It is strange when you move into an old house in an unfamiliar town and country. Italy, 15th century…can you even imagine what it would be like to live then?
Arriving in Lucca, Italy, last month felt exciting. The old building was crumbling on the outside and the floor tiles were cracked and loose. Sure, there were some updates, but this place, built so long ago definitely had some tales to tell. We were told that it had served as a hospital at one time, which caused some to ask about ghosts. Turns out it was not a place where surgeries (and perhaps deaths) had occurred, but more like what we would call a hostel for people arriving, or coming through, with no place to stay. (The view out of our bedroom window to the back of the house.)
12 to 15 foot ceilings, old period furniture, heavily bolted front door…those things mixed with high-speed Internet, bidets and refrigeration! A unique place, for sure.
Planning to stay a month and really become part of the tapestry of this old town, we settled in and went about getting familiar with people, places and things. We wanted to find a favorite restaurant, coffee shop, market…oh, and gelato!
About two weeks in, I awoke in the middle of the night to a young, 20-something –aged, girl peering at me from the foot of the bed. Her lips were pursed in a slightly open “oh” statement, her hands were folded in front and she leaned in to examine me. I am sure I was strange to her. I looked at her and we exchanged not a word…then she was gone.
Frightening? Not to me, but I was certainly curious! Who was she? What did she want? Had she lived here? What took her so long to say “hello” to me…or anyone, for that matter? Though others scoffed at my recount of this visit, I was sure there was some connection to the past.
Our landlord, Duccio, was a most kind person and visited us frequently, whether to advise how to run the unfamiliar appliances or to deliver little gifts like jam. He happened to arrive that morning. Coincidence? I could not resist telling him about the girl.
After getting up and getting around that morning, I had noticed a painting in the bedroom. The grandfather of Duccio was a painter and art professor. I had not particularly noticed the picture of a young girl in our room, as the house was full of paintings on every wall. Many were of Duccio as a boy and other family members. I looked at the face of this girl and felt sure it was the one who had visited me. Could it be?
Given my complete inability to speak Italian and Duccio’s broken English, I began to describe the girl. Finally, I took Duccio to the bedroom and showed him the girl on the wall. He explained as best he could that the girl was not a relative, but indeed the daughter of a veterinarian who was a student of his grandfather. I am no artist, but I had drawn a sketch of the girl I saw at the foot of the bed. I showed it to Duccio and he actually placed it in the corner of the frame of the child’s picture, implying that it could well be the same person!
Duccio didn’t seem to know much about the girl. I now wish I could know more! I sought answers from the universe, or whatever/whomever you might believe in, as to the reason the girl showed up. My gut instinct was purely curiosity. I am sure all of us staying in the house were strange to her! Other than my instinct, the message I received was that she wanted to be loved and acknowledged. I wonder what her life was like.
To me, this is not a frightening story, but to some, it would be very disconcerting to wake up to someone looking at them during the night. Even your child, who tiptoes in because they are afraid, scares you when you wake and they are just standing there looking at you.
I have had other encounters, if you will, but always a friendly spirit. How do you feel about this? Would you be calm or frightened? Perhaps you are like others, who think that I imagined seeing this young woman because I saw the girl in the picture first. I would be totally honest, if that were the case. It is not. Also, the girl in the picture did not arrive as painted…it was her older self.
In this time of Halloween, ghosts and goblins, perhaps this story stirs some thoughts. If you have time and the inclination, I would be happy to hear from you.
Trick or Treat!