Witness: Tom Kettles
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Date of Encounter: 1982 to present
We live in a haunted house. It really is not bad once you get used to it. In fact, at times when there is no activity you can actually get a little lonesome for them.
We moved here in 1982. It wasn't long after we settled into our new house that we bumped into the former owner at the local church. She asked us if we had seen the ghost. We didn't know what she was talking about. She said it sometimes appears in the front bedroom (our daughter's room) as a shadowy figure of a woman in a rocking chair. Our daughter overheard us talking about it and she said, "Oh! That must be the lady who sits in the chair at my desk at night. She doesn't bother me. Just sits there kind of watching after me."
We had noticed some strange things in the house but put them off to natural causes such as: the recurring footsteps on the hardwood floors after everyone went to bed, the strange way the television would turn on and off by itself, other electric appliances doing funny things, and objects disappearing then turning up somewhere else. But we dismissed the idea of it being ghosts… until late one night.
My wife woke up thirsty in the middle of the night so she went to the kitchen to get a drink. When she got to the living room she saw someone in the shadows in the middle of the room. Thinking one of the kids had gotten out of bed, she hollered, "Get your butt back in bed!" The figure streaked off and disappeared. It didn't go around the sofa, it went through the sofa. It didn't walk, it glided. It was the figure of a woman with long black hair. The kids were sound asleep in their beds. My wife came back to bed without her water.
My first experience with her was about 10 PM one night. I was walking home from next door and as I approached the driveway I saw a figure of a woman walking in the drive. She was cutting across the edge of the lawn on the north side of my shop about 20 feet away. The light on the north side of the shop was on, illuminating her faintly. I could make out no details of her — only a dark figure of a slender woman walking briskly toward our house from the west. As I got in range of the motion detector light on the east side of my workshop, it came on. The figure vanished. This phantom female I saw matched the description of the dark woman other family members have seen in our house.
But the dark woman is not the only spirit in our home. We have discovered there are others. Some are shy and reclusive. Some a little mischievous and playful. They like to play with stuff — just to let you know they are there, I think. They hide things. You put something down and a minute later it is gone. You search all over and then find right back where you laid it in the first place. They turn things on and off. TV's, radios, just about anything. Even water faucets.
One morning. My son went in the kitchen to get a drink of water. "Uh, Dad. Dad, come here."
I went into the kitchen to see what was wrong.
"What's this all about?" My son asked.
He was standing back from the sink pointing to the faucet which was running full blast. My wife standing beside him.
"The knob is turned off but it's still running" He said.
We stood and watched it for a minute. Figuring a faulty valve I started to walk toward the sink to try turning it off myself and suddenly it just stopped. Turned off all by itself. I looked it over, turned it on, and then back off again. It worked fine. I checked the valves the next day and everything was functioning properly and has worked fine since.
TVs are a real favorite. I was waking up from a nap one evening when I heard the television on in the living room. I assumed my son was home and was watching a movie. As I arose I heard the television turn off. When I went into the living room the lights were off, the television was off, the door was still locked, and my son was not there. My wife and I were the only people in the house and she was still sleeping. I turned on the television and the same movie I had heard from the bedroom was playing.
Radios are popular with them too. On another occasion my wife, daughter and I were watching television in the living room. All of a sudden the CD player comes on and starts playing a C.D. at high volume. My wife got up and turned it off. Reaction from all of us was very casual.
"Go to grandmas if you want to listen to music. We are watching TV" I jokingly said out loud.
(At the time my mother was living in a mobile home behind the property. My sister was staying with her.)
I found out the next day they took my suggestion to heart. My sister called.
"I went out to go to work," She said. "The radio in the van was playing. I thought someone left it on. Oh, great, now the battery will be dead, I thought. Then I realized the radio doesn't work unless the key is on. I was holding the key in my hand. That's weird, I thought. I unlocked the door and I reached in to turn off the radio and it was already off. It quit playing when I touched it so I put the keys in the ignition and turned on the radio and it came on. I turned off the ignition and it went off. Ignition on, radio on. Ignition off ,radio off. Does not work without a key. How was it playing without the key in the ignition and the knob turned off?" she asked.
We have all gotten used to our ghosts now. Our children have grown up around them and have their own stories. Their friends and ours have all been scared out of their wits a time or two but are accustomed to it now. New friends take a little time to get acclimated though.
