Photo Credit: Victoria Denisova/Shutterstock
My parents hadn’t heard the stories when they moved in.
The house itself didn’t seem suspect. A unique, cute, multilevel home perched at the top of a hill among a family-centric neighborhood that sat directly across from a busy shopping center at the south end of town. Myriad oak trees and neighbors’ homes could be credited for the impression of privacy. Nothing about the light-drenched house or its location would’ve hinted at its dark past. But its tragic history would be illuminated all too soon.
From the get-go, something paranormal drew my mom and stepdad to the house, as my mother would later explain. “When Scott [my now stepdad] and I decided to move in together and start house hunting, I had this very prominent dream,” my mom recalls. “I dreamed of a multilevel house that had two entrances to the basement. The two entrances to the basement stuck out the most — because it was so unusual.” Thinking nothing of the dream initially, because who would when you’re in the midst of house hunting, it wasn’t until they stepped foot into the hill house and made their way to the basement level that suddenly it clicked — she had seen this house before. She had seen the two staircases leading to the basement: One from the garage, and the other from the lower-level rec room. She had seen it all in her dreams.
My family — particularly my mom and I — is very spiritual, so seeing that as a divine sign that this was the house for them, my parents put in an offer and eventually closed the deal. While signing the papers, they learned a man had passed away from an illness in the house, but having felt nothing “off” while touring the home, they thought very little of it. It was the official start of their happy life together after all. Only … it wouldn’t be happy for long.
Something Is Stalking Us
It didn’t take long for the hair-raising incidents to begin. A week into living in the new house, after a quick guitar jam session in the lower level, my stepdad decided to run upstairs to hydrate his wannabe-rockstar vocal chords. As he climbed the short stairs leading to the midlevel of their new home (which hosted our front door, kitchen, and dining area), a cold shiver suddenly made its way up his spine, causing him to involuntarily freeze for a moment.
The stairs creaked loudly at his back, the wood’s distinguishable groans indicating that someone was walking behind him. Right behind him.
But … he was alone in the house?
My mom had run to the grocery store, and neither our 6-pound Yorkie nor our light-on-his-toes cat could replicate the sounds of heavy feet hitting each step. It didn’t make sense to my practical stepdad. All he knew was something was wrong. There was an intruder in the house.
He sprinted to the top of the stairs, quickly turning to peek at the intruder.
There was no one there.
Uneasy, he told Mom about the incident — to which she confessed having seen shadows moving out of the corner of her eyes almost every day since they had moved in. And then there were the nightly sounds.
“It was like someone was rattling our bedroom door, not the door handle, the entire door,” Mom said.
Writing it off as paranoia, possibly as a result of watching far too many ghost shows, my stepdad quickly forgot about it. But Mom was even more on guard.
We’re Drowning in Depression
Shortly after I graduated college in May, I moved in with my mom and stepdad. I was hoping to save enough money over the summer and early fall to eventually snag an apartment in New York City to pursue my dream of working in the magazine biz. It was an exciting time in my life. I was full of joy, possibility, and thrill, wondering where my life’s journey would take me next. As happy as I was initially, it was thwarted as soon as I crossed the home’s threshold.
From the moment any of us moved in, it was like a dark cloud hung over the house. “I was just so sad for no apparent reason,” my mom describes. “It was so bad at times that I would cry for no reason. It made absolutely no sense.”
I, too, felt inexplicably sad every time I was in the house. At first, I attributed it to the “Mom and Jess show” being over, as my mom and stepdad entered this new phase of their life together, but that never truly resonated with me. I had prayed for Scott — I loved Scott. I had begged higher powers to send a loving and perfect partner for my mom, and they did. We would always be the “Mom and Jess show” no matter who was in her life. So, why was I so sad? And why did we all feel better every time we left the house?
Then I saw him.
We’re Not Alone
Normally, you expect the scary stuff to happen at night, not in broad daylight. So I was stunned by what happened next. In the early afternoon, I descended the stairs from our top level and was met by a tall, black figure walking through our kitchen, perfectly framed by the picture window that resided on the wall between the kitchen and the dining room. I felt the breath leave my lungs for a moment, already knowing it wasn’t my mom or stepdad walking by. But just to be sure, I called out...
Tiptoeing my way to the kitchen, I quickly peered around the divider wall, making sure someone wasn’t hiding in the blind spots. No one was there.
And that’s when I knew: we’ve got ourselves a spirit in the house.
When my mom arrived home later that day, I described the tall, black, broad-shouldered figure that had swiftly moved through the heart of our home. While I had not felt anything malicious from the figure per se, it was enough to put us all on edge. Especially when Mom confessed a bone-chilling story.
