When I was 8 years old, my mother and father were going through a nasty divorce and I was staying with my mom in a house she rented from some friend of hers. I want to mention this; my mom's friend was an older woman who was married but didn't have any kids and she didn't really like kids and she had mentioned that her own parents didn't like children either so she wasn't sure if they would have approved of my mom renting this house from her.
The house itself didn't look scary from the outside; it really offered no hint of how freaky things were inside on the surface. It was a non-descript boring white house on a regular small town street in a small boring town in Southwest Iowa. The house had some interesting features though; all along the tops of the inside interior walls were stained glass windows. I'd never seen anything like it and there were operational. You could open and close them but they didn't provide any light or fresh air -they allowed you to see down into the basement of the house. It's almost as if the entire house was built and centered around the ability to see down in the basement from virtually any room on the first level.
The upstairs of the house was two rooms one just open space at the top of the stairs (dangerous because there was no railing protecting you if you fell off the side of the floor up there) and a room off to the right with no door. On the wall to the south in the wide open room area was a small door which opened up to a very creepy blacker than black attic space. I don't know how to explain it but when I opened that door exploring the place when we first moved in, I recoiled from this overwhelming feeling that chilled me to the bone. It was extremely unpleasant the only way I can describe it is to liken it to this: imagine that you're strolling along and suddenly someone's pit bull gets off his leash and starts running in your direction. That feeling you'd have of raw terror - of not knowing what is going to happen but you're pretty sure if you stay standing there you're going to find out and it won't be a good thing. That's the feeling I got when I opened the door to that attic as though I had disturbed something that wasn't supposed to be alerted to my presence.
The first thing that happened in the house happened to me while I was home alone. We had been in the house not more than a week; it was after school, I had rushed home to catch the Munster's on TV, my mom wasn't home from work yet. I grabbed a snack from the kitchen and settled down in the living room to watch my show. It was a warm day outside, the dog days of August or September, and this house being older didn't have central air or even a window air conditioner. My mom had box fans to keep us cool and parts of the house were shaded by huge old trees that grew in the front and the back yards.
Anyway, it shouldn't have been COLD inside the house it was very strange to me I almost felt the need to cover up with a blanket or put a coat on. After the temperature dropped in the house to downright chilly, I heard the distinct sound of a body falling down the staircase with a loud audible THUMP when it hit the closed door. That really scared me - I was the only person who lived in that house at that time with my mom and she wasn't home. It scared the daylights out me wondering who would have been upstairs and then taken a nasty fall down the steep staircase.
I tiptoed over to the door which opened to the upstairs staircase, listening for any other odd sounds. I stood quietly holding my breath just staring at the closed door wondering if I had enough nerve to open the door and what I might find.
I inhaled sharply and mustered what courage an 8 year old girl can muster and opened the door. There was nothing there, except one box of Crayola crayons sitting neatly where I left it on one of the lower steps. Nothing that would have made that horrible tumbling sound and loud thump that interrupted my Munster show.
Months later, my mom found herself a teenager named Dawn who lived on the other side of town from us who was a reasonably priced babysitter and she hired her to watch me while she went out on a date one weekend. Dawn and I watched a movie together and ate popcorn, drank Kool-Aid your basic babysitter/kid stuff and when I got tired, she tucked me into bed. I'm not sure when my mom got home, it was super late though and I was woke up roughly by a very angry parent. She was yelling at me about messing up her bedroom or something and Dawn was pleading with her not to punish me because I hadn't been upstairs all night, I had been with her in the living room watching movies and eating popcorn.
My mom was red in the face with anger I didn't understand. I never went upstairs to her bedroom, I didn't even like it up there not since I went exploring when we first got there and I opened that little door to the attic.
What makes this even more puzzling was the fact that my mom, after she started dating again and bringing various men home with her, had begun locking the door to the staircase so no one could GO upstairs to her room! Even with that, having to unlock the door to go upstairs, she still accused ME of having ruined her room.
This is what happened according to Dawn who tried to explain what happened to me the next time she babysat me, which she insisted to my mother had to be at her house because she didn't feel comfortable babysitting me in our house anymore.
Dawn said my mom and her date drove up to the house, and saw that the upstairs light was on. My mom insisted it was turned off when they left. She was a single mother now and had no money, so electricity bills were a big deal to her and she made sure things were turned off if they weren't needed and she nagged at me constantly to make sure I turned lights off when I left a room. So they pull up in the driveway, look up and the upstairs lights were on, that's the first thing that set her off. First I wasn't supposed to be up there and second, it was late and the place was lit up like a Christmas tree and she could just see the meter needles whizzing around running up her bill. So she comes into the house upset, snaps at Dawn about letting me go upstairs and she can't open the door that she stomped over to (because it's still LOCKED) she has to unlock the door to storm up the stairs. When she got to the top of the stairs and into her room she was greeted by a mess of mass proportion. Apparently it looked like a tornado hit the place, the room was destroyed and the mess was incredible. She was FURIOUS - she flew down the stairs and that's when I was pulled out of my bed being accused of all this destruction.
Dawn was upset, she went upstairs to see what my mom was screaming about and it shook her up. She said she didn't understand how a room could be destroyed like that without us hearing any noise at all downstairs. It was very creepy to her and she refused to babysit me in that house anymore after that.
After my mom's "boyfriend" took Dawn home she had calmed down somewhat but she still looked at me with fire in her eyes because she said that room wasn't destroyed by itself! SOMEONE was up there and the only people there was Dawn and ME and she said Dawn didn't know anything about it. So that left me because she was out on a date and there wasn't anyone else that could have done it. I just stared at my mom feeling really betrayed inside because I didn't go anywhere near her room and couple this with what happened to me before on my own it really made me nervous to be in that house.
The next event happened when my mom wasn't home from work again by the time I got home from school and after hanging about in the house for a couple of hours, I decided to go across the street to play with my friend Jeannie for awhile. It was starting to get a little dark but this was a small town and stranger danger wasn't really an issue, us kids were never told to come in before dark, me or Jeannie. I remember looking at the house before I left to make sure I didn't leave any lights on. I knew my mom would have a fit if she showed up before I got home and found anything burning and I wasn't in the house. It looked good; windows were dark, curtains were wide open, so any lights on would have shone through. I relaxed a little knowing I wouldn't be getting yelled at or spanked today over the lights being left on.
I don't know to this day why I felt the urge to turn back around again after I was content that I had shut off al the lights before leaving but I did and upstairs in her bedroom, the light was on - all the upstairs lights were on. I froze, had to remind myself to breathe and I felt such dread inside I started to cry. She wasn't home, those lights were on upstairs that door to the upstairs was locked so I couldn't go up there to turn them off and save myself from a spanking. It was just tough for me whatever was in that house didn't care if I got in trouble for whatever it was doing because my mom didn't believe in it. It felt like to me, in my 8 year old mind, that it wanted me to get in trouble. It was glad I suffered for it.
That house was never a good place for me and my mom's behavior, the whole time we lived there, was mean spirited and just agitated. I guessed it was due to the divorce and all the nasty things that happened with that for the year prior to us moving into that house but I don't know. She had taken me and left my brothers with our dad and that's when we ended up in her friend's house on our own.
Then there was the matter of what happened in the house before we got there and I wasn't told about until after we moved out. My mom's friend, her parents had owned the house. And they both died in it. Her father died in the bedroom that was mine, and her mother died from a nasty fall she took from the upstairs. She had fallen and broken her neck.
Needless to say, I don't miss that place and I feel sorry for any kid who has to live there. I don't think whatever is in that house likes children.