I told myself that a vacation is a VACATION, and I wasn’t going to do any work. But with yesterday’s launch of this blog, and the fact that I don’t really consider horror blogging “work”, I decided to break my rule and knock out a quick article while it’s fresh on my mind.
Rachel and I are currently back “home” in Illinois visiting family. Prior to our trip I was attempting to explain to The Nerdcronomicon’s resident city girl, Silvia, just how small my home town is, and naturally our conversation wound up on the topic of hauntings. She asked if the house I grew up in was haunted, and my knee-jerk answer was “no.”
But then I thought about it for awhile.
Suddenly I was telling stories about weird things that I witnessed in that house but never really considered as paranormal. I guess it’s because I never saw a “ghost.”
Or had I?
I was probably in Junior High (can’t remember for sure) and was home alone one day. Someone knocked on the front door. That was my first cause for apprehension, because any regular visitors to the house knew that NOBODY goes to the front door. Everyone came through the garage. It was unlikely that it was a salesperson because the house sits way back from a county highway, and our driveway is probably 300 feet long, meaning that a salesperson couldn’t walk door-to-door where our house was, and if they drove they would have had to pull down the driveway, and I would have heard the car. I stood contemplating all this when I was snapped back to reality by another knock at the door. I crept up and peeked through the peephole.
I saw a man.
He wore a simple black suit, white shirt and black tie. He was older, and this is probably just my warped mind manifesting something years later, but if he’d been wearing a wide-brimmed hat he could have been the creepy Preacher from Poltergeist II.
I wasn’t about to open the door, so I just kept staring, positive that he knew I was there, and would pull out a machete and impale me through the door at any moment.
But he didn’t. He simply turned around and started down the porch steps. I quickly ran around to the front living room to peek out of the big bay window so I could see where the old dude was going. This took maybe 5 seconds. You know where I’m going with this………
The guy was gone.
I ran around to every window to see if he was walking around the house and when he was nowhere to be found I told myself that I had just missed him walking back out to the highway. Oddly enough, I had never considered the possibility that I had seen a ghost.
On another occasion my sister, who was very young at the time, sent everyone into a frenzy by telling us she had seen a black man in our downstairs utility room. Now, my family is extremely UN-prejudiced when it comes to home invasions, and we display the same level of concern regardless of race, religion or sexual and/or political orientation. Only later did we discover that she didn’t mean a “black man”, but a man from a black and white photograph. We never pinpointed who it was she “thought” she saw. My sister has more of these strange stories than I do, and has told me on several occasions that she thinks she has seen people in the house. My belief is that she’s sensitive to paranormal activity (whether she admits it or not). Anyway, most of the other strange things I experienced can be generalized as a few shadows and weird noises.
So now that I’m up here again for a few days I vowed to keep an open mind and specifically be on the lookout for anything paranormal. Here are my observations so far:
- First off, it’s probably just me, but this old house seems to be creaking and popping more than ever. Probably just the wind, right?
- One reason why I never considered the house to be haunted is that it was built in 1975, and my family have been the only residents. No house was on this property before.
Or so I thought.
My Grandpa informed me on this trip that in fact there WAS another house on
the grounds, and apparently it burned down.
How have I gone the last 31 years without knowing this?!? I’m investigating
- I saved the best for last. Yesterday there were five of us eating lunch in the kitchen when the front doorbell rang. I personally haven’t heard that doorbell in twenty years, and everyone else seem just as surprised as me that the damn thing still worked. It’s one of those creepy old doorbells that sounds like a tuberculosis patient hacking when it goes off. Anyway, the same standards apply today as when the weird old man in the suit knocked on the door when I was a kid.
Nobody goes to the front door.
Anyway, my Grandpa went to open the door and (again, you KNOW where this is
going) NOBODY was fucking there! We walked around the house, just to be sure,
and confirmed that nobody was on the property.
The group consensus? It must have been a bird.
So, is my childhood home haunted? 10 years ago I would have said, “tragically, no.”
The verdict is still out…
Did you grow up in a haunted house? Tell us about it…