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It Watches Them Every Day From The Upstairs Window


On one of the main residential streets in my town, there is a burnt out home which suffered from a fire in June of 2019 which consisted of three "stacked" apartment units, one on each floor. No one knows how the fire started, but the home is beyond repair and is likely to be torn down in the next year. The fire was so bad that it nearly caught the neighboring building on fire. Thankfully, no one died but it left three families temporarily homeless. The front of the building is entirely burnt, with all windows boarded up and the roof is completely burnt through in the front of the building. The back of the building consists of three stacked decks overlooking a small parking lot and baseball field, and from the back of the building you cannot tell that there was a fire, as it remains relatively intact. According to town records, the building dates to 1900.

I have been inside the building one time. When I was at university, the students renting the bottom floor and basement hosted frat parties there. I never thought there was anything "odd" about the building other than that it was incredibly run down and the party was evacuated due to a smell of gas in the building which, thankfully, turned out to not be an emergency. I never happened to return. But I pass by the building every night when I go for my walk.

Yesterday, I went for my evening walk and for the first time, as I passed the building I decided to look at it more closely. In the parking lot behind the building there were, as always, two children around age 10 to 15 kicking around a soccer ball. I waved at them as I passed and looked up at the building. I looked into the darkness of the building inside, but one window behind the second floor deck caught my eye. In the immense darkness was a silhouette of a human looking out at the two children. I could not make out if it was male or female, and I could not see any facial features, just the outline of a person staring out the window in the direction of the children.

The two children know me and recognize me on my walks each day, so I asked "Do you see someone in that window up there?" but by the time they looked up, it was gone.

"Ah, well. I guess it was my imagination. No one would even be able to get into that building, the doors are completely boarded up. Forget I said anything." I knew what I saw, but I did not want to scare the children, who lived in the next building over.

Today, I was intent to capture a photo of the figure in the second floor window. As I passed by the building and waved at the children playing soccer, I nervously looked at the building, but I could not see any figure in the second floor window. After scanning the building with my eyes, right as I was about to give up and chalk it up to my imagination, I finally saw it. This time, the figure was in the third floor window, right in the center of the building looking out at the deck, watching the children, and I was able to deduce that the figure is male. It was wearing what resembled a bowler derby hat, completely dark with no facial features discernible, standing out among the darkness.

I wracked my brain for an explanation of whether a person could possibly be in that building, and how it could be possible since the ceiling is caved in most of the building, the doors are boarded up, and only the back windows are not boarded up. The upper levels of the deck are not even accessible from the outside of the building, so it is unlikely someone climbed up the deck.

Could it be a spirit? Why would he be watching the children? Why is he there?

I wonder if fires and other traumatic events stir up negative energy.

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

ScoobieGang (4 posts)
4 years ago (2020-09-14)
Not directly related to your story but it made me think of the ghosts of the future, so to speak. You hear so many stories where the men are always wearing bowler or top hats, and the women are always in white, flowy nightgowns or dresses. Does that mean future ghost sightings, harkening back to these times, will recall men with their pans down below their asses and women in tank tops and yoga pants that expose their tramp stamps? Just a random thought.
Seekings (1 stories) (13 posts)
4 years ago (2020-07-20)
Hi Virulentpeach,

Valkricry has made an interesting point regarding the man apparently wearing the hat indoors, and has linked it to it being common practice for tradesmen to do so in the 1920s. In the UK, during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Bowler (Derby) hat was often worn by the Foreman in charge of other workers, or by a skilled tradesman, to differentiate him from the rest of the workforce. If this was also the case in the US, I wonder if your man was once part of a team working in or on the building, perhaps in construction or repair, and met with an accidental death there, Health and Safety precautions being fairly lax at that time? Just a thought... Perhaps if he was involved with the build, and took pride in the work, he's very saddened to see it in its present state. Keep us updated if there are any further developments with your story, and if you see him again.

valkricry (49 stories) (3269 posts) mod
4 years ago (2020-07-19)
Hi, VP 😊 Hope you don't mind me shortening your nic up like that?
Bowlers or Derby hats, were around from the late 1800s and stayed in fashion until about the 1920's here in the US. Interesting that it is being worn INSIDE a building though, because that would have been considered quite rude, being a lack of manners.
Given the time frame of the building, the back stairs would have been designated for deliveries and servant/repair people. Not saying residents didn't use them too, but commonly this was the way. Given you have seen the entity in a 2nd floor kitchen window and then at a 3rd floor landing window, makes me wonder if he was perhaps the iceman, or custodian of the place. Oddly enough, right around 1925 (?) or so, it became acceptable for deliverymen (ice, milkman) to keep their hats on while working, and tip their hats to the lady of the house as leaving. Side note, ice deliveries continued on through the late 40s, early 50s.
Perhaps, assuming that field was 'always' a kind of yard for the resident children, maybe the entity is actually watching over them, making sure they're safe. Or if he was the iceman, perhaps it is nothing more than a quick break to catch his breath, blocks of ice being 50 pounds, most commonly. Just a thought.
Lealeigh (5 stories) (512 posts)
4 years ago (2020-07-18)
Hello virulentpeach,

This is a really creepy story. It would be awesome if you could speak with any of the people who lived there before the fire. You mentioned that some families were displaced when the building was damaged by fire.

