For three years, I rented different rooms in an old Victorian home in suburban Massachusetts, built in 1890. Due to changing roommate circumstances, and the fact that the house was split up by floor for different family sizes and the two units were separated from one another, I was required to move each time as leases changed. Much changed about my home life as people came and went, but there was one constant: I was always experiencing some creepy, unexplained circumstance in that house. Not a moment went by where everything just made sense and could be logically explained.
A brief description of the home: it is a Queen Anne Victorian, with gingerbread-like shingles and trim all the way around, painted beige. There are pointed gables on both sides of the house, and it is three floors including the attic. There is a small winding driveway that circles the house. There are two front doors, the downstairs one opening into to a small closet connected to what is now a downstairs bedroom on the lefthand side by way of a door, and the other front door opens to a staircase leading upstairs, which stops at a landing three quarters of the way up, to turn leftward into a small upstairs hallway. There was a wall separating the staircase from the closet, thereby separating the two units. There is a second staircase accessed from a door on the back side of the house which leads up to the kitchen on the second floor, and a side door on the opposite back side of the house leading to the downstairs kitchen. The middle of the downstairs consisted of a large living room.
The first room in the house that I rented was on the first floor, connected to the living room. There was a door in the corner of my room leading to a closet, which could also be accessed from the living room. I found it very strange that the closet could be accessed both from the living room and from my bedroom, and I realized it did not look much like a closet at all. There was a small window in the closet and it was located directly under the stairs, behind the closet accessed when walking in through the front door and separated from it by a wall.
The first night I slept in the house, I felt as if I was being watched from that "closet." I could not see anything in the dark, but I expected to see creepy eyes staring at me, watching me lying in bed. I also felt very exposed, because if there was ever an intruder, there were many ways they could access my room. I got up in the middle of the night to shut that door, and I checked to make sure the window in the closet was locked. To my relief, it was firmly locked. I was lying in bed when I begun to hear a noise that would plague me for weeks: a quiet, but high-pitched "beep." This sound occurred once every three minutes. It resembled the sound a smoke detector makes when its battery is dying, and this is what I assumed was making the noise. I eventually managed to fall asleep, as it was not the one in my room that was making the noise and it was far enough away to not keep me awake. At this point, the sound was only a minor annoyance.
The next morning, I walked to each smoke detector downstairs, trying to see which one was making the noise. None of them were chirping, but I could still hear the beep. I could not tell whether it was coming from above or below, but instinctually when I heard it, I looked upward. I went to each room, but no matter where I went, it sounded as if it was coming from somewhere else. If I stood in the kitchen, it sounded like it was coming from the living room. If I stood in the living room, it sounded as if it was coming from the kitchen. I checked every appliance that could possibly be making the sound. It wasn't the dishwasher. It wasn't the washer or the dryer. The noise was a mystery. I checked the basement, but it was not coming from there and could barely be heard while down there. Finally, I got the courage to knock on the upstairs tenants' front door, asking them if they could hear the sound. Not only could they not hear it, but they assumed I was crazy because if it was loud enough to be that noticeable, they were in disbelief they could not hear it too. At this point I felt chills down my spine: if it wasn't coming from the basement and it wasn't coming from the upstairs, it was coming from somewhere in my immediate living space, and I was still unable to identify it.
Eventually, my roommate, who had lived in the house for a full year before I moved in, remarked that she had, too, heard the noise in the past from time to time but never for days on end, and that guests of hers had inquired about what it was. No one ever had an answer and they never thought much of it, and eventually my roommate had adjusted to the sound and barely noticed it. Two weeks later, at 3:00 AM, the noise suddenly stopped. I never heard it again. To this day I am perplexed and wonder what could have been making that sound. Eventually, I forgot about the sound and decided to move on.
About two weeks later, around 1 in the morning, I woke up to the sound of pacing up and down the front staircase and across the upstairs landing, which woke me up due to the heavy thudding sound. I could hear it distinctly, as my room was located directly beneath. The sound began at the top of the stairs, and made its way down. I assumed that it was one of the upstairs tenants going outside for a cigarette, but I was proven wrong when I did not hear the front door open. About ten seconds after the footsteps reached the bottom of the stairs, they climbed back up, paced around the landing, and then came back down. I wondered, why would someone be pacing up and down the stairs? This continued for about half an hour, and it kept me awake. The next morning, I knocked on the front door of the upstairs unit (which, ironically, opened to the staircase I heard the footsteps on) and demanded to know who was making such a racket. I was unsettled to find out that there was only one tenant home that night and that they did not get home until 2 in the morning from a party. The upstairs was empty at 1 AM.
