Friends know we have a ghost in our home. Our mischievous spirit shows up in our garden photos, is an art critic who knocks paintings and pictures from walls, and now…now it appears she prefers cats over dogs. Specifically, she loves Guinness the cat.
My husband and I have been suffering with colds for the past four days. For the past three nights, we’ve been sleeping two floors apart; Kevin in the basement bedroom, and I in our upstairs bedroom.
As usual, Sunny the border collie sleeps at the side of our bed. Guinness is allowed in the bedroom only if he settles down to sleep, because if he decides he wants to play, he’ll chew through our phone cords and pounce on us throughout the night. He is a little rascal.
Last night, Guinness jumped up on the bed. When I slid my legs under the covers, he started pouncing on my feet and then galloped over to the bedside to ‘gargoyle’ Sunny. ‘Gargoyle Guinness’ hangs over the bedside and torments the dog; the dog began to whine, and as usual, by that point, I’ve had enough. I picked up Guinness, opened the bedroom door, and gently tossed him out. I closed the door, listening for the click that means it is closed tight.
A couple of hours later, I woke up. I felt a warm body against the back of my legs. I thought it was Sunny, who does often get up on the bed in the early morning hours. It was a comfortable feeling, and I dozed off. Moments later, I awoke to the sound of one of Sunny’s ‘old dog’ groans. He wasn’t beside me at all; rather, he was in his original spot at the side of the bed. What?!
Guinness! It was Guinness who was fast asleep, curled up against the back of my knees. I opened my eyes to discover the bedroom door was open about a foot wide. Now, Guinness is smart, but he’s neither tall enough nor smart enough to turn the door handle. And when that door closes with a click, it can’t be pushed open by any force.
Here we go again, I chuckled to myself. See, last week we were in bed; I was reading, Kevin was sleeping, and Sunny was in his bedside position. I watched the door suddenly open wide, then gently close. No wind, no draft, no cat.
We’re not scared by these occurrences, we just sigh and think, ‘Nancy again’. Nancy was the previous owner of our old house, the architect of our garden, and by all accounts she was a wonderful force to be reckoned with. She undoubtedly loved this house, and we believe her spirit is still here.
Wait, there’s more. Last night’s Guinness incident brought to mind something else that happened a few weeks ago. And Kevin, the rational skeptic, mentioned it first.
Guinness, being a mischievous little monkey, has destroyed all his food containers. He’s knocked them from shelves, he’s chewed through bags, and so a couple of months ago we bought a Vittles Vault for his dry food. (Vittles Vaults are just that; once filled with food, they are heavy and impossible to get into without two hands and opposable thumbs).
Kevin feeds Guinness each morning. He opens the vault, scoops out and pours the food into the cat food bowl, and replaces the lid. Sometimes he even screws the lid so tight that I must use extra force to open it.
One morning, Kevin stopped to feed Guinness only to discover that the Vittles Vault was open, and the lid was lying beside the canister. He was shocked. He later tried to explain to me that Guinness had figured out how to open the container and advised me to ensure I tighten it upon closing.
Now, neither of us really believed that Guinness could have opened it on his own; he might be cunning, but he has neither the strength nor opposable thumbs to do so.
When I described last night’s events, Kevin said, straight-faced, “It must have been Nancy. Nancy loves Guinness.”
As two mischievous beings, I believe they've created a bond; one, a crazy, curious feline who gets into everything, and an enabler from the other side, a force of nature who loves her home enough to live in it for all time.
We recently commissioned a portrait of our little home, and in the details one might just spot a cat and a sparkling shadow or two. The painting is called "Love Grows Here". And Nancy's spirit thrives here, with a little help from her feline co-conspirator. Guinness can see her, can you?
About the Creator
I live with a broken brain and PTSD--but that doesn't stop me! I'm an author, artist, and qualified mediator who loves life's detours.
I co-authored NOT CANCELLED: Canadian Kindness in the Face of COVID-19. I also publish horror stories.