I've been thinking about writing this down for a while now. I want to do it now, while I'm still young enough to remember everything, before time steals the details from my memory.
When I was about 9 years old, in the mid 1990s, my mother married my step-father and she, my brother, and myself moved into his house. It was an average-sized three bedroom ranch-style home in a relatively rural (at the time) township in Southeast Michigan. The house itself was nothing out of the ordinary. The few people I've told this story to are always surprised because the house wasn't even old: it was built in the late 1970s. I was excited when we first moved in, because the house was significantly larger than the tiny place where I had grown up.
I don't remember a ton of specifics, because memories fade as you get older. I do remember, however, that as time went on, I always felt extremely uncomfortable in the house. It was located at the dead end of a street, at the bottom of a gently sloping hill. There were only about 3 other houses on the street. I remember every day when walking home from the bus stop that I refused to look at the house as I was approaching it. I didn't know why, I was always just afraid. I was particularly afraid of looking in the windows. I would just stare at my own feet, unlock the garage, then run into the house. Once inside, I wouldn't look out any of the windows, look in any mirrors, or look down the basement steps when I walked by them. In fact, to quiet my constant anxiety until my brother got home from school an hour and a half later, I would always just watch TV with my eyes fixated on the screen. I wouldn't read, even though I was an avid reader and preferred books to TV, because I was afraid of the silence. I avoided going into the hall bathroom unless absolutely necessary.
All of these things, at the time, I just chalked up to me being a kid and being afraid of being alone. Or being afraid of nothing at all. I was particularly terrified of the hall bathroom, which was the bathroom I was supposed to use. Whenever I could get away with it, I would use the Master bath in my Mom and Step-Dad's room. As I got older, I thought of my fear of being in that house as somewhat peculiar. My Dad moved around a lot, and there had been many homes I had been alone in that were much older and creepier than this house, but I had never felt that sense of unease that intensely anywhere else.
Like most children, or people in general, I couldn't stand being in the basement. This was not a creepy basement. It was fully finished, with new carpeting, walls with decorations, a bedroom, laundry room, game closet, an office, a TV room and a large open space in the center. It was brightly lit, clean, and used often. I still avoided it.
One summer, when I was 12, I was playing in the basement with my brother Alex and step-sister Sarah (names changed for privacy). Alex was 10 and Sarah was 9. I had agreed to play in the basement because it was a hot day and my parents refused to use air conditioning because it was too expensive. We were playing school, and had set up two old school desks my Mom had. I sat at a table facing my siblings. At this point in the game, they were working on "homework" while I was working on a lesson. It was quiet, we were all focused on what we were doing, when I heard someone running down the stairs. The stairs were carpeted, in an L shape, so that from where we were in the main open room you could only see the landing and the last three steps. Whomever was coming down the stairs was running full speed, but the steps weren't very heavy. I briefly wondered who was running down the stairs and glanced up to see who it was about the time they would've reached the last step in view. When I looked up, I saw a young boy with red hair run down the last two steps and across the room in front of me, between my siblings and I, and into the far end of the basement, where the TV was.
When I say I saw a boy, I mean not only did I SEE him, but I heard and felt the vibration of the floor and felt a change in the air, like a small breeze, that one feels when someone runs past them. In that moment it was not a question of DID I see something, but WHO was it that I was seeing. Our closest neighbors had three boys, the youngest of which was a redhead named Sam. I immediately thought that obviously it must be Sam, even though it was strange for him to just come into our house and down into the basement uninvited.
"Sam?" I called for him. But heard nothing. My siblings looked up at me, confused. I walked over to the other side of the basement and called his name again. Nothing. There was nowhere for him to hide, but still I looked in every corner. I walked back to my siblings, who had gotten up. They asked me what was going on. "Sam's here." I said, still confused. "Didn't you see him just run down here?" They shook their heads. Clearly they thought I was insane. For good measure I quickly checked the rest of the basement, with their help, but Sam was nowhere to be found.
I was very frightened when I realized that no one was there, so I told them that I was done playing. They agreed, and we started quickly gathering our things and putting them away in the game closet (large walk-in closet). I was in the closet putting things on the shelves when I heard everything go quiet. I turned to face out of the closet to see why my siblings were no longer packing things up, to find them standing right behind me, faces pale and eyes wide. They were completely shocked by something. I asked them what was wrong. "We saw him." My brother said. "We just saw him too." That was enough for all three of us, we left the rest of our stuff where it was and ran up the stairs.
I told my mom about it, but she brushed it off. When I was much older and we no longer lived in that house, I decided to ask her about it again. She finally confessed to me that she used to "see people all the time" in that house. When I asked her what she meant, she said that when she was working in her office in the basement, she often saw people walk by the door. I asked her if she saw the little boy, she said she hadn't seen him, but that she had seen lots of other people, most memorably a man and a woman walking together. She wouldn't say anymore.
The more questions I asked, the more I got out of her. She told me a couple stories about a stereo going off in the middle of the night, at full volume, that when she went to turn it off she discovered that the entire thing was already disconnected and unplugged from the wall (my step-dad had intended to move it to the basement). My Aunt also told her that when she stayed in my brother's room one night that she
Woke up in the middle of the night, completely paralyzed, and felt a great pressure on her body (perhaps sleep paralysis?). The mattress shook violently, then raised and repeatedly slammed into the wall as she lay helpless.
I also found out that my brother's best friend, Seth, had spent the night in that house once when they were in the second grade. They stayed in the basement. My brother said that after that night Seth refused to ever spend the night there again, and we lived there for 5 years. Now in his mid-20s and still my brother's best friend, I asked Seth one night over online chat about what happened to him that night. All he would say is that he saw a "being of light" in the basement bedroom. He said he wouldn't go into more detail until we were able to talk in person.
I have always, always been skeptical of ghosts, but completely unable to explain my experience with the little boy. I was not imagining things. I was not afraid before it happened. It was in the middle of a bright, sunny afternoon in the summer. I can try to explain away the things my Mom told me as well as my Aunt's experience, and possibly even Seth's. But the older I get, the more I also open my mind that there are things out there that we don't understand.
That being said, I had a strange experience when I was in a remote mountain area of California last summer, and have increasingly been interested in "paranormal" experiences and intuition in general ever since. I think about this house and my experience a lot now, because it was the only time in my life I can truly say that I saw and experienced what many would call a ghost. After hearing the stories from other people in the house, I can't seem to get a grasp on what was going on. If we take my experience and the others as true, I don't see it as a "traditional" haunting experience. I saw a little boy, my siblings saw the same (and maybe other things they haven't told me), my mother saw "all kinds of people" and had other weird experiences (with the stereo, with the lights, etc.), my aunt had a sleep event (could be simply sleep paralysis, though she said she's never experienced it before or since) and my brother's friend saw a "being of light."
Because it's a newer home, I can't seem to figure it out. My Mom told me when I was older that a man had died in the home. He had a heart attack in the hall bathroom (probably why I felt such a heaviness in that bathroom and hated being in there), but that doesn't explain all of the other weird things that went on. My gut tells me that because of the location (bottom of a hill, end of a road, backs up the woods) that either it was some kind of energy blockage or a portal of some kind.
Absolutely any thoughts or insight would be helpful or interesting.