A few years ago I was visiting my childhood city of Seattle.
Amidst connecting with old friends and visiting some favorite places from my youth, I convinced my cousin to drive me to my old house in the Wedgewood area.
I hadn't seen this house since my family moved to Texas when I was 12. For all you long time Creepy Corner readers, you may remember it as the house that was "released" to my family by the "eccentric" family that lived in it before us, the house with THE ghost that I still have nightmares about to this day, generally the house where all the spooky shit that made me the creep I am today happened.
Speaking of being a creep.
My cousin stopped her car across the street from the house, and for a moment we just sat and stared at it. It was still the lopsided, "two houses smashed together" house I remembered. The upstairs was built decades after the main floor of the house, and it always looked as if it had just dropped out of the sky and landed on another house. The lawn was overgrown, the paint was peeling, but it was still "my house."
"I want to knock on the door," I told my cousin.
"Louise, why?" My cousin looked uncomfortable with my sudden surge of eagerness. "I thought you just wanted to look at it. There it is."
"I'm curious. Is there stuff still... going on in there? YOU know how that house was."
"LOUISE! Don't be weird! You can't just go knock on someone's door and say, 'Hey! I used to live here. By the way, do you see dead people?"
"Oh please," I said as I got out of the car. "People do this all the time."
They do, right? No? Well, in my world...
I crossed the street and headed toward the house, as my cousin begrudgingly got out of her car and followed me. "Oh my god, why are you doing this..." I heard her mumble.
I fully admit that my actions were maybe inappropriate, potentially dangerous, and yes, a little creepy. But looking at that house, the house that always seemed like another character in the story of my childhood, I just had to know if other people had experienced some of what I had. I had to know, could the house really be... haunted?
"IT WAS CALLING TO YOU!" My mom gasped when I told her on the phone what I did. She also wanted to know the condition of the roof. "We spent so much money on that damn roof," she growled. Mom would have taken the roof to Texas with her if she could have.
We picked our way through the weeds and grass to the front door. The heavy, wooden door — the one that nearly crushed me when it came off its hinges when I was six — was weather-worn, but the same. Everything was silent.
"You're not really going to knock are you?" My cousin made one last effort to dissuade me.
Knock, knock, knock. Nothing. I waited a few seconds and tried again.
Nobody, no human or dark specter came to my answer. Either the current owners saw the determined creepster and her sidekick stalking up to their door and decided, "Nope, not buying any crazy today," or they just weren't home. Honestly, I would have avoided me too.
We left my house, much to my cousin's relief, and I haven't seen it since.
Part of me is glad nobody answered the door. It could have been a really uncomfortable situation for everyone involved. What was I thinking? The older and bolder I get, the more often these words pass through my mind.
I mean really, how many people would be amenable to some stranger showing up to their house and asking, "So do you still hear scratching and pounding coming from empty rooms? Or just disembodied footsteps?" Some people would have called the cops.
But Creepy Corneristas, a friend of mine was recently on the receiving end of such spookery, and it actually made him feel a little less "crazy" concerning his experiences.
This is one of those stories I've been promising to tell for a while. With my mom having recently primed the Corner for eerie stories from the people in my life, I thought it was time to share it. It's short and simple, but so deliciously strange to me.
By the way, "Louise's mom" fans. Mom reads all your comments on "her stories", and has stated, "Those creepy people really get me. They KNOW. I'd better give them more." My mom has basically decided to commandeer Creepy Corner one day.
Anyway on to the story.
My friend, I'll call him "Oliver," rents a small, 2-bedroom house in St. Louis. The house was built in the 1950s, and while comfortable and affordable, it's out-of-date and a bit rundown. While Oliver likes his house, he's always found it a bit unsettling.
"Stuff seems to move around on its own," he's said for as long as I've known him. "In the past I thought it was my roommate moving my stuff around, but recently, living alone, things continue to move. Once a coffee cup I had just put down in the kitchen went missing, and I found it in the bathroom. It was moved within minutes of putting it down. I'm scatterbrained, but I'm not THAT scatterbrained."
One morning Oliver came out of his bedroom to find all of the framed paintings on his walls to be tilted at odd angles — the same odd angles. And if that wasn't bad enough, all the chairs to his kitchen table, four of them, had been precisely pulled out from the table at the same distances.
Was it his roommate at the time?
"Nope. He was out of town visiting his parents." I guess some ghosts crave balance in their hijinks?
Anyway, weird shit happens in his house — whispering sounds, objects disappearing, doors closing seemingly on their own — and though he admits it might all be his imagination getting the best of him, he definitely feels uneasy at times.
"Sometimes I feel like something is fucking around with me. For fun."
Then one weekend afternoon a while back, he got a knock at his door. Looking through the peephole, he saw an unfamiliar, average-looking, middle aged man. He opened the door.
"Why did you open the door!?" Oliver and I are both generally the kind who avoid unannounced human contact.
"I know it's dumb, but it was the middle of the day, and I was curious. I don't know why!"
"Hi?" Oliver asked, and the man immediately apologized for bothering him.
According to Oliver the man sort of sputtered, "I'm really sorry. I know this is weird but, I used to live in this house and I was wondering if...is it still...uh...'"
Oliver waited, starting to freak out a bit.
"...uh...is it still...haunted?"
"SHUT UP," I shouted.
"I know! It's like a freaking movie!" Oliver shouted back.
Oliver asked what the man meant by "haunted." It seems that during the time he'd lived in the house a few years ago, the man had experienced all sorts of "strange things." Objects disappearing, shadows, knockings in the walls. "Have you seen anything in the hallway?" the man cautiously asked.
"NOOOOOOOO," I bellowed. "WHAT'S IN THE HALLWAY?"
"I DON'T KNOW!" Oliver cried. He'd never seen anything aside from shadows out of the corner of his eye that he'd always written off as just the heebie-jeebies.
The man went on to say that during his time in the house, the "activity" got so bad that he had a priest come and "cleanse" it.
After the cleansing, the activity let up for a while, then came back full force and then some. "Stuff would FLY," the man said.
Eventually the man said he couldn't take it anymore and moved out. By piecing together the timeline, it seems that Oliver moved in shortly after the man left.
"I've always wondered about this house," the man told Oliver. "Are you OK?"
At this point I was beside myself. "OLIVER! How do you know the man wasn't a crazy person trying to GET YOU?"
"I don't know! It was kind of dumb to be talking to him like that with my door wide open, but it was just so WEIRD. Why would someone make up a story like that?"
So Oliver told the man about all the ghostly goings-on he had experienced in the house — all the while the man kept peering beyond him, "like he was afraid the ghost might see him or something."
Eventually the man looked like he was ready to go. But before leaving he said to Oliver, "Well, you take care of yourself here. I'm really sorry to bother you, I just wanted to know and I guess you should know too. I'm won't bother you again."
He shook Oliver's hand, and left.
Oliver still lives in that house. He says that eerie things still happen, but nothing he can't handle. In fact, he says he feels a little better knowing that someone else out there "knows about this house."
Thinking about Oliver's bizarre story, I wonder how my own "Is this house still haunted?" encounter would have gone? Maybe they would have laughed at me, maybe I would have given them an extra, unneeded cause for alarm, but maybe they would have wanted to hear it from someone else?
Have you ever been approached by your home's previous resident, telling you of "haunted happenings"? Have you ever contacted the new residents of your former spooky dwelling? How did those interactions go?
I think I'd want to know if my home's former residents were haunted. I think. Would you?