When my husband Esau and I bought our house in October of 2008, I couldn’t wait to investigate all the interesting areas of our new home. The house was built in the 1960s and sits in a nice quiet area between Sul Ross and College Hills in San Angelo. Being from Phoenix, I never had, or even saw a house for that matter, with a storm cellar, and when my family found a child’s desk from the 1970s or 80s in that cellar along with large entryways into the walls of two rooms on the second floor, I thought that pretty cool.
These entryways are large enough for a child to walk through with no problem and for adults to maneuver through by hunching over. Admittedly, when my husband, kids and I found these entryways, we weren’t sure what to make of them. They gave the house that “scary movie” feel, which made me laugh and think of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and all those movies where people found the bones of people hidden in the walls. Also, when we opened the one in the room our son chose as his own, a strange sensation crept up my spine; however, I shook it off and figured these entryways would work well for extra storage.
After a few weeks passed, my son, who was 11 at the time, came to me and said, “Mom, can I talk to you?”
“Sure,” I responded.
At that point, he proceeded to tell me that he heard creaking noises at night and he thought he saw his closet door moving. Of course, I figured he was just feeling the effects of moving from a smaller single story home to an older and bigger home, so I said, “It’s probably just the house settling. It’s an older home and sometimes they make a little noise at night as things settle.”
My explanation seemed to pacify him, but admittedly, I started to wonder about these noises myself when I too heard them late at night. However, I shook things off, went about settling in and disregarded creaking—at least until the day our little friend showed himself.
The Day Our Friend Showed Himself
About a year after Esau and I bought our home, and about two or three months after my grandson Ayden’s birth, our daughter, Ariana, was lying down in her room putting the baby to sleep while I sat upstairs in my room grading college essays. I had my door closed and music playing on the computer when I heard a loud scream.
I rushed downstairs and slammed into my daughter’s room after hearing the scream because I thought something might be wrong with the baby. When I saw the baby lying on his back safe and sound, I turned to my daughter who was sitting up in the bed, her thick black hair mussed and large dark brown eyes wide with fear.
“What happened? Why did you scream like that?” I asked.
Above: This is one of the entryways into the walls of the Ramirez home in College Hills.
“Mom, I know you’re going to think this is crazy, but there was a boy standing over me!”
“What do you you mean a boy was standing over you?”
“I mean there was literally a little boy standing over me! I had just gotten Ayden to sleep and I think I dozed because I woke up a few moments ago to the sounds of him cooing and talking. I felt someone standing over me, so I thought it was you coming to check on him, but when I turned around, it wasn’t you! It was a boy with light hair and blue eyes. He just stared at me and then back at Ayden.”
After asking more questions, my daughter explained the boy had on dated clothes, but not too dated, and that he kept staring at Ayden. Ayden didn’t think anything of it and kept talking to the boy. After she screamed, the little boy turned and walked out of the room.
“Are you sure you weren’t dreaming?” I asked.
It’s not that I wanted to doubt her, and I’ve also seen a few things in my life to know there are things that happen beyond our understanding, but I had a hard time believing a little blonde boy just happened to appear out of nowhere.
“I’m sure mom,” she responded.
Later that night, I spoke to my husband who had been shipped to Laredo, Texas after surviving a massive layoff in the oil field when the economic crisis hit. After telling him what happened, Esau laughed and said, “There’s no such thing as ghosts, vieja.”
By the end of our conversation, Esau managed to convince me that there was a logical explanation for what our daughter saw. Therefore, I blew it off, but not for long because things got a little crazy.
Casper the Annoying Disturbance
Once the little boy, whom I named Casper because of his blonde hair, lovely blue eyes and overall friendliness, showed himself the first time, let’s just say we had a hard time getting good sleep at night. The noises my son and I started to hear during the first year were nothing compared to the noises this little boy made on a nightly and early morning basis.
