A Haunt in the House
A Friend's Haunted House Experiences
A few weeks ago I asked some of my friends to send me any real stories they had about the supernatural, and my friend, Nancy Thornton-Waterhouse didn't let me down. Nancy wrote this story herself and did an excellent job! Here is her account of "A Haunt in the House." I hope you enjoy it; know I did.
It was a late summer morning of 1963 when the family and I moved into our “new” house. I had not seen it until the day we were to move in. Truthfully, I was less than favorably impressed. It was a rather worse for wear fairly large 1910 bungalow with a massively overgrown yard and dark dreary paint inside and out. To complicate matters the elderly woman, from whom my parents had purchased the home, had not packed one item or stitch of clothing but was instead just sitting in a rather grimy and dilapidated living room chair soused to the gills. I was only 10 and had never seen a drunk person, so I assumed she was either infirmed or ill. Dad called the woman’s son in law who arrived with his wife in a very agitated state and commenced to packing and moving the woman’s belongings with our assistance. We did not get actually moved in until late that evening.
In the next few weeks, we were all engrossed in cleaning the place in an attempt to make it more habitable and getting our belongings in place. All the thumping, squeaking floorboards, and odd sounds we heard we attributed to it being an old and unfamiliar building. None of which even bore mentioning among us.
Fall arrived and it was time for me to attend my new school. Class did not start until later than my other siblings were required to be at theirs, Mom was well on her way to her office, and Dad had already started work in his large shop outback. He would pause long enough to run me to school then return to his business. Until then I was alone in the house for 30 to 45 minutes every weekday morning. My room was in the upstairs, so I would dress and then go downstairs to wait.
With only me in it, the house was quiet or should have been. However, it was not. For many weeks I passed off the noises as just the old house shifting, but gradually the sounds became more identifiable. I learned what the sound of footfalls was from the presence of other family members. What I was hearing when upstairs was the distinct sound of walking in the downstairs. I would go to the landing and call down to see if Dad had come in. When no answer came, I would descend the stairs and look through all the rooms for the source of the footsteps. When downstairs I would then hear walking upstairs. Having just come from there I knew full well that floor was not occupied.
I was never a nervous or jittery child, but this was disturbing. It became a regular occurrence, but I said nothing to my family for fear of a rebuff or ridicule. As the youngest, I did not want to appear as if a baby or as angling for additional undue attention. The footsteps continued on a fairly regular basis, but I was determined to not let this disturb me. Other sounds became discernable as well, but not as identifiable as the footsteps. There would occasionally be a solitary heavy bump as if something padded but weighty had been dropped on the floor.
Grandma Comes to Visit
Several months passed when my grandmother came for a visit. She was there a couple of days so on occasion was in the house alone. One evening she commented at the diner table that she would hear walking in the upstairs when she thought nobody was in the house. She would go upstairs to check only to find no one there. She was slightly annoyed at this as she thought we children were playing tricks on her. Mom and Dad gave each a knowing look across the table, gave a cursory glance to us children, then told grandmother that it was just the pops and creaks of this old house. It then came to me the realization they had been hearing the walking too!
On that note, after grandmother had departed to her own home, I approached the subject with the family. All admitted that, yes, they had also heard the walking from very shortly after we moved in. As we were rather reserved and not a very excitable lot, nobody had mentioned it. The exception was that Mom and Dad had discussed it between themselves but opted to not say anything to us. As none of us children had said a word, they naturally assumed we were unaware of the phenomenon. On discovering we were aware, and after a bit more discussion, the consensus was there was a haunt in the house.
Others Knew About Our House's Strange Activity
Time moved forward and the sounds continued. As we got to know the neighborhood, we began to get bare bits and pieces about the family who owned the house prior to us. We were only the second family to live there. The neighbor children were terrified of the place and believed by its appearance that it must be haunted. The adult neighbors seemed to know very little other than the previous owner's last name, that the husband had been a dentist, and the wife was a raging alcoholic. From the number of liquor bottles we discarded from the basement, the latter observation was likely correct.