My son was in his teenage years and most of his friends knew about our house. His new friend Jason did not, though. My wife and I had gone out for the evening and my son was having a party. All his friends were over. Everyone was having a good time but Jason. He was tired. Jason was new to Tommy's parties. Jason was also new to our house. If he had known about the things that happen here he might not have left the main group and gone to the game room where it was quiet. Most of our friends know and have experienced eerie things while here with enough frequency that it really doesn't surprise them. Ah, but Jason was new. Ripe pickings for a mischievous ghost. So Jason left the main party and went into the game room by himself, where he laid on the floor to get a little rest.
My son and his friends were only a little surprised to see Jason run into the living room pale and frightened.
"The pinball machine." Jason said. "Flash Gordon. It came on all by itself and started playing itself. There is nobody in there and it just came on and started playing."
"Yeah, so?" responded my sons' other friend, who is accustomed to such things here.
"Flash was Phillip's favorite machine." My son explained casually.
Phillip was our nephew who died in an accident a short time before.
"He was probably just enjoying a round of pinball," said my son. "He is a nice guy. He won't bother you."
Everyone went on about having fun, except for Jason. He stuck close to the group for the rest of the night. But he never came back to our house.
There have been times when these spirits have saved the day for us. We once awoke to find a fire had started on our patio by a candle left burning when we went to bed. About 15 square feet of one wall covered in rattan was charred from the flames but somehow, mysteriously it had gone out by itself. The dry rattan, though very flammable, had just stopped burning. This was not the only time.
It had only been a couple of weeks since we buried my wife's brother, Virgil. Tragically he was killed by a car while walking home. My wife had been cleaning out his mobile home next door. A terrible task but she faced it with courage and fortitude. Sometimes I think she is operating on automatic pilot.
She came home and told me, "I saw him… Virgil." "He was just standing there in the doorway of his trailer while I was sorting out his things. He said nothing. Then he disappeared.
A few days after that my Dad came in the shop where I was working. "Do you know the door on Virgil's mobile home is open?" He asked.
"No," I replied. "I'll check it out." The home was vacant since Virgil died. We were watching his property while probate proceeded.
I walked over and saw the front door ajar. I feared the worst. That the vacant home had been broken into. We were careful to always lock the door and no one else had a key. I carefully entered the premises. The overwhelming odor was unmistakable.
Propane. Strong. I had to exit immediately. A gas leak. The house was full of it. I went to the rear of the home and found the main gas valve. I turned it off. Covering my mouth I entered the home again. Quickly I began opening windows. I could not stay in there very long.
I can't believe this place didn't blow up I said to myself. It's a good thing that front door was open. But how did the front door get open anyway?
Sometimes they go with us. Sort of a spirit field trip I suppose.
In 1998 My wife and I took on extra jobs. I was managing and bartending at a local hotel bar and my wife was the cocktail waitress. I guess they got lonesome for us. No one at home to pester and all. Maybe just bored. So they started going to work with us. We were at the lounge. It started out small. TV on, TV off. Glasses doing funny stuff, that sort of thing.
We had closed for the night. It was clean up time. I was walking to the kitchen when I heard a noise from the juke box. The pages of cards which show the selections were flipping on their own. Page after page flipped. All in one direction then it would switch and go back the other direction. This was just the start.
They seemed to prefer after hours at the bar. We were cleaning up one night when we decided the small table and chairs would look better if I moved them farther away from the pool table. I moved them over near the dance floor. I proceed to clean the rest of the bar. When I turned around the table and chairs we moved are back in their original position by the pool table.
The next night we decided to mess with them. After closing we rearranged the entire set up in the bar. Tables, chairs everything. Then we went to my office, got our stuff together to go home, and walked out to find everything back where it was originally. What had taken us a couple of hours to do they had accomplished in a few minutes.
We have lived here in the magic spot about 25 years now. I have notebooks full of activity. Notes about ghostly occurrences, sightings, etc. We have never tried photography but being an artist I have done paintings of some of the entities we have here. We also experience really odd weather patterns most often in the winter. Radios and televisions, actually just about any electronic device, is likely to act up when used here. And we have learned more about the history of this area. A local Native American medicine man once told me this place gives him the "willies." Teenagers refer to this place and the surrounding acreage as the "Magic Spot" and have many stories about it.
Over the years we have actually had a good relationship with our ghosts. Though at times mischievous, for the most part they just go about their own business and we do the same. We do at times bump into each other, however. Sometimes it is as much a surprise to them as it is to us. Sometimes it is nice to have them around. Other times it can be quite frightening. I was actually surprised one late one night and it and I streaked off in opposite directions. I don't know which of us was more surprised. They have become as much a part of our home as our family members. It wouldn't be the same without them.