Ghost Stories: Every Family Has Them

Picture of ghosts paying ping pong

My mother collects things that once belonged to members of the family, pictures, keepsakes, her mother’s china, her mother’s mother’s china . . .. That includes ghosts.

Every family has them. If you’ve haven’t heard the stories, then you haven’t asked.
A common motif is the clock that stopped, the pet that died, or the mirror that cracked at the precise moment when someone passed between the worlds. A stranger crashed his car into my neighbor’s front porch the same moment her mother died. Coincidence? She believes it was her mother getting her final revenge.

One time, Anna, an elderly friend of the family, was staying with us. She wasn’t feeling well, so my mother changed bedrooms with her, putting her closer to the bathroom. Next morning, my mother told me Anna “wouldn’t make it through the week.” The “ancestors” had come for her that night, but, because she wasn’t in the usual bedroom, they hadn’t found her.

As far as I know, this was not something my mother shared with Anna. My mother doesn’t seem to think you need to “prepare to die.” When “they” come, you go. Simple as that. It was just something she mentioned to me as I was leaving for school, and I immediately shrugged it off. Teenagers have trouble with anything weird.
At the same time, I wasn’t surprised. My mother has had a number of such experiences, and, when she tells you about them, it’s almost always in an off-hand manner as if it’s no big deal. Keep in mind that my mother has no use for deep breathing, tarot cards, scented oils, or any of the other trappings of new age mysticism. She just happens to know when some people are going to die and occasionally talks to a dead relative.

Once, shortly after he died, my father appeared, leaning against her bedroom dresser, where, when living, he used to stir her jewelry box to annoy her.

Anna passed peacefully in her sleep two nights later.
Have a ghost story that you’d liked to share? Post it in the comments.
The friendly ghosts playing ping pong was done in Brazil and can be found on YouTube. I don’t know how else to credit it, but think it should be seen. Very clever.



Filed under Family Stories, Ghost Stories, Story Motif

7 responses to “Ghost Stories: Every Family Has Them

  1. Indira Ganesan

    Hi Jerrie,

    I like this so much, incl the friendly ghosts at ping pong. One line esp stands out: “my father stirred her jewelry box to annoy her”–that seems like a novel there.
    Thanks for the heads up on ghost stories, too–more to ask on the next visit home.

  2. Ah yes, this kind of family story we can hear over and over and get chills every time. Here’s one of mine: A few months after my mother died, I was lying on my sofa and could smell fudge. My mother made old-fashioned fudge, perfect fudge, fudge that makes your mouth water just thinking about it. So to say “Mother” was to smell fudge. So there I was, lying on my sofa smelling fudge, which I have never made. My sister called from California to tell me that when she got in her car to drive home from work that day, she could smell cigarettes. She doesn’t smoke; it was a fairly new car. Mother was a 2-pack-a-day smoker. We agreed that Mother had dropped by to see both of us. “She must love you best,” my sister said. “You got fudge. All I got was cigarettes.” We haven’t heard from her since.

  3. Like you said, chills. Perfect addition. The kind of story I hoped people would share.

  4. I stayed in an historic bed and breakfast on a businss trip in Colorado Springs some years ago. The hostess showed me to my room on the top floor. There were four bedrooms off a cozy living room. I went out for the evening with a friend, came back to my room and fell asleep. During the night I was awoken by loud conversation. It sounded like the hostess had some guests and they were chatting animatedly. They were clearly having a nice time and I didn’t want to be a grump about it. I thought it was somewhat rude, but since I am deaf in one ear, I just turned over onto my good ear and fell back to sleep, only to be awoken again as they continued to chat loudly. In the morning, I went downstairs for breakfast. Seeing only one setting, I said with surprise that it was amazing all the guests from last night had already had breakfast and left since they were up late last night. He turned white as a sheet, saying , “You were the only one here last night. Even we were not here….” and then, “We were assured when we bought this place that this kind of thing would not happen.”

    I also believe that my house has a resident ghost who comes and goes in the upstairs rooms. I ring a special bell and fall back to sleep, or at times, encourage him loudly to leave.

  5. Love the ghosts playing ping pong! As for family ghost stories, they’re not talking, but I’m enjoying reading about others’ experiences. Fudge, eh? Now there’s a ghost I’d like to visit!

  6. When my mother’s uncle died, she moved into the house where he’d lived and completely refurbished it, keeping only the dryer in the basement. On the anniversary of his death, the dryer turned on by itself, and the shelf above it fell off the wall!
    And you know I loved the goblins playing ping-pong on the grave!

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