September 28, 2016
Things were getting desperate. After that night where I slept on the couch, my best friend Victoria was scheduled to come over and hang out before we went out to dinner. As I stood at the kitchen sink, looking over the sleepy street before me, I knew, without doubt or solid evidence, that if I turned around fast enough, I would see it.
The dark shadow lurked in the corner of the kitchen behind me as if chained to the hall. It stood there watching me. Without direct interaction, it told me that it was frustrated, confused, angry. Angry that I was there, but I ignored it. I knew that if I acknowledged it without knowing exactly what I was dealing with, that I could feed its power over me, so quietly, I carried on with washing my dishes.
Victoria arrived just after dark and the second her Chuck Taylors crossed the threshold, it was obvious that she felt it too. Of my suspicions that we were not alone in this house, Victoria was completely unaware. I purposefully did not tell her because if it was as I suspected, Victoria would confirm it. Like me, she’s very attuned to other presences if they should happen to be in the room.
We walked through the house and the entire time, her eyes were wide, her body stiff, mannerisms that I had grown very accustomed to myself while in that house.
After a while, the pair of us opened a grapefruit IPA to toast this new independence. We stood at the foot of the dining room table, directly in line with the hall. It was the most uncomfortable experience that I had yet endured in that house. It was plain that both of us could sense it standing in the hall like a belligerent adolescent. Though we said nothing about it, both of us kept our peripherals on the hall.
It wanted us out, so we respectfully bolted.
The minute we locked the front door behind us, Victoria took her first real breath, like she was breaking the surface after a dive that went too deep.
“How do you stand it in there?” She exasperated. “I couldn’t breathe. There’s someone in there!”
“I know,” I said calmly, but not feeling calm at all. “Where did you feel it watching us?”
Without hesitation she answered, “From the hall and it is pissed.”
There was no better way to say it.
Victoria has numerous of her own spirit stories, but she told me that there was no way that she could ever sleep or be at ease in that house. I knew only too well what she meant.
The next morning, I sent an email to my local parish’s priest. I did not know what else to do.
I asked the Father to come and bless the house, to which he agreed. I spent the week in wait, but, to my disappointment, the priest did not honor the agreement. Driving up the freeway back to my house, fro m church where he and I were supposed to meet, I felt a courage fill me that rarely had reared its head. It was a resolute determination to take this thing head on myself. I was not going to let this unseen terror destroy my peace. Blaring down the highway, I vowed that I would pray that negative energy out from that house.
Bursting through the door, I held tight to my rosary and as if in a trance, repeated over and over again throughout the entire house, “Peace and love fill this house!” If any of the neighbors passed by, I’m sure they thought me a lunatic, but I repeated it over and over for well over twenty minutes before I felt like I could stop. My words echoed in my head and the house felt quieter, lighter, much lighter, but not empty. It felt like the spirit was chased back. Like the wickedness had been thwarted, but it’s presence lingered. It was enough for me at that moment and it allowed me enough peace to get through the afternoon.
That night, I had dinner with my friends Jason and Elizabeth. Elizabeth went on home after, but Jason came by to pick up some important documents in the evening. At one point, we went through the hall to grab those papers from the second bedroom, but we stopped dead. It felt like we walked through a veil of smoke.
“Do you smell that?” I asked, sniffing the air in the center of the hall.
Jason’s crinkled brow intimated that he had.
“It smells like smoke?” he asked.
Nodding, I confirmed, “Like cigarettes.”
Neither of us smoked and as far as we knew, no one in that house had in over thirty years. There were no windows in the hall, no vents. A chilling sensation ran down both of our necks.
I quickly checked the bathroom. No smoke, no smell. Jason checked the old room of the gentleman who lived there, no smoke, no smell. We both checked my room and the same was the case, but just as I was about to check the front of the house, Jason went in to the third room.
The second he stepped inside, I felt an overwhelming sensation like someone was standing in the room screaming, “GET OUT!”
Immediately, I called to Jason, “It doesn’t want us in there, we need to get out of there, right now!”
Grabbing Jason by his shirt sleeve, I pulled him out of the room and we stopped dead for a moment in the hall. The door to the third room closed shut.
We stood silent for a moment, trying to process what happened until again, there was the smell of cigarettes, isolated strictly to where we stood in the hall.
Jason had had enough. He charged in to the living room, me right beside him. We decided that we had to talk to it, to tell it what was going on and that would be enough to calm down whatever was clinging on to this place. Hoping that this would make it leave us alone.
I slowly lowered myself to the couch while jason began to speak, “We know you’re here. My name is Jason, I’m a friend of the gentleman who lives here. We are taking care of him. He is sick and currently can’t live at home. Until he can return, this is Sarah and she is here to take care of this house.”
“Jason,” I interrupted. “Look at Kitty.”
Little Kitty had been playing, carefree and adorably at the foot of the chair by Jason, but now she sat cold, erect, frozen in fear, looking at the hall. Her immensely dilated eyes stared into the face of the person that we could not see.
To this day, it chills me to think of what that pour cat could see that we could not. Whatever it was, it terrified her. Kitty bolted from her spot to hide beneath the roll top desk, something she had not done before and never did again.
Jason and I nearly lost our nerves seeing this, but he continued, “I know that this is new for you and that you’re concerned about your friend, but we will keep you updated on his progress and all we ask is that you leave Sarah and her two cats alone. Let them live here in peace. Thank you and God bless.”
It took a minute, but the room felt lighter, so much lighter! Like it hadn’t as long as I had been there. A tremendous weight was taken from that house, but it wasn’t completely gone, not for a while at least. There were several more conversations like this to follow and the spirit always let us know when it was time for an update, but for the most part, the spirit held true to her end of the bargain. With the clues that we had gathered, we determined that this was the spirit of Scotty’s sister who was watching over him. It made sense that his sudden removal and the entrance of a stranger in his home would seem like an invasion to her.
Toward the end of my eleven month stay in that house, after months of peace, I felt the spirit intimately communicate with me once more.
It was a warm night. It had been another long day of packing up my items and distributing them between my parents’ house, where I was moving, and my storage unit. I had taken a shower and was getting ready for bed. My hair was already dry and I was just about to put on my pajamas when suddenly the distinct touch of a finger running up my spine removed me from my peaceful evening.
The frozen touch chilled me and I knew the question being asked, “What’s going on, Kid?” But I ran out of the bathroom before I answered. I sat on the side of the bed to decide what to say, when the symbol of peace that I had attached to the door of my room for the past eleven months, slipped from its spot right before my eyes.
Quickly, I explained that I was preparing to move and that the house would soon be sold. I explained that the profit would help to ensure the proper care that her brother deserved.
The night was still.
The next day, a week earlier than planned, I packed up the cats and took them to my parents’ place. The lightness had returned, but that was the last night I spent in the house on the hill.
The third room, exactly as it was for twenty years. All of the photos used in this post were taken in 1994. Everything in the photos was EXACTLY where and how we found them when we initially started to clean the house in the summer of 2016.
Until next week, dear readers,
Your humble author,