Every night, as soon as we’d turn off the lights to sleep, we could hear little feet running back and forth across the hall upstairs. Casper, who we believe came from the entryway in our son Jacob’s room, would open and close my son’s closet door, pound through the hall and run up and down the stairs. Because the house is old, the running and squeaking sounds seemed exceptionally loud, and after a while, became extremely annoying. The sounds were even more annoying in the early mornings when we had few hours left before waking up for work and school.
The Next Sighting
One morning, after I dropped the kids off at school and came back home to get a little rest before getting work done, I grabbed a blanket and got comfortable on the couch. Right as I started to relax, the closet door in my son’s room began to open and close. At first, it happened every few moments, but I guess Casper wanted to be a bit more mischievous and started to open and slam the door continuously. Because the vent in the living room connects to the vent in my son’s room, the noise hurt my ears, so after a few minutes of this, I couldn’t take anymore and yelled, “Shut up Casper! That’s enough! Why don’t you stop already and show yourself!”
After yelling this, the slamming stopped and I turned onto my back. As I did so, I noticed someone on the stairs. I guess Casper took my words seriously and decided to show himself, which in all honesty, I never expected. Beyond feeling him, the non-stop noises at night and in the early mornings and my grandson cooing and baby talking to someone who wasn’t there, I had never seen the boy. Sometimes, I felt maybe we were imagining things as well and my husband had it right: ghosts don’t exist. At that moment though, and as he came closer to me, I knew he was very real.
Undoubtedly, Casper was a cute kid. He had shaggy blonde hair and striking blue eyes. His clothes looked from about the 1970s, and he looked about 6 or 7 years old. He had on jeans and a striped shirt with various red and maroon colors. He wasn’t completely solid, but I could see him perfectly. Had I not been in shock, I might have tried to touch him. However, I was in shock, and so I sat frozen in my spot and watched as he sat down on the floor next to me, crossed his legs Indian style and put his hands under his chin. We stared at each other for a few moments, and I believe I may have stopped breathing because I felt lightheaded until he slowly stood back up, turned around and walked back up the stairs. When I heard Jacob’s door open and close, I finally moved.
Feeling like I was about to have a heart attack, I grabbed my phone and immediately called my husband. Since he was still in Laredo, I had to leave a message for him, but it didn’t take long for him to return my call.
“What’s up vieja?” he asked after calling me back.
“You’ll never guess what happened!”
Once I explained what I experienced with Casper, my husband stayed silent for a few moments.
“Are you sure you’re weren’t asleep and dreaming this whole thing?”
“No! I hadn’t even fallen asleep yet. Plus, I pinched myself after to make sure I wasn’t!”
Despite my efforts, my husband refused to believe what I saw, so I told my kids when they got home. Because of all the things we were dealing with, they believed me.
No Longer a Skeptic
Not too long after my incident with Casper, Esau had his own incident. During his days off, Esau got home from work while the kids and I were out and about. It wasn’t too late at night, around 9 p.m., when my husband started cleaning up. As he showered, he said he noticed the bathroom door open, and he thought it was me. He called out, but got no response.
To see who it was, Esau said he opened the shower curtain and got out, and as he did so, he saw a shadow walk out of the bathroom and the door closed behind it. Still thinking it was me or the kids, Esau finished drying himself, got dressed and opened the door to walk into the hallway upstairs. He said all the lights were off, but he heard someone walking down the stairs.
“Brandy?” he asked.
He got no response, and when he looked through the house, he saw no one was there. After hearing a few more things, and after that experience, Esau finally believed we had a ghost in our house, well for the most part.
Casper Made for Great Halloween Fun
Because of our great experiences, and after a few of Jacob’s friends spent the night and witnessed the strange things happening at our house, word spread that we lived in a “haunted house.” Some of Jake’s friends loved to come over just to ease their curiosity, and when Casper decided to be extra mischievous one night with the boys, one of them called his mom in the middle of the night to get him. Let’s just say what started out as fun turned into true fear, so many kids after a while no longer wanted to stay the night at our house because of our little friend.
My sister-in-law and her friend who once stayed in Jacob’s room also reported seeing the closet door in Jacob’s room opening and closing late at night.
