Bloodcurdling, spine-tingling, bone-chilling—and just plain weird paranormal tales (Part II)

Looking for aliens—er, the building blocks of life—inhabiting faraway destinations in our solar system doesn’t inspire fear for many Johnson Space Center team members. But sometimes, strange occurrences right here on our home planet are enough to do the trick.

Get into the spirit (eeeek!) of Halloween by reading some personal tales involving ghosts, paranormal activity or just the plain inexplicable by some of our own JSC team members. Hey, maybe it’ll be the impetus needed to escape this planet in favor of other worlds.

Dive into the second part of this series.

A constant presence

Thirteen years ago my family moved to League City, Texas. Within two months of living in an apartment, our family began hearing dishes clanking, chairs being scraped across the floor and drawers and cabinets being shut. I had caught a glimpse of a figure in the kitchen: a short, old woman with a bun, wearing an apron, with a wooden spoon in her hand. I dismissed it.

None of my family spoke to each other about what we had heard or seen until the day my then 8-year-old son looked at me and said, “We’re not alone in the house. An old woman just walked into sissy’s room.”

We both searched the room looking for the woman. I convinced him he was imagining things. When we were alone, my husband and I admitted to each other that we had seen this figure for some time. After moving to our house a year later, the noises and sightings continued. We never felt threatened or frightened. As a matter of fact, it was almost comforting.

Another day my then 4 year old was playing alone in the front room. I heard her say, “OK, see you, bye-bye!” I went in the room and asked who she was talking to.

She said, “The old lady that lives in the kitchen ... She just went up the stairs.” Weird—but still, oddly, not threatening.

We were just confused as to why she was with us. Then, when visiting my sister-in-law, we began describing the noises and sightings to her. All the while, she dug through a box of old pictures. She produced a black-and-white photo of a group of women that often cooked for events at the local church. In the front row was the old woman in the apron … exactly as we had seen her ... spoon and all! It turned out to be my husband’s grandmother, who had died when he was about 4. There is much more to this story, but the short of it is that Grandma stayed with us until my husband passed away in 2008. We’ve never seen or heard from her again.

Melissa Rico-Weaver, Boeing, HB3-30

A not-so-subtle warning

Graduation Day! Finally, with a bachelor of science. But, instead of partying, here I was working the closing shift at our family gas station so that my little brother could go to New Orleans with his friends.

Of course, being Saturday night (and a wild one at that), we ended up closing late. There was a full moon on a clear night as I began the 40-mile trip with the day’s receipts to our house in rural Arkansas. Driving with the radio blaring and the windows down, I took the slow, winding county roads home instead of the highway to enjoy the cool, spring air and reflect on my future. I was beat, lazy, and did not fasten my seat belt. Three miles from home, a Public Service Announcement (PSA) comes on the radio with people telling their stories of surviving car crashes by wearing their seat belts. I think, Wow—the voiceover sounds just like my late Uncle Anders. Funny that they would use an announcer with a Swedish accent. I drive up the hill and top the crest. The PSA comes on again—same voice. Huh, someone at the station must be sleeping. As I glance in the rear-view mirror, I see Uncle Anders looking back at me. Whoa, I really need to get some sleep. Still ... maybe I should fasten my seat belt, even though I am almost home. One mile to go, just past the blind curve, up the hill and then home to bed.

While rounding the curve, a single headlight comes rocketing toward me. The world suddenly slows—a drunk in my lane. I start to turn, lock arms and legs, then—BOOM—skidding, twisting, awful noises, glass flying, grinding ... stop. My engine is in the passenger seat. My car destroyed, but I walk out. And ever since, I always wear my seat belt ... thanks to Uncle Anders.

John Alred, ES4

Oddie the ghost

I never believed in ghosts until I visited Oatman, Arizona, an old mining ghost town. In the middle of town there is an old two-story hotel, which is now a retail store on the first floor. The second floor is the old hotel. You can go to the second floor if you like; there is no cost and it is not a tour.

