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A Friendly Knock

 

We live in a house built in 1907, an early American Foursquare with late Victorian details, 2 1/2 stories, made of wood and brick. It was turned into a 2-family home sometime in the 1950s, I think. We have the 2nd-and-3rd floor apartment, and have lived here about 4 years. Two family members live in the 1st floor apartment.

This odd event happened last summer. It was about 1 am, and I was in the front room of the 2nd floor level, on the computer. Through the closed pocket door next to me, I was alerted by the distinct sound of a person knocking their knuckles a few times against the wood of our railing/balustrade, which leads from an open foyer area down the front stairway.

It sounded exactly like someone was trying to make their polite friendly presence known, like: "Hey guys, heads up... Okay if I visit for a second?" Immediately, I thought this had to be one of our relatives from the first floor, who had come up the front stairs (we often leave the door unlocked). I was surprised at the lateness of the hour, though, because we are night owls and they are not.

Then, in the next moment, I thought, 'Wait a minute... No one came up the front stairs, because I would have heard them!' Those front stairs are the creakiest wooden stairs I've ever encountered. It'd be impossible to come up or go down without being heard by anyone anywhere nearby. The sound would have been loud and unmistakable.

Confused, I cautiously stepped into the foyer area. (It's not really a foyer, and on the 2nd floor, so I don't know what to call it.) Sure enough, though I was still positive that's where the knocking had come from, no one was there. I stood there for a few seconds, puzzled.

From the short diagonal hallway off the foyer area, I went into the TV room, where one of my family members was still up watching TV. "Did you just hear that?" I said, purposefully not saying what I heard. He responded, "Oh, the knocking? Yeah, I heard that. Was it [relative's name]?"

"No. No one is there at all, I checked! I thought it was him too, but then I realized I hadn't heard anyone come up the front steps... Could you please describe to me exactly what you heard?" I knew if he also heard it, through a closed door and over the TV, it surely had to have been a real physical sound.

He said what he had heard was what seemed to be someone rapping their knuckles on wood in the foyer area, about waist-high (the only logical choice being the waist-high balustrade). He proceeded to rap out the pattern for me. 'KNOCK, knock knock-knock.' Or something like that. I forget the exact pattern now, it's more than a year ago, but I have a rough idea. It wasn't the traditional 'shave and a haircut, six bits!' rhythm, but something else seemingly light-hearted, and just a little shorter.

What I am sure of is that the pattern he knocked was the same as the pattern I'd heard mere moments before. I was listening carefully for any deviation from my own impression when he gave his account, and there was none. It was a match.

I couldn't believe it. It's one thing to hear something odd inside your own home late at night, especially when you have my kind of reading habits (real ghost stories and whatnot). It's another thing to have another person independently confirm having heard *precisely* the same thing, coming from the same area, at the same time.

I went down the front steps and looked onto the front porch and walk, and glanced through the sidelight into the other apartment. All dark and quiet. So, we had no explanation for this knocking. We had to dismiss it as 'just one of those things' - interesting but inexplicable. (We did check later with the first floor denizens later, and they were asleep at the time.)

About a month later, I heard from a neighbor that the 60-something gentleman who'd sold the house to our family had passed away unexpectedly, at his current home just a few doors down. The house we live in was his boyhood home.

Because we had not noted the date of the knocking, and the news that reached us as to Dave's death was filtered through several channels, it was impossible to pinpoint the proximity of the two events; but this friendly polite knocking had to have happened within just a handful of weeks of Dave's passing, so I couldn't help but wonder if the two were connected.

If that was you, Dave, you're welcome to visit anytime.

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by yourghoststories.com. Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, WillowWaly, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

BeagleMom (3 stories) (78 posts)
 
1 year ago (2016-10-08)
Hello Willow!

I know this story is a year old... But... I know what that upstairs fourier is called! I am such a nerd I have to tell you! It is the 2nd floor landing! I know because we lived in a house while in college in Eureka, Ca. We had the 2nd floor apartment. Our front door was at the base of the stairs. When I read the description of the rental unit prior to our moving in, it said something like, "2nd floor apartment consisting of 2 rooms plus kitchen, bathroom, staircase and the 2nd floor landing!" The landing was 4 x bigger than the kitchen, which was too small for 2 people to be in at the same time! Loved that house, it had 2 doors to unfinished/unheated space in the buildings roof. No ghosts, no baseball cards, just plenty of character!

