Grandma Mellie's Scrapbook
Copyright © 2001, Michael S. Cole, M.D.

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Ghost Stories

    On this rainy day I am in a reminiscent mood. I am thinking of the ghost stories that were related to me in the long, long ago.
    Many old timers were superstitious and many believed in "warnings" of things that would happen in the future. Some claimed of seeing apparitions. I liked to hear ghost stories but was glad when the "ghost" was discovered not to be feared!
    I heard my mother tell of an experience she had. It was a mystery that was never solved, though some believed it to be warning of death.
    She, with a number of others, was sitting with a sick person the way people used to do long ago. About one or two o'clock in the morning they heard a screaming noise. It apparently was coming from under the old two-room log house, and it seemed to go down across the pasture. They all ran outside but could see nothing. It was a clear moonlight night and mother thought it was a wild cat or a panther that ran from under the house. In just a few days the sick person died, and many thought the screaming noise was a warning of the death. This old house has been torn down but when I pass by I am always reminded of that story.
    I am not superstitious but I recall something a long time ago that I could not understand or explain.
    My son's baby was critically ill and its death was expected at any moment. They were at their grandmother's with the baby and I had gone up to their place to take care of their chores. The house was locked but as I was leaving I heard sounds inside as if someone were walking around with large shoes. It made a great deal of noise and I was very frightened at the time because I had seen no one around the house. Having been told of "warnings" I naturally thought of that. Now that I'm older I don't believe in such, but the fact remains that the baby died that very night, and the mystery of the footsteps was never solved. Sometimes I can almost convince myself it was only my imagination.
    I recall my grandmother was superstitious and would never let us children carry a hoe or an ax through the house. She said it was bad luck. I remember many of her old time sayings, like these: If a rooster crowed in the door, one could expect company. And, if one saw a red bird, one would see someone not expected. She had many other sayings and beliefs that thrilled us when we were young, and we listened to her stories by the hour.
    I've always enjoyed being with those older folks. Most all have passed on now. Though they had very little contact with the outside world they were interested in making things better for their children. They believed in more and better education for the children and made it possible for us to enjoy the fruits of their labors after these many years.
    Remembering my mother reminds me of Mother's Day, and I want to wish a happy one to all mothers--both young and old.

Mellie Smith
May 8, 1971

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