Monsters in the Closet and Other Scary Stuff

“I can’t sleep with the closet door open.”

I made this statement on one of the rare occasions when the entire Kramer family was gathered together. My mother looked at me as if I was completely insane and said, “Really? You’re kidding!”

“No, I’m not. I’m afraid of monsters in the closet. I know they aren’t really there, but I can’t help being afraid.”

My mother continued to scoff.

Much to my surprise my older sister (Deb) who you haven’t met often, and my older brother (Steve) who you have, jumped to my defense.

“I know exactly why she’s afraid,” Deb said. “It was because of Grandma’s house.”

“Yeah,” Steve agreed. “The door with the glass doorknob.”

My mom looked at us all strangely. “What are you talking about?”

So we explained.

When my grandparents were alive we would go visit them in Belmar, New Jersey. My grandparents passed away within a few months of each other when I was about 6 years old, so my memories of them are limited. My sister is 5 years older than me, so she probably has clearer memories, but we rarely talk about them. Perhaps we should.

When we visited my grandparents the kids all stayed in one room. A small double bed filled one side of the room, and a cot lay opposite for the third little body. We alternated who would sleep in the double and who would sleep in the cot. You might think we all wanted the cot, but you would be wrong. Why?

Because the cot was right next to the scariest door in the world. The one with the glittery, diamond-shaped door knob.


I’m not sure where the door led. I always thought it led to the attic (shudder) but someone told me it was just a closet. When it was my turn, I would lie in that cot, the door knob inches from my non-sleeping eyes convinced that at any moment the door knob would turn from unseen hands and open to suck me into a terrifying nightmare.

We were all afraid of the door knob.

“Why didn’t you say something?” Mom asked. “Grandma would have done something.”

“We were kids, Mom,” My sister answered.

But I think it was deeper than that, I think we didn’t say anything because nobody would have believed us anyway. We would have received the same reaction then as we did on this day, nearly 40 years later.

I am convinced that my grandparent’s house had its ghosts, even if they were simply the ghosts of our imagination. I am also convinced that, if I have ever really been visited by ghosts, the visitations have come from my grandparents, my nana (Dad’s mother) and possibly a man we called Cousin Lou who may or may not actually be my relative. All I remember about him is the giant red teddy bear with the flowered belly that he gave me after winning it from the fair.

When did they visit? I will try to remember some of the occasions that add to my belief in the power of spirit, as I discussed yesterday.

  • When Nana passed away, a bird got into my brother’s tiny bedroom somehow. My mom claims the window was open, but I remember it being closed. Even if it was open, this had never happened before. Birds, in Jewish folklore, can represent a “winged soul.” This particular bird was extremely important as it got into the room a few minutes before we got the phone call saying Nana had just passed away. I will always believe Nana came to say good-bye.
  • I used to have a recurring dream that took place at my grandparents house. Sometimes we would go down into the basement of the house (a basement that I really don’t have a memory of). Usually my grandparents aren’t there, at least not visibly, but I hear their voices talking to me and telling me something. I might just pass these off as dreams except for something I learned much later in life, Deb and Steve both used to have similar dreams.
  • In a similar way, Cousin Lou often visited me in dreams of my Nana’s house, although not as often.
  • There is one day that I know all my ancestors were with me in spirit; the day I became a Bat Mitzvah. I remember the day starting out cloudy, threatening rain. This upset me, as I wanted a beautiful day. But, by the time the Friday evening ceremony rolled around, the sun shone in glorious April beauty. A gift from my loved ones. When I stood on the Bima to read my haftorah, my stomach jiggled with a million butterflies. There was a certain part of the complex Hebrew text that always sounded like something else to me. I can’t remember exactly what, but it was something like “we love you” or another comforting phrase like that. It was early on in my chanting, and as soon as I hit the phrase my heart filled with warmth and I knew that the people who would have most celebrated that day (my grandparents were Orthodox Jews) were there with me, with glowing golden smiles on their faces. My Mom said she saw me smile then. I continued with a strong voice, and was even invited back to repeat the haftorah the following year.