Hope you see this!
❤ Mother of Beagles!
Agua (4 stories) (61 posts)
+1
2 years ago (2015-10-17)
Ha! Neat story Willy. Yeah, I read your profile. These things are so isolated and unpredictable, I don't see anyway they could ever be susceptible to testing. Therefore, they remain outside the realm of scientific confirmation. As you've observed, they're very real, though.
WillowWaly (2 stories) (97 posts)
+1
2 years ago (2015-09-16)
Haha Tweed! More like, 'Those were my seeds yo. Give 'em back.':-)
Tweed (22 stories) (2034 posts)
+1
2 years ago (2015-09-15)
hahaha! Maybe your ghost was ex law enforcement! Knocking the walls checking for hollowed secret drug compartments.
WillowWaly (2 stories) (97 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-09-15)
Tweed, that would be awesome! Re-reading her comments, it sounds like her son only found stuff while exploring the nooks and crannies of the house on his own volition. (And it's very cool that he found what he did.)

There is no nook or cranny where this knocking took place, just a railing/banister and then the carpet and floor.

I did explore the closet nearest to this spot, and it was completely empty except for a ziploc bag with pot seeds. Lol Alas, no treasure to be found.
Tweed (22 stories) (2034 posts)
+1
2 years ago (2015-09-15)
Hi all, I haven't re-read all the comments back, but I think Jan was referring to something said about the knocking possibly indicating where something may be hidden. Something like a secret stash, which may be valuable like the baseball cards.
WillowWaly (2 stories) (97 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-09-15)
Silentwings, we both thought it was one of the downstairs family members, the one who was most likely to come up that way and knock a bit. He didn't have a characteristic knock in particular, though. And like I said, if anyone had come up those steps I would have heard them.

No, I never heard the knocking at any time before then or since then (though it was over a year ago). That's what made it stand out to me. It was not a usual sound one would hear in our house, at all.
Silentwings (guest)
+1
2 years ago (2015-09-15)
This is a very cool story, maybe it was him stopping by on his way to his destination. Does anyone in the house use that knock or was it sort of different? Has anything else happened since?
WillowWaly (2 stories) (97 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-09-15)
Jan, your story is interesting from an antique-lover perspective. (My dad had some baseball cards in the 1950s which his mother threw out, which would have made him a fair bit of money later on in life.) But what does that have to do with anything?
msforgetmenott (8 stories) (132 posts)
+1
2 years ago (2015-09-15)
WillowWaly,
Just a point in interest, My Son, when purchasing his house found two very old houses, one private and one a duplex. He felt, it would help with mortgage payments, and bought, renting out the duplex.
These homes date back to the early 1800s, built by one family, shared. In exploring he found burnt beams in both attics, and there are records printed mid 1800s telling how in the night a street burned. So common back then.
While poking around he found an old wooden box stuck in the rafters. Inside a child had written of his love for baseball, including a little known player, dating to the beginning of baseball cards. That one card sold, covering almost a full year of mortgage payments. No ghosts involved.
Jan
WillowWaly (2 stories) (97 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-09-15)
Well, it's not really an 'Ah Hah!' moment. I really have sat in the same spot many a night for years, before and since, and never heard those noises anytime except right then. That's what makes it weird to me.
msforgetmenott (8 stories) (132 posts)
+2
2 years ago (2015-09-15)
Hi, You know, years later a rational thing pops up and you have an ah--haa moment! But, not always.
Case in point, we were thinking our lilac bush may be haunted, as the remote control thermometer was indicating over 100 degrees in the dark evening. It has been warm here in New England, but let's be reasonable. Yep a squirrel was caught red handed today, doing something to the wires. Who knew they liked plastic. My hubby raced over to Lowes for a replacement, yep, the squirrel went for it within minutes. It seems we need to re-place the squirrel!
Jan
WillowWaly (2 stories) (97 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-09-15)
You know... The other night when the temperature changed, I heard the (wooden) back staircase go, pop... Pop pop...pop. This makes me wonder if the waist-high knocking sounds I heard were the wooden banister contracting or expanding or whatever wood does. It didn't *sound* like that, but that doesn't mean it wasn't that.