There have been several visitors who have taken pictures, and ghostly images appear in them. We were told that the ghost is of a man named Oddie, who had worked at the nearby gold mines and stayed at the hotel. One day Oddie had gotten really drunk and then gotten into a fight. He was beaten up and thrown outside the hotel, where he died.

Not believing in ghosts, my mother and I went to the second floor. It looked like an old hotel from the early 1900s—nothing special. There was a lady with her son in “Oddie’s” old room. The little boy got on Oddie’s bed and started jumping on the bed, saying, “Oddie, I am jumping on your bed, come out and get me!”

I told the little boy, “You are going to make him mad.”

At that time, his mother snapped a picture of her son on Oddie’s bed. They left the room and went back down to the first floor. As I was walking down the hall, one of the doors rattled so hard that it made me freeze my footsteps. There was no one up there except for my mother. We both ran for the stairs, scared to death. Once back on the first floor, we saw the mother and her son. They were looking at the pictures they had just taken. Sure enough, Oddie’s ghostly image was in the picture right behind her son on the bed. Both my mother and I saw the picture, and we left all shaken up.

Holly Dlouhy, SK

A proper scolding

There was a cemetery in Corpus Christi, Texas, called Rose Hill Cemetery (the old part of Corpus) that the family would visit once a month to put flowers on family members’ graves. Being a kid and bored, I used to run and play, jumping from one grave to another. One time, my grandmother caught me playing and got after me for knocking over the flowers on the grave of an elderly woman (the picture on the tombstone was exposed) buried there. She said that I should not be disturbing the graves like that, because I would be visited by the those buried there.

The very next day I was playing with my older sister’s drinking cup that she liked. She saw me with it and asked me to give it back. Instead, I ran with it. She began to cry. A few minutes later, an elderly lady walked down the street we lived on toward our house. Dogs started to bark. My grandma and the next-door neighbors visiting did not know who she was. (Remember, the street was not big and everyone knew each other on that street.)

The elderly lady stopped in front of our house. She looked very familiar to me—it looked just like the picture of the elderly lady on the tombstone where I had knocked over the flowers! I got scared, started to cry and ran to the backyard. She saw me and told me to give the cup back to my sister. I said I would. I had no idea how she knew all this, but she did. I am sure there is an explanation ... but none of the neighbors, nor my family members, could come up with one. Needless to say, I never played in the cemetery again!

George Salazar, EV

Grandma’s still around

My story might be spooky to some, but it somehow is a comfort to me. My grandmother lived with me, my husband and my daughter the last nine years of her life. She was 79 when she moved to Texas from Tennessee, and she passed away at age 88.

Taking care of a grandparent is first of all an honor, not a burden, but at times I know she felt that she was. My granny loved to carry Kleenex. There was always one near her or in her pocket. On laundry day, I took pains to make sure there were no Kleenex in her pants or blouse pockets, her duster (that’s a housecoat for those who do not know) or her pajama pockets. However, more often than not I would miss a few and end up with a washer full of wet clothes and little pieces of Kleenex attached to them. Oh, the sounds I would make in that laundry room—and then came the procession of me carrying a basketful of wet clothes out into the backyard, where I would proceed to shake all the Kleenex out of them and re-wash the load.

This happened many times over those nine wonderful years. After she passed away, I was so sad and missed her terribly. I still do. Every so often, after a good cry, I would think about the Kleenex and how I wished that she was still here putting them in her pockets for me to wash.

Well, it seems she was listening, because they began to appear in the laundry. Not in the washer—but in the dryer! I began to find perfectly washed Kleenex in my baskets of dry laundry as I took them out to fold. Loads of towels and socks, where no Kleenex could possibly survive the wash process, much less tumbling in a dryer—they would just be there—washed, dried and perfect! I told my husband and began showing them to him, even asking if he had put them there, because there was just no explanation. I believe this was her way of letting me know that she was still with me, on laundry day and every day.

I still find them every so often and, when I do, I get goose bumps ... and I know she’s there. She is also the lost-and-found department at our house—but that is another story ...

Sandra Ingram, ES

Catherine Ragin Williams
Johnson Space Center, Houston


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