However, around Halloween time, the kids got brave enough to come to the house. The year Jacob turned 13, we let him have a big group of kids over to the house, and since his birthday is in October, we made it a Halloween theme. All of Jacob’s friends had either heard about or experienced Casper by this point, so we had a little fun with things and put the old desk in a particular spot down in the storm cellar, and my husband donned a scary mask and snuck into the house to prepare to scare the kids.
After I told the attentive teenagers the “make up” version of how Casper came to be, since I really had no, and still have no, idea how he came to be in this house, we took the kids to the storm cellar out back, and when they went down into the small room, they saw the desk. As soon as they saw it, they ran out screaming only to see the shadow of my husband with his mask looking outside the window. I’m surprised my neighbors didn’t call the police with all the screaming that night.
Time to Move On
Beyond Halloween fun though, and after two years of never ending nightly noise and mischievous antics, and because my son could no longer sleep in his room because of Casper, I decided to call Bishop Michael Pfeifer. I knew the Bishop well from my days working as an intern at the local paper, so he didn’t hesitate to come out to my family’s home. Once I explained what we had been dealing with non-stop for two years, the Bishop went through the house and blessed it. He prayed over my children, especially my son and grandson since they were the two Casper seemed to enjoy spending time harassing and visiting the most.
When we went upstairs to Jacob’s room and I opened the entryway to the wall, I noticed a strange look on the Bishop’s face. It’s that same look everyone got when they went into the room and that wall opened. We couldn’t see what was there, but we could feel it. That look told me the Bishop felt it too, but instead of saying anything, he splashed extra Holy Water around the area. He also gave the kids saints, which made them feel a little safer.
For about two months after that blessing, we thought maybe things had worked. Our nights were silent as well as our early mornings. Jacob went back to sleeping in his room, and we didn’t see Ayden talking or cooing at empty corners.
One night, however, Jacob came into my room and said, “Mom, I think he’s back. My closet door just opened and closed.”
“Are you sure you didn’t leave it open?”
“No,” he replied.
“Okay, come sleep with me,” I said.
Thinking maybe he was just having bad dreams, I cuddled with him, and the next day everything seemed fine. By that night though, the running in the hall, up and down the stairs and the slamming of the closet door started all over again.
A month later, a couple here in San Angelo who we heard helps rid homes of spirits, came to our house. They were an older couple apparently into church and God, and they said San Angelo was a hub for paranormal activity. At the time, Twilight was a big thing and my daughter had posters of Edward and Jacob on the wall. The couple said those kinds of pictures are a segue for evil spirits, so we took them down. They then went on to talk for about an hour before getting down to business.
During the conversation, the man said his wife “has a gift,” and I wasn’t sure what that quite meant, but as we began the “ridding” of Casper downstairs in our living room, the woman started yelling at the top of her lungs scaring my husband, kids and I. I’m not sure if that’s what he meant by gift, but to us, it sounded like, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah! I love you Jesus! Thank you Jesus! Blah, blah, and blah!” I am not a person for organized religion and had never been to a church where people talk tongues, but I heard about it, so I figured maybe that’s what she was doing.
As we continued through each room, my husband, kids and I kept looking at one another. They had a hard time keeping a straight face, and I felt something not quite right. The yelling was too creepy for me, and if the couple did manage to get rid of Casper, the yelling would have been the culprit.
When things finalized, and the couple made their way out the door, I breathed a sigh of relief and we all busted out laughing.
“I’m so sorry Casper,” I said out loud. I think the lady and her crazy yelling tongue talking scared Casper more than he scared us.
Something Darker Came Our Way
The couple did do something that day, but not in the way they thought, and not in the way we hoped. They did scare Casper away, or I believe whatever they invited into our house scared Casper anyway. In fact, part of me imagined evil dark spirits this couple invited in with their crazy tongues and rituals holding poor Casper captive while they took over our house; and take over our house they did.
