The old farmhouse in Jolicure that we had just moved into was over a hundred years old. We discovered this when we began to tear down the ruined walls upstairs and found that there were remnant newspapers and pages from books dating from the mid 1860s underneath the animal hair plaster.
Soon after moving in, my mother had a disturbing dream that she told me about the next day: two brothers were in the big open kitchen of our farmhouse shouting angrily at each other- they became violent – they shot each other – and both died there on the floor in a pool of blood. She thought it an odd dream but put it out of her mind.
A few months later at the beginning of summer we were invited to join the local quilting club to which my aunt Joanne belonged (and was president of for a while). All the ladies of the area came and sat around a big quilting frame and worked stitching inwards from the four sides of the quilt. The local men came too and played cards but kept separate. It was a time for people to visit and gossip. Towards the end of the evening tea and goodies were served.
My mother mentioned her dream to the ladies for some reason – perhaps prompted by my aunt. There was a silence that followed that I still remember and then someone said that in fact that had happened at our house – two brothers had fought and killed each other in the kitchen.
They added that they thought this had happened in the summer kitchen which no longer existed (but would have been attached to the house) and that it had happened a long time ago – perhaps even before the house was moved into its present location. It was profoundly upsetting on many levels to find it was true.
(I remember thinking that they just said that to make us feel better – that it had in fact happened in the kitchen that we lived in – why else would my mother have dreamt that detail.)
My mother had had other fey experiences previously – most notably in the late 1950s when my parents were looking to move out of Brooklyn into a home in the suburbs. One house in particular was very inexpensive and big and beautiful, and located on Long Island in Amityville – it had distinctive half moon windows up near the roof. She recalled feeling a sense of darkness and evil under the stairs when they walked through the house and refused to consider buying it. It wasn’t until the mid 1970s that the house became famous from the book The Amityville Horror – she knew it was that very same house that she’d felt such darkness in.
My mother had no more ghostly dreams in Jolicure, and since our old house creaked and moaned and moved all the time we took all the noises it made for granted.
In recent years I’ve started watching paranormal TV shows and have since learned that certain things can be interpreted as paranormal activity and are quite common phenomena in so called haunted houses. So perhaps the sound of a ball dropping and rolling continuously back and forth across the attic above my room wasn’t a game of hockey between the bats and mice – perhaps it was a ghostly presence up there. Or the curtains of black flies that would swarm in the windows obliterating the light (especially in the kitchen loft) were more than just a gross infestation. And perhaps all the scratching in the walls at night wasn’t just the shrews… we’ll never know now… the house has since been torn down.