Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Ghost Of Hilda...

La Promenade (La Promenade, la femme à l'ombrelle - Woman with a Parasol)
Claude Monet
1875

Do you believe in ghosts? Ever since I was a child, I have been able to feel the spirits of people who had previously lived in a house. Occasionally I have even caught a glimpse of them. They are as clear to me as the people we see every day. They are not transparent wisps, but real people.

I have been living in my tree house for 12 years.  It is a fairly new development from sometime in the late 1980s. Prior to that, it had been an Edwardian house, built around the turn of the century. Some of the older Edwardian houses in my neighbourhood still exist, and they’re lovely old buildings, with brick fireplaces, wrap-around porches and stained glass windows. Many of them have fruit trees in the yard. I love to walk through the neighbourhood and imagine the folks who lived there and what their lives must have been like in those elegant old houses.

I have never told anyone this until now, but occasionally when I first wake up in the morning, before I am fully awake, I can see a woman in my apartment. She is visible for only a few seconds, and then she disappears. When I first saw her, I thought, “Who on earth is that woman?” After a while, I got used to her, and she just became part of the environment. She looks very pleasant, she has auburn hair and a 1950s style dress. She is quite elegant. I have just accepted her, and she doesn’t frighten me. I imagine she is someone who had lived in the house that had been on the property.

This morning I was late for work, so I took a taxi to my office. When I got into the taxi, the driver said to me, “I was born in the house that used to be on that property…” Omigosh. I have always been curious about the house that had been there before, so I asked him about it. He told me it was a three-story house, it had a large back yard with a lawn and apple trees, and his mother had planted a lovely flower garden.  He said his parents rented the top floor to a woman named Hilda. He described her as having auburn hair; she was very elegant, well-read, well-educated and loved to travel to exotic places like Africa and the Orient.  She spoke several languages.

The taxi driver told me that when he was a little boy, his mother felt he should learn more about culture and the arts than she was able to teach him, so Hilda used to take him with her to the opera and the theatre. Hilda had been married for a short while at a very young age, but her husband died, and she had no children of her own. He said he became very good friends with Hilda, and was very fond of her. She took him for walks through the neighbourhood, and to picnics and swimming at Kitsilano Beach.  She lived her life as a spinster, and she passed away in the house at the age of 90.

I described to him the woman I have seen occasionally over the years, and he said, “That’s Hilda.”

Well, I like Hilda. It sounds as if she had been a very interesting person, and I don’t mind sharing my space with her. And maybe she likes me too, and approves of sharing her space with me. At least now I know her name.

29 comments:

The Bug said...

Ooh - I got chills reading this! I think that Hilda is the PERFECT ghost for your tree house - I'm sure that if you were able to talk to each other you'd get along fabulously.

Jo said...

Dana, I know...! At least now, when I come home at night, I can say, "Hilda ... I'm home..." *heh*

Katy said...

I do believe that every proper home needs to have a ghost or spirits.

Its that six degree of seperation thing again isn't it? How wonderful that you ended up in that man's cab.

myletterstoemily said...

yikes! you just got exponentially more
interesting.

one of my favorite movies is "the ghost
and mrs. muir."

Whitney Lee said...

This is awesome. I have never actually seen a ghost though I do get the occasional visitor here. My grandmother pops in every so often to see my kids.

What are the chances of your experience? If you were anyone other than you...You might have just said oh, how nice that you once lived here. It sounds as though you and Hilda would have gotten along fabulously!

DJan said...

I immediately thought of the Synchronicity blog that I follow and wondered what they would think of this "coincidence." And it's just wonderful that you got to know who your ghost is. Or was. Or whatever.

I'm not sure I've ever seen a ghost, but I have regular visits from those on the other side in my dreams. They are as real as anything on this side when I'm there...

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Wow. What are the chances of such a random meeting with that particular taxi driver? It sounds as if Hilda likes you because you share many interests, and are both elegant, worldly women living alone.

This does give a whole new meaning to "Honey, I'm home," doesn't it? I would love to know if when you address Hilda by her name, she stays longer and perhaps chats with you a bit. She will be so happy to know that you have met her young charge, all grown, and that he remembers her so fondly. What a lovely experience!

I wish you could visit me and tell me about the people who lived in my building when it was a one-family residence.

jojo said...

I, for one, do not believe that anything is random or coincidence. You were in that cab for a reason, how wonderful!

Country Girl said...

I have a brother who is much like you in as far as being to see ghosts from time to time. I believe certain people do have the ability to do this and wasn't aware that you were one of them! Very interesting, Jo. And so cool that you found out about Hilda!

Carl said...

I guess as long as she does not answer you or throw things when you say "Hi Hilda I'm Home" then she makes a pretty good room mate. Even better than some living room mates I have had.

Carl

Nezzy said...

Sounds like Miss Hilda is the perfect fit for ya. I love the fact that you call out to her as you come home! Heeehehehehe

God bless ya and have a glorious day!

