Typically when I tell people that I grew up in a haunted house, I get a grab bag of mixed results. Some ask questions and others suddenly seem very uncomfortable, but I have come to accept all of it as a side effect of how I was raised. Maybe I should start with a brief background of the area, property, and home before I get to the details.
I grew up in Ashtabula, Ohio, which is located right in the North East corner of Ohio between Lake Erie and Pennsylvania. It's a cold region with very little commerce, life is poor to say the least. The home I grew up in used to sit along the lakefront but when erosion started taking it under our house and its twin were moved to its current location. The property in which it sits used to be a peach orchard and the sole owner of the orchard lived in a small white house two doors down. Pearl was an elderly woman by the time my family moved in but her memories and mind were sharp. Her story is sad but ties into the tale I am about weave for you.
She was married fairly young to the son of a peach farmer. Their home was built between where the two houses now sit. It was a large grey home with white trim. Pearl and her husband had six children. On a January night their house burned to the ground, the only survivors were Pearl and her husband, all six children were killed. The children ranged in age from 3 to 11. Needless to say, Pearl's husband was riddled with guilt for not saving his children and Pearl stated he cried all the time. He could take no more, 2 months after the fire that destroyed her life, Pearl found her husband hanging from the tree in the backyard, the tree stands to this day.
Well, fast forward to 1987 when I was nine years old and in walks a young family, not knowing the history or stories surrounding our new home. It didn't take long for us to notice "things". It started out fairly innocent, you know the sound of footsteps up and down the stairs and my little brother who was 3 at the time talking about the "shadow man" on the stairs. These could easily be explained away and so they were. But then things started happening that were not so easily explained away.
It was 2am when our first "episode" happened. My father was, at the time, working for an long haul trucking company and was gone quite a bit. It was on one of the occasions that we were woken up by a loud whistling sound coming from the basement. I remember how funny it seemed at the time, like a scene out of I Love Lucy, me and my mom creeping down the stairs in our nightgowns, baseball bats raised to the heavens - just in case we had the "whistling bandit" hanging out in our basement! What we found was my brothers old red robot walking across the floor. Now the strangeness of this situation is probably not hitting you yet... Let me elaborate. My brother had not played with his robot in over 2 years, the robot not only required batteries, but water in order to operate correctly and it only whistled when the remote was pressed. All three things were missing from this robot when my mom inspected it. That incident was creepy but what happened next was just terrifying.
My father had a habit, when he was home, he would go for a morning jog at around 5am daily. This day was no different. Dad got up and I could hear him go out the back door and the crunch of his shoes in the snow going down the driveway. Within three minutes the backdoor slammed open and, what I thought was my father, came running up the stairs. I heard my mother say "What are you doing?" before she screamed. When I went in to see what happened she was clammy and looked terrified. Here is what she told me: she too had heard my father leave and then the running up the stairs, she had kind of yelled at my dad because she didn't want him waking up my brother, when all of a sudden she was being held down on her side and someone whispered in her ear "I know what you did". That's when she screamed. We searched the house from top to bottom and even had my father check when he got home, there was no one in that house and only one set of footsteps in the snow left by my dad leaving for his jog. And then just as the things happened they stopped. Instantly, as if a switch was clicked and then the second wave hit with a vengeance.
By this time, I am an adult with my own child and my brother is a teenager, so about 8 years had lapsed. The first indication that things were not right was when I had first brought my son home from the hospital and went to do laundry in the basement. I was alone in the house and made sure that every door and window in the house was locked and secure before I left my brand new baby sleeping in his bassinet while I went down to start the next load.
I was halfway back up the stairs when the basement door slammed shut on me. So I ran up the stairs, at this point in time thinking a draft must have slammed it shut. I would open it and it would get about 3" open and then something would push it and it would slam in my face. We did this three times before I had had enough. I yelled out that they had to let me up now and the door popped open. My son was not only still sleeping but no one was there and all windows were closed.