Every now and again, I would hear, around the same time, what sounded like a ball rolling down those stairs and hitting the front door. My roommate heard it as well, but the upstairs tenants claimed they could not hear it. My roommate assumed they were drunk and rolling items down the stairs for fun, but I thought differently.
Over the next several months, I could not sleep well because I felt as if there was someone, or something, staring at me from outside the house. My room jutted out of the side of the house, part of one of the gables, so my bed was surrounded by windows on three sides. Out of the window to my left, I could see the side of the house and the outside of the window looking into the closet. I eventually put curtains on each of these windows, and the feeling of being watched subsided. When I began using this closet to store my clothes and suitcases, I noticed the window in the closet was unlocked. I asked my roommate if she had unlocked it: she had not. I DISTINCTLY remembered checking to make sure it was locked the first night I stayed in the house. I came to find that if I left the window locked, I would find it unlocked within the next day or two. I eventually got so creeped out that I removed all my belongings from the closet, put my dresser in front of the door connecting the closet to my room, and placed a table against the door connecting the closet to the living room.
Not long after, I woke up to the sound of footsteps toward the front of the house: slow, heavy footsteps that clearly belonged to a man in boots. They sounded as if they began at the front door, and ended at the door I had blocked off between my room and the closet. It was impossible, however, for anyone to make this entire trip, for there was a wall separating the two closets. I heard this happen three times, always in the early hours of the morning while it was still dark outside. Each time, I froze in place, put the covers over my head, and sat as still as I could until the footsteps stopped. I would later find out that before the separating wall was built between the front staircase and the downstairs, that both of these "closets" had once formed a continuous hallway from the front door to the living room and to my room, once a dining room.
Occasionally during the day, I heard very similar footsteps from the upstairs down the back staircase, but they did not stop at the door leading to the outside, but right behind my refrigerator in the kitchen. Shortly after they stopped, I would hear what sounded like a doorknob turning. There was no door behind the refrigerator to even open, and there was no place opposite that wall to stand to even open a door had there been one. I vaguely remember my landlord stating that the back staircase once faced the opposite direction and led to the downstairs kitchen, but this was changed in the 1950s when the house's partitions were formed to make the home for two families.
I am not religious, but I prayed to whichever higher power may exist to allow these strange occurrences to cease. I had reached my limit.
From December of that year until my lease ended in May, most occurrences were minor. Items would disappear and turn up in other rooms. Doors I had distinctly remembered leaving open would be shut when I returned to the room. The living room overhead light, which could be turned on via a handheld clicker, would not work because the wall switch, which must be in upward position for the clicker to work, would be found in downward position, but neither myself nor my roommate flicked the switch down.
At this point, my roommate began to think I was going mad. She still believed there is a logical explanation for each of these events. However, this would change one night.
It was a Friday night in May, the last week of the lease. The upstairs tenants were throwing a wild party: music blasting, feet stomping, and the front door opening and shutting as new guests arrived. Suddenly, I heard a knock on my door. I went to the door, assuming that it was a guest for the party upstairs who had mistakenly knocked on the wrong door. I opened the door to see a pale-faced boy around my age standing there, asking where his brother was in a deep, dazed voice. I still assumed he meant to knock on the other door, and assumed his brother was a party guest. I began to tell him that the door to the upstairs was the next one, but he shoved past me and into my apartment, stating that his brother lived in my apartment and that I was "hiding" him. He ran through my roommate's room, through the living room and into the kitchen. I ran after him, demanding an explanation, shaken up and grabbing my pepper spray from my bag and my phone to begin dialing 9-11.
When I reached the kitchen, there was no one there.
I ran outside, to my car, locked the car doors and dialed the police, explaining that there was an intruder hiding somewhere in my house. When the police showed up, they searched every possible space in the apartment. They even checked the blocked off closet, but he could not have been in there, because the furniture I had placed in front of the doors was undisturbed, and it would have been impossible to reposition it from inside the closet. There was no one to be found anywhere in the apartment. They assumed that he had run out of the house when he heard the police sirens, but this could not have been possible. From my car I would have seen him exit through either of the doors, and the police found that all but one of the windows were locked.
All of the windows except the one in the closet.