Updated: Oct 6, 2020
if you clicked on this because you're just like ... um what in the hell ... i understand. i don't necessarily believe in ghosts per se as in like the incredibly spooky figures in the frickin Conjuring that float around and constantly haunt you and shit. but i definitely believe that entities from previous lives exist among us that we cannot necessarily understand or see. think about the amount of shit that you can't see that really does exist. i can't see the spirits but i can feel them and i know a lot of other people (mostly women) who feel the same exact way.
i had my first supernatural experience when i was a child. when i was around 2 years old we lived in our second house in South Orange, New Jersey. i remember it from pictures that we kept in old albums. the house was a pale yellow, with large dark green shutters, and a cute little garden of flowers. just outside the property was a children's park. it was the perfect place to start a family– my parents thought. it was me, my parents, and my twin brother Eli.
a few months into living there i said to my mom, "Mommy, I saw a man with a hat today!" she was very confused. my brother chimed in, "I saw him too." i added, "He comes into my room. Don't worry, he's very nice." my mom was so freaked out. what in the heck?? it wasn't just me. my brother saw him too. it wasn't just my imagination. a few days later Eli and i were eating breakfast in the kitchen. there was a giant glass window overlooking the garden in the backyard. i stood up on my chair and pointed, "Mama! Mama! There he is! There's the man with the hat!" Eli stood up, began to jump up and down, and pointed in the same direction. at this point my mom was really wigging out.
we had bought the house from an elderly woman who was living with her daughter. she was in her nineties when we bought the house and had lived pretty much her entire life there. she ended up leaving after her husband passed away. so in an attempt to learn about this "man with a hat" my mother called the number she gave us. her daughter answered the phone. my mother asked the daughter exactly what Eli and i had seen and everything we had said. the daughter instantly replied, "that's so crazy you said that Ina. my father wore a hat every day. oh! and he loved to tend to the garden."
but that wasn't the only supernatural experience i ever experienced. it would be years later that i would feel the presence of spirits again. this time, in college.
oberlin is fucking haunted. i swear to GOD and a lot of people believe me. every building has its own warped energy. it's own intense history. it's own flavor. that's how i felt when i moved into my first dorm– Old Barrows. it is a safe space co-op specifically for women & trans people. there was constant eeriness throughout the space. the floors would creek whenever you walked, the kitchen shelves were open and bare, dishes broke when no one was around, the house was cold and mostly quiet since only about 14 people lived there at a time. it was a big house with very few people in it. the house just needed a lot of love is all.
one day, i received an email from a friend of mine who lived on the third floor.
this was the first time that i knew someone else was feeling this strange presence beside me. who was this grieving spirit? and why were they here?
i decided to do some research about Old B in the college library archives. yes i spent four fucking hours on the fourth floor of Mudd. yes i was researching into the possible ghost that was haunting Old B. yes i am probably crazy. but none of those things mattered because i was determined to understand as much as i possibly could about the history of the dorm and what the entity was that was still living among us. the librarian gave me a stack of old pictures from 1902. they were pictures of Old B, which looked pretty much the exact same as it did back then but at the bottom of the frame was a little message that said "President of the College's Estate: John H. Barrows." who was John H. Barrows? as i shuffled through the pictures i found some newspaper clipping. but the most interesting was a tattered up folded banner that read in black ink, President Barrows Dies at 2:50 AM.
after four hours of shuffling through creepy photographs, newspaper articles, and old letters, i found out that Old Barrows was built as a large home for Oberlin College President John Henry Barrows. in a letter written by an oberlin student, it explained that Barrows had opened his window before going to sleep one night. a cool drift blew in an ultimately led him to become desperately ill. he passed away from pneumonia that night.
after my friend's email i kept thinking... maybe he wants out. if you think about it, Barrows' spirit is probably like what in the hell are all these queer women & trans people doing in my mf house...? the house that was built specifically for him now served an entirely different purpose. no one knew about the history of Old Barrows. no one knew or cared to know. maybe by embracing the past, embracing the spirit, our house could finally feel like our own.
on November 13th my housemates and i held a little ritual to release the grieving spirit. we talked about the story of John Henry Barrows & burned sage throughout the house. we lit candles, we sang, we stood there and acknowledged him. we opened the window. like Barrows did in 1902 and i watched the sage escape through the cracks of the window screen. a weight lifted from the room. from the house. a presence permeated through the smoke as all fourteen of us gathered together hand-in-hand. maybe, at last, Old Barrows was our home.
sooo i'm curious do YOU believe in the supernatural?? comment your experiences below.