A ghost at the senior complex?

Published 11:00 pm Friday, September 28, 2012

The Colley Senior Complex in Troy may be haunted according to director Janet Motes and Carol Crumpler. The supposed ghost might belong to a woman who lived in the downstairs of the Hayley cottage of the Baptist Children’s Home who had hung herself. Below, Janet Motes and Carol Crumpler act as if they had just seen the alleged ghost.

Some authorities on ghosts – or haints, if the authorities are from the Deep South – will swear on a witch’s broom that there’s a difference between a ghost and a spirit.

According to some ghost authorities, a ghost is the “personality” of a deceased person who lingers behind because there’s “something” keeping him or her there. A spirit, on the other hand, goes but can come back from time to time, perhaps to comfort a grieving loved one or to help another “personality” across.

These ghosts or haints or spirits can “show themselves” in various ways – through cold spots, electrical disturbances, orbs of light, sounds, fragrances or as mists or vapors. But almost always through goosebumps when things go thump in the night.

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And, almost always it takes an encounter with a ghost or haint or spirit to make believers out of skeptics.

For Janet Motes, her first encounter with a ghost was a few years ago.

Motes is the director of the Colley Senior Complex in Troy and she had left the building in a hurry on Friday afternoon leaving her purse behind. A woman cannot function without her “survival kit” so she went back that night to fetch it.

“I went into the dark Complex building by myself through the side door,” she said. “I didn’t turn on the light until I got to the lobby area. At that time, we had concrete floors and I had on clicky shoes that made a lot of noise as I went clicking down the hallway. I stopped to flip on the light and I heard clicking behind me, like I was still walking. I looked back but nobody was there. I left the building really, really fast.”

Motes said the experience didn’t really scare her. She just thought the clicking was probably an echo in the hollow halls.

But then about six months later, she went into the building before sunup on a Saturday to get supplies for the Mardi Gras Gala that night.

“As soon as I walked in, I heard whooping and hollering downstairs,” she said. “The voices were really loud and I thought, ‘What’s going on down there?’ Nobody was supposed to be in the building so I went down the hall toward the stairs and, just as I got to the top of the stairs, the voices stopped.”

Motes made a quick retreat and left the building in great haste.

“When I got to the Cattlemen’s building where others were getting ready for the Gala, I had to tell somebody,” Motes said. “I said to Glenda Fayson, who works at the Colley Senior Complex, ‘Okay. Let me tell you …’ and Glenda said she already knew. That things like that happened to her all the time. She would hear voices and walk through cold spots and there were times when something would brush past her.”

Like misery, those who experience the supernatural, like company.

“We started making jokes about the ghost and would play tricks on each other,” Motes said. “We’d been doing that, just the two of us, for a long time and had a lot of fun doing it. But then, last week, we decided to confess to a few people that we’d seen a ghost.”

And, to their surprise, Carol Crumpler said, “Oh, I know who that is.”

As a young child, Crumpler lived several years in the Hayley cottage of the Baptist Children’s Home, which was on the site of what is now the Colley Senior Complex.

At night, the little five-year-old girl would lie in bed waiting and hoping for the time she and her two older sisters could go back home. On many of those nights, she heard sounds, ghostly sounds. “Whooooo! Whooooo!” She would pull the covers over her head and hope that morning would come soon.

“In my little mind, I knew what I was hearing was a ghost,” Crumpler said. “My older sister lived in a cottage on the hill and she had told me that our house was haunted.”

What she had been told and thought was confirmed by two “mean” boys.

“They told us about the lady that had hanged herself downstairs,” Crumpler said. “She worked in the kitchen and one night, when everyone left, she took a rope and hanged herself. The two boys said they found her and told us how she looked all dead and hanging there. We were terrified.”

So, the mystery of the ghost of the Colley Senior Complex was solved. It’s the kitchen worker who’s still hanging around.

She’s the one who’s walking around in her “new house” clicking shoes and brushing by people in the hallway. It’s the ghost of the kitchen worker who’s throwing parties in the wee hours of the morning in the downstairs’ area.

The only question now is, whether she’s a ghost or a haint or a spirit.

“We don’t know why she’s still here,” Motes said and considered the possibilities. Maybe, something’s holding her here. Maybe she’s confused that her old home has been torn down and she’s left to rummage around in the Complex.

Or … maybe she’s here to help someone “across.” With that thought, Motes said that she’s never again going in the Colley Senior Complex alone – day or night.

And, she and Fayson have called a truce on the ghostly practical jokes. But the thought has crossed their minds that maybe Crumpler has turned the trick on them.