So, it fell to us to try and discover with whom or what we were occupying the house. The first thing determined was there seemed to be a consistent pattern of footfalls between 12:00 midnight and 1:00 am that ascended the stairs, turned right on the landing, entered and crossed the south bedroom, and stopped at the exterior wall. Whatever it was seemed to have a great interest in this room that was occupied by my elder sister. She is five years my senior, so in those days had many things typical of young women laid out upon her dresser and in her closet. The entity found them fascinating and would rattle and move them about during the night. I could sometime hear this from my room on the opposite side of the house.
The Ghost Becomes a Downright Nuisance
Understand, we did not tell just anyone or everyone about our other occupant. When grandmother came to visit us again and again mentioned the footsteps, Mom was obliged to tell her their cause. She gave Mom an incredulous look but never stayed overnight there again. To others, we said nothing unless circumstances required an explanation for otherwise inexplicable noises. Guest looking at the ceiling asking who was upstairs knowing nobody else was home other than us in the living room required an answer. Saying old house sounds didn’t fly. If when told and they responded with a nod or some agreeable comment things remained calm. If they scoffed and voiced disbelief in such things any number of incidents could follow. Lights would switch on or off by themselves, loud crashing noise from some other part of the house, objects would move untouched before their eyes. The naysayers rarely returned to the house. After several years of this, her actions started to be a real inconvenience and sometimes a downright nuisance.
Some Things Seemed to Make Our Poltergeist Guest Agitated
Frequently one could hear the hangers on the closet rod scrape softly as the were slid to one side. From this, we started referring to the entity as she. The only real annoyance with this activity was when one of our parents would bark for us to stop walking around and go to bed. More than once this woke us from a dead sleep whereupon they were informed we had been in bed for hours. They finally resolved that during that time slot it was not us, so would turn over and go back to sleep.
Time moved on, walls were painted in cheerful colors, dingy floor coverings and draperies replaced, kitchen remodeled, and many other interior and exterior changes and upgrades were made. Through it all the entity remained, giving all indications of approval. There were only two things that ever seemed to bother her enough for an overt outward display. First, she apparently did not like cats. Ones we had she would frighten so badly they would never venture into the upstairs. At least she was not so cruel as to scare them totally out of the house. The second and most reactive was if anyone verbally expressed disbelief in her existence. When this occurred, she would do something quite dramatic directly in front of them.
Information About the Original Owners
As we children got older, we naturally desired a more active social life. Our parents enjoyed our young friends and liked having them at our home. Therefore, our other resident was a problem and had to go. We concluded we must do something to encourage and expedite her departure. The consensus was we would voice our disapproval of her actions and no longer give her any positive reinforcement. Easier said than done. Her reaction to this was not encouraging as it resulted in more thumping and a downright stomping of feet at all hours. This required a change in tactics. We all adopted the position that she simply did not exist, ignored her completely, and she was no longer even a topic for conversation. It took several months, but her activity decreased, then stopped altogether. Finally, sweet peace and quiet.
A number of years later and totally by chance Mom encountered a woman who knew the original owners and some history of their family. The dentist and his wife had the house built for themselves and their two daughters. He was very successful, so it was a prosperous and comfortable home in its early period. The daughters attended private school and were well educated. The eldest grew to be a lovely young woman, well mannered with many friends. The younger was a somewhat homely thing with an equally sour disposition.
Daughter Commits Suicide
To complicate matters the younger developed polio and was required to go about in two full metal leg braces. According to the narrator, the younger would intentionally bang her braces into the shins of others and step on their feet in a rouse that she was simply trying to pass. Mom was then informed that the younger daughter committed suicide in the house. Apparently, on that night she had walked heavily up the stairs, turned at the landing, entered the south bedroom, proceeded to the exterior window where she crawled out onto the narrow roof of the bay window below and jumped. Additional details were scant, but the dentist passed, the elder daughter married and moved away, thus leaving the mother alone in the house. When the poor woman’s drinking problem started is anybody’s guess.
After so long a time so many things now came together to provide a picture along with more questions. Was our occupant the troubled trapped soul of an unhappy and desperate young female, or an equally miserable entity drawn to her, mimicking her, and thus remaining after her death? Was the mother tormented for years by guilt, the delusions of drink, and the presence of this occupant? Who is now to say? All I know is there was most assuredly “something” that resided in our house. One lesson this did teach me was that anything beyond the veil one may encounter is far more manageable than that of the physical world. So good people fear not those things that go bump in the night unless they are of the flesh, alive and breathing.
© 2019 Gerry Glenn Jones