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"I think it is a ghost or a haunting spirit that chooses to stay here."
"A lot of times I say, 'Okay, I can tell that you're here. As long as you're nice, you can stay!'"
"The whole time I'm here I get creeped out because it just feels like somebody is watching you."
All of the above statements have been made about a particular building in Hume, Va., a town in Fauquier County where wounded Civil War soldiers used to come for treatment.
The building is an old log cabin on a horse farm. The cabin is owned by Darlene Felton; she's the one above who's been known to speak to whatever ghostly presence may be sharing the house with her. Felton bought the cabin from Heather Freeman in 2006; Freeman is the one who believes in that "ghost or haunting spirit."
And the person who gets so "creeped out" by the house is Kari An Behrens, Felton's friend and occasional house sitter. And as a house sitter, Behrens has had her share of, how shall we say, curious incidents in the nighttime. Like when Felton and her husband went on their first long vacation in five years and Behrens was watching the horses and house.
"It was kind of hot in here when I came home from feeding the horses," Behrens recalls. "So I went out all over the house and I opened up windows. I fell asleep on the couch, and I woke up, and it was like midnight, and I was getting ready to go upstairs, and I went to go shut the windows and they were already shut. So needless to say, I didn't sleep all night!"
Or the time she did sleep all night, but upon rising, she found something a bit off about the shelf of figurines at the bottom of the stairs.
"I went to go to bed one night, and as I was walking past the horse figurines the one carousel horse was knocked over," she recounts. "So I picked it up and leaned it up against another horse. And then when I came down in the morning, it was upside-down!"
Behrens says she always hesitated to tell Felton these stories. But it turns out the women have actually shared some enigmatic experiences - of an olfactory nature. Both of them have noticed this "tacky smell" of "flowery perfume." Behrens has smelled the perfume outside, and Felton has smelled it in the master bedroom upstairs.
While Felton and Behrens may be the only ones who say they've smelled perfume, they're not the only ones to say they've heard plenty of odd noises. Heather Freeman recalls many instances where she heard odd creaking from the floorboards on the second floor. One night in particular truly stands out in her memory.
She was in the master bedroom with her husband, when he woke her up with his snoring. Unable to resume her sleep, she left the master bedroom and went across the hall to the guest room.
"So the door is shut, like this," she demonstrates as she stands in the room in question. "And I'm lying in the bed, and I hear [these shuffling footsteps] coming down the hall.
"And they just kept coming, and it would slow down, and it'd keep coming. And then, I heard [the doorknob turn]. And the door, that's very hard to open, opened!"
At which point — snoring be damned — Freeman scampered back to her husband, and didn't get up until morning.
Freeman also tells about the time she had someone watching over the cabin, while she and her husband were away.
"We had a beautiful mirror over the fireplace mantle. And [our house sitter] said one night she heard a huge crash and the mirror wasn't just laying flat as if it had fallen off the wall. It was clear on the other side of the room, smashed up where the sofa was. And there's no way that falling, it could have winded up over there!"
But here's the thing about that corner where the mirror ended up. According to "intuitive adviser" Elizabeth LeBlanc, a spiritual medium, that corner was a very special place for someone who used to reside in the house.
As she sits in a leather chair in that very corner, she says she senses "this was a favorite corner. But it's like the person, with all due respect, doesn't want to look at the view, because it's changed so much. It seems like everything's just in the way."
LeBlanc gets this same message, this same feeling, when we visit the master bedroom upstairs -- the one where Darlene Felton smelled that flowery perfume.
"It's like a cantankerous man, who's saying, 'I built this house, I put this together,'" she says. "So I think it would be hard to feel like it was yours as much as he's indicating to me, if you didn't have a hand in the making of it. And he's very particular about how it's kept."
Records do indicate the cabin has changed a ton since it was built, presumably in the 19th century — sun porches have been tacked on, staircases have been taken away. The room just above the living room was added several tenants ago; prior to that, the living room was two stories high. And from what LeBlanc is sensing, this "cantankerous man" isn't exactly delighted with the changes.
"But who listens to him anyway?" she asks. "Except when he works to get their attention! And I'm not really sure what he does, but I think when he wants your attention, he gets your attention!
And he's certainly gotten the attention of Darlene Felton, Heather Freeman and Kari An Behrens. The women all have their share of tales involving disrupted living. Or, as Freeman attests, disrupted moving-in.
"The move-in van broke down on the way here," she says. "And it was late fall, heading into winter. And when we got here, the home inspector missed that they had the gas furnace hooked up incorrectly, and so the gas was pouring into the house!"
But she isn't the only one whose move-in seemed cursed. If you ask Felton about her move-in day, she responds with one of those laugh-so-you-don't-cry chuckles.
"One of the movers wasn't careful with the upstairs bathroom, and we ended up losing the kitchen ceiling because it overflowed," Felton recalls. "And all of our boxes were here in the kitchen, so it was like Niagara Falls over all of our boxes!"
Now, whether all these accidents and aromas and inexplicable bumps, crashes and creaks actually are the work of a cantankerous guy with a "Get Off My Lawn" attitude... well, we'll probably never know.
But in the meantime, while Behrens feels a bit iffy about the cabin, especially sleeping in it ("I started taking Benadryl at night!" she confesses), Freeman says it feels good to visit the place.
"I never had any encounters where I feared for my life with a ghost. I did have a fright, but it's a charming house," she says.
And as for Felton, while Behrens is constantly saying, "'I don't know how you live here,' I say, 'Well, I'm not afraid.' I guess if I was afraid, I'd leave. But I'm not afraid yet."
As for why she isn't afraid, she says she's not sure. "I don't know. I can't explain it. I guess you'd be more afraid if you didn't believe in it. I know it sounds backwards. But I definitely believe in that kind of thing."
[Music: "Edward Scissorhands Theme" by Danny Elfman from Edward Scissorhands Soundtrack]
MC: Haunted Hume