Although after I moved out of the "horror house," I still came over to visit frequently. Over the last few years I've found less and less time to take the drive and visit mom. The last two years I haven't had an opportunity to visit at all, so I dedicated myself to at least spending the holidays there this year. The first of which, is Halloween.
Ever since the failed seance of Madame M in 2001 lead to a real encounter, we've enjoyed decorating the house for Halloween. Many Jack-o'-lanterns along the steps and front walk, green lights giving the front of the house an eerie glow, and the occasional plastic tombstone in the front yard. The house is very popular with trick or treaters and as there is a local rumor about pranksters being followed home and haunted, vandals are in short supply. I should note that the last rumor, we've done nothing to dispel.
The house is beautiful in Autumn, the colorful leaves on the trees, piled on the grass and dotting the roof. The smell of chimney smoke from the house's first fires of the season. The house has always been at its most gentle during the fall and I had many fond memories, so I decided to take some vacation days and visit early.
I arrived on October 3, 2013, and found this year the added bonus of construction to add to the chaos of the season. After decades of being without a garage, mom decided it was time to rebuild the Carriage-house which had been burned down in the 1970s by teenagers. The spot where the carriage house had stood was now just a small temporary shed with charred foundation stones around it. Now, mixed in amongst the piles of leaves were stacks of timber and bags of concrete. The night of my arrival was a flurry of activity. I talked to mom about plans for the Carriage-house, went over my life and job, and I learned about all the activities she was involved in.
We finally went off to bed at around midnight and I laid there, actually hoping to hear the sounds of footsteps in the hallway that I had become accustomed to during my residence. By about 1:00am fatigue won out over my nostalgia and I drifted off to sleep. It was a very light and fitful sleep, I remember tossing and turning quite a bit. I was awoken by the very strange sensation that I was no longer alone. Turning to the clock next to the bed I saw it was about 4 o'clock in the morning. I turned again to face the open door and stared into the darkness of the hallway for several seconds. The hallway was too dark to see into, but I had a strong sensation that if a light were to turn on, there would have been someone standing there. Although I could feel the presence, it didn't feel like I was being watched, more like the person or entity or whatever it was in the hallway was facing away and toward the guestroom across the hall.
I watched and waited for quite a while, the feeling still lingering until at last I finally whispered out, "Hello?" There was no reply, and no change in the dark stillness. Again I whispered, "Hello?" although not too loudly, mindful of my mother sleeping just next-door. I sat up in bed and pulled off the covers, but as I did this the feeling of someone being in the hallway slowly dissipated and by the time I stood and walked to the doorway, I couldn't feel any presence any longer. In the darkness of the hallway, and with this previous feeling now gone, I suddenly became aware of another sensation. I could make out the sound of something like whispering coming from the guestroom across the hallway.
I strained my hearing trying to make out a particular sound, voice, or word. As I did this I inched my way across the hall, trying to keep the wooden floorboards from squeaking as I walked. The longer I focused on the sound, the more I became convinced that the whisper was simply the word "one" being repeated over and over again. One, one, one, one, one, was the only sound coming from the room. As a placed my hand on the doorknob and slowly started to turn it, the sound instantly faded to silence. Opening the door and turning on the light of course the room was empty. No sounds, no figures, only a deep cold in the room several degrees colder than the hallway was. Again into the empty room I asked my question, "Hello?" but there was still no response. I closed the door and returned to my room and bed wondering what I just experienced.
In the years I'd lived here, slept in this room, in this very bed, I'd never experienced anything like this before. As I laid in bed thinking, I was suddenly struck with the idea that whatever had been standing in the hallway when I first woke up might've been standing there to listen to the same whispers that I had heard. I thought back to the history of the house, looking for a connection, but was unable to come to any conclusions before drifting back to sleep.
The next morning I went over the nights events with mom who, although not surprised, hadn't experienced anything like this during the time she'd been there alone. Something else was weighing heavily on my mind as well. The house had always had a very warm personality toward us. We had even considered it somewhat mischievous in the past. The feeling now was more empty, almost sad. The feeling somehow stuck in your mind every time you passed by an empty room. Mom commented that it felt the same way to her. She said the house had been built for a large family to begin with and with just her there it seemed like a waste of space. This worried me a little and I asked if this meant she was considering selling the house, but she assured me that wasn't the plan.
The shift in the house's feeling aside, we enjoyed our time together. Each night before falling asleep I listened for the sounds of whispering from the guestroom across the hall, but each night there was only silence. On the third night I heard the all-too-familiar sound of walking from the stairwell, down the hallway, past my room. This gave me a reassuring feeling for whatever reason.
The next day one of the kids my mom had hired to do yardwork on the property worked for the entire day, clearing leaves, pulling weeds, etc. After dark he came inside to get his pay for the day. I left him standing in the front hallway for only a few minutes while I went to get money from my mom. When I returned, I found him standing in the doorway of the front parlor, his eyes wide as he stared at something. He hadn't noticed me approach so I called out "hey" and he jumped, visibly shaken and frightened. His face was very pale and I could tell he was shaking a little.
Pointing into the parlor, he gestured at the large photo portrait which we had hanging on the wall. He had difficulty getting it out, but in a very serious manner he explained to me that the portrait have been talking to him just now. He couldn't hear any sounds, and he couldn't make out what was being said, but the lips had definitely been moving. He said the portrait appeared to be looking right at him, as if whatever was being said had been directed straight to the boy.
I turned and looked at the portrait for several minutes standing in silence. The lips were still as frozen as ever, and the face completely devoid of life. The man in the portrait was Henry Butler Sr., the same man who had the house built over 100 years before. The very first man to die in the house. I gave the kid his money, and asked if he would be back the next day to continue his work. He said nothing to me, turned and marched out of the house... He never returned.
Over the next several days I spent plenty of time looking at that portrait. I also spent plenty of time in the guestroom asking questions and listening for answers.
There were no further phenomenon during my stay, I plan to return on October 29 to spend Halloween there with my mother. I'm still curious as to why these sounds never happened while I lived there, I will be spending much of my next visit trying to find out why.