Of course, this could all have been the workings of a very imaginative child, but who knows? Most bumps and creaks in the night can be easily explained away, but once in a while you experience a mystery that adds to the awesome complexities of life.

So forgive me if I close my closet door before I go to sleep. You never know when something unexpected might come out.

26 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. 1959duke
    Oct 16, 2011 @ 11:35:55

    I know what you mean!


  2. Barbarann Ayars
    Oct 16, 2011 @ 11:41:33

    First, let me tell you that I have seen the commercial that contains the shot of your blog page. You do know about that, don’t you? So it’s not a ghost thing or a memory flash, it’s very real and very quick. You know that one? Tell me you know that one. Tell me I’m just late to the party.

    My brother and I slept in twins beds in the same room with a night table and a light between us. The shade had a fullly masted ship scene on it. No big deal. Except when the light was turned off, there was a skull and crossbones on the topsail whic glowed in the dark and scared the dickens out of us. Our parents thought (as usual) we were nuts. We’d lie there in the dark and stare bug eyed at it. We stoppped telling Mom and Dad because they didn’t believe us. But it was there, like your door knob. A tiny little skull and crossbones. Scary.

    My mother dreamed about a white dove a few months before she died. Her lore said that is a harbinger of your own death.


    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Oct 16, 2011 @ 15:16:31

      I am a little creeped out. First because your story is creepy and your mom getting a sign of her own death is spooky. But I’m more creeped out about a commercial that I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT. Please fill me in. I think I’ll e-mail you.


      • Barbarann Ayars
        Oct 16, 2011 @ 20:42:28

        I was watching last night since I mute all commercials, but nearly came out of my seat when I saw your WWW logo design scrolling by in a montage of many websites, maybe or some collection of something, and later in the evening the commercial ran again, same thing, for which i was thankful because I then was certain I saw what i thought I saw. It’s a business seevice or supplies service advert and you can guess I don’t know what it was. S….& P? I’ll watch for it now that I know you don’t know of it and nail it down. Nothing says on the commercial that it’s your site….has nothing to do with Lisa Kramer, it’s not advertising you, but it’s that it’s caught in the subject material that flashes by and so I recognized it as would anyone who visit you online. Stop gnashing your teeth….I didn’t really think you didn’t know about it. I’ll see it again.


        • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
          Oct 16, 2011 @ 21:13:57

          Thanks. Just let me know. I don’t have tv so I have no way of finding out beyond searching for it on the web.



          • Barbarann Ayars
            Oct 16, 2011 @ 21:27:02

            it’s your old sketch, your Woman is wearing that peachy pink dress, not this new blue one. Am I weirding you out? We were watching PBS last night, and they don’t advertise, of course, since we pay their bill. I can’t recall if we were watching something before or something after, but I’ll figure it out and find it again.


            • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
              Oct 16, 2011 @ 21:44:39

              That sounds strange. She’s always been blue. i don’t know. But, I do actually get PBS (good ole rabbit ears) so I’ll watch for it too.


              • Barbarann Ayars
                Oct 17, 2011 @ 08:09:04

                Okay, it turns out we think we were watching the Cooking Channel, the program was bitchin’ kitchen, with that crazy funny girl, and perhaps the sponsor is just of her show, which is on Saturday nights at 10 or 10:30 and the new show will air on Wednesday November 2, don’t know what time.

                Still think it’s yours. Nothing else looks the same. I’ll keep watching for the advert.


                • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
                  Oct 17, 2011 @ 08:35:27

                  I’m so intrigued, but I’m not going to worry about it. 😉 If you do see it, let me know.


  3. Rose
    Oct 16, 2011 @ 13:11:09

    It’s the simplest things that can be the scariest sometimes – like a glass doorknob where your imagination and eerie tensions take you to an entirely different place. Your story of the bird is my favourite. I think that would have given me great comfort. I can’t say I’ve had any such experiences but my mom and a close friend often see or know things in a way that is very powerful for them.


