True Tales of Terror: The Night Visitor
A Plan Comes Together
The story you are about to read is one that captivated me from the moment I first heard it. The couple who shared this harrowing tale are acquaintances of my husband's from his days as a karaoke host. Upon learning that I collected accounts of true paranormal encounters, they contacted me with their story. I think you will agree that it is the stuff of nightmares.
Mike and Sheila Bunting had been married for less than a year when their ordeal began. The couple, along with their children from previous relationships, had been living in a cramped apartment until they could find a house that suited their budget.
At the time, Mike was working as an assistant manager at a local fast food restaurant while Sheila held down a job as a clerk at a convenience store. Small town West Virginia was not offering them much in terms of lucrative employment, so they devised a plan that they hoped would allow them to move to a more prosperous area.
The two of them were avid viewers of DIY television shows which had given them the idea to buy a cheap property that they would then renovate. They would do most of the work themselves and, upon its completion, they would put the house on the market. If everything worked out, they would sell the house and use the profits to start over again someplace down South. The wheels were set in motion when Mike spotted an advertisement for a cheap fixer upper in a local trade paper.
The house that the would-be investors set their sights on was a two-story home in a part of town that had been neglected for quite some time. Many of the houses were ramshackle, but the area had recently been granted funding by the city for numerous beautification projects. Mike and Sheila figured that, if they got in on the ground floor, perhaps the city's renovation plan would stir up interest in the area and work to their advantage when the time came to sell.
The couple toured the house and took note of the massive amount of work that would be required in order to make the place desirable. Even with its gutted out appearance, they could envision turning it into a home like the ones they had seen on some of their favorite shows.
The asking price was $23,000 which they managed to bring down to under $20,000. They had stumbled onto a gem and they knew it. The deal was made and after a bit of wrangling, they became home owners.
The couple set to work right away hauling off debris from around the outside of the house. The properties on either side of the house had already been torn down to make way for new constructions that would be part of the city's project. In the meantime, this allowed them plenty of space in which to work as well as giving them a buffer from the neighbors. Their plan was coming together and they couldn't have been more pleased.
Mike and Sheila had known from the start that they would have to give up their apartment and move into their newly purchased investment home. It would be a tricky proposition seeing as how the house was lacking in even the most basic of amenities, but they had no other choice. Paying both a mortgage and rent was out of the question.
The family decided to make the best of their situation and moved lock, stock and barrel into their newly acquired home. They set to work straight away making the place livable. Several of the windows had been busted out, so Mike patched them with plywood until they could afford to have new ones installed. Fortunately, the plumbing was sound so they had running water and one working toilet. It was going to be a struggle, but they knew that the end result would be worth any sacrifices they had to make.
The couple's children, Sheila's daughters Megan and Ashley and Mike's daughter Sienna were all under the age of twelve when they moved into the house. Surprisingly, they had not seemed to mind the inconveniences that came with their new living arrangements. When the girls weren't in school, they pitched in helping their parents in any way they could. They had all known that their dream of a better life could only be accomplished if they worked together.
It was about a week after they had settled into the house that things began to go awry. Sheila can recall the exact moment when she realized that something was very wrong in their new surroundings. The fear had come quite unexpectedly and would hold them in its grasp for longer than she cares to remember.
Sheila remembers that it was on the first Friday after they moved into the house that they heard something strange coming from just outside the front door. The family had been huddled together on mattresses in the living room watching television when they became aware that someone was dragging something heavy along the concrete walkway that led up to their house. Sheila can't be sure, but she said that it sounded like a shovel or gardening tool.
Mike had jumped up right away and peered out the window. He noted that there was no one in the yard nor could he see anyone on the street; the noise continued nonetheless. He was walking away from the window when the glass suddenly shattered behind him.
The girls screamed as pieces of glass literally shot through the air and rained down around them. Mike was hit by several bits of glass, but was not seriously injured. If he had not turned his back just before the implosion, the damage could have been catastrophic.