A few days after the tongue-speaking woman and her husband graced our home, all hell broke loose. One night, after shutting off the lights and getting into bed, I heard my door open and saw a shadow make its way toward me. I thought it one of my kids, but when I felt a choking sensation, I knew that wasn’t the case. At the same time I felt that sensation, I heard my son screaming from his room. For a few moments, I struggled to move but couldn’t. When the choking sensation finally eased seconds later, I rushed down the hall to Jacob, worried about what I’d find.
I opened his door, and saw him sitting in the middle of his bed with tears streaming down his cheeks.
“What happened Jacob?” I asked going to him.
“I was laying down when my bed started shaking and lifting up off the ground,” he told me in a shaky voice. “Mom, something doesn’t feel right. Things never got this bad before.”
I agreed with my son, gave him a big hug to soothe him and had him come sleep in my room with me.
After that night, things got a little quiet for a few days, so I figured maybe it was a one-night thing, but we weren’t that lucky. About a week after that incident and a little after 3 a.m., my door slammed open, the light turned on and high pitch screams filled the room. Because I was in a deep sleep, it took me a moment to process that the screams came from my grandson.
“Mom!” my daughter Ariana yelled to get me completely awake.
“What’s going on?” I asked sitting up in my bed. I thought maybe the baby was sick or hurt himself. It turns out, however, that my daughter, grandson and the father of my grandson were sleeping when they heard a loud crackling noise. Immediately following that noise, they felt an extremely cold sensation and then Ayden sat up in the bed, his eyes rolled back and he started screaming at the top of his lungs. Not knowing what to do, the couple grabbed the baby and ran up to my room.
As Ayden continued to scream, I grabbed him in my arms, held his face and tried to get him to look at me.
“Ayden, baby, look at me,” I said in a stern, but soothing voice. “Ayden, look at me love,” I repeated. For a few minutes, the baby continued to stare up towards the ceiling and the screaming continued. Chills ran down my spine and tears rolled down my cheeks because I felt so helpless. Fortunately, as I continued to talk to him, the screaming quieted, and Ayden finally did as I asked. Within moments, his eyes cleared, he touched my face, and cuddled into my body, falling instantly asleep as if nothing had happened. The only sign of the screaming and crying showed in the soft twitching of his body.
“I can’t do this anymore, mom,” Ariana said quietly to me.
“I know,” I responded. “Me either.”
That night, Ariana and her family slept on my floor while Jacob and I slept on the bed, and the next day my daughter packed a few things, hugged me and said they would stay at the other grandparents’ house until we figured out a way to get rid of what that couple brought into our house.
The Power of Prayer, Pennies and Sage
Here’s the thing. In Phoenix, I would have found a medicine man or woman to help battle this thing in my house, but in West Texas, I had to depend on the church and the so-called people of God to help. Instead, those so-called Godly people brought something worse into my home. Had I known it would have turned into what it did, I would have gladly embraced Casper with open arms. The boy never tried to harm us, and if anything, he made Ayden coo and talk all the time; and it wasn’t that we’re not Godly people. I simply don’t believe in organized religion and deem myself spiritual rather than religious. It turned out to be that spirituality, along with support from a couple of friends that finally brought about results.
After my daughter and grandson left our house, I was a mess. I hated knowing this problem forced them to leave. Not to mention, I had to deal with things myself since Esau now worked in Laredo and only came home once a month. Because of the stress, I unburdened myself frequently on a close friend of mine, Angela, who decided to do a little research into taking care of my problem. She told me a lot of websites she came across mentioned using sage to bless the house, and she also found many sites that stated putting copper pennies into the corners of each room kept the spirits away. Additionally, to put things into action, I needed a few people who believed in what was taking place at my house and in prayer.
Luckily, Angela had no problem with that, and I called on other friends, Teri and Carina. Angela had a hard time finding sage in the city, but Carina found some at the Migazi, a store at the Chicken Art Farm Center that closed a few years ago. When we received it, we decided to get together on a Friday night to attempt to rid my house of the bad spirits the couple brought into my house, and hopefully help Casper move on. What we learned in our research is that a person has to believe in the words he or she is saying for the process to work.
