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Our First Home Together


My boyfriend (let's call him S) and I started to rent a tiny 400 year old thatched cottage two years ago. It is in the middle of the countryside, right next to the river and some forests in the middle of nowhere. Our cottage is number 4, in a row of 5.

All there is to our tiny little house is quite simple: You walk in to a small room which consists of our kitchen/dining/living room all in one. You go up the twisty little wooden stairs and what you see is one small bedroom and one small bathroom. The longest part of our house is 13foot long.

I'm not entirely sure where to start when it comes to the occurrences we have experienced in this little house. Some of them may be insignificant. I'm sorry if I'm rambling, this is my first story, please stick with me.

It started around a month after we moved in. I was home alone while S was at work. I was watching the Simpsons on TV and folding laundry. I went upstairs with my laundry and instantly felt like I was being watched. Of course, there was nobody there except for me, it creeped me out a little but I forced myself to continue putting my clothes away then started walking back downstairs.

As I turned the corner on my stairs which lead down to the living room I saw something that made me jump out of my skin. It was human shaped, but a pure black silhouette, leaning on the banister watching me. I only saw it in a flash, seeing it gave me such a fright I stumbled backwards, and I actually think I made this black thing jump too because it jumped back in a startled way then swooped off out of my sight, although it was out of sight I could hear the sound of long claws scuttling across my tile floor. I ran down the stairs after hearing the claws scratching my floor but saw absolutely nothing.

Another time, S and I were sitting in the living room chatting, he was sitting on the floor facing me and I was on the sofa facing him. The cupboard behind him had been open all day because I had a jumper draped over the door to dry. Suddenly the jumper slipped off the door and a game of operation fell out of the cupboard and onto the floor. We had left the cupboard like that for hours and neither of us had touched it, there was no reason for them to suddenly fall. As soon as the game of operation fell, I saw a gentle mist, almost like a gust of smoke, drift past behind S, coming away from the open cupboard.

Our row of cottages is so secluded, the only people who will walk past our window is our neighbours, as that is the only way they have access to their own house and garden. We have no back doors, so all the gardens, then the river, is all at the front of the house. It is not a public footpath. S and I regularly see someone walk past the window, always around the same time of night (when it's just starting to get dark). We go outside and there is nobody there. This happened with S first. He told me he saw someone walk past and go towards our neighbour's garden. We both went outside and there was nobody there at all. I was slightly sceptical until a few months later I saw the same thing. I was cooking dinner while S went to the shop to get some rice. While waiting for something to boil I leaned on the sink and stared out of my blinds. Suddenly I saw something white walk straight past. Right in front of my eyes! I thought it was S as he was wearing a white top that day. I thought he was strangely quick. I rushed to the door to let him in, but when I opened it there was nobody there, not even any sign of neighbours or anyone in their gardens.

Our bedroom is so small we can't have a door there, so in the doorway we just have a big floor-length curtain. One morning late last year, it was my day off, so while S was up and getting ready for work at 6am, I was snuggled up snoozing. He kissed me goodbye and off he went. It was a few hours later when a sound woke me up. I knew it was a few hours later because I could see now that there was sunlight coming through the curtains. The noise that woke me up sounded like someone opening a can of beer really loudly. I opened my eyes but I couldn't move. I couldn't move any part of me except for my eyeballs. I felt absolutely terrified as I looked desperately around my bedroom. I felt like I wasn't alone. Slowly, I could hear footsteps coming up the wooden stairs. Very, very slowly, creeping closer and louder. I could also hear heavy breathing along with the footsteps. There was around 4 seconds between each step coming up the stairs. I tried screaming but I couldn't, it just sounded like it echoed internally and didn't make a sound. I tried screaming for S (knowing he was at work) but I couldn't make a noise. All I could do was stare at my bedroom curtain, listening to the footsteps coming up the stairs closer and closer, until I knew it was right outside my bedroom. I held my breath and waited for this thing to come through my curtain. I can't explain the sheer terror that I felt, especially because I knew something was there, but I couldn't see it!

Suddenly I could move again. It all went away and I rolled over in bed and prayed so hard. I stayed out of the house as much as possible that day. I never want to experience sleep paralysis like this ever again.

We've tried talking to the neighbours and the owner of our house but everyone is very scared and closed off about it, nobody wants to talk about it and every time we try, they cut the conversation short and walk away. It's like they're all hiding things about the history of our house. There is only one of our neighbours who openly tells us what's going on with the area. She too sees the person walk past the window most nights, she told us some history of the house but nothing of significance other than how old the house really is, the fact that it is a gap filler, and that the whole area has such an enigma to it. There are no archives and no history to be found on this house at all, which makes it even stranger.

