Where There Is Smoke…

Every now and again I am reminded of the sensation of something unexplainable. It may have gone unnoticed, but it didn’t. In a way it is comforting to know that I wasn’t the only one who had experienced the visit.

The paranormal program was on late night television and I was going about my business of doing laundry and washing dishes. Walking through the family room I was stopped in my tracks as it was a program about the bed and breakfast that my niece and I had stayed at when making a quick trip to see my son in a university play.

 The play was outrageous. My son was both the director and an actor in the production. We enjoyed ourselves despite the rather bizarre theatrical experience. Anyway, my level-headed niece had a little time off from her own studies and was  willing to go along with me to see the show. I was happy for the company and we had fun taking the train, eating out , going to some bookstores and seeing the university where my son attended as well as taking in the production.

 I had booked us into a Queen Anne style bed and breakfast within walking distance to the campus. I knew my niece would enjoy the grandeur of the old home. The large porch of the home was decorated with a screened in porch and white wicker furniture. An ornate screen door opened onto a dark wood panelled hallway which doubled as a reception area. Walking up the carpeted stairs we saw a full length stain glass window depicting a beautiful Victorian lady in a garden. Going up another landing and past an antique velvet settee we came to a hallway with three closed doors leading to the guest rooms. There was a brass nameplate on each door designating the specific charm of each room. At the end of the hall two steps led to another room. This was the smallest and least expensive bedroom offered by the host and used to be an attic space. We didn’t book it for ourselves as it wasn’t big enough for us and it didn’t have its own bathroom.

 Our room was chosen because it had a four-poster and a single bed. My niece and I were pleased with our room and remarked on the quaintness of the wing back chairs, heavy brocaded drapes, fireplace and small writing desk. The four-poster was high and soft covered with a white figured bedspread. The single bed was tucked under the sloping ceiling and covered with a tiny floral coverlet. An old style closet was beside the door and held a vacuum cleaner. No doubt this made perfect sense in an old house as it must have been difficult to clean several levels of rooms with so many stairs. We were relieved to have a perfectly suitable if not outdated bathroom as part of our room so we didn’t have to share with any other guests. It was fine. I left a clever comment in the guest book on the writing desk about how the room had a special feeling about it and that one day I would try to return to it as it felt like a place where I could do some writing. ( I really did leave such a sappy note.)

  I remember feeling a little worn out from the day’s travelling and excitement but after a warm shower I was glad to crawl into the big bed and listen to the drizzle of the fall night outside. Waking a couple of times in the quiet of the night I was strongly aware of the scent of tobacco in the room. It was the rich, heavy fruity smell of pipe tobacco. It was so strong that it woke me up . My clever and lovely niece slept like a baby, undisturbed.

 In the morning, at breakfast we noticed there was a young couple and a middle-aged fellow joining us in the diningroom. Casually, I mentioned to out host that he must have been up early making our lovely breakfast as I had smelled his pipe during the wee hours of the morning. He stopped serving us and turned to look at me with a funny look on his face. He told me he did not smoke a pipe and the other guests also shook their heads indicating they were non smokers as well. Smoking was not even permitted in the house . The host went on to tell us about a fire that had happened in the dinning room years ago due to an accident involving candles. As a result, no smoking was a regulation agreed upon by any guest staying at the home.

 My niece and I spent some time enjoying the old-fashioned parlour and cuddling a dear old blind cat after our breakfast. Soon we were on our way home on the train again. My son was left there on his own again, enjoying college life.

 When I got home I noticed a home decor magazine from the room had inadvertently been packed in my suitcase along with my own book and magazines. Even though I realized this was merely an accident and no big crime I looked up the email address of the home and sent a message about having the magazine. The host replied back the same day and assured me that it was no problem and just keep the magazine. Oddly enough, I didn’t want to keep it and immediately sent it back through the mail. The host must have thought I was overdoing the honesty bit  but I felt strongly compelled to rid myself of it.

As the television program continued on it detailed the amazing number of paranormal experiences (unbeknownst to me!) linked to this very home where we had stayed. Our bedroom was featured with the closet, fireplace and four-poster bed and sloping ceiling with a single bed. Details galore of sightings on the stairs of a lady in long rustling skirts, a young child playing with a doll in the closet in our room ( where the vacuum was stored) and other young children running in and out of the house in general were described. Apparently at one time the house had been a foundling home during a time when disease had taken many young lives. ( This information had not been outlined on the bed and breakfast’s website either when I booked the room.) Go figure.

Needless to say I was glued to the program. Actually, I was frozen to the spot. Finally, a  sad story was told about an elderly man , a doctor, confined in one of the rooms…. the little attic room just a few steps away from where we had stayed.  He had been cared for there possibly by a house servant or family member and had been very unhappy due to a wasting disease. He had suffered, mostly alone during his illness and had died there. The commentator of the program thought it must have been tuberculosis.

 He had been a heavy pipe smoker…. also apparently, a light sleeper.



Filed under family relationships, theatre, writing

8 responses to “Where There Is Smoke…

  1. ooh! i love a good ghost story and encounters with the paranormals…

  2. tickled that you live in Ontario, Canada.
    want to visit southern Ontario and Prince Edward Island where they filmed Anne of Green Gables on location. another child loved title from a younger’hood.

  3. a wonderful eye for detail…id’ve probably been spooked watching the TV show

  4. Reblogged this on An Embarrassment of Freedom and commented:

    Today when visiting with friends this experience of mine came up so I’m reblogging the old blog post. Some stories are like that. This one is a tad spooky.

  5. You really have to wonder sometimes what parts of ourselves we might leave behind.

  6. I love this story! I have had similar experiences…totally believe in them. I don’t blame you for sending the magazine back. I think that’s my favorite detail.

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