No one could explain what had happened. They could find no signs that anything had been thrown through the window and nothing else had been damaged. They were also struck by the fact that the glass had not broken off in shards, but rather in small bits no larger than thumbtacks.
After they had cleaned up as much of the glass as possible; Mike went to work boarding up the gaping hole that had been left behind after the incident. This meant that nearly every window in the house was now covered by plywood. The family would not be able to see what was going on outside until new windows could be installed. They would discover, soon enough, what a blessing that may have been.
On either that night or the one that followed, Sheila woke up sometime after midnight to the horrifying realization that she had lost her sight. The television that sat on the floor in the living room was still on; she could hear the voices, but could not see even a trickle of light.
A panicked Sheila remembers shaking Mike and telling him that she was blind. Try as she might, she couldn't seem to rouse him. Not wishing to wake the children, she gave up the effort to wake her husband and focused on trying to regain her vision.
She says that her eyes felt like they were burning and she kept wiping them with her hands. Unable to make any headway, she stumbled into the bathroom and splashed water on her face. She realized that she had made a terrible mistake when the water only succeeded in amplifying the burning sensation that was rapidly becoming unbearable.
When Sheila reached for a towel to wipe her face, she noticed that she could now see shadows and slivers of light in the room. After holding the cloth over her eyes for a few minutes, she removed it and found that her sight had returned. To her horror, the first thing she saw was that the towel was smeared with blood and black particles that she could not identify.
Sheila gazed at her reflection in the mirror and could see no evidence of trauma to either her face or eyes. There were no scratches or abrasions to be seen. She also noted that the whites of her eyes appeared to be normal. There was no sign of blood anywhere, except on the bath towel.
When Sheila rejoined her family in the living room, she found that they were all still sound asleep. After lying there for what seemed like hours, she managed to fall into a fitful slumber for the remainder of the night.
The next morning, Sheila took her husband aside and told him of her frightening experience. She then led him into the bathroom to show him the bloody towel that she had secreted away at the bottom of the hamper. When Sheila removed the towel it was still damp, but showed no traces of the blood that had been present a few hours earlier.
Mike tried to convince her that what she thought had happened had only been a nightmare, but Sheila knew that it had been much more than that. The towel was exactly where she had left it before she went back to bed. She had regained her eyesight and had clearly seen the blood and black specks that had accompanied it before she placed the towel in the hamper. She assured him that she was not crazy and that it had not been a dream.
Sheila remembers that she and Mike barely spoke the rest of the day. She was upset with him for not believing her and he was annoyed that she couldn't tell a nightmare from reality. The girls didn't know what was going on and both parents wanted to keep it that way.
After a long day of working on the house, Sheila had to work the night shift at the convenience store. That meant that Mike and the kids would have the place to themselves until morning. It was already passed 10 o'clock when Sheila left for the night.
Since it was a long weekend, Mike allowed the girls to stay up late and watch a movie while he continued working on laying new flooring in the bedrooms. He had not been out of the living room for long when he suddenly heard the sound of screams coming from the second floor.
He had already warned the girls, in no uncertain terms, that they were not to go upstairs without an adult. They hadn't even started renovating the area and it was not safe for them to be up there. Mike had been more angry than alarmed as he threw down his tools and stormed up the stairs to see what was going on.
The first thing that Mike noticed was that the upstairs was pitch black. He knew immediately that the girls weren't there because they were all deathly afraid of the dark and would have turned on the lights. Still, he was sure that the scream had come from overhead so he flipped on the light in the hallway and carefully made his way through each room.
When she had shown them the house, the realtor informed Mike and Sheila that squatters and vagrants had been known to make use of the abandoned homes in the area over the years. Mike feared that one of them might have returned to their old stomping ground. After a thorough search turned up nothing, he discounted that notion.
He had also heard that they had not been the first family who had attempted to renovate the property. Another investor had purchased the house and started the demolition process upstairs. After tearing out most of the interior walls and pulling up the flooring, he or she had abandoned the project. The agent didn't know for certain, but she assumed that they had run out of funds. Whatever the reasons, Mike and Sheila were not deterred; they had their sights set on the home's future, not its past.
