The Case of the Tree Spirit by Teresa Carol

I sat entranced across the table from the golden-haired lady who was explaining to me in detail the unusual occurrences she had witnessed at her home. I was surprised at how extremely beautiful she was. It was not the normal beauty that many women have, rather it seemed almost supernatural. Her hair was like spun silk which shimmered in the bright light of the coffee shop. Her skin seemed to glow with soft dew-like moisture. She was small in frame and light in body. I guessed that she was around fifty years of age.

“Your skin is so lovely,” I interrupted, “Do you mind if I ask what you use.”

“Oh!” she fluttered her hands. “It’s really quite simple,” her soft, pink, perfectly formed lips separated into an amazing smile. “I make it myself using rosewater and honey.”

She looked a little embarrassed. “Since I moved to Steilacoom I became interested in all kinds of salves and teas. It began when I kept discovering new herbs in my garden and at the same time I would come across a recipe using those herbs. I began experimenting. I still find a new plant from time to time and almost daily I come across a recipe for everything from healing burns to removing warts. It’s wonderful how well these natural ingredients work!”

I stared at her. “You mean you have a magical garden that provides you not only ingredients but also recipes?”

She tittered, very self conscious, “Yes, I call it my Findhorn after the place in Scotland where the angels and divas help the Findhorn Community grow the extraordinary large vegetables in barren soil. I nodded being familiar with the project founded by Eileen and Peter Caddy at a garbage dump in Findhorn, Scotland.

“I study everything I can find on Findhorn and use it in my garden. I talk to the faerie people and the plants,” she smiled. “It works! I’ve always had a fabulous, low maintenance garden.” She sighed, “one day I would like to visit the original Findhorn.” I was looking forward to seeing her garden.

“Tell me about your Ghost.” I redirected to the task at hand.

“Yes,” she hesitated, “I’m not sure what it is, but there definitely is some sort of spirit in the house.”

I nodded.

“Well, about ten years ago, my ex-husband was working for this construction company in Steilacoom. They had begun a new housing project where they were cutting down some of the old growth forest and were building about a dozen homes. He fell in love with the area, so we bought one of the lots and he designed and built our home. The kids were 11 and 13 at the time and kept telling us that they saw things in the house.

“What kind of things?”

“My daughter said there was a little stickman. She claimed he lived in her room and sometimes followed her to the bathroom. He made chirping sounds like a cricket and if she left anything shiny lying around, he would take it. She said if she asked him really nice and left some candy or trinkets, pennies or buttons, often he would return the item. We just thought she was being a “kid.”

“For awhile she slept in my son’s room as she really got quite paranoid.” She tittered, “I spent several nights in her room, but I never saw anything. The counselor said it was her way of getting attention because my husband and I were starting to go through our divorce at that time.”

Her brother claimed that he saw faeries dancing on the lawn and twice he woke me up in the middle of the night to take me outside to the garden to see them, but I never saw anything.

There were other times when I would come home to find a miniature bunch of flowers on the back porch steps. In fact, it still happens every six to nine weeks and is always the same. I find a little pile of tiny, wild flowers in a cluster. The bouquet is normally three inches tall and an inch-and-a-half wide. None of these flowers grow in my garden or the neighbor’s, as far as I can tell. I used to think the kids picked them at school and put them there to add to our “faerie” myth. “Only thing is, the kids have been gone for over six months now and the flowers keep appearing. They both live too far away to just stop by and leave a tiny bundle of blossoms.”

“It sounds like your family has been seeing unusual activity for years, so what changed that you decided to call me?”

“My daughter moved into her own apartment last June so I finally turned her room into my office. Since I did, several unusual things have happened.”

I arched my eyebrows to indicate that I was listening.

“Well,” she hesitated.

“Go on,” I encouraged.

“I saw a little man-like-thing; he was about 18 inches high, run across the room and into the main bathroom.”

“And,” she leaned closer, “I hear music, kind of soft and tinkly, like chimes and flutes. Faerie Music was what my son used to call it. He claimed he heard it all the time.”

“Tell me about this little man.”

“Like my daughter said, he’s very thin and angular, like he’s made of sticks. It’s more like looking at a shadow, he’s dark and wispy. He hops about.” “No,” she said giving it more consideration, “it’s more like he bounces about.”

“Are there any cold spots in the house?”

“Not really. But there are a couple of places that smell fresh, like the outdoors. Sometimes I smell flowers or trees. Most times it just like crisp mountain air, but it’s not cold. It’s always very peaceful.”

