During the last eighteen months I lived at 1444 Broadway, all kinds of strange things happened, from the cold spot in the vacant apartment across the hall (if you stuck your hand in it, it felt ice-cold, although a thermometer registered no change in temperature) to the shadowy figure I'd seen walk through a closed closet door (one of the first manifestations), the place was, well, haunted.
I remember the first odd thing... At the time, I was renting a single room, at the front. I had no phone, so the landlord allowed me to give out his private number-he lived in a room at the rear of the repair shop.
If I received a phone call, John would take a broom, and rap on the floor with the handle. I'd take my walking stick, and rap, to let him know I was on my way down.
In the fall of '89, I was sitting in my room, watching the news. The sun was starting to set, and the shadows were lengthening.
Just then, I clearly heard three sharp raps through the floor. I grabbed my stick, rapped twice, and started out the door. I was all the way to the stairs when I remembered
That there was no one down there... John had passed a few weeks before, and the shop had been closed for a year!
As unsettling as that or other things were, the very worst, as far as its effect on me, happened in April of '91.
I'd just left my mother's apartment, and walked the ten blocks to my place. It was coming up on midnight, and I planned on falling asleep with the TV on, a habit I'd gotten into. I checked my mail at the front entrance, unlocked the door, and climbed the stairs.
My apartment door was locked, which was a relief, as I'd had two break-ins since I'd moved in. I walked into my living room, and noticed the light streaming in from the kitchen...
The overhead light, and the wall light, were both on, although I hadn't turned them on. Also, every cabinet, every drawer, and the refrigerator (including the freezer compartment), were standing wide open.
I stood gaping for a second, then turned around, and ran for the stairs-I don't remember if I bothered to pull the door shut. I power-walked south on Broadway several blocks, until I was in front of Shirley's, my second-favorite watering hole. I opened the door, and headed for my usual stool.
The fear must've shown on my face, because by the time I sat down, my usual tipple, a 151 and Coke, was in front of me... And it was a double.