Would You Live in a Haunted House?

The Gingerbread Diaries

Or, more to the point, would you stay in a house once you find out that it’s haunted?

The first weekend after we closed on the Dollhouse we came up here and “camped out” in the empty house with an air mattress, our laptops, and a smattering of household goods. While it was strange sleeping in an empty, unfamiliar, echoing house, nothing out of the ordinary happened on this or any other weekend spent up there. When we moved in 2 1/2 months after closing, our a/c went on the fritz and we, again, slept downstairs for the first few nights until we could stand the heat upstairs.

That’s when things got a little weird.

While Todd slept on, blissfully unaware, I was awakened multiple times in the night by a series of 4 knocks coming from who knows where–I certainly wasn’t about to go investigate! There were also sounds of boxes being slid around the wood floors downstairs–that creeped me out the most, even if nothing was out of place the next morning. I was not amused; mostly I was just tired!

Fortunately, I’m not exactly a novice when it comes to the woo woo side of things. I read Tarot cards and have even (successfully) run a Ouija board in a haunted hotel as part of a paranormal workshop. I consider myself fairly intuitive, but I’m not sensitive to ghosts–my gifts only work with the living. But I was determined not to have a repeat of the previous night’s experience so–through meditation/visualization–I put up a “security blanket” around the house to ward against any metaphysical mischief. I also may have told the house, aloud, ‘Not tonight, Momma needs some sleep!’ It seemed to work, the strange noises didn’t repeat.

So, was it a fluke or do we just have very polite spirits?

At last year’s Halloween party, knowing that a couple of my guests are sensitive to ghosts/spirits, I took down the security blanket (but left up a net–I’m semi-brave, not fully stupid) and told anyone listening that as long as they could play nice, they could come play that night. I absolutely admit that I was full-on curious, but I did not request my friends to read the house, what followed was completely voluntary, and the two friends that were able to give me information do not know each other outside of possibly meeting at previous parties of mine.

I’d just finished one of the house tours when Friend M told me “You’re not alone.” Okay then! Apparently she encountered 2 spirits in the house, but they just seemed curious about what was going on. Fair enough. She wasn’t able to get much more from them as she wasn’t feeling well that evening and she admitted that it was screwing with her abilities.

Friend S, though, really clicked with one of the spirits: a woman, appearing to be in her mid-30s, who was excited that there was laughter in the house again after so very long of being tired and down. S did not yet know that the house had been rented out as a personal care home for the last 10+ years and was vacant for a time before that. I don’t doubt for a minute that the state of the house when we purchased it reflected the state of the “care” the patients received during their time here, and the vibe of the home in general.


But that wasn’t all she shared! There is a section of the staircase that she is uneasy on, that she clutches the railing for dear life as she goes down. It was either that she’d fallen down them or that she’d witnessed a fall. Also, in what is now my office, there was an argument of life-altering sort/things-that-cannot-be-unsaid vein that took place between a man and a woman.

In my research into the house’s history (which S did not know until after these revelations), I’d learned that the original owner of the home did take a tumble down the stairs and was hospitalized from his injuries. And I believe it was shortly before his passing, if not the eventual cause of it. So, if it was his fall that the woman witnessed, that could make her his daughter. And I also know that the daughter was a school teacher and never married, living out her days in this house at least through her retirement, so I got the impression that the argument might have been over a suitable suitor. She didn’t seem to indicate (via S) that this was wrong, but there wasn’t anything in the newspaper archives on that subject!

At this year’s party, M again noticed the spirit upstairs. I asked her what, if anything, she could tell me about him, and once again she said it was a curious spirit. He was, she added, not all that interested in communicating and that it almost seemed like the party downstairs might have “woken him up.” This spirit seems to hang out in our guest room (apropos, no?), but future house guests have nothing to fear. My aunt stayed up there last Thanksgiving without incident.

So the question becomes, what do we do about it?

Currently we’re on the side of nothing. While I’ve been chided by some that I shouldn’t be “keeping them here” and that I should help them move on, again, that’s not my talent and I’m not doing anything to hold them. Between the smudging we did before moving in and the “security blanket” that is back in place, I’m actively trying to keep negative energies out of the house. I believe that there’s a higher chance that these are residual energies, imprinted on the house over the years. If either spirit is “active” here, I hope it’s because this is a place they are drawn to on their own and feel comfortable with. As long as that’s the case, I say live and let live. Or, uh, you know what I mean.

Tuesday Reviews-Day: Captain Morgan 1671 Commemorative Blend

Sips, Tuesday Revews-Day



In 1671, the real Captain Morgan’s ship, The Satisfaction, sunk after raiding the Spanish in Panama. The folks at Captain Morgan rum have created the 1671 Commemorative Blend Spiced Rum as their best estimate of what rum aboard The Satisfaction would have tasted like, and even put it in a bottle reminiscent of those old bottles with the loop for easy carrying or tossing back a shot.

They suggest this spiced rum is one for sipping on the rocks, but I find it still with one too many edges for me to drink it straight–but we all know I like my spirits balanced with a mixer of some sort. The aroma (or nose) is just wonderful: rich, a little smoky, a little sweet, and some dried fruits like apricots and raisins.

Rum always reminds me of growing up on Ponchatoula, Lousiana. First, because my aunt would mix pina coladas at my grandparents wet bar in the evenings (she’s pour out a little of the blended mixture for me before adding the rum) and then because of the frozen strawberry daiquiris they’d serve up at the annual Strawberry Festival. And at the holidays, instead of the Bourbon balls everyone else seems to be familiar with, my family made Rum Balls and I’d sneak into the pantry to grab more than my fair share back in the day.

With those early memories in mind, I created a lighter twist on them both in honor of hot summer days and cool frozen drinks.


Summer Satisfaction

1 1/2 cups frozen pineapple chunks
1 1/2 cups hulled and halved strawberries
2/3 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup spiced rum (like Captain Morgan 1671)

Combine everything in the blender and process until nice and smooth. Garnish with a whole strawberry and, if you’re feeling fancy, replace the stem with a small sprig of mint. Make 3 cups–you decide how many servings that amounts to.

I don’t like using ice in my frozen drinks since all it manages to do is dilute everything and make a mess by the time you’re halfway through. Using frozen fruit for all or part of your blended drinks saves you from this travesty, and the frozen pineapple mixes well with the strawberries and coconut milk instead of taking them over. And speaking of the coconut milk, I went with it over the pina colada-standard coconut cream because I didn’t want the heavy, cloying sweetness to take over the drink. Instead, the coconut milk give you a hint of the pina colada without going overboard.

For non-beverage uses, I can see this rum being a lovely addition to your homemade (or even doctored store-bought) barbecue sauces and baked beans over the summer. Use some to marinate your next batch of ribs or brisket and see if it doesn’t just turn the dial on the flavor up a notch or two. This Commemorative Blend is a limited edition, though, so if you’re wanting to rum up your summer with it, you might want to get some sooner rather than later!

***I was provided a sample of Captain Morgan 1671 Commemorative Blend Spiced Rum for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own.***