Is Anybody there?
Okay, so just writing that scared me shitless. I love anything and everything to do with horror, but there’s just something about Haunted Houses that’s always given me the serious willies!
The next time you’re in your bedroom alone, and it’s pitch black out… say out loud in the darkness, “Hello? Is anyone there?” and try to tell me that you don’t get goosebumps… The feeling like you’re not alone, even though you can’t physically see anyone, is enough to keep you awake for a long time.
When I was little, I lived with my mom in a neighborhood with that one creepy house. It was a dirty white wreck with an unkempt lawn, boards covering the top floor windows, random nails sticking out of its decrepit siding, broken toys on the front lawn… Had I ever seen anyone going in and out of it? Of course not. That’s basically Haunted House 101! It had all the makings of a horror movie, but I’d never truly find out the scoop on that house, because I moved in with my father shortly after I started paying any real attention to it.
Fast forward a couple of years to when I started becoming a rebellious teenager. Living in a new town, with a father who worked constantly and a step mother, whom I didn’t get along with, I spent a lot of my time roaming the neighborhood with the kids on my block, searching for something to keep us entertained. One day, some of the kids I was chummy with and I came across an old white house some streets away from where we usually hung around… a dirty, decrepit white house with broken toys on its front lawn, and I thought to myself, “We meet again“…
The only difference about this house and the one in my old town was that there was a FOR SALE sign on the front lawn. Clearly, someone was trying to get rid of it, but we never saw anyone coming or going from this property either. After a few days of hanging around outside near the property, it became a running dare that someone should go inside the house and check it out… I mean, it looked spooky AF, and surely there were some creepy things in there. No one ever took the leap and went inside… until one dark night in the summer of 2004.
I can’t really remember how I came to be one of the kids who actually went inside the house on that summer night… but alas, there I was, climbing through the open window- following my friends.
There wasn’t anything remarkable about the interior of the home. We only had one flashlight, and each of us had a glow stick from the hobby store down the road, but from what we could make out, it was all pretty barren.
There was nothing on the walls, save for an old photograph of someones rusty pickup truck. The rooms had no furniture. There were no boxes or items left in the cupboards. The only thing that did fill the empty space were the echos of our nervous giggles.
Of course, being 14 & 15 and it being pitch black, we were all easily spooked by whatever anyone said while we were inside.
“Did you hear that?”
“I think I saw something move!”
“Were those footsteps?”
(Those were among the common verbal ‘frights’ we were passing around)
And then, very suddenly, it stopped being funny… at least for me.
It was at the end of one of these sentences… we were all giggling at each other’s silliness and I remember thinking to myself how we were so stupid, that nothing was in this darkness.
I felt it before I saw it.
It was a filling feeling, as if I were being inflated. As if I were a balloon from the hobby store, where we bought our glow sticks, I felt the presence of cold air being rushed through my body. Goosebumps erupted over my entire frame- not one spot left untouched by the feeling of something in me. I was crazy, right? Nothing was there. It was a draft. I must have been under an air duct… the summer breeze came through it and I inhaled at the exact moment it had passed over me.
That is not true.
I knew it was a lie the minute I started telling myself these things, but this is what we do when we’re panicking from the unknown. When we don’t see what it is that’s frightening us, surely it isn’t that frightening after all, right?
But it was.
It was a terror like I’ve never felt before. My friends had stopped giggling about the same time the first scream left my lips. It was a scream that I couldn’t control. I still don’t believe it was me who was in control of it at all, to be honest. I don’t remember telling myself to make that noise- to holler out in terror… but it happened, and they bolted, leaving me inside the white house, all alone.
When real terror hits, I guess your body takes over for your mind, for your mind must be in a state of shock. It is a defense mechanism to protect itself from harm… to be there when your mind can’t.
I am thankful my body had the reaction to force out a scream, for if I had stayed quiet, the boy I’d seen lurking behind my friends might have in fact, stayed put.
It all happened very quickly… too quickly in fact for me to be 100% sure it was a male, but I’ve told myself for 10+ years that it was a boy, so a boy he was.
In movies, you see distinct facial features… you see clothes, movement, maybe even hear the presence speak. My experience was not like that at all.
I saw what I can only describe as light and shadow.
If you asked me to draw what I had seen, it would be on a white sheet of paper with monochromatic tones of just black and white. A dark shadow in the middle, with small reflective surfaces of white light. No face, no features, just a mass of empty light.
So, why did my body have the reaction it did to a simple shadow? Could it have just been a cast of darkness made from the flashlight we held? If so, why, when my mind decided to evacuate my body and my body went into defense mode, did it feel it needed to scare away whatever was near me?
I guess I’ll never know. All I can tell you is that I have never in my life felt such unexplained terror, and have never again felt the same way I did when I was in that white house.
I don’t remember leaving the house, but I obviously got out. The kids I thought were my friends had bailed, and I stopped hanging out with them after that- or maybe they stopped hanging out with me. Either way, we stayed away from each other after that night.
I don’t think about that event often, or the presence that was in the house. Maybe it was a warning for terrible things that could have happened if we’d stuck around and explored more? I was horrified, but perhaps I should have been thankful? I mean, we got out after all… Again, I guess I’ll never know.
I have since moved to a different state, and don’t go back to my old town very often.
The last time I was in the area, I drove by the street that this house was on. The house is no longer there, so it must have been torn down by the people who bought the land.
The only thing that was on it’s abandoned plot of land was a SOLD sign laying flat on the dirt…
and an action figure.
A little boy’s action figure.
I will not be going back there again.