After reading many stories on YGS over the past couple of years, I have been encouraged to tell you one of mine. I don't have many and thankfully none happened at my house. I wrote this shortly after it occurred so that I would not forget details of it later. I added the last paragraph today to complete the story. Sorry, it is a little long winded.
Eldon House is a Historic home in the city of London, Ontario, Canada. The well-to-do Harris family had it built in the early 1800s and some members of the Harris family resided in the house until it was donated, complete with period furnishings and artifacts, to the City of London, sometime in the 1960s. The house is now a museum of sorts and is open for tours most days of the year. It is said to be haunted.
I am a maintenance worker for the City of London and Eldon House is one of the buildings in which I look after mechanical and electrical systems. The times that I worked there I would overhear the interpreters (tour guides) give their historical accounts of the building and the family that resided there.
Usually included was the story of the haunting that was alleged to have occurred in the 1800s, involving one of the Harris daughters and a suitor. He arrived late, confused and dishevelled, one evening (at 6:00 PM I believe) for a party. When he was told that he should return after he had cleaned up, he left never to return. He was found the next day some miles away and he was very dead, from an apparent fall from his horse, in the Thames River. His watch was broken and stopped at 6:00, the very time of his ghostly arrival at the house. I was intrigued.
After the public left, I asked several staff members about the story and also asked if there had been any more recent tales or maybe even personal ghostly experiences. They (including one interpreter who had worked there for 26 years) all told me that there were no odd occurrences in the house that they were ever aware of.
The boiler in the house is the only source of heat and during the last Saturday of January 2005, during the night, the boiler failed to light. The house was very cold in the morning and the boiler needed some mechanical attention. One of my fellow maintenance workers was on-call that weekend and looked after the problem. During the following week, however, the boiler continued to be a nuisance, strangely requiring me to replace parts that were almost new and that should not have failed. When Friday arrived, it was my turn to be on-call for the weekend.
I was out with a friend that night but before going home I asked him if he minded if I checked on the boiler at Eldon House. This would save me the trip (I live out of town) in the morning, in the event that there was a boiler outage, and assure me that the house would remain warm for the next day's tours. He agreed and was in fact eager to look around the house. He had his new digital camera with him and he asked me if he could take some pictures in the place.
We arrived at about 11:30 PM. I unlocked the door and entered, with my friend (we will call him Doug), locking the door behind us. I then walked to the staff room and entered my security code and turned off the intruder alarm. I found the boiler running but it was in need of some adjustment. After making some changes to it, I toured Doug through the house. He snapped pictures of many of the antique and foreign curios in the house including the African spears fanned out as decorations on the wall (the Harris family was well travelled and one member was even a big game hunter).
More adjustments were required on the boiler and time flew by. When I was done and ready to leave it was 3:30 AM. We went back to the main floor from the basement to retrieve our coats from the staff room. We walked out of the staff room, through the historic kitchen and outside to put my tools into my car. Doug and I then went back into the house to set the intruder alarm; the control panel being located in the staff room. Less than a minute had elapsed since we left the staff room.
After walking most of the way through the historic kitchen, with Doug trailing by no more than 5 feet, I stopped cold. Now just inside the doorway to the staff room, stood a pair of lady's, low healed, black leather shoes. They were facing out towards us, one farther forward than the other, as if the wearer had just completed a step; only there was no wearer. I looked back at Doug thinking that, although he had never been out of my sight all night, somehow he had done this to scare me. That's when things became even stranger.
Instead of Doug laughing at me, he doubled over in obvious pain. He clasped both hands to the sides of his face and began to rock up and down gasping out the words, "It feels like my face is turning inside out." It took only another second and then it was happening to me as well. There was a strange, very intense electrical, skin crawling sensation from my face to the back of my neck. If it had been any worse I would have been crying out in pain as well. This lasted for less than a minute. The sensation left suddenly and seemed to leave through the top and back of my head. I was very afraid but I did not run.
I remembered that Doug had his camera with him. I said to him, "Doug, take a picture of the shoes." He didn't move. Once again I said, "Doug, take a picture!" He still did nothing. I assumed he must have already put his camera in my car. I badly wanted out of there anyway and pressed him no further. He was not talking anyway.
