Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ghostly Encounter

I heard voices in the empty kitchen and the air felt strangely heavy. I had stayed in the 1860s Daems House before, but never alone. It was once home to an early-day Virginia City physician. The spacious house, actually two houses joined together, originally served as both the physician’s office and family’s home. It is now under state ownership. On this particular evening, something was off-kilter. I had recently written about Martha Daems—married back in 1913 to a grandson of the doctor. My writing brought some scandalous family skeletons out of the closet. It occurred to me that maybe the house was unhappy with me. I pushed that idea aside. I loved this historic home’s timeworn rooms and the state’s valiant efforts to restore them. So I took advantage of the solitude. I made a sweep of the house with my digital camera.

Scrolling through the photos, I noticed orbs—bubbles of light that some believe are evidence of the supernatural—in a number of the frames. Odd, I thought. I struggled to shut and lock the back door in the adjoining room. The lock was difficult, so I made double sure that it was secure, pulled down all the shades, turned out the lights, and fumbled my way to bed in the dark. I awoke with a start around 1 a.m. The house was utterly silent, but something wasn’t right. What was it? Then it dawned on me that the room was no longer dark. I crept out of bed, stepped into the back room, and a scream stuck in my throat. The back door that I had so carefully secured stood wide open; silver moonlight flooded into the house, touching everything with an eerie metallic glimmer. I instantly knew that the heaviness—whatever it was—had gone out the door.
Later that same week, in August of 2009, I again stayed alone at the Daems House.  I took more photographs, but none included orbs. Virginia City has its secrets, and locals have their stories. And I have my own story about the Daems House to add to the list.