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The Mind of James Donahue

Walking Dead














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The Haunted House
On Elk Creek Road



Once you understand the existence of spirits I believe it is easier to recognize their presence. There are more of them living among us than most people might imagine. In fact, we can find them everywhere.

Spirits, unlike the many other supernatural living beings existing in the parallel world of the fourth, fifth and I don't know how many other dimensions, are not the ghostly essence of former humans as some believe. We used to believe that they are tormented creatures who don't understand that they are dead. But like a broken record, they are often the record of someone who once lived, sometimes re-experiencing their deaths, over and over again. The images of them are sometimes trapped in the building or place where they died. I used to think they refused to leave.

The Navajo Indians of the Southwest believe this. They go to great lengths not to allow anyone to die in their houses, just to avoid the problem of hauntings. I find American Indians to be extremely sensitive to forces in the spiritual realm and am sure that they would be uncomfortable sharing a house with a ghost.

The rest of us, however, generally claim we don't believe in ghosts. And we do something that helps plant spirits in our houses.

Because hospitals are extremely costly, we have invented hospice care. When people are dying, they are allowed to stay at home and have professional nursing care come to them. The nurses assist the family members in giving the dying patient a comfortable death. In the old days, before modern hospitals and nursing homes existed, people usually died at home.

Most of us are caught up in organized religion and we have a confused concept about what happens to our spirit after we die. These belief systems have robbed us of a certain knowledge that should be helping us go on into the light once the body has died.
 
But all of this is not what we were probably experiencing in the homes we lived in. The strange spiritual activity that we knew then was very likey real living spirits busy at work around us, but they were not ghosts. 
 
Our son, Aaron C. Donahue always had them around him. He drew them to him like a magnet draws iron. Thus we were conscious of something odd going on in our homes, and we assumed it was ghostly activity. 

I had a hobby of buying older homes and restoring them. We began to believe the older homes were more likely to be haunted because they have had years of history.

One of the most haunted houses we ever owned was located in Michigan, on a dead-end road. Elk Creek Road stopped just past our driveway because the bridge over Elk Creek collapsed years earlier. It was the only house on the road and since we had access from the other end, the county never bothered replacing the bridge. We were attracted to the privacy and the fact that it was a large, two-story, four-bedroom house that needed a lot of fixing. Also we bought it at a very good price.

There was more work in that house than we bargained for, however. The roof leaked, so we had to replace it right away. There was water damage in some of the upstairs bedrooms. The wiring was in such poor condition I was amazed the place hadn't gone up in flames. The plumbing was old and leaking at the joints. The well casing was rusted and falling in on itself. There were broken windows.

It took a lot of effort but we managed to restore that house into a home that was a showpiece. We liked it so much that we thought of taking root and remaining there for the rest of our lives. That was not to be, of course, but in the meantime, we sank a lot of money in the building and grounds.

The house was tall and square. It had a large kitchen, a dining room and adjoining living room separated by French doors, and a downstairs bedroom, where Doris and I slept. The bathroom, which featured a walk-in shower, also was down stairs just off from the kitchen.

The second floor contained three large bedrooms, all with large walk-in closets, and a spacious central room at the top of the stairs which gave access to the bedrooms. There was another walk-in closet leading off from this room.

We were a family with four children so it was a perfect home. Our two oldest daughters shared the largest of the three upstairs bedrooms at the rear of the house. Our son had the smaller front bedroom, and Jennifer, our youngest daughter, was assigned the middle upstairs bedroom.

Jennifer, a born psychic, didn't like her bedroom. She sometimes played there if she had a friend over, but refused to sleep in the room. She said she thought there was something scary there and preferred to sleep on the couch in the living room. We thought it might have been an excuse just to be closer to us and we let her have her way.

Aaron graduated from high school while we lived in that house. Not long after that he joined the Navy and left the roost. That was when we realized there really was something strange about that house. His bedroom was located right over ours. We had been used to hearing footsteps on the wooden floor overhead while he was living there. But they continued after he was gone. Not only did we hear footsteps, but occasionally things were dropped.
 
The following year, our oldest daughter also graduated from high school and she joined the army. The third child moved out of that back bedroom at about the same time because of an interest she had in horses. She arranged to move in with a farm family a few miles away because they had horses. They let her move in with them but put her to work on the farm. For her, it was a good arrangement I suppose. But it left the top floor of that old house completely empty.
 
After that things got really weird up there. Not only did we keep hearing footsteps and other noises, but one night all of the electric power blacked out on the top floor. Everything was still working on the main floor and in the basement, but the power to the lights and plug outlets on the top floor was off.
 
Now, understand that I personally wired that house and I know that this phenomenon was technically impossible. That power outage involved several different circuits, some of them servicing outlets and overhead lights on the main floor. All of the circuits fed from lines leading from circuit breakers located in the main electric box in the basement. None of the circuit breakers were tripped, which meant there was no electrical short. I was really baffled about how to solve this problem.
 
The electric problem lasted only a few hours. The following day all of the power was back on and this never happened again as long as we lived in the house.
 
Next came the wasps. It was late in the fall and wasps should have been settling down in a hive someplace, hybernating until spring. But we found a swarm of them in the girl's back bedroom. They were all over the walls and ceiling. Hundreds of them. I sprayed the room rather than risk getting stung. We swept the dead insects up and thought that was the end of it.
 
The next day the wasps were back, and just as thick as before. Again I sprayed. Doris and I spent hours taping and calking every crack, making sure there was no chance the wasps could return. But on the third day, we found them back again, just as thick as ever. That was when I gave up. Nobody was using the room so we closed the door and sealed the cracks. A few days after that I looked in the room and the wasps were gone.

One day I was chatting with a neighbor who had lived in the area all of his life. He informed me that a former resident of our house had hung himself there.  He said he didn't know much about the incident, but that it had happened several years earlier. The story made sense, and helped explain the odd happenings. The man's spirit was sharing the house with us, and may have resented our being there.

With the older children gone, Doris and I found that we no longer needed such a large house to live in. We put the place up for sale and moved on.

Sad to say, the young couple that bought the house fell into tragedy after moving there. The wife filed for divorce and her spouse was so grieved, he put a gun to his head and committed suicide. He did it in that house.
Obviously we left something behind when we moved out of the house on Elk Creek Road.
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