The upstairs checked out, so Mike returned to the first floor to confront the girls. He discovered that two of them were fast asleep while the third seemed to be enthralled in the movie she was watching. He asked her if she had been upstairs earlier. She had no idea what he was talking about and swore that none of them had left the room.
Knowing that they were afraid of their own shadows, he believed her. Before heading back to continue his work on the floors, Mike asked her if she had heard anything unusual, to which she replied that she had not. He didn't specifically mention the scream since he knew that it would only serve to upset her.
Mike says that he had no more that picked up his tools before he heard the sound of someone running down the stairs that led from the second floor. He jumped up immediately and checked on the girls before going upstairs.
When he entered the living room, Mike could see that all three girls now appeared to be sleeping. The children were accounted for, but he could still hear someone running up and down the stairs. As he walked towards the area that led to the stairway, he says that a rush of cold air hit him so hard that he was rocked on his heels.
Mike has no explanation for what occurred that night. He says that, for hours afterwards, he was literally chilled to the bone. This man, who stands well over six feet tall and weighs upwards of two hundred pounds, asserts that he could not stop shivering no matter how many blankets he wrapped himself in.
In the morning, when Sheila returned home from work, she was startled by her husband's appearance. She recalls that his face was as white as a sheet as he told her of the harrowing night he had spent in the house. The girls had slept through the whole thing, but Mike had not been so lucky. The family couldn't have known it at the time, but what they had experienced thus far was mild compared to what was yet to come.
They Only Come Out at Night
The family continued to work on remodeling the house in spite of the mounting evidence that they were not alone. Mike and Sheila both wanted to see their plan through to the end no matter what they had to put up with along the way.
Mike worked on weekdays and every other Saturday in his capacity as a restaurant manager. Sheila, in turn, worked mostly third shift at the convenience store. This schedule worked out perfectly for the couple since it meant that one of them was always home with the girls. As an added bonus, every penny they saved on daycare went into the renovations.
It didn't take long for Mike and Sheila to realize that their house was a different place at nighttime than it was during the day. Sheila was the first one to voice her concerns that something evil was settling upon the house once the sun went down. In time, Mike would have no choice other than to agree.
Late one evening when the entire family were sitting at the table in their newly remodeled kitchenette, they noticed a light moving through the side yard. Since this was one of the few rooms in the house that still had glass in the windows, Mike got up from the table and took a look outside. He could see a bright ball of light moving slowly across the yard about three feet off the ground.
He told the rest of the family to stay put while he went outside to take a closer look. Sheila and the girls watched through the window as Mike approached the light that was still gliding across the yard. When he was within reach of it, the light suddenly shut off as though someone had flipped a switch.
It was commonplace to see residents milling about the area, but this was different. Mike could find no explanation for the sudden appearance and disappearance of the mysterious light. He went back inside the house and closed the curtain just in case someone was outside sneaking around.
Later that night, Megan had gone to bathroom to wash off before bedtime. Moments later she let out a bloodcurdling scream that sent her parents scrambling to check on her. The girl came running out of the room and met them in the hallway. Sheila had never seen any of her children in such a state of panic.
When they asked her what was wrong, Megan was crying so hard that she couldn't get the words out. After she had calmed down, she told her parents that someone had been in the bathroom with her. She went on to say that she had just started changing into her pajamas when she felt something tickling the back of her legs. She was bending down at the time and didn't see anything unusual. When she stood up, she caught sight of herself in the mirror and realized that something was in the room with her.
A dark form standing directly behind Megan was reflected in the mirror. She described it as being completely black with a gaping mouth and holes where light shone through instead of eyes. She had let out a scream that had caused the black form to immediately turn into a ball of light that had moved up the wall and out through the vent.
The girl's story sounded unbelievable, but her ashen face and shaking hands told Mike and Sheila that this was not a childish grab for attention. This girl was terrified and she wasn't doing it for show. Megan begged her mother and stepfather to let the family move back into their old apartment. When they explained to her that they had to stay in the house until it was finished, she was inconsolable.
