For many people, Halloween is all about scary ghosts and other creepy, undead things appearing in dark places to scare the bejesus out of folks, but living with the roaming spirits of the departed has become run-of-the-mill for two Central Whidbey residents.
Brandi Malloy and Jennifer D’Haene said the unexplained occurrences at their respective residences no longer make them nervous.
“Whatever it is, it seems to be benign,” Malloy said.
Malloy and her family have been living in her parents’ former house, located on the old Van Dam farm, for more than a decade. She and her oldest son repeatedly see what appears to be the shadow of a tall, thin man. It usually moves past them quickly and disappears.
For the family, the unworldly happenings were disconcerting at first but later became rather routine.
D’Haene described a similar progression as she explained that she, her husband and her daughter often hear muffled radio sounds at night. The sounds don’t exactly surprise the Crockett Lake area resident, because it’s her late grandmother’s former house, and her ancestor loved to listen to radio talk shows at night.
D’Haene originally thought her children were sneaking out of their rooms to watch TV, but she never found anyone or anything turned on when she ventured out of her bedroom to investigate. D’Haene said she’s also often awoken by the feeling of a cat jumping on the bed, which is likely another legacy of her feline-loving grandmother.
Malloy’s spirits also have quirky habits. She said overnight guests have reported smelling food cooking in the middle of the night when everyone was asleep. She has noticed on numerous occasions that her youngest child’s toys will suddenly knock over or start to make noise.
“I don’t get a bad feeling from it,” Malloy said. “I figure whatever it is just liked the house or that area of the island.”
The most striking moment, which she admitted did freak her out, occurred several years ago. Her son, who was about 12 at the time, was sitting in her room watching TV one night. She stepped outside to take the dog on a walk and briefly saw out of the corner of her eye the shadow of the thin, tall man come out of the house’s side door and briskly move past her.
It was dark outside, so she brushed it off as a trick of the eyes.
When she went back inside, however, she found her son still in her room with an odd expression. Without telling him of her experience outside, she asked what was wrong. He replied that he’d seen a tall, shadowy figure walk into the room past him and into a bathroom that leads to the same side door she had seen a figure exit from.
This was one of the first times she’d confirmed that someone else had seen something similar to what she’d been seeing.
D’Haene had one of her less positive paranormal experiences as a teenager in the Bon Air community of Central Whidbey. The old house she’d lived in with her mother had been barged over from Seattle in the 1950s, and the whole neighborhood would sometimes give her the “willies.”
One evening, she was sitting in the passenger seat as her mother pulled out of the driveway. D’Haene looked back at their house and suddenly saw a face, with no body, in the window.
“It was an angry face,” D’Haene said. “You get a feeling.”
The teenager didn’t say anything at the time, but suddenly her mother slammed the brakes.
“She saw it too,” D’Haene said.
That was the moment the mother and daughter shared stories about the odd phenomena they’d been witnessing since moving into that house in the late 1980s.
D’Haene and Malloy said they’d both believed in ghosts prior to their haunted house experiences. D’Haene said she’d grown up into “spiritual stuff” and her mother was a believer.