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This Weeks Story
June 28, 2001

"Adam O'Shea"
Years roll by and the living get older
but not Adam O'Shea
He'll always be six
and a secret yet very special
childhood friend


A haunted church encounter from
Katrina



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lit




Adam O'Shea
from Katrina
Hailing From: Batavia, Illinois
Where it Happened:
In my childhood home

I still miss the house I grew up in - all the gorgeous woodwork, the huge backyard, and the front porch swing. I loved that house from the first time I saw it to this very day. I drive by it still and get out of my car and breath in the air sweetened by the lilac bushes. I miss it so, ghost and all.

The house was next door to a church, my grandfather was caretaker for the church so our family (gramma, grampa, mom, me and my two brothers) lived in this colossal house as part of my grandpa's wages for being caretaker. I loved the house from the day we moved in - I was only in kindergarten but it's big, sunny rooms were lovely - and there was a closet off the dining room that was quite spacious.

I tried making friends in the neighborhood, but a lot of the kids weren't my age. My brothers were quite a bit older so playing together wasn't much fun for any of us. I spent my first summer there walking the fields near the house, exploring on my own. In the evenings, after dinner but before bedtime, I'd go to my own little playing place that my mom had designated just for me. See my mom and I shared a bedroom, and since there was this huge, well lit closet off the dining room, my mom sort of "decorated" for me and I'd play in there. I loved it! It wasn't a scary closet and it was really big and kind of odd shaped, and the door was always completely open so it wasn't at all creepy. It was, to my 6 year old brain, really secret and cool.

One evening I remember with total clarity was the first time I met Adam. We became fast friends and we played together most every evening. I was young enough to not be afraid of him, but old enough to know that I shouldn't tell my mom too much about my new found friend. I knew others couldn't see Adam, he told me so. Not to mention when my mom or brothers would come in, no one ever said "hi" to Adam, so I knew he was there just for me. He said he was part of the house, like the doors and the windows, and that he'd been there for a long time and that he'd always be there. Adam was just like other kids I knew, except we could only play in the closet. And he didn't look exactly like my other friends, his clothes were different and he talked a little bit funny. But it didn't matter, like I said, we were such friends.

I guess I was about 10 or 11 when I stopped playing so often in the closet. New construction in the area had brought flocks of kids and I'd made many friends. I was getting a little older and my focus was shifting to reading, TV and my clique of girlfriends. Adam was still about 6, and playing with him wasn't as much fun, since he was just a little boy. I'd begun to accept that Adam was my imaginary friend, and that if I wasn't in the closet, neither was he. He was something I'd conjured up to help me through a some lonely seasons and he wasn't as real as he'd seemed. My mom even would tease me about the fact that she'd heard me talking to him, and laughing with him! Of course she'd heard only my voice, but she said I sounded so happy with my secret little "friend" that she'd never questioned it or worried about it. Somehow I felt that confirmed my belief that Adam wasn't real - mom hadn't heard him or seen him no one had but me. What an imagination!

One boring summer day (long after I'd forgotten about Adam) a friend and I "borrowed" my grandpa's keys to the church and decided to check out that church basement. It seemed like a kind fun thing to do - maybe nose around a bit and see what we could find. We were poking around old boxes when I came upon an old, dusty ledger of some sort. I flipped through it a bit and stopped when I saw a familiar face. It was Adam with a man and a women I presumed to be his parents. My heart almost stopped. Adam looked a bit younger in this photo then he was when I knew him, but it was him. He was Adam O'Shea. As I read, with my hands shaking like crazy, it became apparent Adam's father had been the pastor of the church somewhere around 1885. There was photo of the house also, but the house was missing some rooms, there must have been an addition put on after the photo was taken. Adam was the pastor's son, they'd moved here from Ireland. According to the account, Adam's family had lived in the house about a year when Adam had a terrible accident. He'd fallen down the stairs and, according to his father's account, Adam's neck was broken and he'd died before his mother could even reach him from the next room.

Adam had been alive and real!

My friend had been in another part of the basement and she found a collage of photo's on a bulletin board that someone had apparently made at some point to show the history of the house and church. There was an addition put on the house around 1891. Apparently pastor O'Shea and his wife had more children, and I can only assume the needed more space for their brood. The older steeper staircase had it's landing sealed off and changed into the large closet I'd once found happy seclusion in. And they'd made a new staircase, a more gradual, softly winding and carpeted stairs I knew that are still there today.

I went home, scared and saddened by all this information. Knowing he'd been real, and knowing I'd more or less abandoned him when I out grew him, I went home, opened the closet door and whispered to Adam that I knew he was real. I told him that I knew he had died and that he should go now, go on and be with his family. I said a small prayer and closed the door.

I never saw Adam again. Eventually I stopped looking and the closet became just a regular closet. We moved in 1991 from that house when I was 17. Is he still there befriending another child? I don't know. I'll never know. But he was real, and he was a ghost.

I guess Adam loved that house as much as I did.

 

O'Neill's


The most chilling part of this story, in my mind, comes when Katrina says, "I was getting a little older and . . . Adam was still about 6 . . . "

That's both eerie and confirming at the same time!

While I posted the story and did some minor editing (very nicely written, and thanks for the contribution for supporting the site, Katrina, I appreciate it), I had this nagging feeling that this sounded familiar to me. And, as it happens, my parents had remodeled our basement in Michigan with knotty pine, and to provide extra storage of canned goods, etc., they enclosed the area under the stairs leading down to the basement with a tiny "Cousin It" door to get into the " under the stairs place." I spent a lot of time playing in my secret place when I was very young, when that door seemed quite a bit larger -- but I never had a secret friend. Still, I know the feeling of having a secret "clubhouse-like place" where you can play for hours and forget about the rest of the world.

As a special thank you to Katrina, I thought I would leave this installment with a familiar song, one that is not supposed to exactly reflect what the story was about, but one I kept hearing in my head while I was editing:

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee, Little Jackie Paper loved that rascal Puff, and brought him strings and sealing wax and other fancy stuff. Oh . . .

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee, Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee.

Together they would travel on a boat with billowed sail Jackie kept a lookout perched on Puff's gigantic tail, Noble kings and princes would bow whene'er they came, Pirate ships would lower their flag when Puff roared out his name. Oh!

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee, Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee.

A dragon lives forever but not so little boys Painted wings and giant rings make way for other toys. One grey night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more And Puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar.

His head was bent in sorrow, green scales fell like rain, Puff no longer went to play along the cherry lane. Without his life-long friend, Puff could not be brave, So Puff that mighty dragon sadly slipped into his cave. Oh!

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee, Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee.

(source: http://www.peterpaulandmary.com/music/f-02-05.htm - PUFF, THE MAGIC DRAGON Lipton/Yarrow Cherry Lane Music Publishing Co., Inc. -ASCAP/WB Music Corp.-ASCAP)

 

flying

 

This is been another great installment and a perfect addition to Ghostories. I hope everyone liked the story as much as I did. Thanks to Katrina and to all of you for coming back week after week after week. I do apologize if it has been a few weeks since I posted the last one, but as I mentioned in a comment about a month or so ago, "someday he would fly" -- and that he did on the 9th of this month. I think by now he can soar through the heavens and beyond with a finer sense of hearing and sight than he has ever known - and I'll just bet he's up there playing checkers right now and makin' sure everyone finds their way around.

:-) Keno

 

O'Neill's

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