The next incident was when my son was looking out the back door and said "I like that man". He was 2 at the time and unfortunately I couldn't see the man he was talking about. "Over active imagination" I thought and went back to what I was doing. This happened every day for over a year when finally I asked him if his friend had a name. "Nope, I don't talk to him he just leans against that tree..." Now, yes you have guessed it, it was the old Buckeye tree where Pearl's husband had hanged himself. You talk about chills.
In this time minor incidents were also going on in the house. We would have paper floating off the computer desk, hovering in the air, and then landing back onto the desk. We would have glasses of water appear in our kitchen when no one had filled one. Things would come up missing. My son's toys would seemingly "play" on their own. I had a Finding Nemo stuffed doll come hurling at me out of the toy room. Not gently dropping on the floor, it was spinning like a football. My mom was hit in the leg by a block that was supposed to be in the block bin behind the closed door of my son's playroom. And then there were the footsteps, they were no longer happening only at night, it was all day long. Up and down the stairs, sometimes it sounded like a stampede it was so loud. Then there was the "Mommy" that was constantly whispered in my ear. Day or night I could hear it, but I got called "Mommy" by some unforeseen child daily.
All the pictures we took during this time frame had issues. We would change the batteries in the camera, buy a new camera, we even tried only using digital... Nothing would clear them up. We would have blue streaks dancing around our heads, shadows hovering over the tables, or strange swirls on our faces. And we thought that nothing could be worse than this, well we didn't realize they were just "warming up" the real surprises were yet to come.
In 2005 we were chosen by our cat to be his family. I say this because he walked in our backdoor uninvited and has been with us since. His name is Sherman and although we sometimes think he has a screw loose he's basically a good cat and one that absolutely loves children. When he first came in the house things started happening. We would hear what we thought were the neighbors fighting but turned out to be something else. Our neighbors had moved because strange things were happening in their house as well and so they left. So our house, we thought, would now be silent.
It was one night that we finally "heard" what it said. "GET IT OUT" was yelled out in a woman's voice. My mom thought I had said, I thought my mom had said it. Once we realized that there was no other explanation we started getting worried. Then my cat went into the front sitting room one night and started to freak out. I mean he was literally jumping off the walls, screeching, hissing, and appeared to be genuinely terrified. He was hissing and spitting at the far right corner of the room. I went in to try and get him out but ended up with a very nice scar on my arm instead. Finally I yelled out "Leave him alone" and the front curtain lifted up and then drifted down (like someone was holding it up) and then my cat was fine.
We also were having thermostat issues. Our furnace was always set at 70 degrees. It had been on that for years now but all of a sudden it would jump up to around 90 degrees. We would be sweating on a 10 below zero day. I thought my son was playing with it and he would always deny it when I would ask him. Finally, I took him by the hand and explained to him that we couldn't do that with this thermostat because it could catch the house on fire and I pushed it back down to 70. I was about three steps away when I heard it click back on. I turned around and wouldn't you know that thermostat was back on 90. I started to take a step back to it when I heard what I can only explain as a grunt, growl, yell kind of noise. Obviously male and obviously not in the mood to be playing around with me with the thermostat. So I took my son and started walking away when I heard the same male voice grunt "Get Out". And so I did. I left the house and called my mom on her cell and said I will not step back into that house until it is taken care of.
That day we had a priest come in to "bless" the house but it didn't help, if anything, it made it worse. Now my dad was seeing shadows hanging out at the end of the bed. We all felt pinched, slapped, and pushed sometimes. But the worst part was that there were times when the room you were sitting in felt like it was falling. I can't really explain this part well because it would happen so fast but it always happened during dinners. We would sit down (either in the dining room or living room which were not in the same area of the house) and we would hear a loud boom and feel the floor "fall" about 6". This happened twice so we called in some experts to check the foundation of the house, the plumbing, anything we could think of... Everything was fine.
So we had finally had it, in 2006 we moved to Florida and now live in a ghost free zone. We all sleep better, we have all stopped smoking, and for the first time in his life my son is able to sleep through the night peacefully. As for the house, it was purchased by a good friend of ours with the understanding that it was haunted. He has since told us that he plans on selling the house very soon, apparently they don't like him either!