The Little Girl in the Party Dress

We found what we thought was a wonderful house; very close to what my husband and I described as the house of our dreams. It had a large backyard with a tree house and swing set for our children. Our 7-year old loved it. We finished with the Realtor and started making plans to move in.

Things were great. Our eldest daughter seemed to be making friends and getting along well in the new house. Our babies seemed to like it, as well, as they were laughing and talking in the middle of the night. Our 1 1/2 year old has Down Syndrome and was super happy in her new room and even seemed to be happy playing alone. Whenever I would look in on her and her 6 month old brother, they would be laughing and would raise their hands as if reaching out to someone unseen by me.

The fun went on with the kids for awhile. Jessica, my eldest would ask if her friends Danni and Ashley could come play or eat, or stay the night. The first time I said it was fine for Danni to come over and play or even eat with us, but felt it was inappropriate for Danni to sleep over (not knowing if this was a boy or a girl, and not thinking to ask). Ashley and Jessica were inseparable so it bothered her I would not want Danni to be so involved in their friendship.

One day Jessica tried wearing her flower girl dress out to play and got mad when I told her she could not. Danni always got to wear her best dress to play outside. I told her I did not want her to wear it, and she ran outside to tell Danni and Ashley they couldn’t play, “wedding day.” As I ran after her, she was yelling for Danni to come back because her mother “really wasn’t mean.” I asked where she went and Jessica told me she ran home because I was being mean. I asked if she said that and Jessica said Danni had not. This seemed strange since she always ran away when I came out. Jessica would get upset when Danni would run off or have to go home whenever a parent would appear.

A few days later I was preparing the house for a dinner party and heard Collin, our 6 month old, wake from his morning nap. I turned from washing my hands and saw a little girl dressed in a white party dress with a blue sash, seemingly not from this era, standing in my dining room, a few feet from me. She was beautiful and the ribbon in her dark curls matched her sash. Her form was semi-solid, with a haziness to it. She seemed so familiar, yet we had never met. She reached out as if she wanted a hug and my babies suddenly came to mind. I walked towards her and she ran down the hall toward the bedrooms. I turned down the hall and did not see her and thought to myself how fast she was. I entered the room at the end of the hall and found both babies awake. They were sitting in their beds, holding the bars and laughing at something. Every now and then they reached through the bars, as if trying to touch someone. I knew that someone was the girl in the dress, but could only make out a faint form. I now knew that all my children had a new playmate, and was soon becoming aware that it was the same “person.”

That next Saturday I went out and told Jessica that she and Ashley could come in for lunch. She got mad at me and said, “Why do you always leave Danni out?” I asked what she was talking about and said if she wanted to go get Danni that would be fine. I then went into the house. She came in and asked why I ignored Danni. I told her I was sorry, but I did not see Danni. She said that she was standing in front of me, that there was no way I didn’t see her. Ashley’s mother was there and asked,”Danni is a girl?” Both girls acted insulted and said, “Yes! We don’t play with boys!”

We set the girls down for lunch and put our babies in the gated area to play while Kathlene and I tried to form a logical explanation for all of this. Our husbands did not believe this had happened, and there was no other child outside, playing with our girls. We both agreed that it was sort of intriguing, but scary at the same time.

Things went along quietly for a couple of weeks. My husband’s birthday was coming up and I started making plans, buying items and putting them in a crawl space in my closet. I knew this was a safe place to hide these because my husband never opened my closet, nor did he know about the crawl space. It was drawing closer to the party date so I went to get the birthday gifts and party items down to see what still needed to be purchased. I opened the bags and found the party streamers were opened, the cassette tape was mangled, and the rest of the stuff was gone. I was very upset when I saw this and told Jessica when I picked her up from school that we had to go buy more party supplies. I told her that I had them where I thought no one could find them, so Daddy would be surprised, and she said she knew where they were. I asked how she knew and she said because Danni was having her party in the tree house. We went home and everything I had previously bought was up in the tree house, just as my daughter had said. I gathered the items and made my way back to the house with some concern for my family.

The next day I was preparing the food for that evening’s event. I cut tomatoes to put in the guacamole, and thought I should check on the children. I went to the babies’ room and both of them were napping soundly. I thought I smelled plastic burning. I ran into the kitchen and found the plastic cutting board, upside down, in flames on a hot burner, on the stove, and the tomatoes and the knife were on the counter several feet away. I poured baking soda on the fire and went to turn off the burner. None of the knobs had been turned on.

Again, when I told my husband he said I had left the cutting board too close to the stove. I was so frustrated.

The following Monday my mother and were talking on the phone and I told her I wanted her to hear the new Tim Mcgraw song I had recorded from the radio. I started playing it and all was well at the beginning, but when it came to the chorus,”She’s Not Really There” it was all full of static and sounded as if it was being played backwards. I fast forwarded through the song and the next song was fine — no problems whatsoever. I rewound the tape and there were no problems before that song. The other side of the tape was fine, as well. We found this especially odd because of the title.

I was careful whom I told about these little incidences, since it is a very judgmental world, and many do not believe in the supernatural world.

It was therapy day for my daughter and her therapist brought an intern with her. The therapy session went well and I then walked the therapist and intern to the car. I walked back to the house to watch the babies through the glass door. I went to open the door and it wouldn’t open. I pulled and pulled, and it would not open. The babies crawled up onto the landing and started playfully beating on the door. I started pulling harder on the door and the therapist came back to see what the problem was, and saw that the deadbolt on the glass door was locked. She asked who other than the babies were in my house, and I said, “Danni!” She said that she had not met Danni and I said that she didn’t want to. The intern went to my neighbor’s house to call my husband (pre-cell phone days) and let him know that the door with the keyless deadbolt was locked, and his two babies (not tall enough to reach the lock) were locked inside by themselves.

My husband made it to the house at the same time as the police and firemen did. My neighbor called the 911 so that there might be documentation of the strange going-ons. My husband tried to go through the garage, but the garage door opener would not work. The firemen were using a tire iron to try and pry the door open. Soon with the police, fire department, and the babies’ father working on the door, we finally got in. I started yelling at Danni and told her she was not welcome in my house if she was going to endanger my children. The policemen checked the house and looked at the door and asked if I went through the garage. I told them I had not and the two therapists affirmed this information. The police could not explain the situation, and the therapists did not want to return because of this, and said we should move.

We were no longer able to keep the screen door closed and had to get a new one. We made sure that we got one with key locks.

We also made inquiries into the history of the house. There had been a fire there every year since the house had been built, and no person had died in the house. We also learned that the railroad tracks had been moved off the land our houses were built, and in the early 1900s there had been a fiery train crash where a child, among others, traveling with her parents, going to her grandmother’s birthday party, had been killed. We assume her name was Daniella. She was 7 1/2 years old.

Jodi Brown Campbell

*****

Thank you for sharing your experience with us.  It was definitely an intriguing, yet spine-tingly story!

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