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I See Dead People
I spent the weekend in a modern-day haunted house
When I entered the Black Greek world in March 2004, I quickly saw how it became an unofficial dating pool. Without realizing it, you meet other Divine 9 members and connect with them based on their particular organization of choice.
As a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, Skeeeee Weeeee, we are unofficially “paired” up with the brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated as our brothers. So when attending Greek events, outside of looking for other members of your organization [well, not really, because women are petty AF, if I am honest, I was not looking for other Sorors when I went to events in college], you tend to look for your paired fraternity.
So during my sorority’s national convention in 2004, I met a particular Alpha that I connected with years later.
Before Tinder, there was [The] Facebook. Before it was a social network to keep up with friends, it was a prime breeding ground to push up on something you were interested in. This is where we reconnected many years later.
One day in 2015, I got a random “how have you been” Facebook message from, let’s call him Trevor. I’d been single for a while and casually dating, but nothing too serious.
We’ve “known” each other for almost ten years but never had each other’s phone numbers. When we did chat, it was through Facebook. After a few message exchanges, he asked me for my number. I figured what the hell; my phone was dry anyways.
We texted for a couple of days which turned into phone calls. The following week he asked if I wanted to visit him. Three weeks later, I was boarding my flight to Seattle.
I will spare the details of our entire trip and get to the good part.
When I walked into his gorgeous townhome about 20 minutes outside the city, I noticed all the artwork on the walls. There were beautiful paintings everywhere. I immediately started to walk through his home like it was a gallery.
“Your paintings are gorgeous,” I said to him. What came out of his mouth next was unexpected. “Thanks,” he said, “I painted them.”
At that very moment, I looked at Trevor differently. He had a great job at Microsoft, he gave me a tour of the campus earlier that day, owned a beautiful home, could hold a conversation, AND he paints! I thought this would be a little getaway for the weekend, but I could see it turning into something a little more. I was intrigued.
When it was time to eat dinner, I helped him set the table. While I was waiting for him to bring the food to the table, I noticed that the lights above the dining room table began to flicker in a weird pattern. It almost looked like a morse code of some sort.
“You have a short somewhere in your fixture,” I said to him as he brought the to-go food containers to the table. He responded, “Yea, I think so because I’ve changed the bulbs a few times, and it still happens occasionally.”
We continued to chit-chat over dinner, talking about our weekend plans — wine tour at Chateau St. Michelle, walking on the beach, seeing Straight Out of Compton, and trying a few restaurants out.
I was exhausted from a day of travel. I headed up to the room first to shower and get myself together. When I finished, I saw he was already in the bed, but several lights were on ⏤ the hallway light, his closet light, and a light in the room across the hall.
I took the initiative to turn them all off, commenting, “why do you have all these lights on.” He didn’t say much, but he gave me a shrug as I climbed into bed.
He didn’t sleep well.
He tossed and turned and got up a few times during the night. I remember thinking, “maybe he normally sleeps with lights on, and I just disrupted his routine.”
While he was out of the room, I turned on the closet light. When he returned, he seemed much calmer. I thought this was weird, but you know everyone has their thing.
Now, this is where things start to get very interesting.
It was opening weekend for Straight Outta Compton, and we were in the theater watching previews. A paranormal-type horror movie preview came on. I said to him, “Now that I have to see. Do you like scary movies?” His response, “Not really, especially those with spirits or demonic plots to them.”
I wanted to ask why, but the movie was beginning.
After our afternoon movie, we went for a walk on the beach. It was the perfect opportunity to bring up his comment about movies with spirits or demons.
“So what’s up with you and these scary movies you don’t like,” I asked. His demeanor quickly changed from cool, calm, and collective to stiff and tense. I could tell he didn’t want to talk about it, but being me, I kept pushing the topic.
He gave me yet another response I was not expecting. In so many words, he told me he was haunted.
I had him repeat himself because I couldn’t believe what he told me. He said it started when he was in his early 20s. He felt like someone or thing was always watching or with him. He even said whatever it is has interfered with his previous relationships.
My mouth was on the floor in my mind, but I kept a calm exterior.
“It got worse when I went to college. I started a seminary program because it kept them away from me. But the minute I decided I didn’t want to go down that path any longer, they came back. And when I pledged, it seemed to be even more prevalent. Leaning into that saying, ‘you can’t serve two Gods’”, Trevor explained.
The car ride back to his house was full of me asking questions about his decisions to stop the seminary program, knowing that whatever was following him would come back to why was Black Greek life that important to him.
Then another big gut-punch came as I walked into his house from the garage and stopped at admired my favorite painting in the house. “They hide in the paintings,” he said.
“Excuse me,” I said.
This led to an entire conversation about how creative and artsy people often have a darker side to them. Similar to how drugs and alcohol affect some, spirits were a part of his “dark” side.
Another rabbit hole came next about how some of the most famous painters struggled with mental illnesses or had a crazy dark side that ended up making their art beautiful but created in pain.
As he told me all of this, I took the painting off the wall and put it in the garage. As long as I was staying there, that painting would not be inside the house if something was living in it.
The next thing he addressed was the flickering lights. He told me that he thinks the spirit following him around tries to communicate with him through the lights.
“I knew it,” I said out loud. I swore up and down that the flickering lights weren’t a short. It looked like someone was trying to speak in morse code. I was right.
Since he is sharing all of this with me, I decided to go there. “Have you ever thought about getting a priest in here,” I said.
