Saturday, April 19, 2014

Ga Ga Boo

When Deidre Noel Buck was a little girl, she would accompany her parents to Royal Palm Cemetery and play around, in her boredom waiting for them to finish setting out flowers and such, on the grave adjacent to their family plot. That grave was for one Emma Dancer. (Although I've not been to the grave of my grandparents in Richmond, KY in many years, I, too, still recall the name on the grave next door - Pearl Shelton Ogle.)

Flash forward to 1971. Buck purchased a home at 2920 53rd Street South in Gulfport, Florida. The house is full of peculiar architectural quirks, such as pink walls (this before it was learned that pink walls can actually have a psychoactive effect on humans) and closets with, for no good reason, windows in them. And as it turns out, it was previously the home of... Emma Dancer. The synchronicity of this stunned Buck and her mother.

But that's not the weird part.

Buck and her mother set out to do some historical research, and learned more about Emma. She was one of Gulfport's great eccentrics, playing the part of an old-timey southern-belle society lady in an era when such mannerisms were already an anachromism. She wore gloves when she called upon neighbors, and she still carried on the antiquated tradition of "calling cards" - fancy engraved ones, no less.

Her niece, Emmie Kienast, came from Switzerland and moved in with her, and inherited the home after Dancer passed away in 1961. Kienast, in turn, lived in the house for awhile, and then was abruptly gone, having purportedly moved back to Switzerland. But she left all her belongings in the house, right down to the clothes in the closet and the medicine in the bathroom cabinet. The realtor actually showed the house to Buck in this state, and Kienast's furniture and belongings came along with it as a bonus. Buck reports finding weird little notes Kienast wrote to herself hidden in the strangest places, including inside the candelabra!

Buck and her mother delved further into the history of the home and discovered it had another interesting feature: it was originally built by none other than Alvah C. Roebuck, the co-founder of Sears-Roebuck! (That would be "Sears" today if you're too young to remember when they scraped Mr. Roebuck's name off the logo.)

But that's still not the weird part.

The weird part is this: soon after settling in, Buck realized this was no ordinary house in yet another way - it was haunted. Like really haunted. Like, I don't mean hearing spooky sounds in the basement and feeling cold spots in the air sometimes, I mean actually seeing ghostly apparitions (is there any other kind?) creeping around the place. Buck estimates there were at least nine different spirit entities in the house, and said with a shrug, "I have resigned myself to the fact that I must live in some sort of portal."

According to their mother, the children began communicating with a female spirit they called "Ga Ga Boo". And it's not just an "imaginary friend" apparently, because Buck heard it speak. From a 2006 article on Poynter:

She began appearing to Justin when he was sick. Later, when Justin was older and moved into a different bedroom, the spirit would appear to Kimberly. “They would tell me about how she would sing to them and talk to them, and do all of this grandmotherly stuff,” Buck said.

Buck sometimes heard the voice of Ga-Ga-Boo. By the time she would arrive at the bedroom door, though, the spirit was gone. Buck was never frightened by what she heard. “She would start out with saying, ‘How’s my precious boy?’ ” Buck said. “When I would hear her, it was funny because her voice was so melodic, it was almost trancelike … the voice was like something you’ve never heard before.”

Each child eventually disinvited Ga-Ga-Boo from their lives.

My question is, where is Ga-Ga-Boo now?

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