A Ghost Boy Appeared to Me in the Night

vintage photo of boyWhat you are about to read is totally REAL and creepier than a Hollywood horror movie. Welcome to Scary Story Week on The Stir ...

I've lived in many really old buildings -- particularly in Brooklyn, New York, where it isn't uncommon to live in an overpriced shoebox with original 1800-something moldings (and toilets and cockroaches that are as old as dinosaurs). And in each of those apartments (yes there have been many), I've always felt it out for ghosts. Spirits trapped. Waiting to scare the crap out of me in the middle of the night.

Because of this ... oldness ... I've always tried to turn on my ghost sensor, which is highly undervalued by others (my husband, the skeptic), but it works. And in this particular apartment, in the heart of Carroll Gardens, I felt something. Something other-worldly was there. Though I never saw anything until ...


... I was living there alone.

This was many years ago, and I had moved in with a boyfriend, but things didn't work out so he went packing. It was a great apartment with French doors that led to the bedroom, ornate tin ceilings, and a claw foot tub that I had a love/hate relationship with. The landlord told me that Julianna Margulies used to live upstairs even when she was on ER. But that same landlord also told me that I should marry a rich Republican who could take care of me when I told her I couldn't afford to pay the rent anymore and had to move out soon. But that's a whole other story. 

One night, after sauntering from the sky blue painted bathroom and across the creaky hardwood floor wearing just a white t-shirt and panties (what's a ghost story without a scantily clad down-on-her-luck single lady?), I plopped into bed and just laid there staring at the French door that was closed. I usually only kept the right side open. I was looking through the perfectly square glass panes, with years of paint framing them, certain squares tattooed with a splatter of white from a shaky hand. I eventually fell asleep. Sometime in the middle of the night, I woke up, still lying on my right side, the French doors just four feet from the bed, and my eyes returned to the square panes. Only this time there were two eyes looking at me from the other side.

I took a deep breath in and could feel my heart starting to race, but my body froze and my gaze stayed fixed on those eyes, perfectly round and wide, sweet but sad, and belonging to a little boy who was probably around 2 or 3 years old. From behind the glass, I could see he had dark blond hair cut short and was wearing white pajamas.

It was almost as if he were an exact replica of those old black and white photos -- a striking image somewhat faded, crackled over time -- through the glass, this is how he looked. He wasn't smiling, but he was looking right at me, right into me. And I just looked at him back. In those moments, I felt sorry for him, I felt his pain, from what I didn't know, something from a time gone by in this very apartment, but I also wasn't scared.

Then with one blink, he was gone. But I can still see him in my mind, clear as that day some six years ago. I've actually thought of him more since becoming a mother 22 months ago. This boy took up some space in my heart, the very space my kids occupy. Something about his gaze changed me that day, and I hope something about mine changed him ... and helped him travel on to a place where those round eyes could smile again.


Image via Beverly & Pack/Flickr


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