By Debra J. White
The following essay was submitted in response to our call for true ghost stories.
January 6, 1994 started out as an ordinary day in my ordinary life in upstate New York. An afternoon walk with my two dogs, Judy and Maxine, didn’t end well. A careless driver ran me over, leaving me in a ditch, bloodied and unconscious. At the end of a two-month hospital stay, I returned home to a vastly different world. Gone were parts of my mobility and memory. I was no longer employable. In the first few weeks after I returned home, I did jigsaw puzzles to pass the time. Walking was arduous, my memory was shaky, and I was bored. I had worked since the age of 16. At 39, I wasn’t prepared to lose my career.
Chilly weather had smothered much of upstate New York that winter. All the windows in my house were sealed shut to keep out the cold, as they had been since September.
I sat in the living room piecing together a jigsaw puzzle. I felt content. My dogs rested comfortably nearby on fluffy pillows. I sipped from a mug of hot tea. Classical music played on the radio. Then, the inside door of the mudroom blew open. I stored my coats, hats, boots, etcetera in the mudroom. When the door opened, I felt tingling, as if someone else was in the room. Who could it be? What was happening? The door had never opened like that before.
I grabbed my cane to inspect the outside door, which remained closed. This couldn’t be a Shirley MacLaine episode of Out on a Limb, so I tried to logically explain how and why the inside door suddenly popped open. My dogs jumped up from a sound sleep and stared at the open door with tails curled between their legs. Then, they hustled into the back room. Nothing made sense so I returned to the couch and resumed working on the puzzle. I was a bit scared but it’s not like I could run away. I’d lost a lot of mobility and memory due to brain trauma from the accident.
Then, my heart bounced around like a ball on full-court press. The lid to my Snausages dog treat jar on the kitchen counter opened and it played its greeting, “Snausages, Snausages.” I had saved enough coupons from the popular dog snack to qualify for a free canister that I still have all these years later. Every time the top was lifted, the greeting played “Snausages, Snausages.” It was impossible, just impossible, for the lid to lift on its own. With jittery knees, I approached the kitchen, not sure who or what I would find. Nothing was there but the open canister repeating “Snausages” over and over until I put the lid down. Okay, that was it. I’d heard stories of visitors from the beyond making contact in all kinds of ways, even with our pets. Instead of freaking out, I was convinced that my late father, who died in 1992 from lung cancer, was trying to let me know I’d find my way now that I was disabled. Why my father? I don’t know, but I just felt that way. My dad also had a brain disorder (Alzheimer’s) and a strong connection to his dog, Buffy. He would’ve loved the Snausages canister, had he been alive. Although I cannot prove my dad paid me a visit that wintry day in 1994, there is no doubt in my brain-damaged mind that I witnessed an unexplained event. Some friends didn’t believe the story. They said my mind played tricks as a result of the car accident. The Snausages canister, however, opened by itself, as did the inside living room door, which had been securely closed. Some things in life have no logical explanations. I experienced one that day.
A 1994 car accident ended Debra White’s career due to brain trauma. She re-invented herself through volunteer work and writing. Debra wrote for magazines, literary journals, reviewed books, contributed book chapters and wrote a book for TFH Publications. Her website is http://www.debrawhite.org