James and his wife had been struggling with with finances for quite some time. The economy had really taken a toll on their life and the small family restaurant that James had opened only two years ago, was now closed.
With their income gone and his wife with child, James felt like he had hit rock bottom. He worried about how he would care for the new baby. He felt as if he could cry. Mostly, he felt like a total failure. He could almost hear his grandmother’s voice, saying “All you need is love”.
“Sure Grandma” he thought. “Love is nice, but the mortgage company could care less about love”. James had gotten notice that his home could go into foreclosure a few days back. He had no idea what to do.
Suddenly, while thinking about his Grandma (who had practically raised him) he remembered something. She had passed away several years ago and left him a few old antiques. He thought that maybe he could sell them and save the house. He wasn’t particularly fond of the idea. James had always been very close to his Grandmother. But she would understand. Wouldn’t she?
James’ grandmother had an interesting life. She had worked as a seamstress at a popular movie studio for many years in her youth. She was a very talented seamstress. As a matter of fact, she used to make James different things to wear when he was a little boy. When she died, it was her sewing machine and other supplies that she had left James. James had no idea how to sew, so the old stuff had just been gathering dust since her death. But James loved that old stuff. It was part of his Grandma.
Unfortunately his love for her could not pay the bills. Soon they had an antiques dealer sifting through his Grandmother’s things. The dealer acted as if all of James’ Grandmothers things were worthless and even laughed at a few items. He even laughed at James’ poor old Grandma’s sewing machine that had meant so much to her and called it a “piece of junk”. He said that the machine was broken and that he would probably not even be able to sell the raggedy old thing.
James was furious with the dealer and could not believe the way he was acting. He demanded that the dealer leave and he did. But not before offering James $500 for all of the antiques.
$500 would not even pay the mortgage. James was insulted but soon started to feel like he had no choice if he wanted to save his family’s home. He clutched the antique dealer’s business card and with a lump in his throat, told his wife that he would call and sell her things in the morning. Five hundred was better than nothing, considering their situation. He placed the card on the nightstand and went to bed, dreading the next day.
That night James had trouble sleeping. He knew that the sewing machine was worth more than that. After all, she had used it to create costumes for famous movies during her youth. But it seemed as though there were no other options. James was angry at himself for letting things get this way. He resolved to make the call the next day and try to get some sleep.
Just as James was drifting off to sleep, he heard a sound. It was a sound very familiar to James. But..It couldn’t be. It sounded like the old pedals and wheels on his Grandma’s sewing machine. He has heard those sounds so much growing up. He thought that it must have been his imagination. The old machine didn’t even work. Did it?
The sound stopped and James tried again to fall asleep. The sound started again but this time grew louder. He could also make out the faint sound of a woman humming, just as his grandma had done while she used to sew outfits for him. James knew that this was impossible, but couldn’t resist getting up to check on the old sewing machine. As he neared the room where his Grandmother’s antiques were kept, the humming grew louder. It was definitely his Grandma. He could hear the tune “Go Tell It On The Mountain”, a hymn that his Grandmother always sang while she would sew. It was a haunting sound. He thought that someone was playing a trick on him.
His hand was slightly shaking as he reached for the door. Just as he touched the knob, the sounds stopped. He flung open the door fully expecting to see his dear old grandma sitting there sewing him an outfit. But she wasn’t. There was nothing but an old dusty sewing machine. He turned on the light..Just to make sure. He chuckled at the thought of what had just happened. He couldn’t believe that he actually thought that the ghost of his Grandma was sewing on that old machine. He thought to himself “I must really be losing it”.
He started to close the door, but just as he was about to shut the door something caught his eye. It was something he hadn’t noticed before. It was draped across the chair near the machine. He walked over to examine what looked like a blue and white dress. He picked it up and saw that it looked very familiar. It didn’t take him long to figure out what the dress was. It had a tag hanging from the sleeve. It read ” WOO Judy G. Dress #1″ It only took him a minute to decipher the tag. The blue and white coloring of the dress was a dead giveaway. He thought to himself, “The Wizard Of Oz, Judy Garland, Dress #1”. Could it be? The original dress intended to be worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz? The next morning he called the antiques dealer. A different one than before. Sure enough the dress turned out to be authentic and James was able to sell it for thousands of dollars, which saved his home and helped to get his life back on track. He told the story of the Haunted Sewing Machine for the rest of his life. He never got rid of the machine and even cleaned it up and found a better place for it in the house. He used to sit beside it and tell the story to his little boy who was always fascinated with the machine. I know the story is true because I was the little boy. I was the baby that was on the way when it all happened. My dad always told me that his Grandma was trying to make sure that I would be okay. He said that she loved us so much that she reached out from beyond the grave to protect us. He said that love really was all we needed.
The old machine was given to me when Dad passed away and it sits in my house, where I plan to tell my little boy about it when he is older. He is only 3 years old now, so ghost stories might not be such a good idea. However, as strange as it may sound, I have overheard him humming a tune a few times recently. I could swear that it was the old hymn, “Go Tell It On The Mountain”.
This short Ghost Story was inspired and adapted from a segment on the television show “Beyond Belief Fact or Fiction“, which aired for a short time between 1997 and 2002 and featured various short paranormal stories, some of which were inspired by actual events and newspaper articles. It still airs periodically on the Chiller Network.