When I was between 4 and 6 my sister and I were babysat by my Grandma, who we called GiGi. GiGi lived in a Victorian style house built in 1896 (just looked that up to verify). If you've read my previous story, this house is actually less than a block away from the theater.
GiGi was a stern, small woman, but she was nurturing. She kept us clean and well fed like grandparents are supposed to. In fact, it seems like she was always cooking or baking something. She always had a utensil in her hand and she had no problem giving you a whack on the top of the head if you got out of line. She even did it to my grandpa sometimes; I can still hear him saying "Dammit, Darlene!" after she'd whack him.
As I said, GiGi's house was Victorian in style. There were so many rooms, doors, huge windows; and all the kinds of cupboards, closets and hiding spots your young heart could desire. Almost all the downstairs rooms had dividers that you could pull out of a gap in the doorframe to make one large room two smaller ones.
GiGi's house also had some sort of entity and whatever this thing was didn't seem to like kids. Whether you would call it a poltergeist or spirit, I honestly don't know. Though I've always been very sensitive to the paranormal, I've never had a desire to really study it. Now, as an adult, I make it a point to keep my mental walls up to protect myself. But I digress...
In almost every memory I have regarding events in her house, GiGi always seemed nonchalant about it. I don't know if she believed it was supernatural and had become accustomed to it or what but she just kept on doing whatever it was she was doing without making a comment. Later, when I was older and brought it up, she would wave it off without a word. My Dad always told me speaking on things of this nature gave it more life, so maybe she felt the same?
As I said before, she spent a lot of time in the kitchen. I can remember sitting at the table with my sister and watching the cabinet doors open. They didn't open fast or forcefully; they just would swing open randomly. It was never just one, but one after another three or four would swing open. GiGi was short, so usually she used the handle of whatever she had in hand to close them without even looking up. Sometimes she would have to get one of her many step stools to reach, but she never said a word about it and neither did we.
It also like to slam doors behind me in particular. It seemed like every time I walked out of a room or out of the house, the door would slam shut behind me. Eventually I got used to it and to always being yelled at by whatever adult happened to be near. I can remember the sound the glass panes in the front door would make when it would slam.
One of my more terrifying memories happened in the small mud room off the kitchen. It had a door into it from the kitchen, one leading to the back yard, and one leading into the cellar.
There were two girls close to my sister's and my ages who we would play with whenever they were around. They didn't live with their mother, the next door neighbor, full time so it was always exciting when they were around.
One day I heard what I thought was one of them calling to me from the backyard. I went to get my sister and hightailed it to the back door. We made it into the mudroom before the door from the kitchen behind us slammed shut. It made both of us jump and look back towards the door, but we shrugged it off and tried to open the door leading to the backyard. It was locked. These doors were old, requiring a key to lock and unlock them. So we turned around to head back into the kitchen, knowing without the key we weren't getting outside, but now this door wouldn't open either. The kitchen door didn't have a lock on it though and we should have been able to easily open it.
At this point I wasn't panicking. The door into the backyard had a large pane of glass in it so I started looking outside for our friends to see if they could help. But neither of them were in the yard. Looking back now I should have thought it was weird that anyone would be in the backyard. You could only get into it from the back door or from the side privacy fence that had a padlock on it.
Now I was starting to freak out and began yelling and alternating between trying the knob and banging on the door to the kitchen. At some point though, it just swung open. I was smacking the door with both palms and it swung open with nobody there. I felt like we were stuck in there forever, and honestly I don't know how long it was, but I know my throat hurt from yelling by the end.
Turns out GiGi was vacuuming in one of the front rooms and had no idea what happened to us. I remember my sister and I standing in the foyer with tears running down both our faces watching GiGi, wondering if I would get in trouble for saying anything. I never did bring it up.
The living room, sitting room, dining room, and foyer created a circle that my sister and I were chasing either other back and forth around. We were probably being hellions, screaming and running past all GiGi's antiques.
I remember hearing the word "Stop!" yelled, but I'd be lying if I said I knew for sure it wasn't GiGi that said it. I just feel like it wasn't her. What I do remember is running full speed smack into the room dividers that had been pulled shut between the sitting and dining rooms. Both sides of it had been shut completely. There was nobody who could've done it. GiGi was in the kitchen and my sister was too little to have pulled them out quickly enough before I made the lap around the rooms. I ended up with a bloody nose that day.
GiGi had a swing on the front porch that the neighbors and I loved hanging out on. There was a large picture window behind the swing with 2 smaller windows that opened on each side of it. These opened in a way that you pulled a cord in the window frame and it would raise the bottom pane, leaving a gap between it and the window sill. GiGi would prop the windows up with a 6 inch wooden dowel rod.
Now that the scene is set. While my friend and I were sitting on the swing, I put my hand on the window sill, using it as leverage to push us since neither of us were tall enough for our feet to reach the floor. I don't remember how long we had been sitting there before the window came down on my hand. The dowel rod she used to prop the window up actually fell outside of the window onto the porch, as if it had been pushed through from the inside.
Luckily, only my finger tips were in reach of the window when it came down. No bones were broken, but 3 of my fingernails turned black & blue. Funny side note: 2 of my 3 band-aids were eaten by a goose that chased me at the park later that day.
These sort of events happened often. I can think of so many right now, not all of which did someone get hurt though. Like when something dumped baby powder all over the bathroom one night.
One of the most extreme centered around my uncle's room upstairs. I remember GiGi had been on him about cleaning his room. As a teenager he always replied with "I did!" before promptly leaving to skateboard with friends. Finally, GiGi had had enough and decided that we were going to do it and do it right.
She and I, with my little sister making more of a mess than helping, spent the entire afternoon cleaning his room. He had the typical dishes and dirty clothes laying around, but I mostly just remember how he had stuff EVERYWHERE. Clothes, books, cassettes, just stuff all over the floor.
The only odd thing I can remember about that room was that the windows looked to have condensation on them. I thought it was weird at the time because it was summer and wasn't rainy that day, why was there water on the windows? I don't remember it being cold in there though and this house didn't have AC, not even a window unit.
After we finished, we waited for him to come home. I remember feeling kind of smug; hands on my hips walking next to GiGi as we headed up to his room to show him how it should be done. But when she opened that door... It was the only time I can remember her acting startled about the happenings in that house.
Stuff was EVERYWHERE once again. Though the trash and dishes weren't in there, it looked like someone had thrown the clothes out from every drawer and the books and cassettes were again all over the floor. His bedding was torn of the bed GiGi had shown me how to make just a couple hours before. I was shocked.
We never actually went back into the room. She had opened the door to show him and when we all saw the mess she stood there for a second before shutting the door again. I remember looking at my uncle, he was so much taller than both me and GiGi. I look back now on the face he made and I want to think it was something like "I told you so" but maybe that's my imagination.
Like I said, there were so many things that would happen in that house and I'm sure much more was experienced by the ones who actually lived there full time. I would have to look up exactly how long they lived in that house, but I do know they sold it less than 6 months after the bedroom incident. (I did some digging to verify that statement.) I don't know if that had anything to do with why they sold it when they did, but if it were me as an adult now... I think that would have been the last straw.