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Catsper, the Friendly Cat Ghost

By Emma Claire Stephens

We should have suspected something when our new house’s previous owners wouldn’t talk to us.

The house in question was perfect. It was everything we wanted. In our family we get feelings about things. We make our decisions by prayer and intuition. And purchasing this house was an excellent decision.

We tried to connect with the current owners after we decided to buy the house from them. We drove by on a Saturday and found them doing yard work. We said hello, expressed our excitement at being the new owners of their lovely house, told them how beautiful we thought it was.

Their response was chilly. We learned they were moving to another house a few blocks away. Their reasons for moving didn’t come up in our terse conversation. They seemed reluctant to tell us anything at all. I can’t even remember their names.

We—my father, mother, and I—had lived in the white house on Holly Road for several months before we noticed anything genuinely odd. New houses always come with new sounds. The floorboard creaked differently than they did in our old home. The doors made different noises when they shut. The pipes had their own unique groan that took some getting used to. For a while my father commented that he thought he heard someone coming up the stairs when he knew he was alone in the house, but the sound always stopped when he called out “HELLO?”

I don’t remember the first time I saw the Cat. We had two cats at the time, both black and white long haired cats that padded about the house between naps. But I kept seeing what I thought was a third cat out of the corner of my eye; a small, sleek black cat that would vanish the moment I turned to look at it. I always saw it in the upstairs hallway that connected the four bedrooms and was open to the two-story foyer.

One night, my parents and I were returning from a dinner out. It was late, and the foyer was shadowy when my father unlocked the front door to let us in. I saw his head jerk up to look at something above us, something behind the railings along that open hallway.

“Did we put the cats up before we left?” he asked suddenly.

“Yes, they’re both in the garage. Why?”

“I’m certain I just saw one of them looking down at me from between the railings. I saw cat’s eyes glowing and little pointed ears.”

“Was it a black cat?” I asked.

My father turned and gave me a strange look. “Yes, it was. I’ve seen it a few times before, but I thought I was just imagining it.”

“You’ve seen it, too?”

We tiptoed up the stairs. No cat.

My father started mentioning strange things he had noticed in the upstairs bedroom at the far left end of the hallway. We had turned it into a study, and father spent his evenings up there balancing family accounts. The room had two small closets on either side of a window facing the back yard. The door of the closet on the left was a bit tricky: you had to lean all your weight down on the handle and quickly turn it for it to open. It was a little crooked in its setting and wouldn’t open without a bit of force. We kept it closed. But occasionally, father would walk into the room and that door would be standing wide open. None of the humans in the family had opened it, and even the more determined of our two cats couldn’t have pried it open. None of our flesh-and-blood cats, anyway.

He also talked about a sourceless draft at his feet where he sat at his desk. He called it an “arctic breeze” that seemed to be blasting across his feet. He would often look under the desk to see if there was a hole in the wall letting the winter air in. There wasn’t so much as a vent in the wall—all of the vents were in the ceiling.

Once I was in the study alone. I was working at my mother’s desk and I could see my father’s desk out of the corner of my eye. I thought I saw a cat walking across the desk. I turned to look—no cat.

I went back to my work. After a few moments, I saw the cat again, this time further along the desk. Closer to me. I looked again, and it wasn’t there.

I tried not to let it get to me. But after I turned my gaze back towards the desk and saw the cat a third time, leaping off the desk and coming towards me, I ran from the room.

Mother never saw the cat, but graciously took my father and me seriously when we’d swap stories and theories about Catsper, our friendly cat ghost. He wasn’t destructive, just a little mischievous, and seemed to enjoy messing with people. No different from a living cat, come to think of it.

Our cats hated him. Catsper sightings occurred exclusively in the study and upstairs hallways. Whenever our cats wandered through that portion of the house, they’d wail, stare horrified into empty space, or frantically run to another corner of the house.

Lest you think we’re crazy, let me tell you that my father and I weren’t the only ones to ever see the cat. We had a house guest for several weeks—a student who stayed in our guest room while she finished up a summer course at a local college. The guest room is on the second floor, right down the hall from the study. We were standing in her doorway one night, having a conversation, when suddenly I saw the cat out of the corner of my eye, sauntering out of the guest room. I looked down.

Our guest did, too. She looked up at me, her eyes wide.

“Did you see it?” I asked.

“A black cat? Yeah, I thought it was one of yours, but—”

“It’s not there.” We hadn’t told her about the ghost cat. She had no reason to expect to see spectral cat wandering around the house. At that point I told her about Catsper, that he seemed to be harmless and probably wouldn’t bother her again.

She slept with the light on for the rest of her stay.

My father speculated that the house’s previous owners decided to sell the house after their little girl (whose bedroom was now our study) woke up in the middle of the night to find a spectral cat curled up on her bed, purring.

The more we saw the cat, the more unnerved we became. I did a little research, and almost every culture’s ghost stories include a kind of ghost that is the ghost of a human that takes the form of a black animal, usually a goat, a horse, a dog, or a cat. There were nights when I heard footsteps in the hallways outside my bedroom door. The footsteps of a man in heavy shoes.

I finally started to get scared. A cat ghost was nothing, but a human ghost—somehow that was far more frightening. The worst a cat can do is look at you funny. Humans can do much more.

As fun as it was to have a ghost in the house, I decided that enough was enough. I asked God to take the cat away in a quiet, late-night prayer when I heard those steps outside my door and saw a fleeting shadow. Whatever Catsper was, it was time for him to go.

We haven’t seen him since. The strange breeze in the study stopped blowing, the closet door never opened of its own accord again, and the cats ambled through that hallway as if there had never been a safer place to walk.

We still don’t know why he was there in the first place. There were no strange neighborhood stories, no whispered legends, no more than the occasional sighting of a silent and spectral black cat. Sometimes we wonder if we ever saw him at all, or if it was just our imaginations.

It’s a good story to tell the house guests, anyway.

Emma Claire Stephens has been blogging for four years. She writes about the ups and downs of college life, occasionally branching out into the realms of property and fiction. When she is not blogging, she is off on adventures with her husband or pursuing an MA in English (though she usually does all three at once). Her blogs are The Risible Rambler (therisiblerambler.wordpress.com) and Liberated (theliberatedblog.wordpress.com).

Sorry guys, this page is copyright MysteriousHeartland.com, 2015. You do not have permission to copy this for any reason. Please learn how to cite your work.

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Comments

  1. Most excellent story my friend. I wonder when I pass, can I come back as a ghost piggy? That would be fun for any new occupants of the Hotel Thompson – snorts. XOXO – Bacon

    Like

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