It was late one evening and I had settled into the lounge to make Pet Services account cards. There were no visitations that night, so the run of the building was mine, meaning if I had something I could do to the droning of a television, then that’s where I’d be found.
I was focused on my work with Aurora Teagarden solving murders in the background; this particular episode was familiar enough that I knew what was happening without ever looking at the screen . . . which is kinda sad, if you think about it. Paperwork was spread about with boxes of previously completed cards to either side of me, the idea being if someone had used our services before they would already have an account card to which the new services could be added—meaning each set of documents required shuffling through the cards to see if this was a new or existing client.
The building had emptied hours before and except for Aurora and company and a few folks awaiting their scheduled services, I was peacefully alone.
Or so I thought.
I was in the middle of filling out one of the account cards when the table actually jumped—enough that my pen went scooting across the card, leaving a trail of black ink in its path. It was almost as though someone had fallen against the table or taken both their hands and hit the edge. Needless to say, I looked up. Quickly. But the room was empty. The door was closed. And Aurora was still busily solving the mystery of the day.
Looking at the boxes of cards, I tried to remember if I had left them in such a way that they could have fallen forward. But no matter how hard I tried to make them make the table move, it just wasn’t happening. No amount of creativity on my part could duplicate the event, unless I actually resorted to hitting it.
After a bit I went back to my work, but I can’t say that’s where my focus was focused. Now, instead of Aurora Teagarden serving as a distraction, my mind was running through all the possible reasons why tables might jump when there was no reason for them to do so. At least no visible reason . . .
At this point, I should probably mention that the lounge occupies what was once an apartment inhabited by my parents. The first room with the vending machines was their master bedroom. The second room with the coffee maker and the cabinets was their combination kitchen and den. I should probably also mention that my father died in the first room, approximately 15 feet from where I had settled in. My mother died in what was their living room that’s on the other side of the wall from the second room. And my maternal grandmother died right about where I was sitting. So . . . did that mean I had three suspects?
Reviewing the possibilities, I settled on my dad. Of the three, he was the mischievous one of the bunch, always up for a good prank or a wry observation that would bring that twinkle to his eyes. My mother and her mother? Not so much. So, Dad it was.
It wasn’t the first time some of us have been fairly certain he was up to his old tricks . . . or just his normal habits . . . like making sure everything was centered, including the lamps on the chests which grace each side of the foyer. For a while there we had a running feud as to whether they should be in the middle or to one side. I’d pass through the foyer at night and find them in the middle. I’d move them to one side and the housekeeper would find them in the middle the next morning.
*sigh* If nothing else, he was most assuredly stubborn.
But Dad’s not the only one I believe occasionally roams about. Many nights I’ve heard Dave Hayes—and now I’m pretty sure he’s been joined by Charlie Baker—rummaging in the homemade tool box that sits on the table in the garage outside bookkeeping. You can tell me it’s just the building popping and creaking as it adjusts to the changing temperatures . . . and you could be wrong.
So, do I honestly believe in ghosts? Well, I’ve always said I’ll never say no, simply because I’d just as soon one didn’t appear to convince me otherwise. There are plenty of people in this world who firmly believe they’ve had their own ghostly encounters . . . and this close to All Hallows’ Eve, who am I to argue with them? Especially when I have my own tales to tell.
About the author: Lisa Shackelford Thomas is a fourth generation member of a family that’s been in funeral service since 1926. She has been employed at Shackelford Funeral Directors in Savannah, Tennessee for over 40 years and currently serves as the manager there. Any opinions expressed here are hers and hers alone, and may or may not reflect the opinions of other Shackelford family members or staff.