After that night, none of the kids wanted to go into the bathroom alone. The only way that their fears would be calmed was if the door was left cracked and Mike or Sheila stood guard outside. The couple hated that their children were living in a state of constant fear, but their hands were tied.
The dark figure that had appeared that night would show up again and again during the months that the family lived in the house. As renovations moved to the second floor, the sightings became more frequent. Unexplained activity in the lower level seemed to wane as it increased upstairs.
None of the girls would set foot in the upper story after Mike's brother, who had been recruited to help install drywall, claimed to have seen a black shadow moving across the wall. It had occurred on the one and only occasion that he had been asked to stay over and work past nightfall.
Mike, too, had seen the dark presence upstairs on several occasions. Sometimes, it would start out as a light that slowly morphed into a black shadow that would climb the walls and make its way across the ceiling. At other times, it would emerge from the floor and hover close to whomever happened to be in the room.
Mike had not thought of himself as easily spooked, but the sight of the entity would cause him to drop what he was doing and run down the stairs. He would later say that as soon as he closed the door that led to the second floor, it felt like walking into the sunlight after living for years in a cave.
Everyone who had been on the second floor at night had, at one time or another, experienced the same feeling. After his encounter with the mysterious figure, Mike's brother made it clear that he would only be available to help out during the day. Sheila would also only work in the daylight; leaving Mike and anyone who was willing to lend a hand to cover the after hours.
In the early days of the project, Mike had cleaned up the areas where the walls had been torn out by the previous owner. In the process, he had come across various items that had given him pause. Behind one wall, he had discovered shreds of clothing and tiny bones which he assumed had been the leftovers of rats' nests. They hadn't seemed significant at the time so he had thrown them out.
Looking back, Mike wondered if he should have kept the remnants and had them analyzed. He thinks that they were probably nothing, but he regrets not finding out for sure. When he told Sheila, she wondered if they had anything to do with the dark figure who seemed to be attached to the house. Sadly, the opportunity to find out had been lost.
After eight months of hard work, the first floor of the house was finished. It wasn't perfect, but it was greatly improved. The work on the upstairs had also been completed, in spite of the fact that they had been limited to working the hours between sun up and sun down.
In the end, Mike and Sheila sold the house in less than a month and for close to their asking price. They had made enough of a profit to move the family to an area of Florida that was within an hour of the nearest beach. They both agree that even if they hadn't been able to make a big move, they wouldn't have stayed in the house. They are quick to add that the strange sightings and goings on had shown no signs of stopping and had continued right up until the evening before they moved out.
In case you're wondering, Sheila says that they did inform prospective buyers that they had seen some unexplained things in the house. A few people seemed to be fascinated by the story, while others scoffed. The man who ended up buying the house had walked through it several times, including at night, and was completely comfortable with his purchase.
Although the exact history of the house that Mike and Sheila had renovated is unknown, they did find out that the neighborhood had a rather morbid past. Several years prior to their buying the fixer upper; another house on the same street had been the sight of a double homicide. Apparently, a couple had been shot and the house had been set on fire in an attempt to cover up the crime.
Tragedy would strike the block once again when two children lost their lives in an accidental house fire. It seemed that a space heater had malfunctioned sparking a blaze that quickly engulfed the second story of the family's home. Those on the lower level managed to escape, but the youngsters perished in the inferno.
For Mike and Sheila, the memory of the house that paved their way to a better life has remained with them over time. They aren't sure, to this day, if the dark figure they encountered was a lone entity or one of many. Since it did not follow the family when they moved, they assume that it was attached to the house for some reason.
As a footnote, Mike told me that he had spoken to the buyer of the renovated home several weeks following the closure of the sale. The man reported that he had not experienced anything out of the ordinary in the house and couldn't have been happier.
A few months later, Mike's brother had phoned him to say that he had happened to drive by the house one day and noticed a "For Sale By Owner" sign in the front yard. Food for thought.