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  • My best close ghostly encounter story, and this Kidzzz is true.

    I lived in north central Iowa for many years and
    moved into a 9 year old ranch house outside of Grafton, Iowa, a town of 280.

    On the property, within 15 feet of the newer house
    was an older home that was built around the
    time that the town was founded over 100 years prior.
    The old house was a wreck, cold and damp with the kind of
    upstairs that you wouldn't let your kids mess with today, a loft really with a certain death kind of drop-off with no railings.

    The fuse box, put in many years after the house was built, was located up there.
    The house had an old open porch that was rickety, so I tore that off
    and added a room that I was going to use
    as a ceramic shop. I had purchased the kiln and molds
    and was all set to go.

    After everything was framed in, I put in the rolls of insulation
    and was busily cutting wall board, purchased from Winnebago Industries.
    I had behind me, the old front door of the house
    which had a window about 2 foot square in the top part.
    I was working at night out there in that new addition, my blue healer, Ragsy, lay next to me.

    It was about 9:30 p.m., I was kneeling there
    cutting the wall board, and rags stood up,
    looking past me at the door to the old part of the house,
    at the window, her fur rose along her back, her
    lips curled, foam appeared around her mouth and she
    turned, this fearless dog, and ran to the front door of
    the new addition I had built. She flung herself
    at the door repeatedly.

    I laid down the box cutter I was using on the wall board, and
    as calmly as I could, the hair raising onthe back of my neck
    a cold chill running through me,
    my heart pounding, and without looking back at whatever
    my dog was seeing, I walked slowly to the door,
    opened it and pulled it quickly closed behind me.

    I never found out who or what had been in that house, and, worked on it and at my ceramics no later than 9pm after that.

    It wasn't long before I had everything set up in the shop
    and that spring I began making my little ceramic
    items destined to be christmas and other special day things.

    As happens in a small town like that, news quickly spread that I had
    a neat little hidden shop and folks started dropping by
    and eventually I got my first paying customer.
    In a small town, you get way more NON payers, but this was actually a paid job.
    For those of you who are clueless about firing stuff in a kiln
    a short lesson is needed here, you show the stuff you can make by
    having what is known as "greenware" on the shelves and a buyer
    looks stuff over and picks out an item and pays the price you have on it in pencil
    they take that home, or sit at a table in your shop, and "clean" it,
    which means, getting the marks of the mold, the seams, off
    Then they either under-glaze it and have the
    shop "fire" it, or they simply clean the item and have it
    fired to "bisque" which is what ceramic is called with one firing.
    This particular customer placed an order for a coffee server
    an ornate and highly detailed coffee pot and wanted me to do
    the cleaning, under-glazing and then fire it a second time
    with the regular glaze coat (thats how dishes are done)
    It would be a pricey job for a customer with taste
    who would give me much business, so it was important.
    The item chosen, the price discussed and paid, I got out
    the mold and poured the pot special for her
    making the item a bit thicker, a bit more detailed.
    After the cleaning and the under glazing, the pot was
    ready for its first firing.

    Now, see, when you fire something you are bringing
    the kiln slowly up to 2500 degrees Fahrenheit.
    Then, after it hits that, you start bringing it back down.
    The process takes 12 hours.

    With out thinking, I had started the project at 11 a.m.,
    which, if you are doing the math Kidzzz, ends the project at 11 p.m.,
    well into the no go into the shop time
    because of the oogey boogey man in the
    old part of the house, which as we recall is securely
    attached to the shop and therefore, an unavoidable fright.

    Everything was cool though, I didnt look at the door, the dog didn't
    come into the shop and I just went out every
    once in a while to see how the heat dropping was going,
    when the unexpected happened.
    A FUSE BLEW.Oh Kidzzz
    remember where the fuse box was located???
    in the upstairs of the old part of that rotten house.

    Steeling my courage and grabbing a flashlight, I set
    off on my mission into the unknown, my heart pounding
    like a jack hammer. I grasped the old glass doorknob
    with a sweaty hand, my heart now beating in my ears,
    and stepped through that doorway and into the unknown.

    As I made my way to the stairs that were about 20 feet
    from the front door, the flash light began to go dim,
    as they do when the batteries are getting low, dimmer
    and dimmer, til I had no light at all. Not
    being able to take the stress of being in the dark with
    whatever had taken up residence there, I turned to
    go back and get new batteries, but by the time I
    got to the shop, the light was bright again,
    so I turned to go back and replace the fuse, but as I
    turned, the flashlight went dead and I made a fast exit,
    bumping directly into a buddy who had stopped by hoping
    for a beer having seen the lights on. I handed him
    the flashlight and told him to go up the stairs and check
    the fuses. When HE went back there, the flashlight acted normal, the fuse got
    changed and the job went well. The next morning,
    I saw that the pot had shattered in the kiln over
    night and I had to do it all again, but started
    at 6 am the next time.

    The house burned down one summer day many years later.

    Nothing grows in the black, fertile, Iowa dirt that it stood on.

    Thinking back to when I was a kid
    I was probably about 9 years
    old when this happened and thememory isn't one
    bit fuzzy to this day (when I was 9 it was 1958 kidzzz)
    I had a little welsh corgi dog named Sandy
    not a very original name actually, as he was a sandy color. My bedroom was at the top of the
    stairs, the door at an angle on the landing
    and the light on the landing would shine directly into my room
    bright enough for me to read by if I didn't do something
    really annoying and have pop shut my door with a
    firm "go to sleep". One night I was in bed reading, the dog laying
    by my side as he usually did, I could
    hear the television downstairs (those were
    the days when there was only one tv in the house). Dads
    voice was a low rumble talking with mom and
    listening to the news. I was really tired, my
    hand resting on Sandys back, when suddenly,Sandy
    started to growl low in his throat, I glanced
    at the side of my narrow "Hollywood" bed, and,
    moving along, from the foot of the bed, close to
    the side of the bed itself, was,..something.

    It was like the top of a bald head,
    skin colored, it moved slowly, ever closer
    to my face, the dog was going haywire and leaned
    in tight at my side.
    I pulled the sheet and
    blanket over my head, I didnt even have spit in my mouth I was so scared,
    I couldnt call out, I was rigid under those
    blankets and somehow fell asleep. I didnt dream
    it, or did I? I will never know, but I DO know
    that the dog began jumping onto the bed from
    about three feet away and never hid his
    stuff under it ever again.

    © 1997-2010

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