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Friday, October 31, 2014

The Ghost of Uncle Pete

When I turned twenty-one, I moved into a building and lived there for fourteen years. My parents bought and did a complete renovation on this place which used to be a boarding house. When I entered the building for the first time, I noticed there were numbers on each door, where the prior tenants had lived. They shared a community bathroom and kitchen. It looked to be roach and rat infested but after we gutted it all out and turned it into a palace, I was anxious and ready to move in.

I became comfortable in my new three bedroom apartment, and later inherited roommates. I already had one roommate at the time and we threw a party one night. Two days later, we noticed one of our mutual friends was still there. He had been asleep in one of the bedrooms that whole time. I joked, "well I guess we need to start charging him rent;" and so we did. He just came to our party and never left… seriously.

Throughout my fourteen years of residing on N. Prieur and Dumaine, in the Treme area of town, I, as well as friends noticed things about this dwelling that I initially interpreted as a figment of my imagination. The stereo system would turn on and off by itself; one of the bedroom doors would slam shut at any given time; my Jewelry would move from room to room. Even though, I was sure of taking off my rings and putting them on the coffee table as I fell asleep, watching television; I would awaken bewildered at how they ended up in different rooms of the house.

Instance #1 A male friend of mine visited me one evening and we sat, talking on the sofa. He turned his head and looked to the side, “Sue, I just saw something.”

I was eager and asked him what he saw, but his description was vague. 

Apparently, it was his norm to see apparitions. He explained to me that he was born with a veil covering his face (thin filmy membrane), which is to indicate a sign of having physic abilities. Since I didn't see what he saw, I just left it alone.

Instance #2 My girlfriend visited one night. We sat with the neighbors on their porch. She went upstairs for awhile to my place. The next thing I knew, she hauled butt back down the stairs, yelling, “Sue, why you didn't tell me you had a ghost?”

I asked her what she saw. She explained how she sat on my sofa and glanced at the TV that sat directly in front of her. It was powered off.  “I saw a man, dressed real nice, like in slacks. His legs were crossed, as if he were a classy gentleman. I couldn't see his head in the reflection, I guess, because he was tall.”

At this point, I became spooked. I personally had never actually seen a spirit with my own eyes, but I didn't discount what my friends had seen, since they both said they were born with veils.

Instance #3 One night, I was home alone and asleep. I was awakened by a forceful knock on my bedroom door. It was audibly loud and very clear. I quickly came to and realized that no one should be knocking on my bedroom door, since I was home alone.

I rose up in the bed, “Who’s there?”

No one answered. I got up enough courage to get out of bed, walk across the room and open the door. No one was there. I checked the whole house, even in the bathroom, behind the shower curtain. After all, people lingered at my home following parties. I just needed to be sure.  My adrenaline was at its peak while climbing back into bed. I pulled the covers up to my darting eyes hoping to fall back to sleep. It was miserably hard.

Instance #4 My roommate talked a lot and loved to tell me stories about his life. So, one night I said, “Come in my room and talk me to sleep.”

He sat on the floor, beside my bed and leaned against the wall. He was animated and full of shenanigans. I was fast asleep in no time. The next thing I heard was, “Sue, get off me!”

He repeatedly barked, until I said, “I’m not on you, fool”.

When he came to his senses, he saw that I was still in bed and had been awakened by him screaming at me.

“Somebody was lying on top of me,” He said.

I recalled that same feeling a couple times during the night myself. My roommate then joked that if it wasn't me that was on top of him, it had to be a ghost. He took the joke further by saying the ghost was homosexual, since he too was. He knew nothing of the past experiences in that house. He was my newest roommate.

One day his work shoes came up missing and he accused me of knowing their whereabouts, when I did not. Things just would not stay where you put them. We searched high and low for his shoes at six o’ clock in the morning. They started off in his room but ended up in mine.

