By: Annie Larson, certified medium
Contact to book a reading: www.MediumAnnieLarson.com
As a medium it might come as no surprise that my favorite stories are ghost stories. What better way to pass the time than to sit around a campfire on a warm summer night and spin ghost stories to spook your friends. When I was young my favorite book was “The Thing at the Foot of the Bed,” a short story series about ghostly encounters. My best friend, Patty, and I would read these stories out loud to each other while sunning ourselves by my backyard pool.
From a very young age I began having many first hand experiences with spirits. Enjoy the upcoming series of my short stories; some will be accompanied by photos as spirit started showing up in videos and still shots many years ago.
The Lady in the Old Red House
Driving home with my mother when I was 5, we were struck by a drunk driver in an old 1950s style rusted green pickup truck. My mom anticipated the accident as we were waiting to turn left onto the street that led us to our home on Aura Court (yes that’s a real street) off of Route 7, a main highway in Fairfax, Virginia. She observed the erratic behavior of the truck driver in her rear-view mirror and knew the driver wouldn’t stop. Mom was psychic that way. We were stuck with our left turn signal blinking unable to turn either way with heavy traffic flanking our car on both sides.
Just before the anticipated impact, my mom checked my seatbelt and tighten down the strap across my lap. She was looking for an escape route, frantically looking left and right. To the right was a gravel driveway that she sharply turned the station wagon’s steering wheel towards just before impact. From a dead stop, we were catapulted forward, with cars on our right just missing our long white and wood paneled car. The tires screeched and we made it to the gravel driveway that led to a large 3 story red brick house with white trimmed wooden windows and matching porch.
The house, build in the 1800s, wasn’t visible from Route 7. It was part of the farmland that was slowly being taken over by urban sprawl to create suburbs in Fairfax County. Progress. Walking down the long gravel driveway in sensible mid-heel, black laced ankle boots, an older woman walked towards our smashed car, and asked, as she walked, if we were okay. Her dress was a conservative house frock of the 1960s with a white apron that was the style for working housewives to wear to keep their clothing underneath clean. Her graying brown hair was in a bun and her voice was concerned but firm as she continued to assess the situation.
My mom was shaken as she exited our car. Old Bessy, the family station wagon, had served us well but she was badly beaten from the impact. Mom looked okay to me but all of the skin on her knuckles had been scraped off and were openly bleeding. Mom's hands shook as she asked the older woman from the house if she could use her telephone. The drunk man from the old green truck appeared and was stumbling towards my mom apologizing which made my mom even more upset. He stumbled towards me and the stench of old liquor wafted towards me. I was immediately whisked away from him by the older woman who asked me if I wanted to come inside and read a book. What an odd thing to ask, but I was in shock so reading a book sounded great to me.
Mom and I entered the house through the white screened porch into the galley style kitchen where mom sat down next to the rotary dial wall phone and called my dad after she reported the accident. I was led by the older woman through some darkly lit rooms into a brightly lit room with many walls of wooden shelves filled to the ceiling with books. I marveled at the spaciousness of her house, library, heavy wooden wall panels, tall ceilings, maroon red carpet and gold gilded light fixtures throughout. The house possessed old southern opulence that I was not accustomed to. Bright sunlight filled the library through old glass windowpanes, distorted from age, as I sat on the floor by some children’s books and began thumbing through them. Two men dressed in white with black leather shoes entered the room to fetch me. They were the paramedics laden with lifesaving equipment and a stretcher. I got up and ran away from them, through the passage ways back to the kitchen where I found my mom. Her hands still shook and her knuckles continue to bleed. I was frightened by the paramedics and wanted to just walk home, which was only a block away.
The paramedics loaded mom and I into the ambulance where I took a spot by the bed and looked out the window as they took my mom’s vitals and raced towards the nearest hospital. I felt fine, but that is what happens when you go into shock. Mom was going to be okay but she was pretty banged up. The car was totaled and the drunk truck driver didn’t have insurance nor was he charged with driving while intoxicated. At the tender age of five, I had whip-lash and spent many weeks unable to move my neck from side to side.
Fairfax County grew and 10 years later the old homes were torn down to create more suburbs and strip malls. Progress. The old red house was eventually demolished but the long unpaved driveway remained. A chain link fence was erected alongside the driveway to keep people out of the woods that abutted the property.
Peter, my boyfriend, lived many miles from me by car, but the woods that abutted the property made for an easy walking shortcut to Peter’s backyard. I spent many nights of my youth with friends crossing Route 7, in the very spot mom and I were hit, to get to Peter’s house, down the long driveway to hop over the chain link fence to scurry through the woods, to Peter’s big back yard that had tennis courts, a basketball court, pool, and a large patio which made a perfect hangout for teenagers.
On one of the nights while crossing Route 7, Mickey, who was the younger brother of Frances, a regular part of our crew, wasn’t quite fast enough for traffic and at midnight he unfortunately was hit by a car that knocked him out of his shoes. I remember looking back and tracking an unlaced tennis shoe flying in the air and watched as it landed on the shoulder of Route 7 close to where Mickey too had landed. Everyone was screaming to run because Mickey was foolish enough to have brought a small handgun with him and we would all be in trouble if we were caught. Frances stayed with him while the rest of us dashed down the long driveway to the chain link fence. We were concerned about leaving our friends behind, but Mickey and Frances were laughing as we heard ambulance sirens get closer.
As I walked down the old driveway, there she was, the old woman wearing the bright white apron. Her hair was all white and she walked towards me in her black boot like shoes carrying a dimly lit lantern. Her house had been demolished years before so I wondered where she was coming from in the middle of the night. The others were screaming for me to come and the ambulance sirens were getting closer.
I was mesmerized. “Do you see her,” I shouted to my friends. “Who,” they shouted back. “The old woman with the lantern,” I said. “There’s no old woman. We’ve got to go,” they hollered urgently. The old woman’s image was all white and parts faded in and out like a water mirage on a highway. She kept walking towards me. I could hear her voice, “Are you okay?” It was the same steady and firm voice from the car accident years ago. She was there once again to help. “There’s nobody there,” Patty screamed. I kept blinking my eyes thinking the old woman would disappear. She kept her pace towards us. “Get over the fence,” Peter yelled. “Come on!” Patty’s yells echoed from a distance.
I began my escape on the chain link fence as I watched the ambulance lights pull up to the opening of the driveway. The others were way ahead in the woods that easily concealed them. My hands grasped the top of the metal fence with the tip of my left foot positioned in a diamond of the chain link for leverage, I straightened my arms to pull myself up. My right foot dangled ready to swing over the fence, I paused back to the old woman who was still making progress towards me. The lantern swung from side to side to the lumbering rhythm of her gate. I knew she was there to help me, just as she had done 10 years earlier. Only she wasn’t in human form anymore. She was spirit. I thanked her in my mind, and swung my right foot over the fence and dismounted on the other side and made my way into the woods to meet the others.
Mickey was fine as the car had just clipped him, but he got in trouble for having the gun. I never saw the old woman again but I looked for her every time I’d cut through the woods to my boyfriend’s house. A decade later most of the area was bulldozed to build a new condominium complex. Progress.