I once lived in a truly haunted house. I had always kind of believed in ghosts before living in the house but after moving out, I was a true believer.
The house was located in a little mountain village just north of Colorado Springs. The little village had one small grocery store, a Post Office, a Pub and a fancy restaurant. That was it. The houses were hidden in the trees on winding, little, treacherous, graveled roads. I think there may have been street signs, but they were not readily apparent, even in the bright light of day. And God help anyone attempting to navigate those roads at night, there were no street lights. The light of the moon was it.
My Dad had come over from the Midwest to help me hunt for a new house. My previous lease was up, my roommate was moving on and I needed a new place to live. We happened upon the house, quite by accident, and the minute I laid eyes on it, I knew I had to live there. It was a sprawling shingled cottage with the original leaded windows. It was nestled among the Aspens and the fir trees on a small cul-de-sac. It was set back from the street, down some steps, hidden away.
The living room was enormous and the wall to the East had a massive picture window overlooking a bluff and a mesa in the distance. The bathroom was tiny, certainly not the size of the bathrooms today. In the middle of the house, as you walked to the back, an old iron stove stood in the original kitchen. The previous owners, I suspect, had added on the dining room, which was more of a sunroom, and built a large kitchen further back in the house. The bedroom also had a large picture window as well as French doors that lead out to the garden.
It was a quaint house, and I loved it. My two dogs and I moved in and set about tidying it up (Well, I tidied, they explored). The renters before had not been kind to the house, they hadn’t appreciated its hidden personality. I painted the walls, and scrubbed and waxed the large plank wood floors until they shined. I cleaned the bathroom, replaced the wallpaper. My dogs and I happily rattled around in the home. It was a good place for all of us.
When we had first moved in, the very first night we slept there, before the furniture was delivered – we slept on the floor in the cavernous living room. The dogs and I huddled together. There was a strange feeling in the house, kind of oppressive – almost like the air was so heavy I couldn’t completely inhale or exhale. I shrugged it off as being a new house, a new environment. But I could tell the dogs weren’t completely comfortable with the situation either, they were restless, and stuck by my side all night.
Over the following months, we became accustomed to the idiosyncrasies of the house. The floors creaked and groaned. The house readjusted itself in the deep, dark hours of the night. But it wasn’t until my friend Al, came to house sit and watch the dogs, that the strangeness really began. I can’t remember where I had to go, but I was gone for several weeks, it may have been one of my training sessions with the Air Force.
I would check in with Al every couple of nights to see how things were going. One night, however, he called me in a total panic and said things were happening – inexplicable things. He was sitting in the living room with the dogs at his side and heard footsteps in the bedroom. At first he thought it was the dogs, because being both very large dogs, they did sound like fully grown people when they walked across the wood floors. But it wasn’t the dogs, because they were on the rug by his side. Al had considered going to investigate but had chosen not to, as the people in horror movies who look for sounds in haunted houses never fare well. So, he stuck it out on the sofa.
But then the voices began, low rumbly voices, also coming from the bedroom. The dogs heard the voices too and their hackles went up and they both looked pointedly down the hallway which led to the darkened bedroom. Al being the sensible fellow that he was, decided to stay on the sofa for the night and figure out what was going in the morning. Those creating the activity in the house had other plans for him. Just as he was falling asleep, under his quilt on the sofa, the huge framed picture of the three cows flew off the wall and landed on the floor, with a crashing sound that echoed endlessly through the house. Al bolted for the guest bedroom directly off the living room, the dogs were right behind him, and that is where they stayed until the morning.
It was that crashing of the glass on the floor, from the picture falling, which seemed to open up a portal. After that, the glass door knobs began to turn in the evening, footsteps could be heard in hallway, and flitting images of shadows could be seen out of the corner of the eye. This may sound odd, but I just chalked all of this up to the age of the home, the area in which it was located and the history that it must have seen. This nonchalant attitude quickly changed one very eventful night.
I had gone to bed relatively early, the dogs were ensconced in their beds, and I in mine. I was trying, rather maturely I might add, to get a good night’s sleep before having to work the early morning shift. The lights were off, and the filtered moonlight shining through the trees just outside the window shone into the room. The dogs heard the noise before I did, because in unison they both lifted their heads and stared directly at the door. I heard the noise of the doorknob too, but for some reason, this time it scared me to death. I heard the door open slowly, and footsteps of someone as they entered the room. I had been lying in bed, with my back towards the door. I felt someone standing directly over me, I could feel icy cold breath as whoever it was, stood there and looked at me. I don’t think in all my life, I have ever felt such fear. It was fear that clamped around my heart and completely and utterly paralyzed me. I was so afraid that if I made one small move, it would be over. The dogs made a whimpering sound and cowered in their beds. I must have fallen asleep, because I awoke in the morning in the same position.
Things went downhill after that. I was so attuned to the sounds, every unusual noise made me jump. The dogs became nervous and I really think the constant anxiety started taking a toll on their health. The final event came the day I was in the kitchen preparing lunch. I had been piddling around, the dogs close on my heels (in hopes of little morsels of food fortuitously landing on the floor for their consumption) and I walked towards the dining room to put the plate on the table.
I sensed movement by the old iron stove to my left and looked up. Standing there by the stove, staring directly into my eyes, was a man. He wore a wide-brimmed black felt hat on his head, pulled down so just his dark eyes peered out from under the brim. He had a white shirt with a high preacher’s collar on, over that a black knee length jacket, black pants and boots. We both stared at each other, and then, he sneered. His upper lip came up ever so slightly over his teeth, his eyes narrowed into slits and then….he was gone. Even today, writing about the full-bodied apparition by the stove, the hair on my arms still stands up and I feel an overwhelming sense of dread. And this all happened over twenty years ago.
Needless to say, I moved out of that house very shortly after that. The owner of the house decided he wanted to move back in, and I gladly moved before my lease was up. I never did tell him about the events that occurred in that house. I hope he is doing okay.