Welcome to Mysteries over Martinis! This blog is a mix of unexplained phenomena and personal encounters served up with a mystery-themed cocktail. It’s a recipe for intrigue!
1/2 oz Vodka
1/2 oz Dark Creme de Cacao
1 oz Irish Cream
1 1/2 Cup Chocolate Ice Cream
2 oz Melting Chocolate
Directions: Rim glass with hot melted chocolate and dip in chocolate sprinkles. Next, blend vodka, creme de cacao, Irish cream and ice cream. Do not blend the ice cream completely to a liquid. Pour into chocolate rimmed glass and add sprinkles on top. I scream, you scream, we all scream for hauntingly delicious ice cream!
Harrowing Hauntings 2
I had a wonderful response to my Halloween post entitled “Harrowing Hauntings” in which I included personal encounters with haunted houses. I received so many great stories that I decided to do a continuation of the topic for this week. Thank you so much to those of you who submitted your stories. Keep them coming!
Amy in Iowa: When my family and I moved into our home in 2009, I spent all my time in my room. I noticed that the closet was always way cooler than the rest of my room. One night, I saw an apparition standing in my closet. I could clearly tell she was a person but she had a bluish tint. I don’t know, it was weird. She said her name was Gloria. She was about my age (14 years old) with long brown hair. Her dress was outdated. It had some volume to it like those worn around 1900. I could talk to her sometimes but it was never anything specific.
I told my sister Molly about Gloria. She was fascinated by my experiences but she never saw her. One time, Molly gave me a book to give to Gloria (it was about ghosts). I set it in the closet for her. Later, Molly discovered the book on her dresser with one of the pages ripped. I did not place the book there. That was spooky.
One time, my friend brought over her Ouija Board, which looking back was a really bad idea because it could have gone very wrong. When we asked Gloria to show us a sign that she was there, the fan turned on. None of us had turned it on. We were too freaked out to continue so we stopped. After that, I never saw her again. It wasn’t a scary experience or anything.
Joyce in Iowa: My mother was born in the 1930s. Her parents moved where the jobs were when she was young. My great grandparents rented a farm house between Washington, IA and Wayland, IA. It was owned, then, by the same family that owns it today. We are related to this family somewhat distantly. The relative in this story was so traumatized that he never shared it with his own family.
When my mother was a baby, she, her parents, older brother and her mother’s parents all lived at the farm. All told the same story. In the evening, they would hear the door unlatch and open. My grandmother knew she had bolted it shut. Then, they’d hear the stove lids on the wood stove moving as if someone was tending to the fire. They could not find the source of this. Then, the footsteps would walk through the house and check in on the family. Every night this would happen.
One cold night, my grandmother saw the blankets mysteriously pulled up on my mother while she was sleeping, as if to keep her warm.
My Grandfather became curious about the activity. He and a friend (who just happened to be part of the family that owned the house) decided to wait outside after dark and see if they could witness anything. They saw a dark figure leave the corncrib and go to the house, only it was floating not walking. They decided to chase it. It retreated back to the corn crib and they followed it in but no one was in there.
My grandmother’s parents had rented the home before my grandparents moved in to take care of them. They found it interesting, but as it never hurt anyone, they just let it go about its business. After my grandparents moved out, the family could not keep the house rented. The house sat empty for quite a while. Finally the family tore it down along with the corn crib.
The daughter of my grandfather’s friend has asked us about this story as they have heard people whisper and talk about the property but their family maintains they know nothing.
I looked into the history of the property just for fun and Peter Keister (1813-1906) was the first owner of the land. He and his wife Rebecca (McClelland) Keister (1817-1911) moved into town in 1891 and left the farm to their son Press to run. Two of their sons, McClelland (Mac) Keister and William Preston (Press) Keister were well known in the area and well liked. Mac died suddenly after being sick only a few days. He died of an infection in the heart. It was a blow to the whole family. The article I read on Press’ death said he never quite got over the death of his brother. Press was found dead in the corn crib March 2, 1900. His wife sold the land within weeks of his death. After that, the land sold every year or two until the family bought it and rented it out until the 1960s. According to many, the tenants never stay long with the exception of my family. Press is the only documented death on that property. I tried to contact the family that lives there and they will not talk to us.
