Jackie Colson-Miller is another friend of mine from the Blogosphere. Like Ines (post a few days ago), Jackie was another particpant in Project Blogger. This post of hers is pre-Realtor days, when she was a college student in Providence, RI. Interesting stuff. Thanks, Jackie!
Anyone who has lived in “off campus” housing in college can appreciate a great house, in a great location (out the front gate) at a great price…the tagline is…there’s always a “catch”…
Many years ago, as a college senior, just back from my Junior Year Abroad in Switzerland, my roommates and I rented this “prime” property just off-campus in Providence, Rhode Island. Several groups of students had lived there over the previous years and it was considered THE place to live. We considered it a “coup” to have been the chosen tenants.
Just days after moving in, some weird things started to happen. The back door would suddenly open. We would hear footsteps on the porch and heading up the stairs to the storage room. Salt and pepper shakers would be found under the sink….WEIRD stuff. After three visits by the local police, they assumed we were just a little crazy and told us not to call them again. We chalked it all up to the “home for troubled girls” next door and figured they were just pranks.
About 6 weeks into the adventure, at a homecoming event, one of the previous tenants, a guy who had graduated the previous year, couldn’t wait to pose the question. “Hey Jackie…how’s life with Mrs. Walsh?” “Who”, I said. Jimmy was quick to tell me the story of the landlord’s mother, Mrs. Walsh, who died in the house. She sat on the porch every day and watched the students walk to campus. “She said she would never leave the house”, he said ”when I knew it was you who moved in, I couldn’t wait to ask you about it”. So much for disclosure among friends! Just that afternoon, I had been in my closet, choosing something to wear for this momentous event, and one of my roommates was sitting on the bed. “Something” touched her arm…it was just the beginning of our wild adventures with “Mrs. Walsh”.
That day, we decided we would just start chatting with the ghost. Over the next few months, it seemed everyone in town knew about the ghost…the mailman, the furnace repairman, former tenants…they all wondered how we were “faring”! If she started acting up, we would ask her to stop scaring us. She didn’t like parties, so we would bear her “wrath” for days after a soiree. The mischief was primarily footsteps on the stairs, objects moved to odd locations and doors that opened by themselves. We had accepted our “lost soul” as an invisible roommate and joked that she must surely have appreciated that we kept the house much cleaner than the “boys” of the previous years. One day, after a blizzard, my friend and I were sitting at the kitchen table…snowed in. I said, “Mrs. Walsh, how do you like the snow”…The basement door opened, and closed, and a voice reminiscent of ‘Cousin It’ on The Addams Family garbled something indecipherable. That was the first time we heard a “voice”. Over time, she really did stop the noises when we asked. We just had everyday conversations with her, like a ghost in the house was no big deal.
And…then…one day there were strange noises…different from any before. It sounded like someone was trying to break in. We called one of our male friends….Paul Grossman…”Hurry, get over here, someone is trying to break in!”. “Relax, it’s just the ghost”, he said. “No”, we insisted, “We have asked her to stop, and she won’t…it’s not the ghost”. “Call the Police”, he said. “They won’t come anymore, remember, just get here!” He reluctantly headed over to our house, rolling his eyes upon his arrival. Armed with a butcher knife, he headed into the basement in search of the burglar-ghost. Just as we headed down the stairs, we heard our roommate(who had been asleep upstairs) screaming, “STOP, STOP”…There was no mistaking her voice. Upon finding her coming down the stairs, she wondered what was going on. “We heard you screaming”, we said. It wasn’t her…it was Mrs. Walsh using her voice…it had awakened her. In an odd twist, Paul and our other “friends” often tried to “break in” to our house in the middle of the night…it was a game for them…and a fairly regular occurance, including a night when they climbed onto the roof and came in through the skylight! He, lamely, offered that as “proof” that if someone really wanted to get in, it wasn’t very hard, and he didn’t need to stay. “Nice try”…”this is your punishment for all those fake break-ins…you and the knife are staying here tonight to keep watch.”, we said.
I don’t think any of us slept that night. As I walked past the house on the way to class the next day, I noticed the screen on MY bedroom window had been pushed up and the trash can was upside down in front of the window….clearly an attempted break-in. I stopped, dead in my tracks. That room, had been HER bedroom, too. Very creepy…But, in the end, our resident ghost, ‘Mrs. Walsh’, had kept us safe. Twenty-five years later, the roommates still get together and talk about her…and hope she is in a happy place, far, far away from River Avenue.
Jackie Colson-Miller, CIPS
Certified International Property Specialist
Keller Williams Realty
3502 Henderson Blvd
Tampa, FL 33609