Is Someone There? The Scoop On Haunted Houses!

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.

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THIRTEEN GHOSTS

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The ONE movie I would NOT want to wake up in!

This movie is about a struggling family (Dad, Sister & brother, as well as their nanny) dealing with the aftermath of losing everything, including their mother, in a house fire. They get a mysterious visit from a lawyer, claiming that the father’s uncle, who he had absolutely no relationship with, left him a house in his will, upon his death. Having only a tiny apartment now, and not much money, this seems like it could be just what the family needs to get back on their feet… So, they go on a trip to see the home. Of course, it’s gorgeous! Like nothing they’ve ever seen before, a home completely made from glass, filled with collectibles and artifacts that could probably pay off any old debt they had while keeping the family thriving for a very long time… Here’s about the time when I’d like to add- WHEN THINGS SEEM TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, THEY USUALLY ARE! It’s no surprise that this family gets the shock of their lives when come to find out, their crazy uncle had been capturing ghosts and keeping them locked in the basement, all to complete a design that was “created by the devil and powered by the dead” to open the “EYE” of Hell. Creepy! Things go from bad to worse when they discover who the 13th ghost needs to be!

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[I felt it would be helpful to get a background of EACH ghost- so here is some information straight from helpful Wiki]*-

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1. The First Born Son – The First Born Son is the ghost of Billy Michaels, a boy who loved cowboy films. A neighbor challenged him to a duel, using a bow and a real steel-tipped arrow against Billy’s toy gun. Billy died when the neighbor shot the arrow through the back of his head. Billy’s ghost is dressed in his cowboy suit and holding a tomahawk, with the arrow still protruding from his head. His ghost whispers “I want to play” or “play with me”.

I would NOT share my Legos with that kid!

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2. The Torso – The Torso is the ghost of a bookie named Jimmy “The Gambler” Gambino. When Jimmy found himself unable to pay off a Mafia-connected client’s large winning bet on a boxing match, the client cut him into pieces, wrapping them in cellophane and dumping them into the ocean. His ghost appears as his decapitated, legless torso, trying to walk around on its hands as the head lies screaming on the floor.

Can I take one of him, to go, please? LOL.

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3. The Bound Woman – The Bound Woman is the ghost of Susan LeGrow, a girl with a wealthy background and a penchant for playing with boys’ affections. On the night of her high school prom, a football player she was dating caught her with another boy; the next morning, the boy was found dead and Susan went missing. She was later found buried at the 50-yard line of the school’s football field, strangled to death; the player was convicted of her murder and executed. Her ghost is wearing her prom dress and is hanging from the ceiling with her arms tied.

GOAL!?

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4. The Withered Lover – The Withered Lover is Jean Kriticos, Arthur’s wife. She was burned severely while saving her family from a devastating house fire, and died of her injuries in the hospital. Her ghost initially appears in a hospital gown, hooked up to an IV pole and showing severe burns on her face. However, after the destruction of the machine, her ghost is wearing her normal clothes and her burns have vanished. Unlike the other ghosts, she is not a vengeful spirit and tries to help her family.

Burnt toast, anybody?

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5.The Torn Prince – The Torn Prince is the ghost of Royce Clayton, a 1950s high school baseball star with a bad attitude and a superiority complex. During a drag race, he died when his car spun out of control. His ghost carries a baseball bat, and parts of his face and body are torn to shreds from being dragged underneath his car. He uses the bat as a melee weapon, and while inside his containment cube, he sits atop the wreckage of the car.

Spoiled rich boys, always thinkin’ they’re better than everyone else!

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6 The Angry Princess – The Angry Princess is the ghost of Dana Newman, a young woman with striking physical beauty but the inability to recognize it. Driven to depression by a string of abusive boyfriends, she began to work for a plastic surgeon who paid her in cosmetic procedures. One night, she tried to perform surgery on herself, but the attempt left her blind in one eye. She committed suicide in the bathtub by cutting herself with a butcher knife until she bled to death. Her ghost is naked, still holding the knife and showing all the self-inflicted wounds, and her cube is drenched in blood.