Amy Jo in Iowa: My partner Cheryl and I have an estate sale business. We generally only deal with higher end estates. One couple, Harry and Virginia were some of the elite back in the day in Burlington, IA. They were wealthy with no heirs. They were world globetrotters back in the 40’s & 50’s. They had a beautiful mid-century estate on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. All modernistic concrete with beautiful furnishings they collected on a year-long world tour, mostly from European castles and such.
Harry died around 1980. Virginia lived to be 102, I think. She passed in 2011. She was a proud and cultured lady. Her house and possessions were everything to her. It took us a year to get through this estate because she had stipulated that no public sales were to be conducted. She was very wary of everyone to the point she had no cleaning staff, she did everything herself. Working so long on an estate regularly you really get to know the people! I “felt” her immediately. I could feel her watching us go through her stuff and her disapproval. She REALLY didn’t like Cheryl who is all business whereas I am very curious about the people and history. These people had SO MANY personal documents and pictures. With no heirs, I lamented about how terrible it was to get rid of these things.
One day, I was working in the opulent basement filled with all things African Safari including various exotic animal heads staring at me. It was very quiet. I was taking down personal photos from the wall. The last one was the most current picture of Virginia. I took it off the wall and set it on the floor by the stairs. I then turned to the task at hand…filling garbage bags FULL of paper napkins, plates, cups etc to be donated. It was something little old ladies seem to have TONS of! I had my back to the stairway and I heard a loud but somewhat whispery, “AMY!!!” I flung everything in my hands in the air, grabbed my chest, flipped around, cussed at Cheryl and there was nothing there. Cheryl is known for talking and walking at the same time. I went up the stairs calling for Cheryl. Nothing. I went all around the main level. Nothing. I went upstairs. Again, nothing. I found Cheryl sitting on the back bedroom floor covered in boxes of vintage costume jewelry. I’m like, “Did you yell at me?” She said, “No.” Ummkay…I knew then who it was. I went gingerly back downstairs, picked up Virginia’s picture and hung it back up. I told Cheryl about it later.
I began to talk to Virginia and explain to her what was happening and why. I told her Harry was probably waiting for her. I complimented her on her house. I turned on the stereo and said I would leave it on the station because that’s probably what she listened to. I always felt her STRONGLY in the basement, especially in a back dingy room for some reason. I could hardly go in there or breathe in there. Cheryl had a few incidents when she was there alone such as doors slamming, once it shut so hard the whole house shook. Cheryl wasn’t a believer, now she’s not sure. Cheryl had tons of “mishaps” while working there including almost being electrocuted and knocking herself unconscious.
I was in Virginia’s bedroom upstairs one day taking pictures of her furs. Her favorite was a floor length black mink. As I was photographing it I heard a whistle in my right ear and felt a whoosh. I didn’t think much about it until I got home and examined the pictures. I discovered a squiggly light flying right by my ear (see pictures below). Whenever I tried to take photographs in the basement with my digital camera, every time I came near that back room, my camera would shut down.
My mother and father stopped by one day to check stuff out and we were all in the basement. There was a string of panel lights going across the ceiling on one circuit. My mother looks at the animal heads and says “Eww, I don’t like those.” The two panels closest to her, in the middle of the string, went out. My mother (a believer) said, “I’m sorry, Virginia. You have a lovely home… that was just my opinion.” Then, the lights came back on.
We had a professional photographer come in to shoot some of the bigger items. He set up a studio in the garage. He came in halfway through the day and said, “Did someone call me?” We were in other parts of the house. I spent a lot of time conversing with Virginia while I was working, they were obviously one sided conversations. I almost felt at one point my interest in her was unhealthy. I was obsessed. I’m okay now, although I still think of her. I tried to explain to Virginia on our last day there that her house was being sold. The emptier it got the more sad she got. I hope she finally made it out of there.
Thank you to Amy, Joyce and Amy Jo for sharing their incredible stories. I’m not sure if ghostly encounters are spirits of the departed, mischievous entities, figments of the imagination or some other yet to be explained phenomena. All I know, is that the world is a far stranger place than we realize. Sharing unusual experiences helps open a dialogue for better understanding.
If you’ve had a mysterious encounter you’d like to share, please e-mail me and be sure to like the Mysteries over Martinis Facebook page. Weirdness is always welcome.