And, though my computer has been in the same spot for 4+ years, I've never heard the banister popping or making sounds either before or after this event last summer (June 2014 I think it was). Still, that doesn't mean it couldn't have happened that particular night.
WillowWaly (2 stories) (97 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-09-10)
Also Jan / msforgetmenott, it made me smile to think of some little critters feasting on those butternuts, even if the humans didn't get to. I think we may have had a butternut tree in our yard growing up? (SW Ohio) But it was mostly buckeyes, hickory, and black walnut around here. My mom had some old stained 'black walnut shoes' that she used during the harvesting and shelling, not to mention gloves, because those nuts stained everything; but the shoes are most vivid in my memory.

I think I'm off topic, but I also think I'm straying naturally towards Autumn, though it's still just very late summer. Oh, I can't wait to see this site in October!...I think...Hahaha
WillowWaly (2 stories) (97 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-09-10)
Thank you Jan. 😊 I well believe mice made a racket. I've heard what a racket some raccoons made in a relative's chimney one year -- good gods! You would think it was a poltergeist for sure! But it had an explanation.

These were all smooth plaster walls in the area of my 'experience' such as it was. The 3rd floor was a bit less renovated and a bit more dodgy, but this was the 2nd floor and one very limited area thereof. No cubbyholes or spooky nooks. So it's more puzzling.

I've wondered about it many a day since. Of the only 3 windows in that area, 2 are original stained glass and all 3 are sealed with some hermetic sealant thing who knows how many decades old. Nowhere could a bat get in, at least that I could see.
WillowWaly (2 stories) (97 posts)
+1
2 years ago (2015-09-10)
Tweed said, 'You remind me of me, confirming details, knocking on surfaces to match the sound.'

Hahaha! However did you know I tried knocking on several surfaces to try to match the sound?! 😊 But yeah, I tried to match the sound every which way, replicating the circumstances. That's another reason I settled on the 'waist-high' thing as a solid aspect of the event.

'I guess to let us know their there. Sometimes while I'm reading stories on YGS too, it can make me question if I'm going batty sometimes!'

I was semi-joking about my reading matter... I had not found YGS a year + ago, at the time this story occurs. 😊 More likely I was reading about true crime...heh. Wot's that? Missing people? Murder? What's weird about THAT?! 😜

'I know what you mean about a polite knock, they're pretty unmistakable. Whatever it was, you got to love those things that make you go 'hmmm'.'

Yes! It didn't feel the least bit sinister, in fact, the family member and myself both separately felt it was a loved one who had just come up to say hi. I felt truly creeped later, but I suspect that was my own over-imaginative problem, not something emanating from the noise itself. And, by the time I found out Dave had died, all my creepies had died away for the time being. Afterwards, though, I had to say... Well... Hmmmm.
msforgetmenott (8 stories) (132 posts)
+1
2 years ago (2015-09-10)
Hello WillowWaly,
We lived in a very old rental, many years ago. Like you I try to find reasonable answers.
We were hearing knocks on the or with-in the walls of our bedroom on the second floor, just like someone knocking. This became frequent, almost nightly. Yet, I am somewhat sensitive and I was not feeling anything. This happened on three sides of the room. The time was during the holidays, Christmas coming soon.
Our mystery was solved, in the Fall we had gathered, what my Dad had called pig nuts, a nut tree that grows in the N. E. USA. Also known as butternuts. The outer shell dries and then the hard shell contains the nut. You have to race to find them before the squirrels. I thought we could have butternut cake at Christmas. We had forgotten we had laid those nuts in a dry attic space of the duplex, completely, when remembering we found only shells. Meaning the mice living in our walls or nearby had a wonderful Christmas that year.

On the other hand if you were being paid a true ghostly visit, I would have looked for a loose board, or other possible opening in that wall. Perhaps your neighbor had left a treasure there, and was trying to tell you.
Jan
Tweed (22 stories) (2034 posts)
+1
2 years ago (2015-09-10)
Aww WillowWaly, I just love this!

You remind me of me, confirming details, knocking on surfaces to match the sound. We have a ghost who knocks on the door politely sometimes, I guess to let us know their there. Sometimes while I'm reading stories on YGS too, it can make me question if I'm going batty sometimes!

I agree, it's likely it was Dave wondering if he could come visit sometimes. 😊 Maybe, if it was a ghost, whoever it was respects you skepticism and is cautious of pushing things too far. I know what you mean about a polite knock, they're pretty unmistakable. Whatever it was, you got to love those things that make you go 'hmmm'.

