About Mary Pope-Handy
Quick Facts About Mary Pope-Handy :
*Happily Married with Two Great college student kids and one Black Lab
*Work – Silicon Valley Realtor
*BA and MA in Religious Studies/Theology
*Religion Teacher in Catholic High Schools before doing Realty
*Hobbies/Interests include travel, practicing the Italian language, keeping in touch with family and friends, ghosty stuff, intuition development (and related areas), theology and church stuff, web marketing, staying on the cutting edge of real estate technology, high tech gadgets, and getting to know nice people better, huge Patriots fan – in fact if you see anyone with a black lab walking through Los Gatos with Patriots clothing (hat/shirt) on, it’s probably me!
The Long Narrative (for the truly curious):
My name is Mary Pope-Handy and I am your host here on the Haunted Real Estate Blog. I enjoy collecting and reading ghost stories, and this odd hobby of mine has morphed over time into a web page (someday a website), an article and a lot of phone calls from interested folks (including some reporters) who just want to hash out this stuff with someone. So now, here’s my blog on it.
I’m a native of Santa Clara Valley, once known as The Valley of Heart’s Delight and now better known as Silicon Valley. I attended a mixture of public and Catholic schools and graduated from Saratoga High School in 1977. (We are having our 30th reunion this summer, yikes!) At the time I loved to write and take photos and envisioned myself becoming a writer or journalist since I was busy on the school paper and also taking a creative writing class. Little did I know how much those would help in the years to come.
My professional work is helping nice folks to buy and sell homes in Silicon Valley (I’m a Realtor with Sereno Group Real Estate in Los Gatos). I’ve been doing this since 1993 and enjoy it. An education junkie, I’ve taken a lot of extra classes and have a bunch of designations and certifications after my name to show for it. And I’ve co-authored a book, “Get The Best Deal When Selling Your Home In Silicon Valley“.
My career before realty was religion-related: I have a BA in Religious Studies (Gonzaga University, 1981) and an MA in Systematic Theology (Graduate Theological Union/Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, 1986) and would probably be in school full time today if there weren’t that pesky issue of the cost of tuition. My area of interest in all of that is alienation and belonging (ecumenism being an important part of that, but also how/why people become disaffected – whether from each other, their religon, or God). Aren’t you glad you asked? That field was too big for an MA thesis, so I did that long paper on a subset: marriage, divorce, annulment (I’m Catholic) and divorce ministry in the Catholic church and in other churches too. I did that while I was engaged and a newlywed, so that raised a few eyebrows, but actually I’m very glad it was what I studied. The information I gleaned has been helpful to me and I think to others I know over the years. I worked in the areas of religious education, youth ministry etc. in the years before doing real estate. I was a volunteer hospital chaplain for a couple of years too. (Oh, and I changed careers only because life in Silicon Valley is expensive. I loved teaching but it was just too hard to get by on that salary.)
I’m blessed to have a great husband who’s also my best friend, Jim Handy. (Jim does not go in for all this woo woo ghost stuff, but we get along great – he tolerates my enthusiasm for these things and I tolerate his “I need to see it to believe it” approach. We’ve been married since 1985 so it’s working.) Jim is a true Renaissance Man. He’s an engineer by training (isn’t almost everyone in Silicon Valley?) but a great chef hobbiest with wonderful musical talents and appreciation. He skiies, rollerblades, and is a volunteer parks commissioner for our town, Los Gatos. He speaks French and loves to travel (I attempt to speak Italian and also love to travel).
We have two super kids, Brian and Clair, who are in college (out of the area, but luckily they come home in summer and for holidays). The kids love to travel and are great about doing it often on a tight budget. They’ve been with us to London and on a separate trip to part of Switzerland, France, and Italy, as well as to Mexico and Japan.
Brian is very gifted artistically and with computers and is driven to a career in video game design (interactive media). Clair is unsure of her career goals but is also gifted in art and several other fields, especially literature. So we shall see!
I’m very much a keep-in-touch person (goes with the “belonging” part of the above formula) and love family reunions, staying close with old friends, etc. One friend dubbed me the High Priestess of KeepInTouch. I maintain a family website for the extended clan on the MyFamily.com site (which I highly recommend).
Finally, though we live in Niners and Raiders Country, my family and I are all huge Patriots fans as one of the players is a cousin of mine. Go Pats!
And what about this fascination with dead people, ghosts, and stigmatized properties? Is this all really just a cry for help???
Realtors can tell you that often when they go into a home, they pick up on that property’s energy. I don’t want to sound too “out there”, but if a sensitive, seasoned agent (one who’s been in a lot of homes) walks into a home where there’s been a divorce, for instance, a lot of times he or she can pick up on it. Maybe it’s something about the lack of clothing (the half empty closet) or some missing furniture…or maybe it’s something else? The sadness can hang heavily in the air. It’s not measurable, but it’s there.
Once a friend of mine and I walked into a home that just “felt creepy”. There was a coldness to the house, we couldn’t put our fingers on it but we agreed something really bad had to have happened there. Turns out there’d been a murder in that home not long before. That’s what I mean, a place can just feel different – sometimes downright creepy.
I’ve had a few other “experiences” too. They weren’t huge (for instance, I have never “seen a ghost”) but I have heard, smelled and felt things that certainly indicated to me that a ghost was at least possibly involved.
So maybe you aren’t in and out of homes all the time. Perhaps this will ring a bell, though. You know that feeling you get when someone is looking at you, you turn and see that you were right? You felt that person’s gaze, so you turned and sure enough, someone was watching you. But sometimes there’s no one there and you have that feeling.
That’s what I’m talking about.
Ghost stories have been with us forever, and I find them fascinating after a personal experience I had with one in Saratoga. I have become a ghost hobbiest and now collect stories about spirit sightings in Los Gatos in particular. The Los Gatos Weekly-Times has printed many fabulous articles, usually just before Halloween, about some of our local haunts.
There are lots of known haunted places in downtown Los Gatos: the Village Lane area (it was built over an old cemetery), the Chart House (now Trevese Restaurant- it was a mortuary), the Opera House (the ghost there has been photographed) and Border’s in Old Town. I’m sure there must be more.
A few years ago, my family & I dined at the Chart House. As always, I asked the receptionist, the bus boy, and our wait person about the hauntings. Several employees there told me fascinating stories of its etherial presences. One was of a little girl who supposedly inhabited the home back when it was a private residence. She died, I think of the flu. Her ghost was by the staircase going downstairs, and people felt cold spots there too – I am told that she has since moved on (crossed over). Then there’s the bar ghost with a sense of humor. I was told that after locking up tightly etc., the next morning they’d find the electronic cash register in the bar had run up almost 20 drinks of something that was not on the menu- and not programed into the computer!
The Opera House is a well documented & photographed ghost haunt – the woman said to reside there in spirit form is not to be feared though. She is benevolent and protective, as the employees can tell you.
Border’s Books in Old Town has at least a couple of ghosts – a little boy said to have died when the place was a school, and a male ghost wearing a baseball cap viewed peripherally (disappearing when you turn to get a better look). Sounds are heard in the tower section especially. I wondered if they had placed the religion books there to ward them off, but apparently it’s a matter of slow sales in that subject matter!
I’m wondering where else in downtown Los Gatos may be haunted besides the Chart House (now Trevese), the Opera House, Forbes Mill, the Village Lane shops (over the graveyard) and Borders in Old Town. There’s a little building near Dolce Spazio that’s possibly haunted too…. I know there’s more. Anyone??