1920’s Ghost Stories

Written By: Olivia Ginsberg

One of my father’s favorite things to talk about is the history of my childhood home. He loves to paint a picture of Southampton in the 1920’s, the extravagant parties and the lives of the upperclass. He won’t let you leave without seeing his collection of books on Jackie Kennedy, many of which feature photos of our home with Jackie as a young girl on her childhood pony. He will recount the many events held at the house, and how when he bought it it looked nothing like it once had. Instead it was covered in a thick layer of grime, the ballroom piled high with relics of the past. It is entirely fascinating to hear all of the history of our home, and to think of all of the people that have passed through its rooms. However, the most interesting part of my father’s stories are when he tells you about the ghosts.
Our home is a paranormal hotspot of sorts. It has become such a common occurrence in our household that it is no longer shocking. All the ghosts live peacefully. They never harm us in anyway. At times they just feel they should make themselves known. This may seem like a dreadfully implausible thing. Ghosts aren’t real. However, a number of events have occurred that might make even the most stubborn person believe.
The earliest incident was one that is directly connected to myself. It began one evening when I was playing with my mother in our living room. I was probably about five years old, entirely too young to make up such a creepy story. My Father had just returned from work and entered the living room to say hello. Seconds after his arrival I abruptly stood up and grabbed my mother’s hand. I turned pale, and a look of pure fright showed on my face. I turned to my parents and told them we needed to leave the room immediately because a man was in the room with us. My mom and dad exchanged quizzical looks. Why was their five year old saying such strange things? It wasn’t until later that night when they were lying in their bed, that happened to be connected to the living room, that they started to question what I said. They both say they were unable to sleep that night, and sometime around midnight they both heard a strange noise whizz past their ears. It was a strange orb of light and sound that whooshed across the room form the living room and crashed with a loud bang into the opposite wall. They both turned to each other, and said “well there’s the ghost.” This unexplainable incident didn’t seem to bother them that much and they went right to sleep.
Another night my father lay in the exact same room flat on his back. As he was just about to drift off to sleep he felt someone sit gently on the edge of his bed. He peered through half shut eyelids at his feet and noticed an indentation in the mattress. Alarmingly, his feet had also moved over to accommodate the space the invisible creature was taking up. He says he felt entirely calm and at some point drifted off to sleep again.
What makes the story even more haunting is the fact that there is a recurring figure in some of our ghost stories. This character has lovingly been named “the man with the tall hat”. As you might infer from his title, he does in fact where a tall cap (he vaguely resembles the monopoly man). The first time one of us met this being was when he scared one of our horses at the barn that was next to our house. The person on the horse, someone who would have no idea about our previous hauntings, began to sense the distress of her horse, and localized its cause to be the corner of the riding arena. She identified its source as a steely looking gentleman in a tall hat. We all thought she was crazy, but she proceeded to kindly, but firmly, ask him to leave because his attire was scaring the horses. Minutes after she asked, the horse was no longer scared, and the man was gone. Another incident with the man occurred when we had guests over. We decided to tell them about the man and any of the other tales we had. Before we could even begin, they asked us if we were going to tell the about the man in the tall hat. Our mouths hung open. It would’ve been impossible for them to have heard about the man. No one had ever told them the stories. It gave us even more conviction that the man was really there.
The amount of times one of us has woken up to the smell of cigarette smoke, strange noises, or inexplicable shadows is unnerving, but there is also a quiet peace that these occurrences bring with them. It makes any incident seem harmless, and my home feel safe.
Sometimes things are unexplainable. When you step into our home you might notice the rustic pieces that we have all around; Original 1920’s chandeliers hang from our ceilings, and faded black and white snapshots of a time before hang on the walls. A feeling of uncertainty may befall on you, but don’t fret it is probably your body telling you you are not alone. The antiques are not the only relics of decades past. If you are open to it, you might be able to join their party.