Another Ghost Story

This story was brought up recently on an outing with my mom, see Minneapolis Ghost Walk. I thought I would share it as part of this festive Halloween season. It happened a long time ago when I was about nine and it continued for…well, several years. After my parents divorced, our childhood home was sold and we moved from a rural area to the suburb of Apple Valley and a townhouse. I never liked that place. After I moved out, I never visited for very long. I just think it was a negative place. After an hour or two, I’d be crabby and agitated.

At the time we moved, my mom was really into this one church where she met my stepdad and apparently, before we actually moved in she had the pastors come bless the place. I don’t think she told us this at the time, but we heard about it later. Ends up one of the pastors “really didn’t like” the room downstairs. He wouldn’t go in the room and he said it was dark. Thanks for the warning!

My room was upstairs above that particular room. I still remember my first night there. The carpet had been torn up and I didn’t have blinds. The moon filled up the room and splashed across the exposed plywood of the ten by ten room. I had a square shaped, small walk-in closet with a regular hinged door on it.

I couldn’t tell you when exactly it started, but I soon found myself popping out of bed, slamming the closet door shut and flying back to bed. It didn’t stop though. It was the sound of metal hangers jangling in the closet and at times sliding along the wooden hanging rod. Here’s the thing…I didn’t have metal hangers. Yes, just like that scene in Mommie Dearest, where Faye Dunaway shouts “No more wire hangers!” We did not have metal hangers growing up, except in out of the way places in the basement.

mommie-dearest
Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest

Night after night, the hangers! I’d find myself making sure the closet door was always shut. Eventually, I would rush over to it, flick on the light and look inside, but I never saw anything moving…ever. It got to the point that one day my sister, who slept in the ‘dark’ room asked me what I’m doing at night.

“It sounds like you’re batting at your hangers,” she said.

“I am not doing anything,” I said. “It does that on its own.” That was when I finally confided in my sisters what was going on.

I remember the moment in the living room when my parents said they were getting a divorce. A little voice inside my head promised myself that they would never have to worry about me. That I would never complain and never cry. This is a nine-year-old talking? Yes, and believe me, it’s proven to not be a wise choice. I never mentioned the closet ghost to my mom until we were much older. She was always busy and stressed. The second marriage was not going as planned. The fights and shouting drowned out the hangers or maybe the spirit decided to sit and listen in. I developed a very unhealthy sleep pattern. My vivid dreamscapes did not help. I slept only two or three hours at a time. Usually, I still do. I got by with wearing headphones to bed, then one Christmas I got a small TV. Eventually, I got used to it I guess. There were more important things going on in the family. Hangers seemed like small peanuts compared to my sister’s mental health. Perhaps her problems were a result of living in the ‘dark’ room. We’ll never know for sure.

There is a lot I’ve blocked out from that time period. I hadn’t thought about the hangers in years until my mother brought it up and proclaimed how shocked she was that I never told her. I still remember the exact sound of it. As if it’s permanently etched in my brain like a vinyl record.

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