In 2006, my parents rented a house near the high school I was going to attend. Luckily, a friend of theirs knew someone renting out space. We were renting the front half of the house, and an old couple (landlord's parents) lived in the back half of the house.
When you enter through the front door, you will immediately be in the living room. Straight ahead is a long hallway. At the beginning of the hallway, you will find my parent's room to the left. Towards the end of the hallway is my room to the right, and another door at the very end of the hallway. The door at the end of the hallway leads directly to the old couple's bedroom. Since the washing machine and dryer is in their room, we often used the hallway door to their bedroom as a shortcut to access it. Although this set up may seem weird, the 80+ year old Filipino couple had to be among the sweetest people I know, often coming over to bring food. Considering that my family is Filipino as well, we immediately felt at home.
Unfortunately, the old man was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008. A week after he passed away, his wife followed. It was a shock to us all, because the old lady seemed like she was in good health. She suddenly fell ill during the last few days of her husband's life. When my mom visited her at the hospital, the last thing she told my mom was: "Rebecca is such a sweet girl, you are very lucky". I didn't know about this until after she passed away.
The house became quiet after the couple passed away. Going over to their side of the house was never the same. There were a few strange things that have occurred a few weeks after their passing.
My dad was out of the country so it was just my mom and I at home, and no one was living behind us anymore. One morning, we decided to wash my dad's car. It was laundry day, so my mom put a load of laundry in the washing machine before coming outside to help me. I was about to wet the car when my mom suddenly called out to me.
I headed inside, straight to the end of the hallway, and stopped short in front of the open hallway door (remember the washer and dryer where in the old couple's room). My mom saw me and before she could get a word out, the hairs at the back of my neck stood, and I took a step back the moment I saw what she was holding. "Wait, I was just going to ask if you put this here?" she asked while holding up a heavy steel pasta strainer. She found it placed perfectly in the middle of the washing machine, faced up as if someone had purposely put it there. I quickly answered "NO" and then ran outside.
Since the shelves extend well over the washing machine, falling objects would've landed directly on the floor instead of the washer or dryer. If it was possible for things to fall on the washer, it would've created a loud bang, since most of the stuff on the shelves was heavy steel, aluminum, or glass kitchenware. The last person to touch those shelves was the old lady. I knew this because a few days before she died, I offered to get up on a step stool, and place the heavy pasta strainer on the top-most shelf against the back wall. She also had me place a dozen of stacked up glass bowls and steel pots in front of it. Oddly enough none of them fell or moved when my mom found the steel pasta strainer out of place.
Ever since the landlord moved the washer and dryer out of his parent's room, we stopped going through the hallway door to their bedroom. Instead, we went around the back door to get into their side of the house and into the kitchen where the washer and dryer were moved.
In Filipino and other cultures, a ceremony is held forty days after a person's death. It is believed that during those forty days, the deceased person's spirit continues to roam the earth, visiting familiar places. On the fortieth day, the soul is expected to leave this world in peace.
The Forty Days celebration for the old man came first (since he died about a week before his wife) and was held in the backyard. Before my parent's and I headed out back, we locked all the doors and turned off all the lights.
While everyone was in the backyard, the deceased couple's grandchildren (ages 9, 12, 14 and 28) were hanging out in their grandparent's room. The oldest grandchild Chris came out to the backyard with a concerned expression and approached my mom. He said that they heard someone walking around our side of the house (the wooden floors under the carpet creak a lot even at the smallest step), as well as opening and closing doors. Of course, this alarmed us thinking that someone had broken in while everyone was out back.
My parents, the landlord, Chris, and I headed over to our side of the house to inspect. We checked every room but nothing was amiss. The doors were still locked and the lights were still off. The landlord came to the conclusion that it was his father going through the house (maybe for the last time?).
A week later, another forty days celebration was held, but this time it was in honor of the old lady. The old lady's sister flew in from Chicago with her son to attend the party. I overheard that they planned to stay the night after the party. They stayed in the deceased couple's room since that was the only decent room with a bathroom. My room was on the other side of their room. So I could basically hear everything, from bathroom noises to creaking floors, and muffled conversations.
Ever since the couple died I started sleeping in the living room, because I was a bit uncomfortable being so close to their room. But on this particular night, I felt confident enough to sleep in my room since I knew that there were guests occupying the deceased couple's room. As I lie in bed, I listened to the sound of the sink running, toilet flushing, and the guests walking in and out of the bathroom.
The next night was the same, and I wondered how long the guests were staying. I'm not sure why I did it, but I got up in the middle of night and looked out the front window. I noticed that the guest's rental car was gone, so I assumed that they parked it somewhere else. So I just shrugged it off and went back to bed.
The next morning, I asked my mom how the guests were doing. She said that she wasn't sure if they stayed over, because she hasn't really seen or heard from them. I was confused and insisted that the guests did stay over because I heard them. She called the landlord on the phone and asked about the guests. Every hair on my body stood on end when I heard the landlord say:
"They never stayed the night."