I would totally be this chick in real life, lol. She’s fierce, and not going to lie, her boobs are way better than mine!

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7 The Pilgrimess – The Pilgrimess is the ghost of Isabella Smith, a 17th-century New England colonist who was shunned by other settlers. Accused of witchcraft by the town preacher after livestock began to die from an unknown ailment, she fell under further suspicion when the preacher himself succumbed. The townspeople trapped Isabella in a barn and set it on fire, but she emerged without any injuries; they then locked her in the pillory and left her to starve to death. Her ghost still has the pillory’s yoke locked around its hands and neck.

Ohhh, whooo, witchy woman!

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8 and 9. The Great Child and The Dire Mother – The Dire Mother is the ghost of Margaret Shelburn, a woman whose diminutive height constantly attracted stares from others. She joined a carnival freak show, but was raped by one of the other members and gave birth to a son, Harold (The Great Child). Margaret spoiled Harold throughout his life, so that he always wore diapers and had to be spoon-fed even as he grew to a vast size and weight. Carnival workers kidnapped Margaret as a prank, but she suffocated to death by the time Harold found her. He flew into a rage and killed the culprits with an axe, putting their remains on public display, and was in turn killed by an angry mob. Their ghosts are always together, with Harold wearing a food/vomit-splattered bib and carrying the axe, while Margaret sometimes feeds him.

This family has some serious issues.

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10. The Hammer – The Hammer is the ghost of George Markley, a blacksmith who lived in a small town in the 1890s. He was wrongfully accused of stealing, and refused to leave town when threatened with exile. A gang led by his accuser hanged his wife and children; in revenge, George used his blacksmith’s hammer to beat his accuser and the other culprits to death. The townsfolk executed George by chaining him to a tree, driving railroad spikes into his body, severing one hand, and attaching the hammer to it. His ghost is still pierced with the spikes and wrapped in the chains, and he wears the hammer in place of his missing left hand.

What a creepy mother fucker!

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11. The Jackal – The Jackal is the ghost of a 19th-century man named Ryan Kuhn, who began attacking prostitutes as an adult. He committed himself to an asylum in search of help but eventually went insane. The doctors kept him permanently bound in a straitjacket, causing his limbs to contort horribly until he gnawed through it. Ryan was then confined to a basement cell, with a metal cage locked around his head, and grew to hate all human contact. When a fire broke out, everyone but Ryan escaped; he chose to remain behind and let himself be burned to death. His ghost wears the loosened straitjacket and head cage, whose front bars have been snapped apart.

I would try to choke & suffocate myself with my own tongue before ever having to be in the presence of this fucked up psycho!

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12. The Juggernaut – The Juggernaut is the ghost of Horace “Breaker” Mahoney, a serial killer of enormous height and grotesque appearance. Abandoned as a child by his mother and ostracized by everyone, he eventually got a job crushing cars in his father’s junkyard. After his father died, Horace went insane and began bringing hitchhikers and stranded drivers to the junkyard, breaking all their bones and tearing them apart with his bare hands. One of his potential victims was an undercover police officer, who called for backup and brought a SWAT team to surround the junkyard. Horace killed three officers before being shot to death by the team. His ghost still wears the bullet-riddled clothing from the night he was killed. Dennis Rafkin and Cyrus Kriticos note that Horace killed nine people while he was alive, then 31 more as a ghost; Horace kills several of Cyrus’ assistants in the attempt to capture him, then later kills Dennis as well.

Do you smell blood & gasoline? Perhaps kisses & kerosene?

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13 The Broken Heart – The thirteenth ghost would have been Arthur Kriticos himself. Cyrus planned for him to sacrifice himself out of love for his family, the final step needed to activate the house’s machine.

Papa’ don’t freak, YOU’RE in trouble deep!