Thanks so much for sharing!
WillowWaly (2 stories) (97 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-09-10)
I should add that I'm virtually certain the sounds couldn't have been caused by anything on the roof. The house is 3 stories and this occurred on the 2nd floor. You can hear minor bird/squirrel/bat noises while on the 3rd floor, but you don't hear them on the 2nd floor. So if it was a noise from outside critters, I think it'd have to be coming from one wall on the side of the house.
WillowWaly (2 stories) (97 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-09-10)
Hello Bonifaz! It's hard to explain the layout of the house without lots of dull detail (I've just slogged through exactly that kind of laborious detail in several stories I've read...) but the area we heard it from is unlikely to have been a bedroom. It's sort of a second floor foyer/large landing area, sort of a half-room if that makes sense, open to the front staircase all along one side. It's hot in summer and cold in winter, with no proper doors and really no useful spot to put a bed, so I'd be surprised if it was ever used for a bedroom. But anything is possible, for sure.
Bonifaz (2 stories) (51 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-09-10)
Hello,

You wrote that the knocking you heard came from a particular room and was at waist's height.

Could it be that this particular room was Dave's childhood room? And the knocking at waist's height could it have have been a child knocking?

Maybe it was residual energy getting stronger, because of Dave's recent death. Or perhaps even Dave's childhood soul coming back for a visit?
WillowWaly (2 stories) (97 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-09-10)
Hi, MaybeADreamer, and thanks for commenting on my first-ever story here! 😳

I am actually a very big skeptic and a borderline atheist, and I don't (currently) believe in the survival of souls after death. Yet I'm utterly fascinated by ghost stories and paranormal happenings, and I strive to keep my mind open. I firmly believe there is a prosaic explanation (usually, dreams/sleep paralysis or natural phenomena) for 98% of supposed ghostly encounters, so I am always trying to eliminate those possibilities first. The other 2% is what really intrigues me, though...

I did consider animal or bird noises, or house settling, or noises from the street or the neighboring houses, as a possible explanation. What startled me about this noise was that it was so distinct, fairly loud, and completely pinpointable (from two people who were wide awake in two different rooms) as coming from not only inside the house, but inside one particular adjacent room, and approximately waist-high as to location, and knuckles-on-wood as to the nature of the sound. It seemed like a purposefully attention-getting sound.

I have racked my brain trying to think what could have made that noise. A bat flying around, knocking against the banister? But there was no bat. It would have been closed within a limited area, the 2nd floor foyer/staircase area, and we would likely have found it one way or another. Besides, the noise was a 'harder' sound than a bat would have made with its wings or body. I've actually had a bat swoop over me while I was in bed, then knock into stuff around the room, and it was not this sound at all. That was in a different house 15 years ago, BTW.

You know how there's almost no flesh on the knuckles, so the finger bones make quite a percussive sound knocked against wood? That was the sound. And it was in a very human-sounding rhythm. Both myself and the other family member who heard it believed initially that it was a downstairs family member who had come upstairs. We often enter via each others' unlocked doors, but then we all knock politely on the woodwork in the hallway areas before going into any rooms proper, if that makes sense.

I actually thought of this knocking experience as an interesting paranormal-ish event weeks before I heard of Dave's passing; and when I heard he had died, I didn't immediately connect it to the sound. Only days later did I think, 'Wait a minute... He died a few weeks ago? But a few weeks ago is when we heard that knocking!' It is likely coincidence; but it's a mighty interesting coincidence. It wasn't just anyone who had died, it was the guy who grew up here. And he didn't die in Florida or in a hospital or something, he died at home two houses down. All things considered, it made me go 'Hmmmm.'

We could probably find out what exact date Dave died but there would be no point, because I have no way of knowing the date of the knocking, and that was true last summer when it happened, too. For whatever it's worth, we've never heard that sound in the previous years we've lived here, and we have not heard it since.
MaybeADreamer (4 stories) (53 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-09-10)
Hi Willow

Although I can't be sure, I would suspect two possibilities.
1) It was Dave popping "HOME" to visit on his way over
2) Could it of been a bird or animal climbing the wall etc outside?

Its always best to discount physical possibilities before supernatural possibilities. Maybe something ran up the wall, or a bird landed on the roof and JUST HAPPENED to make a pattern with the noise it made.

I would just wait and see if it happens again, make a note of it and keep track of when/where you hear it.

Let us know if you hear anymore.

Regards

Maybeadreamer xxx 😊

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