We live in a house built in 1907, an early American Foursquare with late Victorian details, 2 1/2 stories, made of wood and brick. It was turned into a 2-family home sometime in the 1950s, I think. We have the 2nd-and-3rd floor apartment, and have lived here about 4 years. Two family members live in the 1st floor apartment.
This odd event happened last summer. It was about 1 am, and I was in the front room of the 2nd floor level, on the computer. Through the closed pocket door next to me, I was alerted by the distinct sound of a person knocking their knuckles a few times against the wood of our railing/balustrade, which leads from an open foyer area down the front stairway.
It sounded exactly like someone was trying to make their polite friendly presence known, like: "Hey guys, heads up... Okay if I visit for a second?" Immediately, I thought this had to be one of our relatives from the first floor, who had come up the front stairs (we often leave the door unlocked). I was surprised at the lateness of the hour, though, because we are night owls and they are not.
Then, in the next moment, I thought, 'Wait a minute... No one came up the front stairs, because I would have heard them!' Those front stairs are the creakiest wooden stairs I've ever encountered. It'd be impossible to come up or go down without being heard by anyone anywhere nearby. The sound would have been loud and unmistakable.
Confused, I cautiously stepped into the foyer area. (It's not really a foyer, and on the 2nd floor, so I don't know what to call it.) Sure enough, though I was still positive that's where the knocking had come from, no one was there. I stood there for a few seconds, puzzled.
From the short diagonal hallway off the foyer area, I went into the TV room, where one of my family members was still up watching TV. "Did you just hear that?" I said, purposefully not saying what I heard. He responded, "Oh, the knocking? Yeah, I heard that. Was it [relative's name]?"
"No. No one is there at all, I checked! I thought it was him too, but then I realized I hadn't heard anyone come up the front steps... Could you please describe to me exactly what you heard?" I knew if he also heard it, through a closed door and over the TV, it surely had to have been a real physical sound.
He said what he had heard was what seemed to be someone rapping their knuckles on wood in the foyer area, about waist-high (the only logical choice being the waist-high balustrade). He proceeded to rap out the pattern for me. 'KNOCK, knock knock-knock.' Or something like that. I forget the exact pattern now, it's more than a year ago, but I have a rough idea. It wasn't the traditional 'shave and a haircut, six bits!' rhythm, but something else seemingly light-hearted, and just a little shorter.
What I am sure of is that the pattern he knocked was the same as the pattern I'd heard mere moments before. I was listening carefully for any deviation from my own impression when he gave his account, and there was none. It was a match.
I couldn't believe it. It's one thing to hear something odd inside your own home late at night, especially when you have my kind of reading habits (real ghost stories and whatnot). It's another thing to have another person independently confirm having heard *precisely* the same thing, coming from the same area, at the same time.
I went down the front steps and looked onto the front porch and walk, and glanced through the sidelight into the other apartment. All dark and quiet. So, we had no explanation for this knocking. We had to dismiss it as 'just one of those things' - interesting but inexplicable. (We did check later with the first floor denizens later, and they were asleep at the time.)
About a month later, I heard from a neighbor that the 60-something gentleman who'd sold the house to our family had passed away unexpectedly, at his current home just a few doors down. The house we live in was his boyhood home.
Because we had not noted the date of the knocking, and the news that reached us as to Dave's death was filtered through several channels, it was impossible to pinpoint the proximity of the two events; but this friendly polite knocking had to have happened within just a handful of weeks of Dave's passing, so I couldn't help but wonder if the two were connected.
If that was you, Dave, you're welcome to visit anytime.