Personal Encounters

A Visitor from the Past

A Visitor from the Past (Simi Valley, California)


The author’s grandparents, Charles N. Ackley & Mary Katherine Bogan, Wedding Day, 31 December 1903, Camden, NJst (Simi Valley, California)

When I was 15 years old I was awakened one night with the uneasy feeling that someone was in my room. I sat up, saw nothing, so went to the bathroom and got a drink of water. I got back into bed and just as I lay down the feeling returned. As terrified as I was I opened my eyes and looked towards the foot of my bed, where I saw a lovely woman in a long old-fashioned dress and hat watching me. She wasn’t threatening and had a small smile on her face, but her eyes looked so sad. I was torn between fear and fascination, but fear won out and I screamed, waking up the whole household. My parents came running in to see what was wrong. I told them what I had just seen and it was a comfort when they didn’t try to pooh-pooh my experience. After they managed to calm me down I was able to go back to sleep.

I pretty much forgot about it when a few weeks later a package arrived for my dad from his eldest sister, who was still living in the family’s home state of New Jersey. Dad opened the package and we found it full of very old family photos. As he came to what was obviously an old wedding photo I excitedly started to point and shout… “That’s her! That’s the woman who was standing at the foot of my bed, in those exact same clothes!” Dad turned over the photo to see if it identified the man and woman in the photo. Before he could tell us who they were dad started to cry. He was 58 years old and this was the first time in his life, since he was a baby, that he had laid eyes on the face of his mother. She died in 1922 in Camden, New Jersey when dad was only 18 months old, so he had no memories of what she looked like. It was a wedding photo, taken in December 1903, of my dad’s parents. – Cindy Ackley Nunn


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