Haint Blue

If the window sills of my current dwelling ever need repainting, I’ll suggest choosing a distinct color of blue for two reasons. ‘Haint blue’, an electric, powdery shade of blue (picture the blue pool cue chalk color), covers the doorways and window sills of more than a few homes deep in the ‘Lowcountry’ from which I hail (the comments alone on this link make it worth reading).

First, haint blue would look nice, I think, against the darker, deepwater blue that serves as the base color for most of the exterior. My second, more important reason for suggesting haint blue would be because it keeps out ghosts.

Ghosts. Or haints, if you have at least one person in your family that speaks Gullah, believes in the evil power of cats (they’ll suck the breath out of a baby) and who believes in ghosts.

I don’t, or didn’t, until just recently. When I moved in four months ago, I got the full tour of all the finicky touches in a house which will celebrate its centennial this summer (a number of SF houses will, given the construction following the 1906 quake).

The draft from the bathroom window will bang the door unless it is tightly closed. The toilet handle requires some insistent fondling before the water will stop running. The energy-efficient, on-demand hot water is moody at best.

Told all that, but was left to find out about the ghost myself. Come to think of it, I’m certain frank disclosure of supernatural activity is probably the law in spooky places like Savannah and Charleston. Disclosure and a can of blue paint is I suppose all you can hope for.

Now that I think about it, painting in haint blue won’t do much good, as I now recall it is used to keep ghosts OUT of a house. Ours lived here long before I did, and she shows no signs of moving out, or on.

Anne was the original owner of the house, according to our downstairs neighbor who knew her from living there for more than twenty years. Anne passed away in the house next door, which she also owned.

Despite owning so much of prime cocksucker-Castro real estate, Anne decided to occupy, in her final years, a very small part of the top floor of one house so she could rent out the rest of the flat and building. Of course, her room is now my room, and it is upon leaving it that I see and sense her the most often.

Thankfully, Anne seems pretty laid back. I catch her out of the corner of my eye in certain consistent areas near my room, and there have been times when I’ve definitely felt someone else in the house. This has been confirmed by the behavior of the house cats and by G-boy, who has also had a number of spooky experiences.

Recently though, Anne has upped the ante and begun wearing perfume (again). I walked out of my room recently into a cloud of stench that immediately made me think of my own grandmother – a gaggingly sweet scent reminiscent of rosewater, age, and Raid bug spray.

This development was met with some degree of skepticism by the boyfriend, who probably thought it more a by-product of yours truly walking around in his own self-generated cloud of pot smoke.

So I was relieved to return home just last night to have the BF relate the following : he’d been downstairs playing cards with the neighbors, popped upstairs into the dining room (across the hall from my room) to fetch (another) bottle of wine, only to run into the same wall of dime store scent.

He called up the kids from downstairs, the long time resident of which related that Anne did indeed overdo it on the scent, back in the day when she was, you know, alive. I feel bad bagging on a dead woman’s choice in cologne, but here’s the real kicker.

The scent won’t dissipate if you open a window, because, and this is the part that actually creeps me out, it isn’t REALLY a scent. It is the ghost of one, and our normal laws of air diffusion, physics, and good taste do not apply.

Furthermore, it lingers for a considerable time, and it really is very thick and unpleasant.

And so, for the slew o’ folk coming in to visit and staying in my room during their visit, I’m giving you fair warning. Watch the toilet handle, close the bathroom door tightly, and know that Anne may be walking around, and it smells like the old girl might be lonely and lookin’ for love.