This is a story told to me by one of my coworkers at a television station in Lansing, Michigan. Gary was a broadcast engineer, one of several who were in charge of operating and maintaining the station's transmitter, videotape machines and studio cameras. He was a young guy only in his mid-twenties when he told me this story. It happened several years before just after he had graduated from high school.
By Steve Kremer
Gary was from one of the many small farming communities in the central part of Michigan. About a half-hour's drive from Lansing his small town was in true middle America. Everyone was either a farmer or somehow connected to the business of agriculture.
During high school Gary had done some handyman work for a local Realtor a man who mostly sold farms and some business properties. The Realtor had bought an old general store year's back but had never been able to sell it. It was on a rural crossroads that had once been busy but no longer was. The store had been built in the early 1900's and had been abandoned for many years when he bought it.
Gary had three good friends who had graduated from high school together. Gary had planned to work on his family farm and commute into Lansing to study electronics at a technical school. His three friends were going to continue to work on their family's farms. They enjoyed working the farms, but being 18 year old young men they weren't real happy about living at home.
At about this time the Realtor had an idea. Would Gary and his three friends be interested in fixing up the old general store in exchange for living there rent free? The boys jumped at the idea.
So the four young men moved in. Bunking in together in the two bedrooms upstairs and making the main floor their communal living room and kitchen. They also began fixing up the store installing a new bathroom, kitchen and generally cleaning up after many years of disuse.
Everything was working out great. The guys had a place to call their own and the old store was finally seeing new life. The guys being typical 18 year olds were having a good time, both hosting parties at the old store plus visiting some of the bars on the outskirts of Lansing. They often would return home to the old store after a night out and have one last beer and watch some TV. One by one they would go off to bed. Often the last to stay up, and have more than one beer, was Dave. Most of the guys knew when the party ended and the work began but Dave was having a little trouble with his new found freedom. The other friends were a little concerned that he was partying and drinking too much.
One night after a typical night out the gang returned to the old store very late. They sat around the TV having the traditional one last beer. They all drifted off to bed except Dave who, as usual, was going to have one last drink. After Gary and the other two guys had been asleep awhile they were awakened by a loud scream, the sound of the front door opening and slamming, and the sound of Dave's car starting and roaring off into the darkness. Fearing that their friend had somehow "freaked out" or might get in an accident, Gary and the other two jumped in his car to give chase. They immediately lost sight of Dave's car. They figured the only place he could go at that time of the morning was his parent's house.
As Gary and his friends approached Dave's family's farmhouse over the fields they could see the house completely lit up. As they pulled into the driveway there was Dave's car. They went in though the kitchen door and found Dave's entire family awake and sitting at the kitchen table. At the head of the table sat Dave, ashen white and trembling. His father held on to him trying to calm him. Dave told them what happened.
He was sitting in the main room at the old general store watching TV finishing his last beer. At one point he saw something out of the corner of his eye. He turned to look and saw a woman walk out of the wall. She was dressed in an old fashioned long black dress. She silently walked across the room, paused in front of him, looked at him, then walked right through the wall at the other side of the room. He said she looked absolutely real, with a sort of empty look on her face.
Dave's friends and family didn't know what to think of it. Had he really seen a ghost or maybe he had just fallen asleep and dreamed it. Perhaps it was some sort of an alcohol induced hallucination. Whatever it was, Dave said he would never return to the old store. He moved back in with his parents that night. He wouldn't even return to pick up his belongings. Gary and his friends had to pack it all up and deliver it.
The remaining three guys continued working on remodeling the old store. They hadn't really thought much about what Dave had seen that night. They were too busy with their own lives. They were getting close to finishing the work at the store. Gary had decided he should move to Lansing to continue his studies, one of the others had decided to build a house on some of his family's farm land, and the third decided he couldn't afford rent on the store when it was done.
The last night they would be staying in the old store the guys decided to have a party to say goodbye. They joked amongst themselves that they should invite Dave and ask one of their girlfriends to dress up in an old black dress. But, it being a small town, everyone had heard the story of what Dave saw that night and he had taken a lot of kidding already.
The going away party was a success. Dave did not attend and there wasn't much talk about the woman in black. As the party wound down the two other friends left to take their girlfriends home leaving Gary alone at the store to clean up. After he was done he sat down to have one last beer and watch some TV. After a while he turned off the TV to head upstairs to bed. As the room was completely quiet he saw exactly what Dave described. A women dressed in black silently floated across the floor, stopped right in front of him and looked at him, then floated into the far wall. Dave was right, she did have a blank expression but Gary saw maybe just a little sadness in her face. Gary told his friends what he saw and Dave was relieved to know he was not alone in seeing the woman in black.
Again, the story above is true. I asked what Gary did after he saw the ghost. He simply said he went to bed. It didn't really bother him. He told me the Realtor had sold the old store to a young couple who had not reported any sightings. I drove out to Gary's hometown once to see the old store but got lost on the country roads and never did find it.
Another true Ghost Story...
The Old General Store is Copyright 1996 Steven M. Kremer. All Rights Reserved.
March 10, 2002
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