Santeria House

My father bought a bigger townhouse down the street from where I had lived since the day I was born. The previous owner’s kids had grown up with my uncle, and now that the kids  were grown and out of the house, the parents had decided to downsize.

It was your average 1970’s built home with burnt orange shag carpet,  gold glitter in the popcorn ceiling, and dark brown tile and cabinets. Think of The Brady Bunch kitchen decor, and you’ll have an exact picture of what I am describing. However, there was something different in the unfinished basement. The mother had left her Santeria alter in the Northeast corner. At closing, she asked my father not to touch it until she could perform the proper rites. Of course, my father didn’t listen.

I believe that my father’s decision to take apart and throw out the alter caused the various incidents in the house, some of which I heard second hand and others I had experienced. 

My next few posts will be about the experiences we had during the four years we lived in this house.

#1

My father closed on the house duribg the late spring. However, we did not move in right away, because he had gutted the lace down to the studs.

One warm, breezy day, my father was working on laying tile on the kitchen floor. All of the windows and doors were open, including the basement and garage doors in case he had to use a specific tool or get to his extra materials.
As my father was on his knees lining up squares of tile, a mustached man wearing jeans, a flannel, and a cowboy hat walked up thebasement stairs. Our basement did not have a door to the outside, so the door that led into the kitchen was the only way in or out of the basement. The man tipped his hat to my father.

My father stopped what he was doing and began to follow the man down the hallway and through the garage door. As the man approached the edge of the driveway, he faded.

Weeks later, when my father mentioned it to the couple’s son when he stopped by for a visit withmy uncle the son said, “Yeah… That was Uncle Angel. He knew it was time to go.”

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Hillside: The Italian Bride

This sighting was told to me by a friend who works at the high school across the street from Mt. Carmel Cemetery. He, in turn, heard this story from a co-worker.

Martin, a custodian, was working the evening shift at the high school. It was a quiet night and many of his co-workers had left already. He was finishing up some paperwork in the office. When he looked out of the office window, there was a small woman wearing a white dress sitting on the bench next to the loading dock. She was quietly staring off down the hallway.

Figuring that this lady was a mother waiting to pick up her child from some activity, Martin got up and left the office to help her find where she needed to be. As he was approaching the woman, she disappeared before his eyes, almost as if she was a mirage -a trick of light.

Shaking with fear, Martin locked up the office and all but ran past the bench where the lady was sitting through the loading dock doors. Once in his car, Martin sped off and called in sick for the next two days. He still is nervous when he is alone at night while at work.

Forest Park, IL: Flapper Ghost

During the late 90’s, a time of independently owned coffee shops and indie music, my friend and I were driving back from a coffe shop in Worth, IL. Instead of taking the expressway, we took Harlem all the way up to Cermak. A little West of that intersection, there was some sort of collection of buildings with fence surrounding them. Across the street from the buildings were small brick houses. It was a warm spring night around 10 PM, so while it was very dark out, the area was still super busy with people and cars.

Out of nowhere a woman in her twenties in a dark dress, her skin illuminated under the streetlights, ran from the fenced in buildings and darted in front of our car and into the street. She was frantic and looked like she was crying.

I slammed on my breaks and hit the horn. No other drivers reacted. None of the other cars slowed down. I followed her with my eyes, terrified that we would be witnesses to a horrid, gruesome scene. But, before the woman even reached the curb on the other side of Cermak, she disappeared Рalmost as if her being melted into the night sky.

“Did you see that?” I turned to my friend, short of breath from fear, in complete disbelief.

“Yeah.” His eyes were wide and the color had drained from his face. He was trembling slightly.

We drove home in contemplative silence.

© Alison Callaghan

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