My sense of duty remained intact and overrode my sense of fear; before I could leave I had to turn the security system back on. To get to the alarm panel meant stepping over the shoes! I took a large quick step over them and arrived at the alarm panel. Doug, however, was not following. He was still standing in the kitchen, still partly bent over and his hands still near his face. He had hardly moved a muscle since the freakish sensation took us. I needed to have the door closed, that was between us, to set the alarm and there was no way I was going to be in the room, with the shoes, alone. I said, "Doug, get in here, I have to close the door to set the alarm." Nothing happened. He didn't move. I yelled, "DOUG, get in here," again. Still nothing; he was completely unresponsive. This time I really belted it out and he finally, slowly moved.
At first I was relieved that he was finally coming to his senses and entering the room but to my horror, instead of stepping over the shoes, he bent down and slipped his fingers into them and picked them up. He set them down on the lowest step of a staircase next to the door and after further insistent prompting from me, he closed the door. He still stood bent over as I set the alarm.
The lights were the old pull cord types. I was dashing from one to the next to the next turning off the lights, with flashlight in hand, as I made my way, with Doug, to the exit. I was never so happy to lock that final door. We jumped into my car and got the heck out of there. It was 3:43 AM.
After about five minutes Doug finally came completely back to his senses. He said in a quiet puzzled tone, "You told me to take a picture, didn't you?" I said, "Yes." He then said in a more puzzled way, "You told me twice." I said, "Yes but you must have put your camera in the car already." He said, "No, it was in my pocket the whole time but anything you said to me in there is only registering now." I don't know if his mind was overthrown back in the house or if it was a reaction to fear but I was glad to have him talking and again.
I had Eldon House nightmares all weekend.
I had to work in the house once again, on Monday (during daylight hours thankfully) but I was too scared to stay there alone. I would not let my co-worker leave my side. I noticed that the shoes were no longer on the stairs. I spoke to one of the interpreters and asked her if she had found any shoes on the stairs, on Saturday morning. She had not. She, of course, asked why and when I began to explain she asked me not to continue with my story and please not mention scary things to her about the house.
I have told the story many times, sometimes with Doug present. One day he stopped me and said that I always say they were women's shoes. He insisted that this was wrong and that they were actually girl's slippers or moccasins, about the size an eight year old might wear. He described them as having three curved rows of beads on the toe area, each row a different colour. He also said that they were exceedingly light and fragile. He feared they might disintegrate as he picked them up. I asked him for the first time then, why he picked them up and put them on the stairs. He told me that he thought they were museum pieces and might get stepped on and ruined if the were left where they were. As I said earlier, I saw women's low healed black shoes, not girl's slippers and not very antique looking.
A co-worker and I searched high and low for those slippers and shoes. We opened every dresser cupboard, closet and box, with no luck. It seems that neither of those shoes exists, at least not in this world.
Some of the pictures Doug took that night are not normal either. One of the two strangest shows light coloured translucent shapes sitting on two benches with a ghostly bottom part of a leg with a fancy shoe on, standing on the table between the shapes. The other is a strange anomaly where spears on the wall have their shafts completely in focus and the wall paper between the spear points is in focus but the spear points themselves have a strange blur over them.
Since my event I have been told other scary Eldon House stories but only after they hear about mine. They usually say that they have told no one for fear of being ridiculed. At least my story gives them the opportunity to get theirs off of their chest.
As time passes I am not quite so afraid anymore and I can work there alone during the day. I don't like to return at night. The few times I have been back in the evening, I brought my wife with me (yes, yes I know, say what you want).
I wrote that account a few months after it occurred, 12 years ago. Three years ago I was asked for the first time to recount my story at a Halloween event for the public. An interpreter was also in the kitchen with me, where I was stationed. This interpreter is well acquainted with the history of the house. After she heard my story, between groups of people on tour, she said to me that one of the former residents lived in the house for her entire 92 years. She mentions in her diary that beaded slippers appeared and disappeared in the house throughout her life there. At least that corroborated my story 9 years later.