As Told By Gordie Little
Just a week or so prior to Halloween of 2003, a friend of mine from Clinton County, New York related a story about an Italian kitchen that gave me plenty of food for thought.
The woman’s husband was stationed for two years in the mid-80s at a naval base located on La Maddalena, located between the smaller Italian Island of Sardinia and the French island of Corsica. Photos of the seven-island archipelago reveal an almost idyllic place that is rich in Roman history and spectacular natural beauty. Beside the naval presence, the entire area is a magnet for tourism.
She and her military spouse found a bargain-priced rental house with plenty of room and a wonderful view of the countryside. It had two, spacious bedrooms and a parlor with large, double doors that could be used as a master bedroom and nursery for their little girl. Every window in the well-appointed kitchen was made of stained glass. During the intense tropical storms, my friend learned quickly not to touch the lead with her wedding ring. After being zapped just once, she kept a safe distance.
With their husbands often out to sea, it wasn’t at all uncommon for the wives to spend a few days together. The storms in that region of the world are frightening and they reasoned that there would be comfort in company.
One night, they needed comfort and it had nothing to do with the weather. In all, there were three women in her house. She and her daughter slept in the parlor/bedroom on the right as you enter the building. The other two bedrooms farther down the hall were each occupied by another woman. The bathroom was on the left, located diagonal to the kitchen at the far end of the hallway.
They retired early. My friend was startled awake several hours later by the sound of the big, double doors to her room opening and closing, almost rhythmically. She sat up in bed, watching the long, curved metal door handles move downward as if manipulated by an unseen hand. The doors open and closed in unison.
She was too stunned to scream or move. As she sat there, the doors closed one, last time, followed by audible footsteps away from her room, down the hall, toward the kitchen.
She thought her companions were playing tricks on her. Listening intently, she heard the footsteps stop. Next, she heard the old, refrigerator door open and close several times. Then—nothing.
She crawled under the covers and eventually went to sleep, albeit fitfully until daylight.
The woman in the next bedroom arose shortly after and complained to her hostess about the cats keeping her awake all night. She heard them howling and rummaging around in her room. Entering the bedroom together, the two women found newspapers crumpled into balls all around the bed. The hostess was quick to point out that she had no cats.
The second woman, too, heard footsteps in the hallway, heading toward the kitchen followed by the fridge door opening and closing.
As the women were comparing notes about their fitful night, the third woman came out of the last bedroom, rubbing her eyes and complaining that the others had been playing practical jokes on her for hours.
She accused them of opening and shutting her bedroom door and talking in the kitchen. Her bedroom wall was common with a kitchen wall and she claimed to have heard hushed voices for some time. She couldn’t make out words or sentences, but was a bit frightened and rather frustrated by the sounds, nonetheless.
They were all frightened when learning that none of them had tried to trick the others. They were likewise unable to learn the history of the old house, as their facility with the Italian language left a lot to be desired.
I should point out that in spite of their friendship, none of the women ever came to visit again. Who can blame them?
The ghostly shenanigans continued in that house for some time. My friend recalled that she was awakened by her crying baby late one night and arose to warm a bottle for the little one. As she walked down the hallway, she could see at least two, black silhouettes in the kitchen ahead. The forms were definitely of human shape and size. There was another electrical storm that night and on subsequent nights when she and her husband both saw the kitchen silhouettes.
In the bathroom was a brand new clothes washer. With no warning, it would go haywire, spilling out piles of suds and sending a flood out the bathroom door, diagonally to the end of the hall and into the kitchen. More than once, her husband called in the quintessential “Maytag Repairman,” only to learn that there was nothing wrong with the machine that could be repaired by human hands.
The technician wouldn’t believe their story of the water and suds flowing from the bathroom to the kitchen. “Physically impossible,” he exclaimed in broken English. “The floor doesn’t even slope in that direction.” To prove his point, he placed small rubber balls next to the washing machine and smiled as they all rolled in the opposite direction. They paid him and he left, shaking his head; no doubt wondering what kind of “American nuts” he was dealing with.
This couple’s battle with unwanted spirits ends with a coup de gras. My friend and her husband were embracing in the bathtub together, as couples in love are sometimes wont to do. The translucent, glass doors in front of the tub were closed for privacy, even though there was no one else in the house at the time. Or was there?
Their lovemaking was rudely interrupted by the sound of whistling. They turned their heads and saw a blurry shape glide pass the door.
At that moment a window above the tub exploded from the wall– frame, casing and all–and dropped onto them, scattering shards of glass over their heads and naked bodies.
Fortunately, they were not seriously injured. The man went into the hallway and found nothing untoward. Both front and back house doors remained closed and securely locked.
That moment brought the couple to an epiphany. In the morning, they left the old house, lock, stock and barrel and moved into base housing.
We can only wonder if the present occupants of that Italian house are still plagued by spirited voyeurs and spectral cats.
About the Author:
Gordie Little has spent 36 years in radio; 8 years as a Crime Victims Advocate; and has written 653 weekly newspaper columns for the Press-Republican newspaper in Plattsburgh, NY. He has done more than 700, 90-minute television documentaries in the North Country region of New York State and loves to study all things paranormal and has written “true” ghost stories for many years. His new book, entitled “Ghosts of Clinton County,” was published by North Country Books in Utica, NY and is currently available at many Borders Books, Corner-Stone Bookshop in Plattsburgh, NY, The Crystal Caboose in West Chazy, NY at www.bloatedtoe.com, amazon.com and directly from the publisher.