Ghost Stories

Family Photos

This story happened a couple years go.

My father has a couple boxes of old family photographs and documents. I had visited my cousins recently, and family history had come up in conversation. When I got back home I asked my father if I could borrow the boxes. I decided I would scan the best stuff, as much as I could fit on a CD, and burn it to CDs for a Christmas present.

These boxes contain hundreds of old family photos (many from the late 1800's), documents, deeds, letters, wills, news paper clippings... even a couple militia orders. The oldest stuff is from the late 1700's. Its pretty neat stuff, and all of it is family related.

The project took much longer than I thought. I bought a scanner and spent night after night, for a couple months... scanning, rotating, correcting, scaling, cropping, etc, etc, etc. Some of the stuff is really showing its age, and its probably a good thing that it was getting scanned. Most of the faces I did not recognize, nor even many of the surnames.

Some of the photos I would just stare at, adding to the time the project was taking. The people in the photos were old relatives that I knew little about. All of them long since dead, and my living relatives know only bits and pieces about some of them.

My wife was interested in these boxes, and she'd often poke around them while I was working. There was one photograph of the Calef Hill Farm in New Hampshire from circa 1900 that she really felt strange about. Like she could close her eyes and imagine being there.

Some strange things started happening in my house a couple weeks after I had started on this project. At first, a couple things on my bookcase fell off for no apparent reason. My wife would come in to our computer room and find something from the bookcase in the middle of the floor. She also said she heard noises from this room while I was away at work, but she'd open the door and there would be nothing.

We have three smoke alarms in our house, all of them are less than 5 years old. They started going off in the middle of the night for no reason, never at the same time. Only one would go off, and it would be different on another night. This got pretty annoying.

I joked about my deceased relatives coming to check up on my project, to make sure I didn't make any mistakes, or miss something I should be scanning.

One night I particularly remember though. I was working on my computer late in to the evening (or early in the morning). My wife and youngest daughter had gone to sleep hours ago. My older daughter was spending the night at a friend's house.

I smoke, but not in the house. Several times that night I had walked out of the computer room, past my older daughter's bedroom, gone downstairs and outside for a cigarette. This time as I opened the door to the computer room, I heard what I thought was an alarm-clock radio going off in my older daughter's bedroom. I hadn't noticed the noise from the computer room, because I had been playing music while I was working. And I figured it must have gone off recently, because it wasn't going off earlier that night. I walked in to her bedroom and fumbled for the light switch. Drats... it didn't work because I had wired her ceiling fan wrong, so the light wasn't working. I stumbled through her room in the dark, and got to her desk. I realized she didn't have an alarm-clock radio, but the music was definitely coming from her desk. I reached around in the dark, and felt a stack of magazines and books piled high, which the music was definitely coming from. I took the books away, a few at a time, and found her old am/fm radio underneath the pile. It was the kind that had a thumb dial to turn on and adjust the volume. The volume was pegged all the way up.

The next morning I asked my wife about it. She said she'd been asleep all night and my youngest daughter was still a toddler in a crib, so it wasn't her.

I eventually completed the project and was pleased with the way the CD came out. Things have since quieted down.