My parents bought a small two-story ranch just a few cities over from our old house (The House on Buckingham Street). I was just nine years old at the time, so I spent the remainder of my summer after the move in our backyard playing on the swing set or setting up my new bedroom. My parents had given me the entire upstairs - a light green room with beige carpeting, a big walk-in closet, and two attic doors - one by the landing and one across from my bed.
Like most children today, I had my own TV, which sat on top of my desk just across from the foot of my bed. For whatever reason, I enjoyed watching TV more than I should have, and had a bad habit of leaving it on when I went to bed. I was also very selective about which channels I watched. I hated the news. I didn't particularly care for older or more adult-oriented shows. I always switched between Nickelodeon, Disney, and Cartoon Network, and at night, I would usually fall asleep watching reruns of the Rugrats or Dexter's Laboratory or something. To be perfectly honest, I don't remember exactly what cartoons were on, but I do know that they were bonefied animated cartoons and very popular for the era, and that's all I ever bothered with.
Nothing particularly strange had happened in the house for the first couple of years. I heard my name being called occasionally, even while at school, but once I became fed up with constantly hearing, "Brittany!", I yelled for whatever it was to shut up already- that was the end of that. We still had our little Shi-tzu, Mickey, and decided to buy a little white Bicha-poo (Bichon-Frise and Poodle mix) to keep him company, whom we named Fritz. Mickey didn't particularly agree with our reasoning and tended to ignore little Fritz. When he was old enough, Fritz learned to climb the stairs and sometimes he would visit me in my bedroom, but that was a rare opportunity for him because of his size.
But I began to see Fritz in my room more than usual- or at least, I continued to see a little white dog sitting by my feet or sitting in the middle of my floor, and when I'd reach down to pet him, I'd grab at air and realize Fritz was never there. What was more strange is that after a matter of months I caught myself seeing the same little white dog out of the corner of my eye, but Fritz would always be outside or next door or in the basement. I tried to pass it off as nothing, and for awhile it worked. I only saw the dog in a couple of places- anywhere in my room, and in the middle of our living room. I simply assumed that I was so used to seeing Fritz that I simply imagined him around the house when he was gone. End of story.
But then things became a little less easy to ignore. It was night time and I had once again forgotten to turn off my TV before I went to bed- a classic stunt pulled by yours truly. I was awoken at around two in the morning to flashing lights and the sound of a grown man's voice. I opened my eyes to see the television was still on, and it wasn't Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, or Disney. It was Turner Classic Movies.
I didn't watch Turner Classic Movies.
Deciding that I must have rolled over onto the remote during my sleep, I turned the TV off and tried to get a bit of shut-eye. But I was awoken again, at almost three in the morning, to find that my TV was on once again, still playing Turner Classic Movies. Frustrated, I shut the TV off and placed the remote as far away from my bed as humanly possible. Finally, sleep!
Four in the morning. I had awoken once again to find that my TV was, in fact, on, but this time it wasn't Turner Classic Movies. Blaring from the TV was the voice of Lucy and I could see the little icon for "Nick at Nite" at the bottom of the screen. I actually liked I Love Lucy, but I didn't like that my TV kept turning on by itself throughout the night, usually to channels not meant for my viewing pleasure. I also didn't like that the remote was no longer on the other side of the room where I had put it, but laying neatly on the foot of my bed. I shut the TV off one last time and shoved the thing under my pillow. I'm glad to announce that my television set stayed off (or at least, it didn't wake me up, and the remote remained under my pillow).
At the time, even though I was puzzled by the incident, I ignored it to the best of my ability. I was still trying to convince myself that the little white dog was only a figment of my imagination- one that longed to see Fritz, I assumed, and that I must also sleep-walk. That was clearly the only (and the least frightening) solution to the problem.
If only those were the only solutions I needed to find.
About a year or so later, I had been listening to music and reading Wuthering Heights (I know I was only eleven, but I really did enjoy the book). Getting bored but not yet ready to sleep, I decided to pretend I was Catherine Earnshaw and that I was running from Heathcliffe (I wanted to stray from the storyline just a tad), and eventually changed my story completely to being a rock star. This got boring also. I found myself playing with a pair of sunglasses I found in my desk when I heard my mom's voice, loud, but calm, from the bottom of the stairs. She said, "It's okay, Brittany. Everything will be okay. Don't worry. Everything will be okay". As she was speaking, I started to walk to the landing, completely confused.
As soon as I peeked around the banister, the voice stopped. No one was there. I climbed down the stairs, "Mom?". I assumed she had gotten up to smoke a cigarette or something of the like, so I stood there for a bit, but she never came inside. Her bedroom being right next to where I was, I decided to take a peek, but her door was shut completely and upon opening it, she was fast asleep against the wall.
I mentioned the incident to her the next morning but she thought I was insane, so I dropped that one real quick. I never really came up with an explanation. I wasn't tired. I wasn't thinking about my mom. I wasn't sad. I decided to shove it to the back of my mind for awhile.
Another year passed and my best friend at the time, Dana, had gotten a Ouija board. I had never used one before, but my mom said it was stupid and not to bother (she is usually very defensive regarding things she is afraid of), but Dana started to bring it to my house and eventually we made our own. We started to talk to a person named Lilac (supposing we actually did talk to anyone at all), and decided that she was evil. I don't really remember all the details, but I'm sure a lot of this stemmed from our imagination.
The only things that really stood out, however, was a dream I had that Lilac was walking down a dark street as a white glowing figure, and I was staring down on her from a balcony. It was warm outside and the setting seemed to come straight from Alladin, but I was caught off guard as she suddenly appeared beside me on the balcony and she grabbed me around the neck with the intention of choking me to death. A few days later, as I walking down the stairs, I felt pressure on my back, as if being pushed. I fell down a few steps until my elbow caught the banister. I stayed out of my room for awhile.
I'm not sure if I had imagined that or any of the other experiences. But I do know that the summer before we moved out of that house, I was visiting with a friend who lived down the street from me, and her grandfather was telling me about the history of all the houses on our street.
Because we lived in a suburb, just about every house was built the same as the one next to it, and he was one of the first people to purchase a home there. Then he said, "Yeah I remember that an old woman once lived in your house, before the family that sold it to you. I can't really remember for sure but I think she had a little white dog..."