At first, I attributed all of the floating clothes and jewelry episodes to me sleep-walking, since I was told by my siblings that I had a sleep-walking episode when I was ten. The four of us shared a room and they watched me get out of bed, walk across the room, retrieve the trash can, walk back over to my bed, dump the trash in the bed, walk back across the room to return the trash can back to its rightful place. So, of course I thought for a long time it was me, moving around the items until the most amazing thing happened.

(I get chills every time I tell this story)

I had a car accident in my Mazda RX 7. It was totaled. I parked across the street from my home, in my Dad’s church parking lot. One day a guy pulled up and asked me if he could buy parts off my car. He said he had the exact same car as mine. I was like wow; cool… because I had planned to trash the car.

After a few visits of buying parts from me, he invited me to ride with him to Biloxi Mississippi to his friend’s house to put the parts on his car; where it had been parked for months. I agreed to go. 

When we arrived, I met his friend and his friend’s wife. Right away, I was drawn to her southern-belle demeanor. She invited me to make myself at home, and so I did.

She handed me a beverage, “So, you from New Orleans, huh?”

I smiled, “Yep, I sure am.”

She slid deeper into her sofa cushion, “Where bout, I used to live in New Orleans?”

“Prieur and Dumaine,” I told her, appreciating my drink, one sip at a time.

Her tone escalated, “Prieur and Dumaine; in that upstairs building?

I was surprised that she knew of it immediately. My eyebrows rose to the top of my forehead, “Yeah, you know it?”

She sat up in her seat, leaning in toward me. Her head tilted to the side and became stuck in that position, “You live in that boarding house?”

“It’s not a boarding house anymore. We transformed it into a palace,” I said.

(What I heard next blew my mind)

“My father and his brother Pete both lived there. Their rooms were right across from each other,” She said. “As a matter of fact, my uncle Pete passed away in that building.”

My expression was that of a deer caught in headlights.
Unbelievable, I thought.

I became uncomfortable as every hair on my body stood at attention, “What?”

She went on to share details of their lives when they resided in my building. I felt an overwhelming chill overtake me that I couldn't shake. She listened intently, as I, in turn shared stories of my experiences in the house. When I got to the part of my girlfriend seeing a man in the television set with his arm around her, wearing slacks, she said, “Girl, my Uncle Pete used to love to dress. He was dressed up every time you saw him.”

I almost fell off my sofa cushion. I wasn't sure whether to be relieved that the mystery was finally solved, or to be afraid to go home.

On the ride back to New Orleans, I couldn't stop talking about my conversation with Caroline. My friend and I were both stunned; me especially.

When I arrived home, I told my roommate that I discovered who the ghost of the Prieur Palace was. I referred to him as Uncle Pete.

My roommate was theatrical, not to mention a flaming queen. He stomped through the house screaming obscenities, “Uncle Pete, you better stop stealing my Goddamn shoes and climbing on top of people in the middle of the night; aint nobody got time for that shit.”

“Whoa…whoa,” I said. “Don’t do that! You’re gonna make him angry.

His antics continued. Now, I was officially frightened. I too went through the house speaking to Uncle Pete; of course, in a nice way, trying to put out fires that my roommate had potentially ignited. So far, Uncle Pete had only antagonized us and I wanted to keep it that way. I explained to Uncle Pete that I had met his lovely niece Caroline and that I liked her very much.

I also prayed over my house for protection.

After that, Uncle Pete seemed calm in spirit and antagonized me less and less. I would sometimes find myself waiting for him to make a move but to my recollection, if he did move, it was so remote that I didn't notice.

I went on to live in that building several years after my discovery, until Hurricane Katrina ran me out of town.

It is now October 31, 2014 (Halloween). To this day, whenever I tell this story, I get chills. People have tried to help me make sense of the occurrences. Some thought it was my imagination; others said I probably slept-walked. Some thought it was God’s way of showing me that I was living abominably due to the fact that I threw parties and lived with homosexuals. Others were adamant that Ghosts simply don’t exist.

New Orleans is known for a variety of things and being haunted is just one of the many.

All I know is, what my friends and I experienced, was real. These things really happened. 

If it was the spirit of Uncle Pete, may he rest in peace...


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