Friday, October 19, 2012

A Ghost Story

Quarters One shortly after construction in the late 1880s

Every evening she wanders through the large and lonely rooms of Quarters One, softly crying in the dark, waiting an eternity for her true love to return from the war...
Eek! Brakes... record scratch, wait a minute...that would be me, wrong story...sorry!
Now, let me start again...
You can not live in 123 year old quarters on an old Army post in the mid-west without there being many tales of ghosts. I've heard first hand accounts from my neighbors who have had some very unnerving experiences in their own quarters. Windows and drawers opening mysteriously, beds shaking, and angry banging of doors and stomping of feet. I hope, as I write this, that these ghosts don't have migratory patterns! I'm not sure about my own beliefs in ghosts. I do believe, however, that if an idea seeps into your sub-conscious it can manifest itself in some very strange ways.
I'll share some stories with you...
 When we first moved in, our dog Camy, would jump up in the middle of the night, (I was never sure what she heard as she was nearly deaf) run down the hall, down the stairs, and then race around the dining room table. After several nights of this exhausting behavior I asked out loud, to no one in particular, that this stop and it did.  As I mentioned in my previous blog, the night I brought Camy's ashes home I heard the pitter patter of her paws down our hall and it was so startling I jumped out of my chair to investigate.  
One afternoon, when my daughter was home alone, she heard someone calling Bill's name. We all thought it was her imagination until a few days later when I heard the same thing! It turned out to be a lady on tv calling for "help" not "Bill". At least that's the story I'm sticking to. Once during a dinner party our dining room chandelier faded on and off each time I denied the presence of ghosts in the house. We discovered there was an electrical issue, but, I'm still not sure how the timing was so exact?
I've never seen the "night watchman" who is supposed to guard the grounds between Quarters One and Two. The detached garage was built in the 1940's so I'm not sure if that has interfered with his path or it just blocks my view of him. Once or twice I have seen a shadowy figure on the front porch, could this be the watchman in search of a better spot to keep watch? 

The detached garage at Quarters One was built in the 1940s
One of the previous occupants reported that pictures had mysteriously been switched from one location to another. When we first moved into Quarters One, I was told by an interior decorator  that I had "excellent picture placement" and the next day my neighbor had 4 pictures randomly taken off her wall and placed on the floor. So, maybe ghosts do roam once their purpose is served?!
   Almost everyone who has slept in the guest bedroom at the top of the stairs has reported hearing footsteps coming up the stairs or from the rooms above. Although, I haven't heard them personally, I have noticed on some occasions that the bedspread on this bed sometimes looks as if someone has been sitting on it when I am the only one home.
This is a beautiful staircase but there is another back staircase used by servants in the early days of Q1.  Our pup refused to go up and down the back staircase and I never use them either.
Several other residents of Quarters One have reported seeing a man sitting on this bench that looks out towards Forsythe Ave. and the Cavalry Parade field. Maybe he chooses to pause here before he makes his way up the stairs at night?
Great spot for reflecting on a beautiful Kansas evening
Music and rustling skirts has been reported coming from the third floor "ballroom" of Quarters One, but contrary to popular belief, there was never a ballroom on this floor of the house so I don't think these reports are accurate. This floor was designed as servants quarters in 1888 and serves as bedrooms for us today.
We made the common area on the third floor into another bedroom.
As imposing as Quarters One seems, it is truly a lovely home. It is full of 123 years of love and happy memoriesWhile occasionally the sheer size of the house makes me feel like I should look over my shoulder, most of the time I am not afraid when I'm in Quarters One alone. I feel blessed to be a small part of it's rich history. 
If you are in the Fort Riley area be sure to check out the Ghost Tours on October 28, 2012 from 4-7 sponsored by the Historical and Archaeological Society of Fort Riley
And remember, you shouldn't believe everything you hear...
or should you?
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'Til next time...Duty First! 

UPDATE: While looking back over this post, I wanted to add that shortly after my husband re-deployed we BOTH began hearing footsteps coming down the hall on the second floor…can't explain it but we did hear them!

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