You are here: Real Ghost Stories :: Haunted Places :: Helpful Or Just Plain Creepy?

Real Ghost Stories

Helpful Or Just Plain Creepy?


Several years ago my roommate (Claire) and I rented a small three bedroom, one bath old frame house in Austin, Texas. If memory serves correctly the house was built in 1936. It was one story with living room, dining room and kitchen basically on the left side, and my bedroom, the bathroom, and her bedroom on the right side with my son's bedroom across the back. I loved the little house. It was painted blue with white trim and had Chinaberry tree off a small front porch in a great old neighborhood.

Not long after moving in my son was at his father's house and Claire and I were in the living room watching Unsolved Mysteries. The story had something to do with a haunted house although I don't remember exactly what it was about. As we were watching, Claire said something along the lines of how scary it would be to live in a house with a ghost, and she had no sooner finished speaking when the door to my bedroom started to swing shut. It stopped about a foot from closing. She looked at me with huge eyes and I looked at her. I was standing close to the door when it happened so I just reached over and opened it back up. I moved it back and forth a few times, looked back at Claire and shrugged.

Now this was an old house built on pier and beam and the floors were no longer level. Could the door have swung nearly closed on its own? Of course. The curious thing about the incident was the timing and the fact that in the four years I lived in the house the door never moved again without a live person moving it.

Another night when my son was at his father's, my boyfriend and I were sitting on my bed talking when we heard what sounded like a big marble roll off Claire's dresser. It rolled across her bedroom and under her door, down the short hall between our rooms and under my door. The interior doors all had a good three inch clearance except the bathroom door so I got up and looked on my floor and there was nothing. Nothing at all. We very clearly heard the "marble" roll, drop, roll and stop about two feet into my room. I opened my door to the little hall. No marble. Claire wasn't home so I opened her door and looked on her bedroom floor. No marble. I couldn't find a marble anywhere. Not under my bed. Not outside the bathroom. Not under her bed. Thinking maybe what we heard actually was between the dining room and living room I looked there. No marble. I never could explain that. My boyfriend and I clearly heard something but there was nothing. Nothing at all.

In an aside, a few months after this happened we were talking to friend of his and I was recounting this experience. When I said we heard a marble fall and roll my boyfriend looked incredulously at me and said, "Marble? That was a bowling ball!" I don't know if it had really sounded like a bowling ball to him, or if in the weeks since it happened he had exaggerated what he'd actually heard. In any case, I heard a marble.

All in all though there really wasn't anything scary or particularly paranormal about the house. Maybe a few other little things happened but I could easily come up with reasonable explanations as to what was going on.

However, the experience I had that explains the title of this story was a very different kind of happening. It was New Year's day and I was bored. It was probably about 12:00 to 1:00 pm, middle of the day. I worked at a live music venue back then and was used to late nights but my boyfriend wasn't. He was taking a nap on the couch, Claire was out and again my son was with his father so I needed something to do. I had always wanted to explore the crawl space under the house and decided this was the perfect time.

There was a door in the siding at the back of the house that you accessed from the back yard. When you entered it there was enough room that you were able to easily stand up. The house was built on top of a small hill so as you moved from under the back of the house towards the front of the house the space grew shorter and shorter. In fact there was a small berm, for lack of a better term, that had been cut into in order to form a storage area just inside the door. I had a flashlight with me and I climbed over the berm and began exploring.

I started along the left hand side at the back and under my son's room. As I moved up the side of the house I came across various "treasures". Some old papers, well not too old really, just from the sixties. I found some hand made doll clothes. I remember finding several small old bottles. Nothing too spectacular. As I moved closer and closer to the front of the house I was forced to squat or sit with my legs out in front of me as I rooted around in the dirt. I came across an old coffee can. It was rusty and had no bottom or top. It was very distinctive though in the way that parts of it were completely rusted out. I don't remember what the brand was or if you could even still read any writing on it. I would push the can out of my way to my right but I kept running into it. All I was really doing was moving it into my path. After moving it for what seemed like the umpteenth time I grew frustrated threw it over my left shoulder to the front right corner of the house. I heard it hit the dirt and roll a bit. I didn't give it a second thought. I had also come across an old one by four board in the dirt that I was using to hold my found objects.

As I continued along and moved farther away from the board, I would have to really stretch out my left arm to reach it. I remember finding one of the glass bottles and without thinking I stretched out, set the bottle down and straightened back up but something didn't seem right. I realized I didn't have to stretch quite so far that time. I moved my flashlight beam to the one by four and the end closest to me was now lifted off the dirt and sitting on top of the old rusted coffee can that I had thrown to the far corner of the house. I immediately froze. I stared at the coffee can and the board and my treasures. I sat immobilized for a time as the shock of what I was seeing settled in. My first thought was that whatever, or whoever, propped the one by four up on the coffee can was trying to be helpful. It was easier for me to reach now. My second thought, however, was that it was trying to creep me out. If that was the case then it succeeded.

Not knowing what to do or how to act I thanked it and calmly, or as calmly as I was able to, made by way back to the berm and out the door into the back yard. I ran up to the side door and tore through the house to wake my boyfriend up. I got another flashlight and took him under the house to the one by four and the coffee can. I showed him everything and neither one of us could ever come up with a non-paranormal reason for what had occurred.

