The ghostly trouble with Andrew …

The ghostly trouble with Andrew … By Bob Karolevitz Somehow the conversation at one of our social gatherings turned to the subject of haunted houses.

I don't know how it came about because it was a long ways from Halloween, but lots of spooky talk was involved.

Being a hard-nosed realist and confirmed "doubting Thomas," I pooh-poohed stories of strange lights, strange noises and creaking doors. Ghosts and UFOs are not my thing. I had a feeling, though, that others among us were a lot less skeptical than I.

I heard tales of things floating eerily in the air and of supernatural creatures flitting about in ectoplastic garb. That's when Phyllis entered the discussion.

"Oh, we've got a ghost in our house," she said. "It's the spirit of Andrew Simonson, the pioneer homesteader and territorial legislator who built our place," she added.

Well, frankly, I've never seen or heard Andrew, but Phyllis and both our girls say he's still around. I don't know whether they're pulling our leg or not, but apparently they hear things that I don't.

Thank goodness Andrew isn't a poltergeist, which, according to my dictionary, is a noisy ghost. If he's really there, like my female phenomenon-believers contended, at least he's the quiet, friendly type. I suppose that's because he's Norwegian.

At any rate, anything that gets broken, cracked or lost in our house gets blamed on Andrew. He's a handy guy to have around when things go wrong.

If a picture is crooked on the wall, Andrew did it. If a batch of cookies goes bad, Andrew did it. There's no question about it; he's a mischievous specter who visits us periodically to play his little jokes on us.

Of course, I just humor the gals and agree with each little Andrew antic. I know, however, that the noises just come from bats in the attic or wind whistling through our century-old house. I'm not about to fall for any of that weird doppelg�nger stuff.

I've suggested to Phyllis that she become a medium and conduct seances at 50 bucks a crack. She would have been good at levitation, and it probably would have been more profitable than raising sheep � which she doesn't do anymore.

She could have worn a turban and rigged up a room with a crystal ball. Then, with Andrew's help, she could have conned the gullible with all sorts of phantasmal things. I'm sure Andrew would have cooperated. Unfortunately, Phyllis didn't go along with that clever, money-making idea.

I've got to admit that the discussion about haunted houses did intrigue me. I got out the old encyclopedia and read up on the subjects of spiritualism and psychical research. I learned that folks as far back as biblical times were fascinated by things they couldn't explain.

Then, in 1848 on a New York farm, a young gal named Kate Fox supposedly began communicating with the spirit of a murdered man who was responsible for odd happenings in their house. She and her ghostly pal worked out a code based on a series of raps to answer questions.

Kate Fox thereafter became Mrs. Fox-Jencken who went into the seance business and started a popular pastime in the days long before television. I told Phyllis that if Kate Fox could do it, she and Andrew could have had a going thing.

(It's funny, but for some unexplained reason or another, I'm having trouble with my typewriter today. Do you suppose he's messing around with it, too?)

© 2000 Robert F. Karolevitz

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