OPINION: Friendly family haunting

Adriona Murphy

Adriona Murphy

My ghost story isn’t really a ghost story.

I never really had my own to tell. My friends would have experiences where they got their hair pulled or got scratched from something they couldn’t see. The only thing similar I could contribute to the conversation was a few weird occurrences that could probably be chalked up to something like an electrical malfunction or my mind playing tricks on me. What I consider as my ghost story is something that’s pretty physical and didn’t just affect me, but my entire family.

When I was younger, I remembered my grandpa always complaining about repeatedly seeing the numbers “333.” He’d see it at least once a day, in various capacities — mileage in his truck, the time when he’d glance at the clock, even on license plates.

Honestly, my whole family thought he was either crazy or just making it up. No one else ever saw it; it was just a weird thing for him.

Until it wasn’t anymore.

He died when I was in eighth grade. And after he died, to say things got kind of spooky around my house was an understatement. My mom, grandma, uncle, both of my cousins and I started seeing 333 wherever we went. At first we thought it was silly. And then it started happening more and more. It was like every time 333 was about to pop into existence somewhere, we were all drawn to it.

At first I thought we were being haunted by him as if he got mad we thought he was crazy so he was going to teach us a lesson by making us seem crazy too. But then I realized that wasn’t it at all. The numbers really showed up when we needed them.

When I was anxious about driving to a concert in Pennsylvania last fall, I checked the GPS and it would say we were 333 miles away from our destination.

When I didn’t want to drive back to school, I’d look at my mileage and I’d have 333 miles left in my tank until empty.

When I was working on an assignment and thought I was going to fail or not finish in time, I’d glance at the time and it’d be 3:33.

One of my favorite songs is even 3:33 long. (It’s “I’ll Be Seeing You,” by Billie Holiday, to make things even a little weirder.)

It was like he was reminding us, “Hey, no worries. I’ve got you.”

And those minor occurrences I mentioned earlier? Those were him too, I’m pretty sure. He used to yell at me saying I was going to ruin my eyes if I kept reading without enough light. So, one day when I was home alone, I was reading in the living room and just as it got dark enough, the light flicked on.

He used to complain about my music too; I listened to it too loud and it was bad (both the volume and the music in general). I was playing it loudly in the bathroom one day while I was getting ready and the music kept pausing itself. I wasn’t streaming so I knew it wasn’t the Wi-Fi. I had also never had issues with that speaker before. It went on for a while until I jokingly said, “Okay, Grandpa, that’s enough. I get it.” And then it stopped. It didn’t happen again after that.

So, yeah, my ghost story isn’t really a ghost story. There were no scratches or hair pulling or shadowy figures at the end of the hall. It was just my grandpa looking out for me.

Thanks, Grandpa. I’ll make sure I don’t play my music too loud, I’ll turn the light on when I’m reading and I’ll remember that you’ve always got my back.

Adriona Murphy is a columnist. Contact her at [email protected]