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Needful Things

“Needful Things” by Terrie M. Scott, October 22, 2014

Terrie M ScottA basic theme that seems to carry throughout the paranormal field is the belief that spirits (ghosts, entities etc) attach themselves to objects that once held meaning to them. Sometimes it's a location, often times it's an object like a jewelry box or smoking pipe. Objects that are significant to a deceased person in some way. The belief then follows that when we come into contact with these objects that we become connected to that spirit in some way. Almost as if that object creates a bridge between our world and theirs.

Ask yourself what in your home has such sentimental value to you or is so indicative of who you are as person in this world that if you passed away you can see your spirit attaching itself that particular object.

A signed baseball from your favorite player given to you by your father when you were a child, perhaps?

A stuffed animal you slept with since you were a child and still have to this day?

A ring that was handed down to you from your grandmother through the generations?

A ceramic dish your child made for you in elementary school?

Photos in a frame, perhaps?

There must be something that means so much to you that you can imagine your attachment to it continuing into the afterlife.

When my little buddy, Capone, passed away last January I kept his favorite toys and collar. The things that meant so much to him when he was alive. I did so to remember him by and to honor his memory. They belonged to him. A part of me thinks that by preserving these items, I am preserving a part of his essence too.

What does all this have to do with the Sedamsville Rectory? I'm getting to that.

If you are standing on the street looking at the rectory, there is a narrow red brick house to our right. It used to be where the nuns lived years ago when the church was still alive and thriving. An elderly woman moved into that home years ago. But, she was placed in a nursing home quite some time ago.

In all the years we have been with the rectory, going on five years now, that house next to us has remained vacant. No one has ever come and gone from that house. Not one light has ever warmed its walls within. Not one heartbeat has ever set foot inside that place in all the time we have been renovating the rectory.

It has just stood there for years now. A silent tomb.

When the sun hits the windows you can see inside the home... The lady's possessions all still intact. Her furniture, lamps, artwork on the walls, kitchen plates, lace curtains pulled back - all exactly as she had left it. You can even see a sweater lying neatly across her bed and an umbrella stand in the corner.

No one bothered to pack up her belongings. They just left them there. It was as if she was simply plucked out of there and everything was left exactly as she had left it.

Her entire life and all that meant something to her is in that home. Silent, lifeless. I don't even know if she is still alive or not.

Sad, really. Didn't she have family? And, if she did, why have they just left her home like this? This was her life. The things that go to make up a life within it. All abandoned, yet still preserved.

A couple of weeks ago, Tim and I were looking for artwork for the rectory. We found a Claude Monet reproduction on canvas that would look great in the kitchen. The frame was heavy so I asked Tim if he could help me hang the picture up. My girls can tell you I am not the best at hanging things, as proof by the ten nail holes behind every picture in our home.

We arrived at the rectory and pulled into the driveway. Tim was carrying the art onto the back porch for me. I was tending to my homeless kitties while he opened the door. I stepped down off the back porch and glanced to my right.

Something had happened next door at the old lady's house. I yelled for Tim and we hurried to the fence. Someone had kicked in the back door and ransacked the place. Stealing copper probably and looking for anything of value.

So this regal old home that had been perfectly preserved all these years had now been invaded and desecrated.

We stood there in shock and disbelief. Her belongings had been thrown all over the backyard. Broken plates, clothes, shoes missing their matching partner, vinyl records, books, photos . . . all scattered around the back yard, most of them soaking wet from the heavy rainfall of previous days. I doubt there was anything of value left in the home, but I am sure these personal items meant something to the elderly lady.

Obviously, the vandals got what they wanted. Meanwhile, her books and other items were ruined and cast aside for the outside elements. There was a photo and a few books that were still salvageable, so I suggested we pick them up and bring them into the rectory to save them from ending up in the garbage. We cleaned up the back yard and secured her back door again, as best we could.

Tim and I sat on the back porch of the rectory, stunned. We looked down at the empty shoe box with a the few books that we could save – Plato, Dickens, Hemingway, Homer's Odyssey, a poetry book. She was very well read. We have glass bookcases in the rectory library. We decided to put them in there where at least they would be safe and not destroyed.

Tim was carrying the Monet reproduction and I was holding the small shoebox. No sooner did we set foot inside the rectory with the shoebox of books did the rectory come alive. It was screaming in protest. It wanted no part of it.

Tim and I stood at the back door and looked at each other. We heard growling, whispering, a door upstairs slammed violently shut. The light sneaking in from the windows seemed to withdraw and the rectory got suddenly very dark.

Holy crap... We heard what seemed to be a woman crying. There was no mistaking the change in energy.

Tim turned on the voice recorder on his phone. We were still standing at the back door. It was a sudden flurry of activity.

