Growing up, I lived on a country road in rural Michigan. And we had our very own ghost story. Or at least, my older sister (a teenager at the time) told me we did.
My friend, who lived across the road, confirmed the local legend through her siblings too. And of course, we believed them because to a child, an older brother or sister’s word is practically gospel. So, there had to be a haunted road not far from our homes.
Anyway, I thought I’d share this memory of one dark Halloween when I went looking for a ghost.
The Story I (Sorta) Remember
My sister is nine years older than me and as a kid, I thought she hung the moon. Always wanted to be around her and her friends. They were (mostly) good sports about letting me be part of their shenanigans, especially when acting out scenes to Jesus Christ Superstar. Our dad had the Original London Cast Album (I always got to play “the crowd”).
One Halloween afternoon, I wandered into my sister’s room (I was about nine years old) to see her working on a scarecrow. Turns out my sister and her friends wanted to hang it from a tree on “Pease Avenue” to scare people. When I asked why that would frighten someone, she told me a ghost haunted an area of that road.
Now, my memory is sketchy on the details (this was 47 years ago, after all) but the idea is that people driving or walking along Pease Avenue might see a figure lurking in the trees or along the road. And while I cannot corroborate the legend, the story has stuck with me all these years (as these things from childhood tend to do).
Did my sister and her friends put the scarecrow in the tree on Pease Avenue? Probably. Was there truly a ghost visiting that small stretch of road? Probably not but who knows? Local legends tend to start for a reason.
Being young kids, my friend and I thought we knew where the “haunted road” could be found. We thought it was a dark stretch at a cross-section of our own road. So, the next year (when we got to go trick-or-treating on our lonely country road by ourselves) we decided to check it out. And yes, chances are it was my idea.
Ghost Experiences As A Child
I began experiencing a ‘presence’ in my room at the age of six. Often watching me from the area in front of my closet. When driving past cemeteries (as a child and to this day), I will experience the sense of spirits wandering the area, noticing me as I notice them.
Anyway, I have been sensitive to spirit energy since childhood even if I did not truly understand what that meant. And my friend and I were interested in ghosts, wanting to actually see one. Therefore, it was pretty tempting to go down a “haunted road” when the opportunity arose.
Let me be clear, this was the 1970’s. A different time when parents let kids do a lot more by themselves. My friend and I started our trick-or-treating after dinner as it began to get dark. We wore our homemade costumes, carrying our buckets and flashlights. Back then, few cars appeared on our country road.
We were used to walking up and down to our neighbor’s houses, shouting at the top of our lungs at lighted porches. We only ever had to go half a mile up to the end of our road and back to fill our pails with candy.
When we got to the end of the road that year, however, we looked both ways at the cross-section, before running across and down into a section of road we thought was Pease Avenue.
We started down the tree-lined road with excitement. We were going to look for a ghost! But unlike our own road, it didn’t take long for this one to feel “deep dark.” Our path taking us further into what felt like a forest rather than a country road.
Fear started to trickle down my spine. Shadows seemed to move as our flashlights danced. There were no houses that we could see ahead. And the cross-road began to feel like a safe haven in this spooky place. I think an owl might have hooted or our imaginations ran away with us.
Suddenly, our courage failed us. Our “Pease Avenue” adventure felt dangerous and wrong. We turned on our heels and ran the (relatively short) distance back to the cross-section that brought us back to our “territory.”
Everything felt better once we were there. The well-lit homes we’d passed were beacons of safety. Even darker sections of our street lined with trees felt “less threatening” than where we had been walking moments before. Breathing easier, we completed our trick-or-treating and headed for home.
You know the really funny thing is that even as an adult that section of road has always felt “weird.” Even though I came to accept my spiritual sensitivity but can still be a skeptic. Even though I spent time as a ghost hunter debunking hauntings as much as “proving” them. Even knowing not all local legends have credence (and let’s be honest, this one is unlikely to be true). That place just gives me the creeps.
Did we experience nothing but the simple fear of impressionable kids? Did we just get spooked or did we sense a little “something” in a place we shouldn’t have been anyway?
I’ll let you be the judge.