I dont' know whether this is a ghost story or not. But it is a true story and scared a group of girls senseless!
Like most grandmothers of folks my age, my grandmother lived in a huge old house. It was in the country. And myself and all my cousins would go visit her at least once every couple of months. We would spend the weekend there and sleep either in the middle of the living room floor or out on the "mudporch". (a room that is all screened in off the back of the house)
Most weekends the boys would galavant off into the woods to do whatever boys do. the girls would stay at the house with Oma. She had the best closet. It was one of those huge old walk in closets. with 4 hanging rods and two sets of shelves. Wow! What a place! It smelled of mothballs and musty old wood. Oma had lots of old clothes and jewelry. And nothing was off limits to us girls except one garment bag that was in the far back corner of the closet. Oma never would speak of what was in that garment bag, only telling us never to open it.
Of course we obeyed until my oldest cousin reached about 11. then she decided it was time for us to find out what Oma was hiding. we went in, closed the door behind us and my cousin pulled out the bag and unzipped it. Inside was a beautiful dress. It had at one time been pink but now was more of a tan color with age. it had layers and crinolines. What little girl could resist trying it on? My cousin put it on and as soon as she looked into the full length mirror, something changed in her. Suddenly, she began to cry uncontrolably. She started yelling "i'm sorry, I'm sorry": and just wouldn't stop.
Oma, heard her cries and came running. When she opened the closet door and saw my cousin standing there in that dress she went white. She yelled for Papa and together they quickly removed the dress and threw my cousin into she shower. She was still crying and yelling "I'm sorry" over and over again. It took what seemed like a lifetime for her to calm down. Although I am sure it was only minutes.
Later that day, my grandparents called everyone to the yard where Oma told us all about the dress. It seemed that the dress belonged to my grandmothers sister (we never knew she had a sister). She said her sister had always been "slight". Now I realize that meant not quite mentally stable. My uncle Patsy (yes, Patsy) taught my auntie to drive his old car. He told her she could never drive without him. My auntie was in love with a boy. But her parents, knowing of her deficencies, would not let them see each other once they realized it was getting serious, They did the usual sneaking around when teenagers are forbidden to see one another. One night they decided to elope. so she stole Uncle Patsy's car in the middle of the night. she did not put on the headlights because she was sneaking down the road. somehow the boy she was going to meet, stepped into the road and she hit him. he was knocked out. but she thought she had killed him. She started screaming "i'm sorry, I'm sorry". She would not stop screaming. My great grandfather and uncle patsy came running down the road and tried to talk to her. Still she would not stop screaming. they ended up taking her to the doctor who in turn sedated her. She was never the same after. They kept her at home for about a year, but ended up putting her in what Oma called a sanitoruim. They never even visited her again. Ever. Because that is what families did with family members who went insane at that time. Apparently she died there, all alone.
My grandmother loved her older sister and kept the dress as a remembrance of her. but was never allowed to speak of her.
We never touched the garment bag again after that day.