When I learned that, I thought maybe that’s why the first two attempts didn’t work. I believe Bishop Pfeifer had the right intentions, but maybe he didn’t believe we had a ghost. I’m sure as a priest he hears many things, and unless people see these things for themselves, it’s hard to believe. Heck, my husband didn’t believe we had a ghost for the longest time until he experienced it himself, and of course today we have our skeptics when we tell our story. That’s understandable.
Also, the couple may have believed in what they were doing, but their actions prompted my family not to believe in them. We felt their rituals more of a show as well, and that bad feeling I got when the woman spoke in tongues turned out to be right. I don’t think they meant to bring harm into our home, but I feel they were playing a dangerous game and didn’t realize it. I can only imagine how many people they tried to help and actually harmed in the process. I figured that number to be high considering I still get a monthly newsletter from the couple talking about their exploits in the name of God.
Realizing all of these thing, I determined only my family and I could fix the problem in our home. So to get into “believe mode,” I put God in my heart and a vision of Ayden, Jacob, Ariana and Esau in my mind and gathered with my two friends. We lit the sage and started praying “Our Fathers” and “Hail Marys” out loud. We motioned the sage in the way explained by “experts” online, and we moved through each room slowly.
As we made our way into Jacob’s room and I opened the entryway into the wall, my friend Teri said, “Wow! I can feel that.”
All of us could, so I grabbed the sage and moved it around inside the entryway and prayed. After saying a few Our Fathers, I said, “Whoever is here in this house, leave. You’re not welcome here.” I then proceeded to talk to Casper. “You’re a beautiful boy, and I don’t know what happened to you,” I said. “However, you can go now. We love you and I’m sorry for doing this, but it’s time for you to move on.”
After spending a few more moments in that area, we finished going through the rest of the house, and my friend Angela went into the wall in the spare room through the entry way and filled it with sage and prayer. Once we finished going through the house, we finalized by putting pennies into all the corners of the house.
I have to say that for the first time in three years, I felt hope things would change after that night, and I hugged my friends. They could have laughed at me or looked at me with skepticism as many people did, but instead, they believed. And after what they felt that night, I knew they no longer doubted what I had told them. Without their belief and their help, I don’t know what would have happened.
Having a Casper isn’t Such a Bad Thing
After dealing with what we did those first years in this house, I learned a lot of lessons. The primary thing I learned was that I could have left things alone. Casper wasn’t really that bad. Granted, he scared my son a lot because he was only 11 when we moved into the house, and the little boy did get a bit mischievous at times. However, he was only an annoyance. After that short period of time dealing with that dark presence, I’d gladly take Casper any day.
Today, my son Jacob is about to turn 18. He now sleeps in his bed and practically lives in his room, but both he and my daughter, who continues to live with my husband and I along with Ayden, who is now 5, and my twin granddaughters, Alana and Leila, 3, cannot sleep without the television on. I don’t blame them. I barely started turning my own off about a year ago.
After Jacob graduates from Central in May, Esau and I plan on selling this house. We haven’t seen or heard Casper since the sage blessing years ago. About a year ago, I finally took the pennies out of some of the corners of the house, but I keep them in a few rooms, especially Jacob’s and the spare room where the other entryway is. I also keep the sage close by just in case. Although I doubt we’ll need it since we hope to be out of here by the summer, my granddaughter Alana has been causing us some concern.
The other day, the twins and I were laying down in my room watching a movie when my granddaughter Alana started acting strange and hid her face into my side.
“What’s wrong baby?” I asked her.
Without saying anything, and with her head still faced into my side, she pointed toward a corner in my room. “There’s somebody right there looking at me, Nana,” she said in her small voice.
I looked to where she pointed, but didn’t see anything. “I don’t see anything mija.”
“He’s right there,” she said.
Note: This is the first of weekly San Angelo and the surrounding area ghost stories to get readers in the fun spirit of Halloween. If you have your own ghost story to tell, contact me at [email protected]