I moved away from the house when my landlord put it on the market. I was never uncomfortable inside the house and if I would have had the money I probably would have bought it. However, I felt very differently about the crawl space. I never did go back under the house and I left all my "treasures" sitting right on top of that one by four right on top of that coffee can. I wouldn't be surprised if they are still sitting right where I left them.


Other hauntings by Calamity

Hauntings with similar titles

Find ghost hunters and paranormal investigators from Texas

Comments about this paranormal experience

The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, Calamity, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

queenlol (9 posts)
8 years ago (2016-11-26)
I didn't find that creepy at all! 😕 😕 Bt it waas ok. I did enjoy reading it by the way, and I am sure others did too! 😆
J_B_P_D (3 posts)
8 years ago (2016-10-17)
Hi. I don't know whether you are still on this site; but I live in Austin and was wondering which neighborhood of Austin this took place in.
Kindly_refrain (16 stories) (196 posts)
8 years ago (2016-05-23)
I just read your account, I don't know if you come here anymore but... Great story.

I just told my wife and she really liked it as well. I read your other story also. Please write the other parts.
ulvenNixie (13 stories) (39 posts)
8 years ago (2016-03-06)
Hello Calamity!

It sounds like the spirit was pretty helpful, or at least it was trying to be. If I were a ghost, I would like to think that I would be helpful, at least sometimes. I know myself fairly well though and I have a really ridiculous mischievous streak. Kudos to your former ghost house-mate for not being a jerk at least.

I absolutely love how your started out your experience in this writing, by the way. I definitely wanted to know what the house looked like. It's a nice detail to commit to memory. Thank you for putting that in. Also, I love that you wrote about the Unsolved Mysteries moment. I'm sure that in some cases hearing about haunted stuff can put one's imagination into over drive, but sometimes it seems to make us more open to the experience. I've also noticed that it sometimes draws a ghost out. My friends' house gets that way sometimes if we watch ghost stuff. It gets even worse if we dare deny or express doubt that they're really there.

I saw someone else said this too, but I wanted to agree, you are really brave to go in that crawl space. I don't know if I could have managed that. If it wasn't for the spookiness, it would have been some intense heebie-jeebies from just thinking that there might be spiders in there. You go girl!
Calamity (2 stories) (53 posts)
8 years ago (2016-02-26)

Thank you for re-reading and commenting on my post. I will admit to being very taken aback by the incident!

Not only did I leave the things I had found sitting on the 1x4, but I have to admit that when I moved I left my old ten speed bike behind. I had stored it in the dug out area of the crawl space and just couldn't face opening the door to get it out. I was too afraid of what might be waiting for me!

I like to think that I'm now older and wiser and wouldn't react the same way. Then again, maybe I'm just older! 😆 😆

DandK (11 stories) (344 posts)
8 years ago (2016-02-26)
Calamity, I read this story a while back and the first thing I thought then, and now when I reread it, was YIKES! If I had been in that crawl space and turned around and saw the board and the coffee can rearrangement, I don't know what I would have done. It would have been really strange living in the house after that, wondering what is living here with me!

Your writing style is excellent, by the way. I really enjoyed this story.

Calamity (2 stories) (53 posts)
8 years ago (2016-01-14)
Argette - I love your autocorrect! I think it has a sense of humor. I had always been curious about the crawl space and it had never seemed creepy until my experience. Afterwards is a whole 'nother story.

I wonder what's up with the marble thing. It seems a lot of people have had that happen.

Macknorton - I am absolutely certain it was the same coffee can. It was the only one I found while I was down there.

You are quite right that previous residents may have tossed other cans under the house. There could well have been others that I didn't come across. But, that doesn't explain why one moment the board is laying flat in the dirt and the next it's propped up on top of a coffee can!
Macknorton (5 stories) (646 posts)
8 years ago (2016-01-14)
Hi Calamity - thanks for posting your experiences. Can you clarify one point for me; are you 100% sure that coffee can you found further down the crawl space was the same one that you had kept bumping into and thrown away earlier?

Just wondering if the past tenants had dumped a lot of crap in there including lots of old coffee cans? I realise you said it was a very distinctive can but just wondering if there's a non-paranormal explanation for that particular experience?


Argette (guest)
8 years ago (2016-01-14)
Crawl, not creamy, space. I swear my autocorrect function is haunted.
Argette (guest)
8 years ago (2016-01-14)
You are one brave woman to venture into a creamy space!

I, too, have experienced the marble thing in the finished crawl space off our master bedroom.

I'd say you had some sort of mild, helpful spirit.
Calamity (2 stories) (53 posts)
8 years ago (2016-01-14)
Thank you so much babygoatpuller! I must have looked and sounded a fool as I said out loud, "Thank you. I'm going now." I've had other experiences in another house that I'll get around to writing about. But the strangest one by far was the coffee can incident.
babygoatpuller (4 stories) (432 posts)
8 years ago (2016-01-14)
This was great Jane! I know exactly what you're talking about with the marble thing. I had that happen but mine bounced several times. Thought it was my cat but he was on the bed with me.

It sounds as if you had a helper. Your lack of fear yet "need" to get out just because... Was understandable. When the "what if's" start popping into your head it's usually better to not find out. 😆

I really enjoyed this. Very well written and I hope to read more from you.

To publish a comment or vote, you need to be logged in (use the login form at the top of the page). If you don't have an account, sign up, it's free!

Search this site: