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Stomping Around In The Darkness

 

In 1990-1991, I was the superintendent of an apartment complex in Rockville, CT. The "complex" was actually three buildings of varying ages crammed onto what had originally been the stately yard of the 1877 mansion at its corner. This mansion was where I had my apartment, 3 large rooms that had originally been the drawing rooms and kitchen.

Although Rockville's heyday was long past, and the house had been neglected for decades before my occupancy, the hallmarks of the village's once thriving textile barons were still there - brass ceilings, pressed leather wall coverings, stained glass and enormous working fireplaces. Also, antiquated and constantly malfunctioning plumbing and electrical systems, a hopeless battle against field mice, and near constant vandalism. The price (free) was right, though, and I set to work making the buildings and grounds as attractive and sound as their condition would permit.

The mansion was split up into three apartments and two long-vacant basement offices. I shared the ground floor with a large studio apartment in the back of the house, and the second and third floors formed a mammoth 5-bedroom unit occupied by college students. There was nothing in the way of soundproofing, but we were all young and grew accustomed to each others' noise.

The college students moved out in the spring of 1991, having had their fill of abysmal parking (we played musical cars in a rickety old carriage house that eventually collapsed). I wished them well, rekeyed the locks, and went upstairs to assess the situation. College students are not typically kind to their environs, and this group was no exception. While hauling out abandoned furniture, expired food and other garbage, I couldn't escape the feeling of being watched. Further, even though it was the final days of June in a very hot summer, I felt chilled in spite of the sweat dripping off of me.

One night, just after I'd gone to bed, I heard loud footsteps progress down the main hallway from the front of the house to the back. I'd almost discounted it as my neighbors when I remembered that they were my FORMER neighbors and the place was now vacant. I grabbed my flashlight and hammer and let myself in, hoping it was just easily frightened neighborhood kids and not anyone more sinister.

Affecting my best imitation of Sylvester Stallone, I gruffly, loudly and obscenely demanded to know who was there. Only silence greeted me, though the feeling of being watched, and malevolently at that, was palpable. I went through the rooms one by one, shining my flashlight around as the electricity had departed with the neighbors, and scaring myself silly a couple of times when the flashlight beam made my reflection suddenly materialize in the blurry antique windows. There was no one there. The only street-level access was the front door, and it was locked and bolted - I'd been using the internal back stairway for my comings and goings.

I decided I'd either been dreaming, or had heard my next-door neighbors and mistook the direction.

As the large apartment stayed vacant and the summer wore on, I heard the footsteps several more times. They were not a regular occurrence, happening sometimes during daylight hours, and once waking me out of a sound sleep in the wee hours of the morning. The only consistent things were that they always traveled from front to back, and that there was never any way that anyone other than a person in either dress shoes or boots could have made them. I finally resigned myself to the fact that we had a ghost, and as long as it was content staying in the other apartment, I was content with my free rent. The property went into foreclosure that fall and those of us who remained moved out shortly thereafter.

A couple of other things to add to the creep factor:

I was hanging out in the yard with my next door neighbors one night when they happened to ask why I was wandering around upstairs at such odd hours. When I told them what was going on, they said that the footsteps continued to the end of the hall, over their part of the ground floor, entered the bedroom above them, and slammed the door. There was no door to slam, in that room or any other. The college students had plastered them with bumper stickers and I'd taken them down to the basement to refinish, a project that I never finished due to the financial collapse of the property owner.

Finally, I was at the library a year or so later, now in a new abode and hearing only earthly noises again, when I noticed a display of antique photos of Rockville, including one of the house in this story. Intrigued, I asked the librarian if there might be literature about the house, and she introduced me to a new computer archive that the Historical Society had put together (this was 1992 - think DOS prompt on green screen). From the 1930's through the 1950's, that house had been a funeral parlor. This explained the large, built-in porcelain "table" in the basement on which I'd kept my tools. Although it was never confirmed, this likely meant that the large rooms that made up my apartment had, for twenty years, been funeral viewing rooms.

The house still stands, and looks as if the current owners have invested some capital in it. Whether anyone still stalks the upstairs hallway, I don't know.

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Comments about this paranormal experience

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, SomeCallMeTim, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

BeagleMom (3 stories) (78 posts)
+1
1 year ago (2016-08-09)
Hi "Tim"
(I will choose to call you Tim)
This story is so close to my own experience while living in an old Victorian whilst in college. We (friend husband and I) lived in the front 3 rooms on the ground floor which was the same set up as yours. Up the stairs were 2 apartments and back on the ground floor was one more unit behind us. We went to classes most of the day. My hubby had a night job at a bowling alley 3 nights a week, I had a part time day job twixt classes. I was alone those nights, and didn't really care to meet the neighbors. All creepy. Things disappeared in that place and never turned up after we moved away. Lights were turned on, that due to the bulbs 200 wattage, we never burned. (We had to pay for the electric so we were cheap). Water turned on and would run while we were gone etc. Funny thing, we ended up living there 2 different school years! Our resident ghost got braver the second time we lived there. Stole my hair brushes, ripped covers off of me and my hubby. I will have to sit down and document it all one of these days. Wanted to say WOW to you and to let you know You are not alone! Thanks for your story!
SomeCallMeTim (4 stories) (13 posts)
+1
1 year ago (2016-08-03)
Thanks, Tweed and Biblio.

The house was, when I lived there and still in 2014, the last time I had occasion to drive past it, light blue with cream trim, albeit a fresh coat to replace the peeling remnants from my tenure. I wanted to post a photo I'd taken in 1991, but alas, there doesn't seem to be a way to accomplish that. It was easily the most beautiful apartment I'd ever had, and had Fleet Bank not red-carded the electrical system and insisted upon us leaving (with the involuntary assistance of the county sheriff, if we remained beyond a deadline), I would have stayed on.
Tweed (22 stories) (2034 posts)
+1
1 year ago (2016-08-03)
Hi Tim, what a wonderful narrative voice you have, a real joy to read was this. Thanks for sharing. 😊

Always amazing to hear how a building has been moved too. Even more amazing it was dragged up a hill by a team of oxen! Not moved brick by brick style as I'd have assumed, wow!

Pretty sure I would've bolted out of there fearing, not a ghost, but an intruder eek! Sometimes a ghost presence can be an almighty relief in that regard.
Yeup, can't help but wonder if someone still traipses about the place lol.
Bibliothecarius (5 stories) (742 posts)
+1
1 year ago (2016-08-02)
Hey, Tim!

If this is a white 3-story with red trim in proximity to the Richardson-style Romanesque Revival building, that's got quite the footprint to go through, hunting down intruders or spooks. (I'm just across the river in WeHa, but I worked in a now-defunct chain bookstore near the mall in Manchester for several years).

Good story, and I'm impressed you persevered despite knowing someone/something was not happy with your seeking it out!

Best,
Biblio.
SomeCallMeTim (4 stories) (13 posts)
 
1 year ago (2016-08-02)
Thanks, ashar!

Actually, there's very little in the town archives about the house. It was originally built in 1835 on the current site of a 1970's-era bank, then moved up the hill in 1877 (yes, that's right, a 3-story Victorian with gables and turrets was dragged a block and a half up a steep hill by a team of oxen). The current owner operates an appliance repair business out of the basement offices and appears to inhabit the entire house as a single residence, as the multiple mailboxes and street numbers over each door are gone. There's no mention of the house on the Historical Society's website.
ashar123 (6 stories) (167 posts)
+1
1 year ago (2016-08-02)
A very well written experience. I can actually see the house. You should explore more about the history of the place.

Thanks for sharing! 😊

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