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The Chair

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The Chair
What happens when your flea market find is haunted?

Do you believe in ghosts? I do now. In l995, I stopped in Charlotte, NC, at a flea market and meandered through the rows of buildings stuffed with every imaginable collectable and piece of furniture. The flea market had a fair- like atmosphere. People were eating hotdogs, cotton candy, and visiting with other collectors discussing the treasures they had found or were looking to find. I collect a variety of things such as keys and buttons and enjoy the hunt for my small treasures. I've never had much interest in large items, but as I rounded a corner "The Chair" caught my eye. It stuck out farther in the aisle than any other piece of furniture in this area. It seemed to have an in-your-face placement. Walking directly over to it, I ran my fingers over the grain of the wood. The grain was beautiful; its design elegant. My hand slid further over the bubbly spindles and smooth surface of the seat. The tag attached to the back indicated it was a 1800's Windsor side chair made of walnut. The price was $145.00. I pulled myself away and continued to browse through the buildings, but the chair nagged at my mind. Before finally leaving the flea market, I decided to return to see the chair once more, sure I had discovered a rare piece of furniture that could only increase in value. This chair was special.

Little did I know how special! After some discussion, the dealer came down on price to $120.00. I just couldn't believe I'd bought it and paid that much for a single wooden chair at a flea market. Unknowingly to me, when we arrived home my husband had placed the chair in the living room. I sat down on the couch and looked over for the first time at the chair in its new surroundings. It was even more beautiful than I'd first thought. Then, immediately a shiver went through my body and a feeling of uneasiness flooded over me. A feeling which I recognized as fear. It was as if an evil intruder were there watching me.

At 1:00 AM the following morning, I woke with a start, a dreaded feeling of impending danger making my heart race. Somehow I knew whatever was bothering me was related to that chair. I lay still -then suddenly my side of the bed slowly sank, as if someone were climbing into it. I forced myself to turned my face toward the edge of the bed. There in the moon lit room, a round bald head appeared at eye level. It was the size of a small skull. The skin on this thing was stretched so tight that the only distinguishable features were the small dark eyes and a mouth full of tiny white teeth. The face looked as if it had been burned. Then instantly, the grotesque figure disappeared. A paralyzing fear gripped me. As soon as I was able to move, I turned the light on, sat up in bed, and looked around the room. Nothing. It was gone. Everything appeared normal. I was gasping for breath, but didn't wake my husband because I didn't want to hear that I was just having a nightmare because I wasn't.

Three days passed and the feeling as if an intruder were in the house continued. The chair still sat in its place in the living room. I avoided that room, and wouldn't enter it unless it were daylight. I finally told my family about my fear of the chair and the events that had taken place. Perhaps because of the desperation in my voice and a history of being of sound mind they accepted my story as believable. To my surprise, no one laughed or teased me about being crazy. My kids advised, "Get rid of it no matter how pretty it is or how much it cost, Mom." Did I mention it cost $120.00? My husband, though perhaps a bit more skeptical than the children, came up with the idea of putting the chair in the bedroom and dealing with the problem. That's exactly what I wanted to hear, but apprehensively, I agreed. That evening, I was awakened again. The bed yielded to pressure from some invisible body. Someone had just gotten in the bed between my husband and I. I bolted to the floor and turned all the lights on. No one else was in the bed! Now my husband was getting a little concerned. He reassured me it was just a bad dream and I should go back to sleep. Sleep! For a long time, I sat in another chair beside the bed and stared at the spot where the thing had been lying. The next morning, as I was making the bed I saw the back of a transparent figure walk out of the bedroom, into the hall, and then thin into invisibility. This figure reminded me of President Truman. He was average height and seemed to me to be in his 60's. He wore a rimmed brown dress hat, and a brown leisure jacket. The clothes were 50's style. He didn't say anything and never turned around. The figure exuded a feeling of calm and didn't feel at all threatening. Still, I was determined to get rid of the chair.

One week later, I received a thank you note from Jack Allen and Scott, owners of Grant Antiques and Interiors of NC where I had purchased the chair. It stated: "I hope you are enjoying your Windsor chair. Thanks for your business and we hope to see you again". I bet you are! I thought, feeling they knew something about the chair because no one selling at a Flea Market sends you a thank you note for a purchase. So I wrote to them at the return address given and politely asked them for some history on the chair. My letter was returned as undeliverable. This event only added to my suspicions.

The following Saturday, I put the chair in a yard sale. Everyone was drawn to the chair, but no one bought it . While some customers were browsing around, I decided to sit down. Just as my bottom touched the chair it moved quickly to one side and left me sitting precariously on a small fraction of the seat. No one had noticed the movement of the chair, nor my apparent fear. This chair had to go! I thought of throwing it in the pond in our backyard, but then I was afraid it would be close enough to permanently haunt me. My daughter who lived in Ohio wanted the chair. She felt it would be fun and I could just bring it with me on my visit next week. There were two reasons I did not want her to have it: one, the chair was evil and two, I wasn't going to drive through the mountains with that chair in the back seat. So we decided my husband would take it to an antique shop and sell it on consignment while I was away. On Tuesday I was in southern Ohio and stayed with my daughter who lives in the country. Wednesday morning, when I left to visit my mother, it was pitch dark. For some obscure reason, a deep paralyzing fear gripped me as I stepped onto the porch. I was afraid to walk to the car. Pride wouldn't let me go back inside the house and my mother was waiting on me for morning coffee. It was with a deep feeling of dread, I forced myself to the car. This dread hovered over me in the car . It was the visual absence of danger that left my imagination unhampered. As I drove down the lane leading from the house, the dense woods on both sides of the road seemed to close in on me. I drove faster and turned the radio on for company. The feeling of fear was with me in the car. I had an eerie apprehension about what was happening. Then the announcer had barely started to speak when the voice on the radio became dual and sang in a low, slow garbled monotone manner. In my heart and soul, I felt I was in the presence of the ultimate evil. Reaching over, I turned the radio off and snapped the dome light on. The fear and presece I had felt in the car did not leave until I walked into my mother's apartment at 6:30 AM. At 7 AM The telephone rang. It was my husband calling. He sounded nervous when he said he was getting rid of the chair today. "What happened? " I asked. He told me he had felt what he thought was me getting out of bed. He looked toward the hall and saw a glowing, bright light and heard a male voice call my name. At noon, he took the chair to the Antiques Mall. As he was signing the final consignment papers, the dealer asked why we wanted to get rid of such a nice chair. He told the dealer the chair gave his wife nightmares and we would sell it for any amount of money. The dealer said this type of chair was usually hard to sell, but she would let us leave it in the store for awhile. When my husband returned home about an hour later, the phone was ringing. The antique dealer was excited. She said that a couple came into the shop just as my husband was leaving. They looked at the chair, browsed around and then came back to the chair. They admired the chair's design and liked the wood, but they were on vacation and had not planned on buying such a large item. The problem of transporting the chair was discussed, and finally they bought the chair and took it home with them to Alaska.

As soon as the chair left our home, the feeling that some evil intruder lived with us was also gone. I sometimes find myself wondering where the chair is and if the new owners are sleeping well.

  Alma Mae Hoopes

     Ghoulish Guide to Halloween/Day of the Dead
     Day of the Dead in Los Angeles
     Halloween in Los Angeles
     Halloween in Paris
     The Pictures
     The Chair - A true ghost story


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