Saturday, April 10, 2004

The Legend of the Rose Ghost

Back in the mid-1800's, a couple from South Carolina decided to make their fortune by hunting gold out west. James & Phamey Tiller loaded all their possessions into their old wagon, hitched up their cattle and off they went. After traveling for months, they came to a spot that appeased them both: there were mountains sure to be hiding gold for James to prospect and the grand valley at the foot of these mountains was lovely enough for Phamey to live in. James set about building a house for his wife and after it was completed, he set off to prospect. The one thing that Phamey loved more than anything was her roses. She had a large rose garden on the east side of her house where she spent most of her time tending the flowers. Her husband used to tease her, saying she smelled like roses because she spent so much time with them. They lived there for almost two years when one night James came home. He stumbled through the door, carrying a saddlebag full of gold. He told Phamey an amazing story of finding a hidden cache left by Spanish explorers who were hiding from the inquisition. James, however, wasn't the only one who knew about this cache and there were many people after him for it. In fact, he was already wounded; a shot had hit him in the back while he was riding for his life with the treasure. He knew he was dying and he warned his wife with his last breath to be careful. Take the gold and run away. Go back home, he told her, where she would be safe and she would have family to take care of her. After James died, however, Phamey couldn't bring herself to leave her home and her roses. She buried the gold in her garden and spent all her time on a bench with a shotgun across her lap, protecting her husband's treasure. She died one winter night in the garden of exposure during a snowstorm. The gold was never found and the house rotted away. To this day, people say you can see Phamey wandering through her garden late at night. You know she's there because you can smell roses.

Okay...that was a story that I concocted years and years ago while visiting Grand Junction. Everyone was there for my uncle's wedding. I was hanging out with my cousin Camille and we had been telling my older cousin Holly that Grandma's house was haunted. She didn't believe us and actually scoffed at us for believing such nonsense. So Camille & I huddled in the basement, trying to think of a plan to make her believe that the place she was sleeping was haunted.

Camille wanted to make a little ghost out of paper towels and hang it outside of her bedroom window. I thought that would be too hokey. Holly was sure to see right through that. I wanted to be a little more subtle. So we made up that story about the Rose Ghost and secreted away a bottle of Grandma's rose-scented perfume. After we told Holly the story, we waited for an opportune time and liberally sprayed her bedroom with the perfume. We waited in the living room for her to discover her spectral visitor.

She didn't buy it. Holly came out of her room, spitting mad that we'd stunk up her bedroom like that! What a wet rag! She didn't even try to believe in a ghost! Personally, I think it was a great story and she SHOULD have believed.

Of course, there IS something in that house over there...but that's a whole 'nother story.

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