Since no one died in the fire, the entity in the building must have been there already. Do you know anything about the field where the children play? If the entity in the building is a residual haunt, it could be that there was a much different view from the windows in the old days.

- Maria
VeronicaMarie (5 stories) (106 posts)
4 years ago (2020-07-17)
Virulentpeach, yeah, the bowler hat and the fact that the house was built in 1900 (which I think was a period of time when those hats were very popular?), and also that entry into the building seems virtually impossible is what makes me think there might be something paranormal going on here. This story has me fascinated!
virulentpeach (12 stories) (40 posts)
4 years ago (2020-07-17)
[at] VeronicaMarie: I have walked past the building once and I saw a curtain rustling in one of the closed windows, but no shadow. Whatever entity is in there seems to be aware that I am aware of its presence and is choosing not to make itself known anymore. The building was built in 1900, had 3 stacked apartments (meaning it is a 3 floor building with a separate family on each) and from looking at floor plans and photos of the property, the windows that I see the shadow in are all in the kitchen or the window at the upper landing of a back staircase. The fire appears to have been started by a frayed computer or phone cord from one of the tenants based on speculation but has not been proven.

[at] Alina5: I was not able to take any photos of the entity, I tried to do so but either forgot to save the photo or by some paranormal event, the photo got erased from my phone.

[at] LuciaJacinta: I did consider it was a homeless person who was inhabiting the burnt out building, but it was peculiarly dressed for that to be the case given the bowler derby hat, and I also feel they would have done more to make their presences discreet. Also, the house has no power, no electricity, and is completely in ruins. I could have the building searched, but the entire ground level is entirely blocked off, all windows and doors are boarded up and I do not see how entry would be possible. I have closely examined the outside of the building and cannot imagine how anyone could have entered, and even if they entered the lower level, the inside has so much wreckage that getting upstairs would be impossible. I know because when the fire first happened, I saw the burnt out inside before it was boarded up as I walked past.

[at] MrsRamsay: The mother of the children is always supervising the kids as they are playing, so the likelihood of a stranger accosting them in plain sight is almost none, but I might actually tell her the next time I see her that, at the very least I have seen movement inside the building as I walk past, I have told the kids to be careful, and that she might want to monitor it or report it. Just in case it is not a spirit.
MrsRamsay (guest)
4 years ago (2020-07-16)
Well, I am, of course, concerned about the kids. And the possibility that this is a real guy, in which case, he'd be in there without permission.

How can you be sure he isn't? And if he were to lure the kids in somehow? I can't think of it. However, is there any way for you to be certain? Can you holler at the guy, or tell the kids' parents you think you've seen someone, just so they can talk to their kids? In any case, it's not a real good situation. Your story was really intriguing, but I would err on the side of caution, in case he's NOT a spirit.
LuciaJacinta (8 stories) (291 posts)
4 years ago (2020-07-16)
Ohh creepy. I'd first assume maybe it's a real person that is looking for a spot to crawl into. Maybe I'd call the police and see if they could go a search of the house. Otherwise, try going back at different times of day and bring your camera. If it is a spirit, it could very well have been attached to the people who lived there and now they are gone it's looking for a new host to latch onto.
Alina5 (3 stories) (136 posts)
4 years ago (2020-07-16)
Hello virulentpeach,

Quite a thought-provoking incident indeed. Places having certain certified history of tragedies does possess a necessarily large amount of spiritual energy no matter negative or positive. And it is no surprise to find any paranormal instances in such sites. However, we can't be sure of the fact whether is it malevolent or subjectively harmful in its approach. I've to admit the amount of details has been put to emphasize the entire situation is indeed praiseworthy. In that burnt down building we have no idea whether there's this single entity or are there more hiding in the shadows of the ever-lasting darkness. Lol trying to be a bit poetic.

An investigation on this topic would be quite interesting considering the details of the location along with its intriguing history.

By the way, were you able to take any pictures of this entity?
VeronicaMarie (5 stories) (106 posts)
4 years ago (2020-07-16)
Hi, virulentpeach...

This is amazing, and very eerie! Have you gone back to check the building since this was posted? It's strange, but I get the feeling of melancholy in this man. Don't know where that feeling comes from, because I don't have any psychic gifts whatsoever, but for some reason that is what I'm feeling. Like a wistfulness for life.

Have you happened to do a search about that fire, or about the building itself? Please keep us posted about this!

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