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The rocking chair ā€“ a ghost story

October 19, 2012
Andrea Hines , Shepherdstown Chronicle

Her mother woke with an uneasy feeling at 2 a.m. She couldn't quite figure out what was wrong, she just felt like something was, well, wrong. She silently crept out of bed, put on her robe and decided to check on the baby. She walked down the dark still hallway that strange late autumn night to her daughter's nursery and when she opened the door, a sudden chill in the room gave her a rush of goose bumps on her arms.

The house was warm except in this very room. She shivered and went straight to the crib. She could see her breath in the air! The baby was sleeping but fitful, restless and making little sounds in her sleep. Her mother looked around the room but saw nothing. With a rush of panic she picked up the baby, hugged her close and brought her to her own room for the night, snuggling in the covers and pretending it was nothing. The next day recalled little of the event.

She had purchased the old rocking chair in the nursery a few weeks before. It was a beautiful, massive wooden hulk of a chair. She fell in love with its hand woven seat, its smooth graceful arms; its well worn curves from a lost generation of which she was not aware. She purchased it for a great price at an estate sale and brought it home, pleased at such a wonderful find. She thought it would be a comfortable rocker she would raise her child in. It was just the perfect choice, or so she thought, until it started rocking by itself one night.

The story goes, as I was told much later, that sometimes, this chair would be rocking in the middle of night, and sometimes during the day, empty, and there was nary a breeze as far as they ever knew. In those moments, the mother just passed it off as coincidence, like we often do with unexplainable things. Perhaps the cat had just jumped down off of it, even though she just saw it outside in the front lawn, or maybe someone had decided to move it back out of the way to, heaven forbid, vacuum. She tried to put it out of her mind.

The little girl also had her own mini rocking chair. A cute black painted wooden chair that had a sweet little music box on the end of one leg and a painting of a little scene on the back rest. It played the lullaby "Rock a Bye Baby" when you leaned far enough back to make the chair really swing. You had to get it going pretty fast to make it play and often it would not, if you were not up for the ride. It was the little girl's most favorite chair, and when she was about four years old, she would drag it around the house to wherever she was and play tea with her stuffed animals and dolls. Sometimes the little rocking chair would sit next to the big rocking chair, and both the mother and the child would play house, and read and sing songs together, happy as could be.

One night the following autumn, the little girl woke from a very vivid , not quite scary dream, and silently crawled out of bed to go and wake her mother up to tell her about this dream, which she often did. As she walked down the dark hallway and she saw the moonlight pouring into the living room. Being a child, and very open and trusting and curious, and looked in to the empty room as she walked past. The room looked blue, in the strange light, and the black silhouette of the chair was plainly visible. What really drew her attention, and was probably the real reason she woke up in the first place, was the soft tinkle of a familiar tune that she heard even before entering the room. "Rock a bye baby, in the tree tops when the wind blows the cradle will rock" the music box was playing, but there was definitely no one in the chair! Tinkle, tinkle, back and forth; "Rock a by baby, in the tree tops" a chill was in the room but the little girl didn't feel it. She just looked at the chair. "Rock a by baby" The chair was going back and forth, back and forth, with enough force to play "Rock a bye baby"

Her mother gave both chairs away the next day and moved to a new house soon after. The little girl was me and this is a true story. Happy Halloween!

 
 

 

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