When I was five, my parents bought an abandoned house in Lincoln Park. It didn't have the typical characteristics of abandoned houses found in movies and such - the grass was overgrown due to neglect and the shingles had a little more wear and tear than one would like, but otherwise it had a decent interior, a semi-finished (though ugly) basement, and while the rooms were not painted in our colors of choice (my mom found them to be repulsive- deep red, navy blue, and dark green), it wasn't too bad for a first house.
Two weeks of painting and moving and finally we were set. I was given the smallest room in the house, but I was going to be gone for a few weeks that summer on a road trip out west, so my parents decided to paint my room pink. My dad was always good at drawing, and so he painted a portrait of our family dog, Mickey, on my wall, and above the light switch painted "Britt's Room". He also drew sketches of Mickey Mouse and made little red hearts. It was cute.
Unlike most of the stories posted here, I did not visibly see a ghost or shadow or watch objects move by themselves. In fact, nothing that unusual happened for awhile. But that summer a lot of mail came in for children that supposedly lived there still. My mom would give them to me instead of throwing them away. One of these was a book of fun stamps that someone had actually paid for a subscription to. I thought it was odd that the parents (or whoever) didn't cancel the subscription before leaving, but then again, the whole idea of abandoning the house seemed odd as well. They didn't even bother selling it for money. My dad told us once, "Well, the realtor said they just couldn't live here anymore and decided to leave. I don't really know why..."
As a little girl, I had what my parents called a "wild imagination". I was the kid who believed her dolls had parties behind closed doors, that the Beast from Beauty and the Beast was real and was going to eat her at night, that the photograph taken of her sitting on Santa's lap was actually a magical photograph and Santa used it to see what she was up to at all times (I actually placed it face down on my dresser when I was up to no good in order to avoid getting a spot on his naughty list), and even if I'm barely this way now, I had a lot of spooks growing up that were caused by none other than me.
But then there were the three years spent in this house on Buckingham- the Buckingham Palace, we called it, that couldn't be explained by just an over-active imagination.
Like most little girls, I had a cute little wooden vanity where I dumped all of my fake make-up and hair stuff and the works. On this particular day, I decided I was going to be Snow White, and so I hunted down an old halloween costume and began to make myself pretty. After about ten minutes, I heard someone call out my name- "Brittany..."
And I hadn't just heard "Brittany" once. I heard "Brittany" several times, each time getting louder than the last, until eventually it was "BRITTANY!".
The odd thing was, this happened often. I kept hearing someone call my name but I could never find out who it was. My parents always told me it was a neighbor or I was just hearing things, but on this day I ran out of my room, completely forgetting my plans to be a Disney princess. I didn't return for awhile. I camped out on my mom's bedroom floor.
As the years passed, things became a little more strange. My mom worked at a grocer nearby, but her shifts were awful. I typically wouldn't see her until roughly midnight, sometimes even one in the morning. Because I so young, if I felt lonely or restless, I would stay up until she came in to say good night. But other times I would crash the moment my dad tucked me in and would almost sleep through her visit. One night, however, I was just too tired to wait up and I slept like a baby- until waking with a start. I didn't even get a chance to look around for the cause- directly in front of my face were the eyes and nose of what I assumed to be my mom, but this wasn't really a face. It was like a blown up image of her features, so big that it covered the entire width of my bed, and though I couldn't really see the mouth, she seemed to be smiling.
I stared at this image for a little while. I wasn't sleepy anymore, but I wasn't sure what to think. Was it my mom? I knew it wasn't physically her, but I was reassured (for whatever reason) that I shouldn't be scared and I shut my eyes. I opened them once more and the image was still there- but I fell fast asleep. When my mom woke me up later on that night, I told her what I saw, but she said, "You must have been imagining things again..."
About a year before we moved out, I began to hear my name being called out more frequently- always by a female voice. I eventually gave up on telling my parents about it as they never really had anything helpful to say. I tried believing that they were right and it really was my imagination, but I just couldn't shake the feeling that someone was in the room with me. I always looked behind me when walking out of my room to find nothing but furniture and toys and pink walls. While outside, I would hear my name and turn around just to find Mickey circling the grass or dead leaves or something of the like. My parents never noticed anything unusual though, and so I carried on with daily life.
The last major event that took place happened shortly after I switched rooms with my mom. I decided (one day) that pink was a sissy color and blue was more my style and my mom had a light blue room. Since we were moving out shortly, she agreed and most of the incidents stopped. I still heard my name every now and then but it was becoming more and more rare, and I definitely stopped seeing faces in the middle of the night. But one odd thing came in a dream.
I'm sure that at least some of you remember the veterinarian Barbie- the one that came with the little plastic dog and cat and a little white case with medical tools inside. I had a big cardboard box stashed in my closet where I would put all of my Barbie things, and one night, after securing all of my toys in this box, I had a dream that, in essence, my little plastic cat became possessed, and out of a jealous rage that I played with the dog more, ran away. The last scene in my dream was of it turning its head towards me and showing me red beady eyes before walking out of my room robot style. I woke up a little freaked (I mean, red eyes? Come on.) but thought nothing of it- until I looked in my box and the cat was gone.
Even after packing and cleaning and searching through everything, I had never been able to find my cat. I don't honestly believe that the thing ran away, either, but it is a little strange. It hadn't been thrown away, given away, or stolen by any of my friends. I didn't really have friends at that time, so no one really ever came over, and I had played with that very cat just a couple days before it went missing. I was pretty bummed. We moved to a nice little house a couple cities over (more stories to come if you are interested), and I couldn't shake this strange feeling that I was forgetting something important. I even had dreams about it. But passing it off as nothing, I moved on with my life.
My senior year of high school came around, and while in the car with my dad, I decided to tell him about all the crazy stuff I went through as a child and all the stunts I pulled. After a bit of laughing and a "tease Brittany because she kept hearing her name all the time and saw faces" session, my dad's facial expression suddenly became serious, and he said, "Remember your old bedroom?"
I nodded, and asked what this had to do with anything.
"Well, don't get me wrong. I don't think our house was haunted or anything. But I know why the house was abandoned. The realtor told me that the former owner had committed suicide in one of the rooms- your old room before you switched with your mom. The one I spent countless hours painting so that you could decide later you didn't want it anymore. Anyway, yeah. I didn't really want to tell you or your mom because I didn't want to scare you guys, but now you know. I'm sorry..."
We never talked about it again.