A few days later I stood at the picture window in the front room. As I looked directly out at the Sun, it brightly lit the front yard and shone reflectively onto the outside surface of the living room window. Inside the room, shafts of light angled downward as if filtered, yet, there were no trees or overhang that would have caused the front room to be shaded. I stepped out onto the front porch next to the picture window and the Sun beamed unobstructed onto my upturned face. Stepping back inside to stand in front of the double-paned glass I was amazed that, although I could see the bright Sun through it, it appeared not to allow light to pass except in small rays.

“Is there a special treatment on this glass?” I asked.

“None that I know of,” she answered looking into the Sun and back into the shaded room.

“Oh!” she said obviously startled, “I never noticed that before! This has always been such a peaceful, calm room. I normally only come in here in the evenings, mostly after work to read.”

I halted abruptly as I entered the office, her daughter’s previous bedroom. The light pine paneling seemed studded with hundreds of watching eyes.

“Wow!” I gasped taking in the room. Each knothole in the wood paneling seemed to exactly resemble an eye. I was positive I saw a couple of them blink. As I examined them closer they seemed to have eyelids, lashes and even tear ducts.

“Did you paint these?” I asked a little confused.

“Paint what?” she replied not clear of what I was asking.

“The eyes, it’s like every knothole has been detailed into an eye.

“Oh, yeah,” she replied looking closely at a few of the knotholes. “I didn’t notice these when we first moved in, but a couple of months after, they began to darken. My ex-husband said that as wood ages it often changes color and that, as the pine bleached out with the sunlight, the knots, because of the sap, might become darker in contrast.”

It was eerie to observe. I would have sworn some eyes opened and others closed. It must have been the play of light through the window.
This room was to the right of the front room and the rooms’ window shared the same wall as the large living room picture window. Like the other window, little direct Sun light seemed to enter the room. I doubted if the Sunlight had ever touched the wall.

“My daughter always claimed that they were alive and watching her. She called them her guardians and said that this was how the angels watched over her.”

The homeowner wandered around touching the surface of the walls and studying the details. “I never remember there being so many, I thought there was only five or six. This is amazing! There seems to be hundreds!”

When I closed the bathroom door I was startled to see an image in the wood grain. It looked exactly as the lady of the house had described. It was a silhouette of a small person approximately 18 inches tall. It appeared along the right hand side of the back of the door. It looked as if it was standing partly behind a screen of wood. I examined it closely; the head leaned out to the side as if peeping from behind the panel. One arm and a leg were partly exposed. The hair was spiked and the foot appeared booted. As I looked closer I could make out details in the hands and face. Touching the door, it was smooth. These details, just like the eyes in the bedroom, were under a thick coat of varnish.

“Looks like your little man left his image here.” I said opening the door to let the owner into the bathroom.

“Oh!” she gasped. “I don’t remember that being there before! Yes! That’s what the little stick thing looked like.” She looked at me, a sign of amazement on her face.

After much discussion we decided that she should call her daughter and verify how long the silhouette had been on the back of the bathroom door and how many eyes she had seen on the bedroom wall.

I continued to walk through the home. The energy of the house was clean and bright. I saw no indication of a haunting. There were no dark, chilly areas, nor were there any places that I had negative feelings or uncomfortable reactions. Whatever was happening in the home was not caused by a Ghost.

While she made the call I decided to investigate outside. The garden was nothing less than splendid. It looked as if a Master Gardener had mixed the natural undergrowth of the Pacific Northwest with a flower and herb garden. Slim pathways lead to different water features. She had a miniature fountain at the back of the property and a nice sized koi pond near the trellis covered patio. Everywhere green healthy plants stood highlighted in rock circles. It truly was a very pretty garden.

I was drawn to the metal shed at the far back of the property. For some unknown reason I worked my way through the underbrush to the back of the shed. Leaning against the exterior wall was a large round-cut from an extraordinarily big tree. It must have measured a good four feet across.

Flabbergasted, I looked at the image of the stickman embedded in the center of the tree round-cut. The coloration and grain of the tree appeared to form the image in perfect silhouette.

The lady of the house had finished her phone conversation and was picking her way towards me in the garden.

“Did your ex-husband have the bathroom door made from part of this tree?” I traced the silhouette with my hand noticing the details of the feet and hands formed by the tree’s grain.

“No.” she replied coming to stand across from me.

“He brought this slice home a few months after we moved in.” She pointed across the road to where a large two-story modern home stood. “When they cut the large tree on that lot, he asked them for a crosscut. He had planned to make a table top or stand it up in the front yard, but he never got around to it. I remember the image really excited him. He used to spend hours fussing over it. That’s why the image is so clear. He sanded it and might have even put some varnish on it.”