This man had already had not one but two different priests in the house to bless and cleanse the home of any unwanted spirits and energy. The last priest said that he instantly felt darkness when he walked into the home. After performing his ritual, he knew that whatever it was, wasn’t going anywhere.
At this moment, I remembered something. He said this thing, whatever it is, has interfered with past relationships before.
So I ask, “Is this thing going to follow me back home? Do I have to be worried?”
He tells me I have nothing to worry about; it interferes with him and his life, causing women not to want to deal with him because he has to explain why all these bizarre things happen to him.
“There was this one girl,” he says. “We weren’t romantically involved, just friends. But she crashed at my house one night because a group of us had been drinking, and she lived pretty far out. My house was halfway for her. She slept in the guest bedroom. In the middle of the night, she goes downstairs to get water and then comes back upstairs. The next morning she said, ‘I didn’t know you had someone else stay over last night.’ I looked at her, like I don’t know what you mean. She said a man was lying on the couch downstairs when she went to the kitchen.” There was no actual man on the couch.
As he tells me this story, I am no longer scared or worried I am intrigued. Now he got a friend who sees the ghost too?! This couldn’t be any wilder. I see now why he is single.
He continues, “That next morning, we talked for hours about what she saw and discovered that she too has this haunting feeling, and it’s been following her around for years. We said to each other, ‘finally someone who gets me,’ and we tried to date, but it didn’t work out. Not because we weren’t compatible, but our spirits didn’t get along.”
Yo, I have heard everything at this very moment. I’ve been in shock most of my trip out here, and not in an exciting let me see where this goes shock.
Now it’s late, and I’m mentally exhausted. I think he can tell my brain is overloaded. We decide to head upstairs to go to bed.
As I climb into bed, he begins to turn on the lights. So I ask him, “What’s with sleeping with lights on?”
“They hide in the shadows,” he responds.
“So you are telling me these spirits hide in shadowy corners, and that is why you sleep with the lights on?”
“Yes, because that way, they can’t get close to me while I sleep.”
I instantly get up and turn every light on in the upstairs area.
I am lying in his lighted bedroom, thinking to myself, how in the hell did I get into this. I couldn’t believe what I was experiencing at the moment.
Eventually, I fall asleep, but I wake up super early the following day and get the packing. My flight wasn’t for another 8 hours, but I wanted to get a head start.
When he gets up, he suggests we go to a nearby cafe for breakfast. I’m thinking anything to get me out of this modern-day haunted house.
After a few sips of coffee, I decide to ask a question. “Are you the only one in your family that has had this experience?”
“I am not. My grandmother has had these experiences as well. She was also a talented painter and musician in her younger years. It got to the point that she didn’t keep any mirrors in her home because they would appear to her in them.”
My eyes widened with pure shock. To him, it said, “tell me more.”
“One day, she showed me our family tree and pointed out more family members that also have been ‘haunted.’”
I don’t know what possessed me to say this, but I did. “Can I see this family tree?”
We get back to his house and head down to his computer room. He pulls up his ancestory.com family tree with quickness. Like this is something he looks at often.
“So who else on this tree has had this experience?”
He looks at the digital tree and tries to remember the names his grandmother once told him, but he seems unsure. “I can call my grandmother if you want to know.”
“Hey, I am hella intrigued. What else do we have to do at the moment?”
He dials his grandmother, and she picks up on the first ring like she is waiting for his call.
After a little small talk, he finally says, “Hey grandma, do you remember who else in our family has shared the same experiences as us?”
“Baby, is it getting bad again?” she asks.
“I was just having a conversation with a friend, and we ended up pulling up the family tree, and I couldn’t remember who else.”
She begins to tell him stories and drop names that weren’t on the family tree for various reasons. Then somehow, she switches to sharing a story about floating Nomes in her backyard.
She was a collector of Nomes, and one day all them MFs were floating around in her backyard and then dropped to the ground. I could tell this was a story Trevor had not heard before because he was listening in intensely, and then when she finished, he said, “You’ve never told me this story before.”
“That was the last episode I had with whatever was following me around. I never saw or heard from whatever it was again. While the Nomes were floating around, I screamed out to the door, ‘leave me alone,’ and moments later, they dropped. I didn’t know that would be the last time, but it was.”
“So there is a chance it will end?” he asks her.
“It’s possible. But it’s also possible that it could end you. One of our relatives took her own life because it got so bad. She is not on the family tree.”
Even though I am sitting next to him, I feel like I am eavesdropping on a personal family conversation.
Their conversation ends after a few more minutes, and we sit in silence.
“I’ve never shared this much information with someone before, and you can see why.”
I shake my head in a very “yea; I can see why” way.
Instead of continuing this conversation, I suggest we grab a drink somewhere before heading to the airport. We needed a change in scenery and tone after the last hour of chatting with his grandmother.
I tried to boost his spirits with the remaining hours we had together, but I could tell older wounds and feelings were reopened. It wasn’t working, so I decided not to try anymore.
I was counting down until I didn’t have to endure this awkwardness anymore.
Once I got to the airport, I gave him a final hug and said what he didn’t know but was a forever goodbye.
Granted, he said this “thing” wouldn’t follow me home; I still felt hella weird about what I had learned and experienced over the weekend. Never in a million years would I ever think I would encounter someone who was haunted. I believe people like this exist, but I didn’t think I would personally know one.
He tried to call me a few times here and there when I returned home, but I either didn’t answer or when I did, I made myself sound busy even though I wasn’t.
After a couple of weeks, he stopped trying. I was glad.
Wild story, right?!