musings from Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington ... home of The Write Spot

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The White Lady of Box Grove, a true ghost story

Sunday, December 15, 1975


Adam's voice came in a tight whisper, an instant response to the squeak of floorboards as I climbed the stairs. It was our second night in the old rented farmhouse and my not-quite-three-year-old son was restless in unfamiliar surroundings.

"Coming," I whispered back, hoping we wouldn't rouse his baby brother.

Adam looked up, eyes full of worry, as I bent to tuck in his covers. "Sing me a song?"

"Sure. Just one, though. It's my bedtime, too." I settled on the edge of his bed and gave him a quiet rendition of his favourite, You Are My Sunshine.  "Okay, now?"

"I guess." He didn't sound too sure about the state of his okay-ness, so I sat for a moment longer, my hand resting gently on his arm.

"Where'd that lady go?"

"What lady, hon?" This was a puzzler. We hadn't seen a soul all day. Not since late the night before, when the friends recruited to help with our move from Toronto dropped off the last boxes.

"The white lady." Adam pointed across the room. "She was there."

A chill spidered its way up my spine as I turned to follow his sleepy gaze. In the corner of the room, three-month-old Matthew nestled peacefully in his crib, sound asleep.  No lady. I let go of the breath I'd been holding and turned back to Adam. "When was this, sweetie?"

"I woke up," he said, sounding peevish now. "She was looking at Matty again. I said hi and she did this," Adam lifted one finger to his lips in a shushing gesture. "Then I heard you. And then I looked and she was gone. Is she your friend?"

I stroked his hair, hoping he wouldn't notice the trembling of my hand. "I think you must've been dreaming." I certainly hoped he'd been dreaming. Thoughts of other, more ghostly, explanations for a strange lady in white seemed to swarm and scuttle through my mind.

"No," said Adam. "I told you. I woke up. She came last night, too, but you were asleep."

Gooseflesh prickled up my arms. Across the room, baby Matthew grumbled and stretched. "Well," I said, trying to sound a lot braver than I felt, "she's not here now."

"Did she go home?" he wondered, scanning the room once more.

"Home to bed," I whispered. And hoped with every fibre of my being it was the truth.

"Good," he said. "She was tired." And with that astounding statement, Adam's eyes drifted shut.

I didn't sleep at all that night. After relating the whole, spooky story to my husband, I'd insisted the two of us make a top-to-bottom search of the house. Our dog trailed along from room to room, looking baffled and sleepy but only raising her hackles once, when a mouse peeked out from beneath the fridge. No unseen, unearthly presence. No odd feelings. No lady in white.

Adam never mentioned the lady again. Whenever his Dad or I tried to bring the subject up, he acted as if he'd forgotten all about it. Winter turned to spring and we settled into life in the sleepy Ontario hamlet of Box Grove, enjoying our drafty but definitely not haunted country home.

Months later, my husband paid a visit to a neighbouring farm in search of nesting straw for our chickens. He returned looking a bit unsettled. After some coaxing, he related this conversation with the old farmer.

"Everything okay over at your place, then? Nothing… strange?"

Strange? At first, hubby thought the farmer meant the strange kind of science involved in hen husbandry or septic tank maintenance. But, no.

"They say it's haunted, that place of yours. Last folks didn't stay long. But now you're there, fixing things up… well, maybe things have changed. Maybe the White Lady likes you."

Cue goosebumps.

I like to think the White Lady did like us. Hadn't Adam said his lady was tired? Perhaps knowing the old homestead was loved and cared for once again gave her peace. Perhaps, with us, the White Lady of Box Grove finally found her rest.

True story. Happy Halloween!

Update: This story was published in the 2015 Halloween edition of the Markham Economist & Sun newspaper.

stillpoint is the blog of Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


At 1:33 pm, Blogger Heidi said...

Love this! I believe!

At 2:41 pm, Blogger Cheryl said...

Glad you enjoyed it, Heidi. There are some things we simply can't explain. Thanks for reading!

At 4:46 pm, Blogger Joanne Guidoccio said...

Love a good ghost story! Thanks for sharing, Cheryl :)

At 4:59 pm, Anonymous Susan McNicoll said...

Fantastic story Cheryl. As I am sure you know they say children are able to see ghosts/spirits much easier than adults. I know spirits exist as I have experienced them but they still unsettle me. I am not sure why. I think you are right that she saw the farmhouse (gorgeous by the way) was loved and cared for and left.Good job with this one and happy Halloween to you.

At 8:41 pm, Blogger Sheila Seabrook said...

Ooooo, goosebumps! You're much braver than I am. I would never have been able to sleep in the house again. :)

BTW, I love the name Box Grove. It sounds like it must have been such a quaint community.

At 12:51 am, Blogger Cheryl said...

Joanne, Susan, Sheila ... thank you all for reading and commenting. Glad I was able to scare up a few goosebumps!

Box Grove was one of a handful of hamlets on the outskirts of Markham village - Cedar Grove just down the road, Locust Hill one concession over. Markham is a city now and most of the farms and hamlets have been swallowed up by subdivisions. Our lovely little house is long gone. I wonder what the White Lady thinks of that?

Happy Halloween!

At 8:18 am, Blogger Karen McCullough said...

Very interesting story. Enough to give me chills.

At 12:00 pm, Blogger Sydell Voeller said...

What an experience! I do believe your ghost was pleased that you were restoring the farmhouse she once loved and cared about. That recognition brings back some mortality to her ghostlike appearances.


Post a Comment

<< Home