There stands a house in Marinette, Wisconsin that from 1958 to '98 belonged to my grandfather. Constructed in the late 1800's, area realtors posted its origin as the home of a logging baron during the boom of said industry. Its' first story consists of several formal rooms, and it's second several bedrooms and a storage room. A sizable structure, it appears to have been the recipient of one or more additions. Beautifully decorated, with ornate floor and window moldings, elaborate wallpaper, venetian blinds and hardwood floors, my grandmother laughingly remarked that it was a "showplace"... "And then we moved in".
That the house possessed a storied past was obvious. Charring on the wood floor framing in the basement indicated a prohibition era still explosion. The interior basement masonry walls were adorned with white plaster and murals depicting what appeared to be a Mexican festival.
As a child, my father recalls only specific segments of the house causing uneasiness in him and his three siblings. Among these was the back bedroom, always sensibly colder that the rest of the second story, always making them feel watched. He recalls bringing home a family pet, a black lab puppy, for the first time and the creature ran through the house. Finding his way directly upstairs and down a long hallway he turned directly towards the closed door of "the" room.
In spite of this, it wasn't until my uncles had begun departing for college that the high strangeness began occurring. My grandparents had by then acquired the habit of closing the trapdoor to the upstairs to preserve heat. For their sons' weekend homecomings, they would re-open to allow heat into the bedrooms. One weekend in particular will not be forgotten.
My father was asleep in an upstairs bedroom during the wee hours of the morning when he recalls waking to the sensation of a discreet presence. He rose in bed, finding himself eye to eye with the spectre of an elderly woman hovering at the foot of the bed, appearing herself as startled as he was. As the experience was unprocessable, he recalls only falling back and just shutting down.
The following morning, yet uncertain as to the night's occurrence, he told my grandmother of the strange "dream" he had, only for her question if indeed that's what it was. Over the years she and my grandfather had other experiences, many that were kept secret.
My father recalls nothing sinister in her appearance, simply a heavy set woman in winter garb with a large purse or bag in her hand. In the future, a cousin would admit to encountering the same entity during a past sleepover but had kept it a secret to avoid scaring the family.
Two to three years later, after my father's relocation to the Chicago area, he received a phone call late one evening from my grandmother. They spoke at length, and when it became apparent she sought to prolong the conversation he inquired as to her emotional condition. She admitted then the presence of "something walking around upstairs" despite the presence of others. My father suggested that perhaps a squirrel or mouse that had found its way in via the attic but was assured that this was no small animal, as the sound of footsteps were that of a person. My grandmother was not prone to fantasy. My father remained on the phone until his father returned, who, citing the late hour, refrained from opening the upstairs to investigate.
On one family occasion, with the grandchildren present, my grandfather excitedly began informing us of "the latest haunting". He was derailed by my grandmother, shooting him a look and a nod towards the grandchildren who would be spending the night.
After my grandmother died, my great aunt assisted my grandfather with the housekeeping. She was never comfortable in the house, and particularly on the second floor. One on occasion she arrived with her granddaughter and began vacuuming a bedroom. After a minute she sensed the touch of a chilly hand on her arm and, assuming it to be her granddaughter, turned to see no one. This marked her final venture on to the second floor.
Our family was apparently not the first to have experienced these oddities. A mere two years before his passing, my grandfather shared with my father and I during a fishing trip that he had been attending a convention in Green Bay where he struck up a conversation with a man who had been a past Marinette resident. Upon describing his home the man not only recalled it but also was also aware of it being haunted, in spite our thinking we had never shared this. I recall him bemoaning the fact that upon finishing his dinner, he was to return there for the night.
The same room was unusual in while lacking a bathroom; it featured a toilet in one corner with no privacy, leading to speculation that a past resident had once been isolated there for reasons unknown. My father recalls one incident in which a cousin was accidentally locked inside when he inexplicably felt an overwhelming sense of exhaustion he fell to the floor and lost consciousness. His absence stretched to hours until his "rescue" by relatives, responding to the revelation of the length of his sleep with disbelief. An uncle of mine relates an experience of awakening in the dead of night and, seeking to use the toilet, found himself flat on the bathroom floor before being able to use it.
The occurrences in the house were always of a rather abstract nature, producing feelings and sensations rather than revealing concrete personalities. With my grandfather's death in 1998, we no longer had a use for the house and decided to sell it. It had to be rid of its contents before this could be done, however; ensuring that the majority of the summer was spent there. It may have lost its definitive resident, but it hadn't lost its other attributes, which now assumed an even more overwhelming and impersonal flair.
The interior of the house had developed into a sort of self-contained Twilight Zone, in which time passed so slowly as to be nonexistent, and space seemed to be equally endless. Within this warped dimensions, one's thoughts became absorbed by the house, causing one to forget about the outside world and their existence therein. One quite literally felt as if they had been there forever, and gazing out the window felt the outside world to be a distant and unfamiliar place. This was accompanied by a "walls have eyes" sensation, that you were being watched, followed, and having your mind read the entire duration of your time there. Not a single person who stepped foot in the house during this time period was spared this haze-y, dreamlike environment.
I bid you to read through each account individually, evaluate them according to your own personal standards, and arrive at a conclusion most sensible to you. I look forward to hearing your feedback.
(I originally wrote this account as an article for a newsmagazine and am re-posting it here.)