This blog entry will be about a short story in Miss Peculiar's Haunting Tales, Volume III. I was thinking about it today because I had given my brother a copy of the book two weekends ago and wondering if he had come to this story yet, or not? I'm sure I'll get a phone call when he does read it, seeing as the setting is the haunted house where he lived in the second floor apartment and I lived in the first floor apartment. His apartment was very haunted, so say the least, so some of the sequences and haunted happenings written about in the fictional story are actually based on real events that happened to him upstairs. I did not include the one singular event that happened to me while living in that house because it wouldn't have fit into the story.
The house was built in the 1870's-1880's. It was old enough to having wood lathing in the walls with plaster over the wood with horsehair mixed in for strength. It was two stories with a walk-up attic. My father converted the tiny original bathrooms into kitchen pantries and made bedrooms at the back of the house on both floors into larger bathrooms. The cellar had a dirt floor. The foundation was brick. There was a vintage 1950's refrigerator in the cellar with old Springfield Union newspapers stacked inside.
Events that really happened to my brother that also happen in the story are- his cat, Charley Boaz really did get locked out onto the second floor porch when he was away from home- and no one else had been in the apartment. He did used to find his clothes and especially his shoes, a pair of bright red high top sneakers in particular, thrown about the apartment when he'd get home for work, or wake up in the morning. A mug did lift up from a shelf above the pantry door and float across the kitchen and land on the floor without breaking while he and his then girlfriend were sitting at the kitchen table. She got up and left- totally freaked out. Lastly, my brother did see a male apparition, full body. It walked through the living room and into the kitchen-and passed right through him! He said he had never felt cold like he did when that ghost passed through him.
I wove these events into Jessica's roommate. I lived downstairs, worked nights and tried to sleep days when he was working- and there was always a lot of noise upstairs when it was supposedly just Charley up there- loud thumps, footsteps, creaks and thuds.
The one thing that happened to me, other than feeling creeped out in the second floor hallway on my way up to my storage room in the attic, was this- I worked nights, came home at 7AM Monday morning and usually stayed up because I had Monday and Tuesdays off, so would try to stay up, errands run and have two normal nights home with my husband. So, on a Monday I did some housework, then after lunch I decided to go visit my sister who was working at a shop in downtown Westfield. The haunted house was in West Springfield not far from the Connecticut River. It was a beautiful sunny day. I went into the shop and was looking at magazines while chatting with my sister. It was around two o'clock in the afternoon. I don't even remember what we were talking about but all of a sudden a male voice said, very close to my ear, or in my ear- "Go home. Go home now!" It was a command, not a suggestion! I put the magazine down that I was looking through and walked out of the shop, just telling my sister I had to go home.
I drove directly home- a trip that took about fifteen to twenty minutes. I pulled into the driveway and maneuvered into my parking space at the side against the hedges. I really had no clue why I was home. I grabbed a few bags out of my trunk, then felt compelled to walk down the driveway to the back porch. The hook on the screen door was popped. Sometimes the UPS delivery driver would pop the hook and leave a package on the back porch out of sight since it wasn't that great a neighborhood and he didn't like leaving packages on the front step where they were very visible. I thought, oh, we must have gotten a package. So I pushed the door open and stepped onto the porch. I took a step and stopped. Something wasn't right. I looked at the back door and noticed that the curtains were on the outside of the door! That was when I realized that the back door into the back hall had been removed and turned backwards in the frame to make it look like it was shut!
I worked in law enforcement at the time and groaned. The house had been broken into while I was out! We were newly married and didn't own much- an Apple computer, a TV and stereo and that was about it for anything worth much. I walked back around the house and let myself in through the front door, fully expecting to find the inside doors open, but our apartment door was locked. I unlocked it and stepped in. I could see straight back to the kitchen door to the back hall and it was shut. Our cat, Hyper, looked a little wide-eyed but not necessarily alarmed. I spoke to her quietly as I went to the kitchen door, intending to go upstairs to see what was what upstairs in my brother's apartment. I removed the chain lock from the door and was about to unlock it when I heard footsteps upstairs!
I put the chain back on the door, walked back into the living room and relocked that door, then frantically looked up the police department phone number because there was no 9-1-1 in that town at that time! I calmly informed the dispatcher that I had just gotten home and found the back door backwards in the frame, had come inside expecting a break-in that had occurred...and heard footsteps upstairs where my brother was no at home at the time. I was told to stay in the apartment with the door locked until the police arrived. A cruiser and an unmarked car arrived in short order. I slipped out to open the front door for the detective in plain clothes. The uniformed officer went around back. I was told to go back into my apartment and lock the door and sit tight.
I called my mother, then I called my husband. My mother worked at a doctor's office in West Springfield not too far from the house. Joh said he'd leave work and come home. Meanwhile, I heard footsteps upstairs and voices, then footsteps coming down the back stairs. I watched as a man I did not recognize was led in handcuffs around the house to the cruiser. By then another officer had arrived and the detective had come downstairs and knocked on the door. I was asked some questions, such as had I recognized the man- No. Would I recognize my brother's belongings?-Yes. We went upstairs where the man had stacked piles of stuff he'd intended to steal- my brother's stamp albums, jewelry, small electronics, some clothing...I identified it as belonging to my brother. I did not see Charley anywhere in the apartment and worried that she had slipped out and gotten lost.
The man was taken away for breaking and entering and burglary. John came home. I finally managed to reach my brother at work and he came home. He found Charley hiding in the tub surround our father had built around his bathtub (it was open on one end to access the pipes and she had hidden in there). He was amazed that I had come home and walked into the house with a burglar upstairs. I told him I didn't know he was still up there when I got home, because it looked to me as if he had left, and just set the door back in the frame on his way out to make it look like it was in place, but had put it in backwards. (I did not tell the police a phantom voice had commanded me to come home, I merely said I had come home from running errands earlier than usual...which was the truth, and was probably why the house had been targeted. The burglar must have been watching the house and knew my routine and figured he had plenty of time to leisurely rob us, but the ghost threw a monkey wrench into the works by sending me home hours earlier than I normally would have been back!)
The most amazing part of that whole afternoon, to me, was that voice commanding me to go home immediately and how a burglary in progress had been stopped. When my brother told me, after he'd seen the ghost and it had walked through him, that the ghost was male, it gave me goosebumps. Had that ghost tracked me down in the next town over and commanded me to go home because something bad was happening in the house on the second floor where he resides? Can ghosts even do that?
The part that gives me the biggest goosebumps is that the ghost was aware of my living in the house, and probably aware of the fact I wore a police uniform to work five nights a week. Had it been observing me? Had it spoken to me a and not my brother because of my law enforcement connection? If so, that is one darn strong case for an intelligent haunt!
My sister still sometimes mentions the day I was visiting her at the store and just walked out on her in mid-sentence- guess she had worried about me because it had been so strange. I didn't tell her at the time a voice had told me to go home...not until later that evening.
So- true story converted to fiction. A happy haunting we will go!