Each one of us has a skeptic in our lives. It is usually a close friend or relative that either denies the existence of ghosts or ignores the topic all together. You can’t preach it to them it simply must be experienced. Thus begins this strange but true tale.
I was summoned by phone in a most emphatic fashion. “We miss you. You must come see our new place.” My best friend and his lady friend (for privacy’s sake, Anthony and Mary) awaited me as I exited the train station. Upon entering their car, a strange silence hung about us.
After we made a quick stop at the local pharmacy, we decided to pick up some fare from the pub across the street. Anthony ordered quickly and left. Mary was inside along with me.
Mary is a quiet woman but she has a tremendous presence. I could tell something plagued her.
“Anthony and I have had such problems. It isn’t how it seems, I know. If I told you, you wouldn’t believe the half of it.”
“Oh I have seen quite a bit in my short time on Earth. It takes a lot to shock me.”
She gave me a lengthy explanation of the emotional tension between them and the unusual circumstances in which they lived.
“I sleep with the lights on. The cats are in their own little world playing with something, someone we can’t see in a small room to the left of the attic. We live in the attic.”
OK, the attic idea was odd. I’ll give her that much. The Addams family may not bat an eye at living in an attic but most people would.
“So what else is going on?”
“Anthony has a hard time opening up to people about what he sees. He did see a shadow in the screen of our laptop.”
“Anthony did? Oh my God. Anthony the skeptic? This is major ground for him.”
“Oh yeah. You and I believe in this. We know its there. Can you imagine him admitting to seeing it?”
“You wanna come over tonight and check it out?”
“Yes I do.”
After we paid for the food, we made our way to the apartment. The building was massive, a mansion. It was sandwiched between a whole block of massive Victorian abodes. An avenue of anachronistic value. The night was frigid so we bustled in quickly.
The hall way and three adjoining rooms were crammed with personal belongings. A staircase proudly displayed itself in the middle. This was a place with the aesthetic appeal and presence of the Deetzes home in “Beetlejuice”. How delightfully spooky, I thought to myself.
As we ascended the steps, I decided to put out my figurative feelers. I snagged some sensations. My skin crawled. When we made our way into the attic, their living space, I was very alert.
“I was told this place is active. Yes I feel something.”
The both of them gave me more brain fuel to gnaw on. If the lights were flicked off at night, inhuman noises would be heard. At first dismissed as the ancient settling house, could no longer be ignored. The cats played with invisible friends and no one ventured into the kitchen alone. Even worse, the basement. The basement concealed the presence of something so profane the couple could scarcely speak of it.
Anthony spent most nights an hour away at work. Instead of staying at his friend’s place, he would drive straight home. A couple of times I was given the S.O.S. to stay with Mary and because the both of them are so private, I couldn’t figure out the gravity of the situation. It made sense now.
One evening, as Anthony sat at the computer, alone, he caught the shadow of someone behind him. The house was locked, Mary was at work. He was petrified. It was not friendly and it lingered for a time. Anthony slammed the top. He told Mary, of course, and didn’t speak of it again until I was there.
Perhaps even most curious of all, or one of the more questionable aspects of life at the mansion, was the roommate. James had moved in his personal belongings only to leave that same day. Anthony and Mary were quite disgusted with him. In fact when they did reach him, he barely said a word.
The house was a pungent psychic stew. It was only a matter of time before it bubbled over.
That night, as I was about to leave, Anthony escorted me to the front door. Before I could reach it, I halted abruptly by the dining room door. A nightmarish fear gripped me and I could hear an audible growl in my head. As I peered into the dining room, I heard, “Are you waiting to see my eyes? Ask him why I am here! Don’t you want to strangle him? Ask him! Haha! What is he doing here?”
I gulped. My eyes became fixed on Anthony. He studied me. “Are you OK?”
“I had something talk to me.”
“It came from your dining room and it isn’t nice.”
“Oh man. What did it say?”
“It wants to know why you are here.”
He dodged the conversation to give me a gift. As soon as Mary stopped by the dining room, she, uncharacteristically scolded him. “Why are you giving away our shit? Please don’t do that without my permission. Thanks.”
When the taxi cab rolled up outside, I smiled and dashed out of that house. My legs couldn’t carry me fast enough.
I have been in the presence of evil. While it had flesh, it housed a spirit. It makes you nauseous, it clouds your judgment and you’re left feeling like a puppet. That house had an unmistakable sinister presence yet there was something relatively benign there as well.
The first visit spawned a couple more. Who built the house? Who lived there after? What was the neighborhood like?
It was built by two brothers. The house next to it was joined with this one making them two separate houses joined at the seams. A plethora of people had lived there over the years. Each tenant living there for under a year, on average, before leaving in a panic stricken frenzy. Neighbors smirked when tenants ‘ personal belongings made their way to the curb.
“How many have we seen leave? Oh 15 people. Easily.”
A former tenant, a lover of Broadway musicals, would often play CDs to work to. One of the invisible tenants seemed to disapprove and loud foot steps tried to drown out the sound.
In the end, even with as much aid as we could muster, this gorgeous dream home could not be saved from what lurked within. It had been that way for decades and it certainly wasn’t going to change for anyone.
C’est La Vie. Better luck next time.