I know I was paralyzed with fear. Yes, I have been doing renovations. Yes, the rectory doesn't like when I disturb anything within its walls. But, I have been dealing with it for my own well being. I can't just let it continue to eat me alive.

But, this was different. This was not a slow creep factor. This was in your face, Gandalf screaming, “You shall not pass!” to the Balrog from Lord of the Rings. This was, “Take one more step and it will be your last” intense.

We don't know who owned the Monet. We found it at a thriftstore. But, we do know the handful of books rescued from the wet rubble belonged to the lady next door. I looked down at the shoebox and then up the hallway to the front foyer. Tim just kept saying, “What the hell?”

We just stood there at the back door, neither one of us game to take a step further just yet. The noises sounded like it was withering and reeling in pain and anguish. He played back the recording on his phone back and we heard, “Mine . . . mine . . . “ clear as day. And, then an ominous, “No!” in a deep gravely voice.

So, Tim said to me, “What do you want to do?”

I did something I had not done in a number of weeks at the rectory. I shut my eyes tightly and started reciting the Lord's prayer out loud.

I told Tim I don't think it wants the lady's books inside. Or the lady doesn't want them inside the rectory. Who can be sure? I didn't think the rectory was an art critic and just didn't like the Monet.

Tim and I both agreed that these books we managed to save, these “needful things” meant everything to the woman next door. She didn't have much, but things like books mean a great deal to some people. I know my books mean everything to me. And, we had a photo that we picked up off the ground. Probably the woman as a young girl.

There was this invisible wall between us and the rectory. Blocking our path.

I told Tim I was not just going to leave these things out in the rain to be destroyed. This was HER life. If no one else cared about them, at least we could save something of hers. Rescue a part of her. The woman's name was “Katie.” What I do know about her was that she was a devout Catholic and deeply religious. She even attended the church that stands beside the rectory. So, I started talking to Katie. Telling her that we were sorry that someone destroyed her belongings. That we wanted to help save something for her. It wasn't much, but her few books would be safe with us. As, would her photograph.

It felt like the rectory was pressing down on us, almost trying to push us out the door. It seemed like we were standing there at the back door a very long time, but in reality it was probably only a matter of minutes. It was like the rectory didn't want anything to do with this lady in it's presence. It had corrupted so many hearts, and made men do horrible things and hosted too many horrors itself to allow a lady as devout as Katie in its midst.

If we are in fact attached to things that are dear to us, perhaps Katie was still connected with these books sitting in a damp shoe box. After all, the peace of her home was disturbed. Was her spirit still with us, clinging to what little remnants of her forgotten life remained?

We had brought books into the rectory before, but never met with such resistance. Such a violent reaction to such small seemingly harmless things.

I continued talking to Katie, assuring her we meant no disrespect and that we were trying to preserve a part of her. That she was safe with us. A horrible loud growl came from in front of us at the rectory.

Perhaps Katie had walked through these halls before? Perhaps, she had first hand knowledge of the rectory when it was an active part of the community and not a shadow of its former self.

I had two choices at this point. Turn around and leave, and essentially take ten steps backward in making any sort of progress at the rectory. OR, take ten steps forward and not be bullied by it.

The air was so thick you could cut it with a knife, as the saying goes. The rectory was dark and alive, and extremely pissed off.

Tim just looked at me and said, “Your call.”

I hesitated then said, “Stay close.” With that I proceed up the hallway to the front door, making a left at the library. We could FEEL the rectory upon us. It was furious at us. I opened the glass bookcase and put Katie's books inside.

“They will be safe here, Katie,” I told her. Tim kept looking over his shoulder towards the main staircase. Oh my God, the noises. It was like the rectory was groaning. Tim told me to hurry up.

It only took a minute to safely put her books in the bookcase. We then headed for the kitchen to hang up the Monet reproduction. This time I watched the door while Tim hung up the picture.

“Geez, it does not like us having her books here,” I told him.

“No, sh*t,” was all Tim had to say.

We were out of there as quickly as possible. Both pretty spooked by what had just happened.

A group was coming in the following night. Dan had been there numerous times. The day after his investigation, I sent him a text and asked if anything out of the ordinary for the rectory happened. He wrote back that the rectory was darker than usual. And, that they had some very strange things happen that had not happened during previous visits.

Interesting. The books are staying. So the rectory will have to learn to coexist with Katie's things and/or spirit. I have no explanation for what transpired.

I'm not sure what affect, if any, Katie's books will have on the rectory other than what we experienced already. I placed her photo in the dining room. When you visit the rectory, make sure you pay your respects to her. She deserved better than to have her life thrown out onto the back lawn like garbage.




“Not everybody believes in ghosts, but I do. Do you know what they are, Trisha?

She had shaken her head slowly.

Men and women who can't get over their past . . . That's what ghosts are.”
Stephen King, Needful Things


Till next time........