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The Old Folks Next Door?

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When I moved into my first house in my mid-30s, I was very happy and proud of myself; I had made the purchase on my own, and I finally was out of “apartment-land.” It was a quaint, 1930s cottage tucked away in the middle of the city of Montgomery, Alabama, in an older neighborhood.

I wanted to meet my new neighbors, and introduced myself while working out in the yard one afternoon to an elderly lady, very impeccably dressed, who was watering her flower beds next door. She introduced herself as Mrs. Bibb and remarked that she had lived in that same house for almost 50 years. She added that she had always been very happy there with her husband, up until his death some years before.

We went on about our business, and over the months, I would see her on the front porch or somewhere outside, near the house, and we would always wave and say hello.

About a year after I moved in, I learned she had passed away in the house; her son and his wife had come over to remove all of her things, and it was a very sad time, but they were relieved that she simply died in her sleep.

The house remained unoccupied for several months, during which time the son and his wife would come over regularly and take care of the yard and other odds and ends to ensure that it remained in good shape when it was being “shown” to potential new owners.

Finally, it sold, to a young, newly married couple. They did a lot of work to the house, renovating it and putting in new walls, extending the back end of it to include a sunroom, and putting down new hardwood floors.

One day, I was in my room, reading. I distinctly heard a woman’s voice say, “Ma’am?” It was very muffled sounding, and heavily “Southern-accented.” Then, before I had time to react or respond, I heard what sounded like my front screen door being pushed open. I grabbed my book tightly and looked around for a makeshift “weapon,” thinking seriously that someone was breaking in.

I went to the corner of my room and carefully looked around. My cats were lying on the floor, lazily dozing; no one was there.

Immediately, it started pouring rain, and I thought the whole episode rather strange, but I put it out of my mind and went back to my book.

The very next day, I was standing in the kitchen, staring into my refrigerator. I was hungry but didn’t know what I wanted. Once again, from the area near the front door, I heard a voice say, “Hello?” This was a man’s voice, and it sounded like an “old person’s voice,” so I went to see who was there. Again, nothing, so I turned back. Next, I distinctly heard the sound of someone fiddling with my deadbolt lock. I quickly turned around and looked at it, but it did not move.

After mentioning this to a friend of mine, she casually said it was likely the previous residents of that house, without knowing anything about who they were. She said they were likely just a bit unsettled by the activity going on in “their” house, and were coming over to ask me about it, to see if maybe I could stop the renovation.

As I thought back, I remembered that both voices sounded very friendly, and like older, Southern people. Those were the only two instances of this “visitation,” but I firmly believe that Mrs. Bibb -- and her husband – were trying to “find their way home” again that week.

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  "very nicely told story. I agree with your friend. " - jesse_jean57, July 6 2009 - reply

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