Myra Faye Turner, Writer
I never believed in ghosts until my son Tyler (now 15) was born. You would think that living in New Orleans — a city that’s one of the top haunted cities in the world — I wouldn’t be skeptical. But I was. Then everything changed. The old folk say that kids can often see spirits because they are more open and accepting. Then we get older and adults tell us there’s no such thing as ghosts. Many “invisible” friends are probably the dearly departed who have not moved on.
My own encounter with ghosts started when Tyler was a baby. I first noticed it when I was changing his diaper. I was making this funny face and he started giggling uncontrollably. I assumed my antics was the source of his joy until I realized that he seemed to be looking over my head, as if someone was standing behind me making funny faces. This happened on numerous occasions. Sometimes I would be singing a silly song or doing something goofy and he would be in stitches. But I kept noticing that he seemed to spend a lot of time looking over my shoulder. At first, I thought I was imagining things but the more I paid attention the more I was convinced that someone or some thing was making him guffaw. My best friend, who believed in ghosts, was the one to put the other worldly idea into my head but I quickly pushed it aside. But I had not other explanation for what was happening.
As my baby boy became a toddler, the weirdness continued. It wasn’t unusual to hear him laughing and babbling when he was in a room alone. At this point I wasn’t freaking out. Even if we had a ghost, I figured he or she was of the Casper variety and not malevolent. My skin never felt prickly nor did the hairs on my hands stand at attention. I didn’t hear chains rattling or howls in the middle of the night. But there were other strange happenings.
One day an incident happened that totally freaked me out. When Tyler was about two, I was straightening up his bedroom. I sat on the floor and lined all of his stuffed animals and action figures around the wall of his room. When I got to the end, I looked around only to find the toys all strewn on the floor again. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Maybe Tyler knocked them down.” Nope. Tyler was in front of me the entire time, so it’s not possible that he could have knocked them down. He did, however, think it was hilarious.
Over the next two years Tyler continued to chatter with his “friend” and I continued to experience a definite presence in the house. But again, the presence was not particularly menacing, just annoying. For instance, there would be times when the kitchen cabinet doors would not stay closed. I checked to make sure there was nothing wrong with the hinges. No, they were perfectly fine and the thing is, I could stay in the kitchen and the doors would remain closed. It was only after I walked out the room that they would fly open again. There was another incident when my clock radio kept turning on by itself. And numerous incidences when the house was, for lack of a better word, noisy.
In 2005 we moved temporarily to my hometown, Mobile, Alabama, after Hurricane Katrina and I forgot all about my ghost. In 2008 we returned and it was then that I recalled all of the weirdness. I asked Tyler if he remembered any of it and he said no. Maybe by then he had grown out of what ever was happening. I have told several people about my experience and surprisingly no one has given me the side eye. Again, I think a lot of that has to do with the open mindedness of people who live in such a haunted city. Many have shared their own experiences with me. And while I don’t “see dead people” like that kid in The Six Sense and I’m certainly not a ghost whispered like Jennifer Love-Hewitt, this experience taught me not to be afraid of or shy away from things I can’t explain.
Since we returned I have not experienced any strange phenomena. Maybe the ghost was a casualty of Katrina. Or perhaps since Tyler could no longer see him (or her), I too can no longer feel any ghostly presence. Or maybe they have simply moved on and is someone delighting another child.