The Grey Man and the Ghostly Children
I was a child whose mother allowed her to watch horror flicks at a very early age (and I loved it!)...perhaps that contributed to my overly active imagination (and a few sleepless nights courtesy of Night of the Living Dead). I was convinced that what I called "The Grey Man" lived under my bed and I would literally leap from 3 feet away onto my bed so he could not grab me with his long, grotesquely thin fingers and pull me under. As I grew a little older the Grey Man moved and took up residence in my closet. I checked and double checked that all closets were firmly closed (in the daytime of course) so he stayed put. In my infinite childhood wisdom I knew that he could not exit the closet if it was firmly closed, just as he could not come out from under the bed to get me. Now you may ask “what has this got to do with the paranormal”? Patience my dear reader...it will all make sense soon! When I was in 5th grade I had moved from Massachusetts to an old apartment building in Danielson, CT only to move back to Massachusetts just 3 months later. My stay may have been brief, but the memories will stick with me forever. By that time I had decided that the Grey Man may still be in the closet, but he had no power over me...I would sometimes even dare to leave the closet cracked. One night I laid in bed and my faithful cat Shadow had jumped up for a quick goodnight pat before heading out toward the kitchen. As he walked toward the end of the bed, both the box spring and mattress (at the footboard end) lifted up about 3 or so inches and slammed back down into the frame. Poor Shadow bolted back to the head of the bed and buried his face under my chin as I curled my legs into the fetal position so my feet were nowhere near the end of the bed. Both Shadow and I were shaking and our hair was standing on end. Neither of us dared to move until daylight. Perhaps the Grey Man was a product of my childhood imagination, but that night (in my young mind) symbolized his hello (or perhaps goodbye) to me with a clear message of "I could have gotten you if I wanted too, I just chose not to." I had never been so glad to move out in my life! In retrospect, this may have been my first paranormal experience. Years went by and I did not have any experiences similar to the one that night in Connecticut. When I graduated college I got a job at a residential placement for kids with behavioral, psychological and/or substance abuse issues. I soon learned that the place use to be a tuberculosis hospital and was later converted into the residential placement for kids. I also learned of the tragic death of a child in one of the buildings. My first three years there I had heard rumblings of hauntings in some of the buildings but I never experienced anything out of the ordinary. My 4th year there I transferred to the overnight shift, but I didn't give the ghost stories much thought at the time. One night I was sitting at the end of a long hall reading a book when I noticed a child peak out of one of the bedroom doorways. I could see the child had shorts and a T-Shirt on and was looking down the hall at me, but the face was cast in shadow and I was not sure which client it was. I put my book down, looked up and asked "what do you need...the bathroom?" The child disappeared back into the room without saying anything. I immediately got up and went down the hall to the room and upon arriving I discovered that there was no client assigned to that room and I was staring into an empty room. It was at that point that I realized I may have had a one-way (as far as I knew) conversation with a possible apparition. I was promoted to an Assistant Program Manager and then Program Manager during my 11 years with the organization. In my position I have heard countless stories from both staff and clients...One child even refused to sleep in his room because he claimed a little boy would sit on his dresser and would stare at him looking sad and sometimes cry. Staff have reported countless times that they heard footsteps upstairs in one of the buildings when there is nobody up there, seen shadows darting across the hall with no known source, had faucets turning on and toilets flushing by themselves, some have heard their name being whispered and others claim that they would leave the room and when they came back some things had been moved from their original spot. I assure my staff that "the ghosts here are friendly and sometimes they just want to play or say hi." but some staff still refuse to work in certain buildings. Although it would be a very interesting place to investigate, the company would never allow it due to confidentiality laws and the fear that being publicly known a haunted facility would affect enrollments (hence why I didn't give the name). Perhaps someday that will change, but in the meantime the ghostly children will continue to make their presence known to all that will listen.
- Taunya Damon