I have so many more stories and little bits to add but this is getting too long now. I will have to make a second entry. Thanks for reading and sorry for the long story!

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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, deegeecoo, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

TriGirl89 (2 stories) (5 posts)
7 years ago (2016-10-24)
Hi Deegeecoo,

Do you know who owned the land that the cottages are built on? My first thought as you mentioned it is in the countryside, was that they could have belonged to a large estate and workers/tenant farmers were housed there. If so, there will be records somewhere for sure. I don't think census records go back that far, but for tax reasons landowners had to declare workers and properties (and in the 17th century they loooved showing off how much they had!).

I imagine if it's 400 years old that it could well be a listed building, in which case your local council or even the National Trust, might have some information too. I used to live in an old cottage which was turned into flats (think the structure of the building was about 200 years old) and was able to find out through land registry records that it belonged to the local manor house (now a private hotel and golf club). I even got the name of the architect who designed it. I think what Biblio suggests about the pub is good, as older people might be able to give you some information on the local area.

Do you think there is any malevolence in the spirit which is in your house? Certainly sounds like it is trying to get your attention, maybe he/she is just saying "hey, this is my house!". It sounds a bit like the one walking past is one which is just living out its daily routine. I would be interested to know if it walks past at a specific time of the day.

Think there's a strong case for saying that your neighbours and landlord are aware of the issue based on how you describe their reaction. I've often found when mentioning my own experiences, that people don't want to talk about things because they are embarrassed and worry about being judged. It's probably their way of dealing with it if they have lived there a while and it happens all the time!

Good luck with your search, hope you find some answers!
Bibliothecarius (9 stories) (1088 posts)
7 years ago (2016-10-22)
Greetings, Deegeecoo.

When you state that "there are no archives and no history to be found on this house at all," where did you look for information? As a tenant of the house, you should have the right to ask the tax assessor for documentation on the house's history. It may be minimal information except for property sales, alterations the change in value (such as the installation of indoor plumbing), etc., but even when everyone has a vested interest in keeping a historical embarrassment or incident quiet, the Tax Man **always** keeps scrupulous records.

Newspapers, too, keep archived information (often in a space nicknamed "the morgue," but that's just ironic journalist humor). They keep everything because they want to be able to go back through their own files **first** and avoid tipping off rival newspapers to a potential story. If your paper gets the "scoop," and everyone else is playing catch-up, people are more likely to buy your newspaper, which translates directly to greater circulation thereby increasing the advertisement costs, generating revenue which keeps you employed. Lots of larger newspapers files were updated onto microfiche & microfilm in the '60s and '70s (the machines to read them are a nuisance to operate, but once you get the hang of it, you can become pretty good at it). If there was an event recent enough to make neighbors and the owner uncomfortable discussing it with you, then you probably don't need to look back any further than the last 40-50 years; before that point, you may need to look at national-level newspapers, but that diminishes the likelihood of detailed coverage of whatever event (s) took place.

Court records and police records are often useful, too. The police in particular are cagey about sharing recent information, unless someone can present a valid reason for seeing the data (e.g.: "I'm researching a book on these cottages because..." This may be a useful approach to try, but may not get you very far). On the other hand, court records (unless they are deliberately sealed by the presiding judge) are public record. Britain has what is erroneously called an "Unwritten Constitution," in that it is not written down in a single document like the American one (well, besides the Magna Carta). British law and jurisprudence is based upon legal precedent, so legal decisions have to be made public with a clear rationale stating why the judgement was made, the potential for exceptions to this rule, and/or why it was necessary to make a judgement which is not in keeping with earlier decisions. The "unwritten" constitution occupies entire *libraries* of legal reasoning and history.

I do hope that some of these avenues of research will enable you to get further than you have before. I suspect you've tried the local library and (if there is one) the local historical society. Try local museums, too, especially if you're close to one which specializes in agriculture, regional history, etc.

One last thought: have you got a local pub (that hasn't been "updated" into a gastropub)? If so, old timers who may frequent the place, but who are not living in the cottages, may be willing to chat if you buy a round to loosen up their caution; they may be a bit suspicious, but if you tell them that you live there but think that it's odd that your 400-year-old home has no records or history to track down, their sense of common courtesy will probably kick in because you bought the drinks and *not* telling you anything would be rather rude. (This is probably the easiest method for conducting research, but will suffer from inaccuracies of memory; however, it may furnish you with more specific times, last names, etc., to look for when consulting other resources.)

Best of luck with your historical search,

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