She walked me through her herb garden pointing out the different plants and telling me a little of what she knew. In the far back she had an exceptional collection of wild roses and a beehive. “I never have been much of an outdoor person, but since I’ve lived here I love working in the garden and cultivating the plants.”

I recognized the sword ferns and Oregon grape mixed in with lavender and shamrocks, rocks were piled everywhere, and moss and other lichen carpeted the path. It was lovely.

Her daughter had told her that at last count there had been 77 knotholes on the bedroom wall compared to the 15 that she had originally counted as a child. “They move about,” the daughter continued, excited that her mother finally believed her. “Look closely and you’ll see a pencil circle of where they once were and now are gone. Oh, yeah, I have some photos that show an area that was once clear and now has several new knotholes.”

As for the silhouette on the back of the bathroom door, she had never seen it, but would be over that weekend to take a look.

I left that afternoon assuring her that there were no Ghosts or bad spirits in her home. Everything I had witnessed was peaceful and in line with nature. I told her I would be in touch. That I needed to do some research on earth spirits as I was sure that her little stickman was some form of nature spirit. Since it had caused her no mischief in ten years I felt confident that it intended no harm.

As I pored over volumes of lore, I found many references to the little people and faeries but nothing factual. The more that I dug the more I felt certain such beings existed, but there was nothing I could find to prove my theory.

A week later she called. “He spoke to me!” she gasped. “He just spoke to me!”

She was excited but did not seem fearful.

“Yes, yes. I went into the office and asked him who he was and what he wanted. I thought one of the eyes blinked, so I got stern, like I used to with the children. I told him I knew he could hear me and that I expected an answer.”

I sat there for a moment wondering what to do. And then he spoke, he said, “Lithen, called Lithen.”

I was so surprised, I just repeated, “Lithen?”

And he said, “Yes, momma.”

“He called me momma, just like the kids always did. He told me he lives in my house as they took his home; the tree, the one across the road. He says that my house is his home as he needs to live in big wood and my home is the only place with big wood.”

I talked to her on numerous other times and she seemed content. She had seen him several times since but had not talked with him. She decided it was okay to share her home with Lithen and she had told him so.

Apparently, Lithen had lived in the old growth forest in the largest tree and when it was cut down he sought out the largest wood structure he could find in his immediate area, which was the lady’s home. He’d been quietly living with them for the past ten years.

I suggested that she plant another tree of the same species that Lithen had previously occupied. “Your house may stand for years, but it would be good if he had somewhere to go when your home is eventually torn down. There’s no guarantee that a future owner won’t cut down the tree, but if it’s far enough away from the house and adds to the landscaping, hopefully it would be left standing.”

In the spring I was invited back to a tree planting ceremony and met the son and daughter. They were delighted that their momma was not living alone. They told me countless stories of Lithen and the faeries and I was a little surprised that their mother had not looked for someone to checkout their home years earlier.

The new tree was exceptionally large for transplanting, but the location had been well thought out. A moss covered path circled around the tree and a massive wooden chair had been positioned four feet in front of the Douglas Fir. The bench had been constructed using the old crosscut to form the back of the massive seat. The silhouette of Lithen that was embedded in the round-cut appeared to stand on the varnished rough, wooden bench. As I started to sit-down on it, I swore one of the knotholes in the seat, blinked. I stood back up and the daughter, who had been watching me, tittered and nodded. I distinctly heard a chirping sound, similar to a cricket, but not exactly.

A small brass plaque had been screwed into the crosscut. It read, “This tree is gifted to Lithen – Guardian of this Forest.”

*Teresa Carol is an intuitive Counselor, an ordained Minister of Universal Church, a Certified B.E.S.T. Practitioner, owner of Living Empowered And Fully (LEAF Forum) and the author of All Spooked Up. She holds 5 college degrees including Social Services, Chemical Dependency Counseling and Cross Cultural Psychology. Since 1985 Teresa has worked as a professional Life Coach and teacher. She has travel to over 29 countries studying healing, Shamanism and spirituality directly from the indigenous people. Teresa has been featured on Evening Magazine as well as listed in Who’s Who of Extraordinary People. She has been a guest on countless television, radio programs and interviewed in newspapers and magazine in the United States, Canada, England, Mexico and Peru. Teresa believes people do have their own answers; they just need a chance and the skills to bring it all together. Working and teaching full time as an Intuitive for the last 29 years, she lives an extraordinary life and offers to share her insights to empower others.