy and I were in the living room, and the older kids had all moved out. It was just the four of us now, and the televisions were churning throughout the house. We had placed a fan in the opening to the kitchen because the vents circulated better in that room. It was around 8pm when a full can of coffee came flying through the air approximately three feet from the floor and smashed to the carpet suddenly, causing Billy and I to scream. The kids came running down the hall, asking what was wrong. We talked for sometime deciding that the can's flight was a freak accident, but it was only the beginning of many freaky things that occurred during our stay in the house.

Several times a day, I would have to go into Wendy's room and turn off her radio/alarm clock. I thought it was a faulty alarm until the day that I decided to unplug the thing. I had made several trips to her room to turn off the music, when I simply decided to pull the plug from the socket. It made no difference, because the thing came on again much louder than it had been before I unplugged it. I went back to her room, finding that it had been plugged back into the socket. I could see it from the doorway and instead of entering the room, I pulled the door shut and waited for the kids to come home from school before I went back into the room.

We had been in the house 6-months when a neighbor, her husband and son, and our family sat talking one night. We had fixed a meal and were watching television when she said, "You know, it happened right here in this room."

"What happened?" I asked, somewhat surprised at the statement because we hadn't been talking about anything in particular.

"This is where the cop shot himself. He put a gun in his mouth, pulled the trigger and blew the top of his head off. They said -- the policemen that investigated it -- that it was a nasty mess." She explained.

Suddenly, all the odd things that had happened made sense.

In my younger years, the house in Sallis and the one on Hazelwood seemed to be dreams, but as I grow older I know that an unhappy existence in life creates a ghost in death. When people die in a place at their own hands, they stay behind doomed to walk the rooms of their prisons. Some are angry but others seem to be unaware of what they expect from the living. Maybe, they just want the living to know that they're still there and probably, they want us to know that they're still unhappy.

Our Uncle Clyde reached out to three little nieces that he had bounced on his knee, but we don't know why. The staring man, well, who knows what he wants? His life seemed shallow in existence because the neighbors knew more about his death than his life. There were many stories behind the cop's death, and many were unkind. It's just possible that he is making his anger over the misreading of his death known. He was the angriest of any ghost that our family encountered. Do we dream them? Not always, because sometimes we're awake when they make themselves known to the living.

Donna F. Wilson


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