A Ghost In Brazil
By Joao de Souza
Both my parents are from a very small town in the heart of the Brazilian farmlands. The region is also known for its deposits of precious stones and metals. I was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, but I used to enjoy spending my vacations with my grand folks in the little town during my teenage years. Not even the 21 hour bus ride would keep me away.
My grand parents' house was built in the late 1600s, and it used to be the masters' home of a huge slave-operated farm. Now it is just a very old house on the outskirts of nowhere. In front of the house there is a little old church from the same period.
Maybe it was because my grandma felt guilty about all the slaves that must have been mistreated in or around the house, that she decided the house would be used to serve the poor and the sick. During the period when my mother was growing up, she saw a lot of people die in her huge kitchen (the main room in the house). By the time I started to spend my vacations there, my grandma was already too old to take care of anyone.
After my (step)grandfather died, my grandma went to live with the family of one of my many aunts, just a few houses down from her own.
During a summer vacation, one of my sisters and I decided to go and spend all 3 months in the house by ourselves. The little church across the road was being renovated and, since my grandma was the keeper of the church, all of the religious statues from it were in the corner of the room were my sister was staying. They were a bit scary looking, because their eyes were made of glass, and tended to shine a bit too much once the lights were out. Every night, my sister and I had to deal with bats, owls and cats roaming around, and sometimes fighting as we tried to sleep. We got used to that.
One night I woke up hearing my sister screaming off the top of her lungs! At first I thought that maybe one of the critter had landed on her or something like that. I jumped out of bed and ran into her room. When I turned on the lights, I saw that her bed had been moved to the center of the room, and that the statues were in a circle around her bed and facing it. By sunrise, my sister was in the first bus back to Rio. I decided to stay. Not because I wasn't scared of what happened to my sister (I was), but because my curiosity overwhelmed my fear. Besides, I was having too much of a good time with my friends, especially all the attention the girls would give me since I was the only boy from Rio in town (okay, I was only fifteen :)
During the months that followed, I had several not-too-scary experiences in or around the house. One time, a dead cat fell from the top of the church and landed right in front of me as I was waking back home. The little guy had been badly mutilated, apparently by another cat, but I did not hear a cat fight (they tend to be very loud). I picked it up, and bury it next to the church. Another day an owl landed by the foot of my bed in the middle of the night, and I couldn't scare it away. It just stood there looking at me for several minutes, than it flew off.
Just a few nights before I was supposed to leave, I had the scariest experience of my life.
A good friend of mine found out that his younger brother was dealing drugs. My friend was a very big guy, and he wanted to kill his brother. As I was walking down the street past their house, their mother came out yelling "He is going to kill him!" (she was hysterical). I ran into the house, and I saw my friend holding a knife to his brother. After some time (I have no idea how long), I convinced the guy to drop the knife, and convinced the brother to swear to his family that he would never get involved with drugs again. I took my friend away from the house in order for him to cool down. We bought a few beers, and sat on a park bench where we talked for several hours. Somehow that night I overcame my extreme quietness. I was never a very communicative person. But that night I spoke like a priest and councilor (funny since I consider myself an atheist). At the time I thought that I would never forget what I said in that inspired moment, but the events that were about to follow completely erased the words from my mind.
While my friend and I were talking, an old stray dog came by and sat next to us. We had a bit of food, so we fed it to the dog. As we left the park, the dog started to follow us.. We walked to my friend's house first since it was my way. For the rest of the long walk back to the old house, the dog walked next to me. I rather enjoyed having some company on walk back home for a change. On the way home, I saw a goat jump over a wall and onto the street. I never heard of wild goats walking the streets, but there it was. As we approached the old church, my faithful companion started to roar and act very bizarre. Whatever it was that he was seeing scared the hell out of him. I decided to go back a couple of blocks, then walk around the long(er) way home in order to avoid the church. As we walked out of the woods into the clearing at the back of the house, the poor old dog went bizerk! It started to bark and walk back and forth, keeping his eyes on the house. He then grabbed a stone into his mouth and started chewing on it. I could see a lot of blood and pieces of teeth falling out of his mouth. Finally he dropped the stone and ran away. I was petrified, not sure whether to go back into the house, or to sleep on a park bench. I was very cold night, so I went in.
Once inside the house, nothing seemed different, except for the level of my fear. A couple of bats flew by, but that was common in that old house. I managed to calm down and went to sleep. Not much latter I was awaken by some VERY heavy foot-steps. It sounded too heavy to be a person, and I could hear the old wooden floor bending and cracking. I gathered enough courage to unlock my door and go see what it was and I saw a horse walking out of the room where my sister had her experience. I was the only person with the keys to the house and, being from a violent city, I always locked all doors before leaving home. I still have no explanation on how the horse got there. I opened the front door, and the horse walked out. I couldn't go back to sleep.
I turned on the TV (there was an antenna on top of a tree next to the house, so at night we could get channels from not-too-far-away cities) and started to watch a horror movie of all things. Then it came like an explosion! All light started to flash. The entire house started to shake. I could hear voices coming from all around, but there was nobody there, cats and bats and owls and mice running out of every corner, looking as horrified as I was. I ran into my bedroom and locked the door. The noise stopped and I jumped into the bed and covered my head with the sheets while wandering what to do next. Should I jump out the second floor window? As I was contemplating that thought, I started to hear the sound of heavy breathing, together with the sound of the walls cracking. I wasn't sure if I should take my head out from under the covers, but I did it anyway. As I looked at the wall next to me, it looked as if it was breathing! It was inflating and deflating. I jumped out the window and sprung my foot.
That happened back in 1979 or 1980. Still today that wall is curved as if it was filled with something. Some people say that maybe there was a water leak inside the wall, but there are no water pipes anywhere near it (there are no pipes at all in the house!). I have been back to the house several times after that, and spend many more nights alone in there, but there has been no further activity. I never told this story to anyone in town or my family (except for my sister). Whenever I asked my grandmother if she ever witness anything funny there in all those years, she would just look at me and smile, than change subject.
I never saw that dog again.
Another true Ghost Story...
March 10, 2002
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