A True Story
I read this book about four years ago. I was attracted by the title and the cover image of the child looking out of the window along with the fact that it is told as a true story.
Kathleen McConnell falls in love with the Louisville, Kentucky house known as the Fontaine Manse as a 19 year old. She often sees it while riding by on the city bus and frequently sees a child looking out of the window. She dreams of living, not just in any house, but of living in that house.
Many times I saw a little girl standing at the upstairs window. She always waved as the bus went by and I'd put the palm of my hand flat against the window. I knew she couldn't see me that far away, but I'd made the gesture to return her wave.
Eight years later, in 1971, married with children and a baby on the way, she and her husband buy the old house, which has been languishing unsold on the market for years, at a bargain price. Shortly after moving in, she realizes that they are not alone and that she must make peace with the spirits of the house if they are to live together safely. She wisely begins to communicate respectfully to the spirits and gradually learns more about them, starting with the fact that there are three and they are all children.
As they come to know and trust her, they help her out by hiding her husband's gun which he keeps under the mattress (and which she is afraid her children might find) and watching out for baby Duncan, playing with him to keep him entertained and once even saving his life. While she is never able to ascertain the exact identities of the spirits, she is able to draw some conclusions about how they died and why they are still in her home. After becoming very ill and having a Near Death Experience, she is even able to see them.
There she was–the same little girl I had seen years ago. She was standing at the front window of Duncan's nursery, holding the rag doll from the old toy box in the attic, silently saying, "It's me, it's me . . . "
Kathleen McConnell is not a professional writer, but she tells a clear, coherent tale, and it is the story itself that is compelling and heart wrenching. I have to admit I sometimes skimmed over the details of her daily household routine to get to the action sequences.
After five years, the family sold the house, but before moving, Kathleen was finally ready and able to help her young spirits find resolution and peace. It may seem to the reader that she takes a long time to get to this point, but she was living in a different time, and information about how to help wayward spirits was not as readily available then as now. She also did not feel comfortable talking about her experiences with her children and her husband, her children because she did not want to scare them, her husband because he seemed skeptical. It was only after she wrote the book that her children admitted that each had his or her own story to tell about the ghost children of Fontaine Manse.
To learn more about this book and read an interview with the author, click on the title of this post.