    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Oct 16, 2011 @ 15:14:38

      I have heard a lot of stories of family members saying goodbye, and I always find them intriguing.


  4. Taochild
    Oct 16, 2011 @ 15:34:49

    My first reaction to this (and incidentally mom’s too) was “How did she get a picture of the doorknob?” Freaked me out it did! My recurring dream was not exactly the same, but I will keep silent on it because it may become a scen in my boom 😀 The bird incident could be expanded upon, and I might make it into a blog post in the near future!


    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Oct 16, 2011 @ 16:33:33

      I know your dreams weren’t exactly the same, but similar. That’s eerie enough. I’m so good I traveled back in time to take a picture of the doorknob. 😉


  5. Mark Petruska
    Oct 16, 2011 @ 17:10:19

    Love this post. I’m a big believer in all things paranormal, and the bird story is especially intriguing. I’ve experienced things too that have me convinced my dead relatives were paying me a visit.

    Oh, and those glass doorknobs are considered collectibles nowadays and are worth quite a bit of money!


    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Oct 16, 2011 @ 17:39:12

      If I actually had one I’d be torn between fear of selling it because it might be haunted, and the urge to get that money. 😉

      Both my brother and my mother say that the picture I chose is indeed the correct doorknob. Eerie.


  6. jfb57
    Oct 17, 2011 @ 03:51:59

    I had a similar though not as extensive experience when I stayed with my brother. I used to sleep on a bed settee in the lounge and had a real battle with the clock tick. I also never worked out the shadow that was there. In the morning, I couldn’t see that shape anywhere!


    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Oct 17, 2011 @ 08:37:54

      That’s always the creepiest, when you know you see something in the night and you cannot explain the weird shadow in any logical way.


  7. LittleMissVix
    Oct 17, 2011 @ 07:32:13

    It’s amazing how something that happened when you were young has stayed with you like that. Don’t be scared Lisa!


    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Oct 17, 2011 @ 08:36:54

      I’m not scared so much as fascinated. Of course, Sarah coming into my room and standing by my bed in the middle of the night last night nearly gave me a heart attack. At least this time she didn’t reach her cold little hands out to touch me saying , Mommy, Mom-mee as she has in the past. Talk about spooky. 😉


  8. Barbarann Ayars
    Oct 17, 2011 @ 08:14:08

    About six weeks after my mother died, I heard her in the hallway clearly saying my name. Not whispering, not eery, just my name. Clear. Woke me right up, saying “Mama?” I didn’t dream this. Mentioning it a year later to a friend whose Mom had just died, she called me to tell me she had the identical event. Mom saying…not calling…there’s a difference…her name clear as a bell, outside the room where she was reading. And know what? It just didn’t seem weird at all, to either of us. Comforting, somehow. Not weird.Nothing more. Just our names. Don’t even ask me to explain.


    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Oct 17, 2011 @ 08:34:58

      I’m sure that in both instances your mothers were just trying to let you know that everything was okay. You should read The Medium Next Door, it shares a lot of moments like the ones you described.


  9. Dana
    Oct 23, 2011 @ 23:09:37

    When my great grandmother passed away, her son was out working. When he got home a few hours later (they lived in the same house), the digital clock in the kitchen was flashing the numbers for the exact time she died… and it wasn’t “12:00”.

    I have no idea how that could happen, but it gives me the chills every time I think about it.


  10. tricia driscoll
    Oct 26, 2011 @ 09:41:46

    I can see why the door knob would hold some mystique- of course a magic door would have a fantastical door knob! I think, of all the incidences, the one that would creep me out the most is the similarity of your relative’s dreams. That’s just unnatural! Thanks for linking up at the Blog-Hop!


    • Lisa Wields Words
      Oct 26, 2011 @ 09:52:12

      It would have been cool if the doorknob led to another world like Narnia, but alas, it only to our fears. I don’t know details of my siblings dreams, only that they have had time. Spooky.


  11. Trackback: My Spooky Fascination « Woman Wielding Words

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