Russell said...

Now that you have a name and some facts about the house that was there before the current building, you might be able to do some research.

You could go to the courthouse and check out the property and even find the names of the people who owned the house.

The taxi driver - who must be a native of your area - might even remember Hilda's last name and you could find her obit, etc.

Most interesting to learn about your spiritual visitor!

Jo said...

Katy, it's really bizarre, isn't it? I have been wanting to find out about the house that was here. Gosh...!

Lea, omigoodness, yes! "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" with Rex Harrison and Gene Tierney. I love that movie.

Whitney, I had a feeling Hilda had lived here before, and when the taxi driver mentioned her, I was flabbergasted...!

DJan, yes, I have people visit me in my dreams too. Lately, my friend Sherry and I have gone ice skating, several times. And it's very (!!!) real.

Susan, I have "felt" the spirits of people in other houses, too, and I'm sure I could find the ones in your house. If you concentrate, you probably could too. And yes, it is nice to know Hilda's name. She feels more real now.

JoJo, I definitely was in that cab for a reason. I have been curious about the house that was here, for a long time. I was happy to hear there had been an apple tree in the back yard, because I had imagined it...!

Kate, I have had this ability since I was a little girl, but I try to suppress it. I once lived in a house where the "spirit" was not very friendly, and was quite angry. It was rather disturbing.

Carl, *chuckle*. Yes, roommates ... I have had a few doozies. Hilda is actually very nice, and quite serene. :-)

Nezzy, thanks. Yes, I can now close the door behind me, turn on the light, and say, "Hilda ... I'm home...!" And then then the men in the white coats can come and cart me away. *heh*

Russell, that's a good idea to check the history of the house. I can do that at the City Hall, which is across the street from where I work. What a great idea...! Of course, I rather like the mystery of Hilda as she is now, and I wouldn't want to know too much more about her. Her name is enough.

Marguerite said...

What a great synchro, you meeting that cab driver! That is too cool about you discovering the history of the house and the ghosts name, in that way. I have the same gift, but don't usually talk about it. I lived in an older home in Maryland, which I still own, with a friendly ghost, for 20 years. She never bothered me, until I started packing to move out. Then, she suddenly became very unfriendly!

kenju said...

I've never seen one, although I sometimes see a shadow passing by in my house that I take to be my former dog. My daughter saw my parents on the morning that she gave birth to her last child.

Owen said...

Maybe you could try taking a picture ? Would love to see her...

Maha said...

Wow! That was not really something i am used to reading in the morning.

TC said...

I got chills too, that was just too weird. But I agree that cabdriver was there for a reason.
I often dream of dead people, I mean they are dead in real life but in my dreams they are still alive thank goodness or I tell them they really should be not wandering around.

Mean Mama said...

What a wonderful story. I have a hard time with the idea of ghosts and have had similar experiences with seeing things. However I wanted to know what they were, and if others have the same experience as I do. The waking visions I see are what are called hypnopompic hallucinations and they are quite common. The others are when you are falling asleep and if you are especially tired they can be quite frightening. They are called hypnagogic hallucinations. I am one of those who believes in coincidence, only because we live in smaller communities than we think and there are more random occurrences with a certain set of experiences that are possible. Call me a cynic. I'm guilty. That said, I don't want to ruin your experience with my explanations. I think it is a wonderful one. I wholeheartedly believed in my 'visitor' for many years and chatted with him as well. I believed he was a man who had died near my house in a motorcycle accident two days before he 'appeared' to me. I think it will be fun for you to find out more about Hilda. I hope to hear more about her in your blogs. My mother says to remind them to move on. She is more of a believer than I am ;)

lgsquirrel said...

Hilda passed away in her 90s. I was curious to know the apparent age of the sprite that you see.

Kathryn said...

I bet, Jo, that she so very much enjoys you too, & that is why she visits. :)

lovelyprism said...

Lucky you! The ghost in my last house was a man who died there and he was not a happy soul! He used to slam doors and turn the power on and off and throw things around the kitchen.

Carla said...

Now this is another post to share on Facebook. My younger sister will love reading this. I envy you! I'm very interested in the paranormal and I've always wanted to have an experience like this. And I'm so curious, I would do what Russell suggested and find out everything I could. Fascinating! Hope to hear more about Hilda.

Paula Slade said...

Yes, I do believe in ghosts!!! Wonderful story Jo. :)

nomore said...

I just remind the song...Unchaibed Melody...It's my favorite song...Very interesting story...

@ly said...

Great story. Do share if/when you find out more.

Jo said...

Ok Jo, when I first read it, I was a bit...uh, skeptical - lol. But then I remembered my dad said there was a ghost/lady that he saw in our old house when I was growing up. It reminded me of your story. Interesting stuff.

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Kathy's Klothesline said...

I haven't seen a ghost in this house, but my mom visited me in our house in Minnesota after she passed on. Didn't actually see her, but felt her prescence ain a very real way.