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So, which ghost scares me the most? It would definitely have to go to this badass… Ghost #11- The Jackal! Is it the makeup, that haunting stare, that friggen CAGED HEAD?! It’s probably a mix of all three… and I can’t forget to mention that the actor completely portrayed this character as one fucked up dude! His movements, the violence in just his body language alone, sends chills down my spine- and not the good kind!

If I had to imagine waking up in Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street… or even Evil Dead, I feel like I could handle that better than waking up in this hellhole. It’s one thing to have to fight off one villain, but to have to defeat a gang of pissed off imprisoned ghosts?? HARD PASS. Not to mention that you can only SEE them while wearing your safety glasses, which considering my luck, would probably fall off and break within the first 5 minutes.

Overall, this movie is GREAT. I feel like it’s completely underrated & even overlooked. It has all the great things I love about horror movies- the mystery, the plot you can’t quite figure out, the jump scares and even the gore! There’s a little something for everyone. My only issue with this is that I, under no circumstances, can watch this movie alone, and I most definitely can’t sleep a solid 8 hours after viewing, either.

So what are you waiting for? Go buy this, grab a friend, and scare the shit out of yourselves…

Major life lesson to keep in mind, though? Don’t accept gifts from people you don’t truly know- especially houses.

*WIKI page credit for the description of all the ghosts.

On cemetery walks, the spirits will talk.

 

I feel like when you ask for a sign, internally or outwardly, someone is listening… and someone will answer.

Flashback to one of the creepiest moments I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing in my life… This was the moment, for me, when I finally believed that ghosts exist.

When I lived in Maine, I frequented this beautiful cemetery to satisfy my photography cravings, and for its silence that I feasted on like a junkie. There’s something so euphoric about being in a cemetery… It’s like being in a library- people just know that when you’re there, the atmosphere requires “peace and quiet”.

On this day, camera in hand, I walked the miles of paths I’d come to memorize, and was thankful that I still found so many things to take pictures of… Like I was seeing this place for the first time all over again.


  

When I was nearing the end of my trip on this day, I started thinking about some of the people who’s graves I was photographing… What they & their families were like, what their hobbies were… and even how they died, seeing as how many of the deaths occurred in the early 1800s. Times were so different back then… you just never know.

I came across an area of land and stones I must have overlooked the many times I’d come to the cemetery, and again, my thoughts were on the people who rested beneath the soil. One grave, in particular, stood out to me. I felt drawn to it. It was nothing special or out of the ordinary, but it was clearly newer than all the surrounding stones. There was a name, DOB-DOD and nothing else, which I found odd. Most of the newer stones, even some really old ones, at least had a quote that related to the deceased, but there was nothing. This is, perhaps, why I felt the need to stand there for awhile longer, thinking about that person and their life. I also felt that I shouldn’t take a photo of this particular grave… I’m not sure why, I just got the feeling that I shouldn’t.

This teen was 16 when they died.

Given the date of death, having been in the 2000s, I really started to borderline obsess about how this person died. Were they sick? Did someone hurt them? I felt terrible for this life, taken far too soon. At which point I had the urge to look down… Something in my head just said look…

There on the ground, right in front of my feet, lay this little tag. When I read it, I was covered head-to-toe in goosebumps.

I truly feel like I was being spoken to by this teenager who died too young. In an age when there are cures for many sicknesses, medicines and procedures to fix the ailing, it is such a waste of life to be killed in a completely preventable way. I felt like it was a sign, saying to me, “Stay safe, don’t do anything stupid that can ruin your life, look at what happened to me. I’m just looking out for you.”

I am not 100% sure that this tag had anything to do with this particular grave, but I will say that I have never again texted while driving. I also have never again experienced the same kind of presence that I felt on that day, or any other presence for that matter. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen again, though. I will forever wonder if perhaps this teenager prevented something awful from happening to me. If I hadn’t seen this sign that day, would I would have gotten into my vehicle to head home, texted someone, and been killed in a crash? Even though nothing happened to me, I feel grateful to this person, whoever it was, for putting that thought into my head and keeping me safe from myself.

I hope to one day feel the presence of another spirit, and pray that they’ll have something equally as important and life changing to teach me.