What happened next was the most dramatic event of the haunting:
From the start, there seemed to be two ghosts. Now I was getting a very visual sense of them, though I did not see anything besides their mischief.
I perceived a slender, mournful woman in a form-fitting, slightly gaudy gown, characteristic of the 1870s or 1930s. I could not see the hemline to tell how long the gown was, to tell if it was from the 19th or 20th centuries. Generally, she was weeping. She was in the room with the two strange little closets.
Our other ghost was a man in dusty, dark casual clothing. He wore a shirt and pants like blackish jeans. He obviously wore boots, but I could not “see” them.
Sometimes, I sensed that he was calling on the woman, wearing a dusty, too-loose jacket with tails, and a very slim tie. He was our loud ghost, whose temper was echoed with his footsteps. Usually, he’d storm around the upstairs hallway, or the other two bedrooms.
The louder ghost continued to storm around the upstairs at night. My husband decided to join a gym forty miles from our house. Frankly, I think he was frightened of our ghosts. If he was concerned for my safety, he never mentioned it. When he was at the gym each evening, I was at home, trying to ignore the footsteps overhead.
As our louder ghost became more courageous, his walk became more distinctive. We could hear that ka-thud, ka-thud of a heel hitting the floor and then the sole of the shoe, as if he was wearing workmen’s boots or cowboy boots. That’s when we began calling him “Boots,” to make the reality a little friendlier, as if he was a companion and not a tormentor.
Some nights, I thought I heard the jingle of spurs from the “old west” era. That may have been something upstairs rattling, in response to the pounding footsteps on our hardwood floors.
I was anxious but not terrified. After all, the noises were only upstairs. I stayed downstairs.
Meanwhile, I had begun teaching children’s drama classes for the town. During the summer, I taught the classes in my living room.
One day, the afternoon class went particularly late as we were preparing for a performance. No one noticed how quickly dusk approached.
Then, in a pause during our rehearsal, I almost gasped aloud. I could hear footsteps upstairs. They were faint, but certainly there. How could I have forgotten about them?
I looked around the room, but no one seemed to hear the footsteps but me. I considered the possibility that it was a “personal” haunting, and perhaps no one besides me could hear the sounds. That allayed my fears for a few minutes.
The rehearsal concluded, and we discussed the strong and weak points of the rehearsal. My living room was filled with eager students, ranging in age from about seven to mid-teens.
I decided to ignore the footsteps, now getting louder, and talk to my class as if nothing unusual was going on.
I raised my voice as the boots thudded and almost clang’d, back and forth, angrily striding across the floor above us.
Finally, the footsteps started pacing at the top of the stairs.
One of my oldest students timidly put her hand up. “Excuse me, but is your husband at home?” She tilted her head, indicating the noises clearly coming from the upstairs.
My heart sunk as I replied, “No.” I wished with every ounce of hope that she was the only one who heard the boots, or that the sound would stop.
Another student was clearly baffled, “Um, are there workmen upstairs, or what?”
I knew I was in trouble. I said no, and gulped aloud when I saw the children’s expressions.
Trying to sound as if everything was perfectly normal, I ushered the children to our front lawn, saying that we’d finish the class outside.
To this day, I have no idea what the students thought, or if they heard the angry footsteps storming down the polished hardwood stairs as I closed the front door behind me. I hastily concluded the rehearsal, and held future classes in the town offices.
The group barely held together past the performance. I think the event scared the children, and I know they looked at me a little nervously after that.