When I was young I used to be terrified of everything. I always slept with a night light and often had to have my younger sister sleep in my room at night with me. I hated leaving my room at night to get water or go to the bathroom, and any strange noise at night or errant thought had me literally paralyzed in my bed.
My house growing up was large and old, which accounted for the noises but other than that there was not much to fear about it. That's just who I was. However, when I entered my teens I decided I needed to take control of these irrational fears, and although I'm still a touch skittish to this day, I conquered most of my issues. I share this truth about myself in the interest of full disclosure. I know many people tell the stories prefacing that they were not easily spooked and, therefore, their tale becomes more believable. I, however, fully admit to having a wild imagination. It is, in fact, my hard-earned and conscious effort to suppress my fears that gives validation to this experience. That and I did not experience it alone.
In my mid teens I got a job through a family friend cleaning out low-income housing units after the previous tenants move out. Now, since this was housing for poverty stricken families and most had the problems accompanying said poverty, most of these units were in horribly disgusting shape, often completely abandoned with their personal items and food still on the kitchen table.
I was in one such unit with my cleaning partner, a university students saving-up for the summer, when some strange things began to occur. The first incident occurred in the kitchen. We had pulled out the stove to clean the filth behind it and after we had cleaned out the pan storage compartment at the bottom we found that it was jammed and would not close. Since it was in the middle of the small kitchen and in the way both of us proceeded to kick in the drawer (it took several full strength kicks from both sides to close it), and discovered that we had now jammed it shut and it would not open.
Deciding we would figure it out later, we left it and my partner went upstairs to clean the bedrooms while I washed light fixtures in the kitchen. After a couple minutes of this I turned around and tripped over the wide open storage drawer. I thought that this was strange considering how jammed tight it had been but didn't really think much else of it. Noticing it was still jammed I gave several hard kicks and finally worked it closed again, and proceeded to feel like an idiot as it was once again jammed closed now. Washing more fixtures I turned around a couple minutes later to find the drawer wide open, tripping me again. Now I can't stress enough given my paranoid background, that I once again thought nothing of the incident and opted to simply leave it open when I discovered it jammed once more.
Later as I was putting the light fixtures back on the lights, one of the glass fixtures exploded in my hand cutting my wrist and finger. I attributed this to a temperature fluctuation even though I had been sure to turn off the lights before attaching the fixtures. This was weird but still I did not attribute this to anything supernatural. Since the job still needed to be completed I bandaged up my hand and proceeded to help my partner upstairs. That's when we started getting uncomfortable.
In the ceiling at the top of the stairs there was a square hole cut out for access to the attic, every time we passed under it I thought I heard my friend call to me and the same happened for her. It was after several times asking what she wanted and discovering she hadn't said anything that we started to feel uneasy.
Almost done, the job there was only the basement to sweep out and then we'd be done. Feeling a little creeped out my friend asked me to accompany her downstairs. The basement was a simple concrete square, no rooms or nooks in it. There was a door in the living room leading down to the basement and the stairs were such that one walked down a couple stairs, had to turn 90 degrees and walk down 12 or 15 stairs and then turn another 90 degrees to walk down the final two. It didn't take long to sweep out the small area and as it was completely empty, we finished the job with no issues.
When we were back on the main floor collecting the cleaning supplies by the open basement door both me and my partner heard, at the same time, the distinct sound of heavy footfalls climbing the stair. They started slow and loud for the first 3 then they picked up speed until whatever it was was thundering up the stairs. I looked at my friend wearing an identical face of horror and fearing that any second, whatever large thing was racing up the stairs would turn the final corner and reveal itself, I grabbed the door to the basement, slammed in shut and we both ran from the house, my friend screaming to leave the cleaning supplies and the door unlocked. I can't stress enough that we had just been in the basement with no rooms or closets, nooks or anything to hide behind and nothing was there.
We never returned to the house to retrieve the cleaning supplies we simply dropped the keys off at the landlord's and told her the door was unlocked.
To this day I have no idea what would have happened if I had waited a split second longer to close that door or if we had stayed in the house to grab the supplies and I don't want to know. What surprises me the most about the incident was that it took so long to realize what was going on considering how uneasy I have been in the past for much less provocation.
While I no longer allow myself to be fearful of every unusual sound or sight I know my mind is not always playing tricks on me, there are things in this world that cannot be explained, and while I refuse to live in fear and strive maintain a healthy skepticism, my experiences in that house will stay with me forever.