My mom had come home from work a few days prior to let our Yorkie out and hit the grocery store. My stepdad was out on a job at the time and wouldn’t be home until later in the evening.
“When I came home, everything was normal. The dog and the cat greeted me upon walking in the house, as they always do. I let out the dog, and then checked that all the doors were locked before I headed to the grocery store — including the basement level [which was normally always locked, since someone could gain entry through the garage]. All was secure and good to go, so I set off.”
Returning half an hour later, Mom started to unpack groceries. She had a few frozen food items that needed to be placed in our freezer in the basement.
She was not prepared for who appeared.
“When I unlocked the basement door, our cat Boots came running out with his fur standing straight up and back arched. He was in total ‘scaredy cat’ mode,” Mom says.
“How the hell did he get in the basement?” she whispered to herself. The door was locked and no one was home.
No one had been home in the short time she was gone. And she had seen the cat when she first got home. There was absolutely no explanation for how he got down there. And to make things all the eerier, Boots’ eyes seemed to follow an invisible being moving through the lower level of the house. Mom hauled outta there as fast as her legs could carry her.
The Full Story
Enlightenment would soon come from a neighbor. Looking for excuses to get out of the house, Mom was spending a day basking in the sunshine doing yard work when a neighbor from down the road walked by with his dog. In true Midwestern fashion, he introduced himself, welcomed my mom to the neighborhood, and quickly commented, “I didn’t think the house would sell because of the suicide.”
“What?” My mom asked, dumbfounded. “What suicide?”
“Oh, you didn’t know?” The neighbor asked. “I probably shouldn’t be the one to tell you this, but a young girl hung herself in your house two years after the passing of her father. It was tragic.”
Suddenly it made sense why the majority of the activity we felt was on the mid and lower levels — the only set of stairs she could have possibly used were the steps leading down to the basement.
She was only 13 years old. As the neighborhood story goes, the young girl and her father were very close, so when he passed of cancer, she was devastated. And to make matters worse, apparently her mother jumped into a relationship shortly after her husband’s death, and the new boyfriend and daughter did not get along. So, on the two-year anniversary of her father’s passing, she made the choice to reunite with her best friend.
When the neighbor described the father, it matched the figure I had seen in the kitchen perfectly.
Putting the Past to Rest
While learning this tragic history was sad, it was also a relief, at least for me. I had answers as to what was inhabiting our house. Everyone’s random depression that only seemed to linger in our home was suddenly explained. It wasn’t our own sadness we were feeling, it was hers. I pondered this one day whilst sitting in the living room waiting for my cousin to finish up showering before she and I hit the town for the evening. But my peace was quickly disturbed by a blood-curdling scream.
Moments later, the bathroom door burst open and my cousin ran out — suds still in her hair.
“I… I… oh, my God, dude,” she stuttered, trying to find the words. “Something — something was in the bathroom with me. I could feel it.”
It didn’t take me long to put the pieces together. But before I could enlighten her, she kept going.
“The shampoo bottle… it just… started moving. By itself!”
“What do you mean it started moving by itself?”
“You know the towel bar that’s in the shower?” my cousin asked with fear bleeding from her eyes. “I had put the shampoo on it upside down when I was done. When I started to shave my legs, I looked up, and the thing was swinging rapidly back and forth. I never bumped it or anything, and even if I had, there is no way it could move the way it did on its own. It was literally like a metronome going at full speed.”
She shuddered when I told her the tragic story of the girl’s and her father’s passing.
“That makes sense… Well, she’s definitely making her presence known,” my cousin said. “It might be time for a cleansing.”
She was right.
The activity in the house had been picking up since we learned of her story.
One terrifying night, my stepdad awoke to an unsettling feeling of being watched. Opening his eyes to a dark room, he immediately darted them in the direction of the bedroom door. And there, standing in the doorway, was the dark figure of a young girl. As if on cue, the instant he saw the figure, my mom woke up, gasping for air. My stepdad would later attribute the experience to sleep paralysis, but he couldn’t explain the eerie coincidence of my mom waking up struggling for air at the exact same moment. It was time to do something about it.
The following day, we cleansed the house, blessing each room with a prayer and copious amounts of sage. I spoke to the young girl and her father as if they were both sitting in the room with me, telling them I was so sorry for their tragic history and that it was okay to let go of the pain. It was okay to move on.
The house felt different after that, less crowded and far more cheery. It was like the dark cloud over the house had lifted.
My parents would spend four years in that house, and I’m happy to report all paranormal activity ceased following the blessing. But even now, years later, I still wonder if the daddy-daughter duo are occupying the house on the hill.
In fact, a neighbor we keep in touch with swore they saw a young girl looking out the front window...