I have experienced many events I believe to be paranormal throughout my life, and I hesitated to write about this one because my memories of this house are very dark. I have tried to block them out over the years, but I am unable to because I have such vivid memories of this house and my experiences inside of it. I have not been inside this house in 18 years, when it was rented by the family of a close friend of mine from elementary school, who we will call Tim. Tim lived in this house with his family for 2 years, and I was a frequent visitor. When my parents were divorced and my mother was forced to work full time, Tim's mother often watched me during the day in the summer of 2004, right around the time they moved in.
The first time I visited Tim in the house was actually in December 2003, the year he had moved in, when he had invited me to sleep over his house. I remember that day very well. A huge snowstorm had just passed and left inches of thick, white snow across my state. When we pulled up in front of Tim's house, I was immediately struck by the sensation that there was something "off" about the house. It was a two-story Cape Cod style house, painted a sickly mustard yellow, with a non-enclosed, cement porch on the side of the house with two doors directly side by side, one leading into the living room and the other into the kitchen which were located back to back in the house. The house was built around 1950, and was not that old but it felt old to me at the time. As I walked up to the front door with my mom and rang the bell, and stepped into the house, I would soon understand just how deep that feeling of trepidation was.
The second you stepped through the front door you were immediately overcome with this oppressive heaviness, this intense negative energy that followed you everywhere. It did not start out feeling like someone was following or watching you, that came later... But it was a terrible feeling that was unshakable.
The inside of the house was one sickly color or nauseating scent bleeding into another. Walking in the front door, right in front were stairs carpeted in the same sickly mustard color as the outside. The living room was to the left, a dark, dreary room with cream colored walls, gradually blackened by years of cigarette smoke. The living room connected with the kitchen in the back of the house, located directly behind it.
This kitchen was painted a sickly lime green which reminded me of the color of vomit, and connected to the kitchen and running behind the stairs and around the corner was a dark hallway which contained a bathroom, office room, and the parents' bedroom.
Every door in the house had framing that was dark brown and mismatched the color of the walls.
But nothing struck me more than the smell in the house. Not just the smell of cigarette which permeated the entire space, but this was different. The smell was a moldy, earthy, wet smell that, during all the times I had been in the house, made the idea of eating nearly impossible, it was enough to rid you of your appetite. The smell upstairs was even worse, and was noticeable the second you began climbing the stairs. I have no idea what it was nor how to even describe it, but it permeated every space upstairs and felt like it was emanating from the depths of the house. It was a sharper moldy smell that made you feel like you needed to sneeze. While these smells were likely not paranormal, they certainly contributed to the unshakable feeling of "wrongness" in the house. And it would only get worse.
That night, Tim and I had been playing in the snow and had come back inside while his parents were watching a movie in their room. I remember us walking into the dark kitchen and seeing an old cuckoo clock on the wall, and feeling like the second I stepped into the kitchen from outside, there was something glaring at me from the back hallway. I could not see anything but when I looked down the hallway I got this intense headache and felt dizzy. I tried not to think about it the rest of the evening but I felt deeply uncomfortable.
I remember little else about that particular evening other than being afraid, for no reason obvious to me, of the downstairs hallway all night long. It just had this oppressive feeling, like when you stood in the kitchen looking down the hallway or sat on the living room sofa and could see into the hallway, that it was full of negative energy. Tim had a dog which refused to go down that hallway and would always stop at the beginning of it, right near where the basement door was, and would just stand there. Nothing could entice him into the hallway, and this bothered Tim's parents, because their room was at the end of the hallway and they hoped the dog would go into their room. It never did. And that smell downstairs was strongest in the hallway, seemingly emerging from the basement.
The next summer, I spent a lot of time in the house when Tim's mother would babysit me regularly when my mother was working. This is when the actual experiences began.
One day I was sitting in the kitchen at the table with Tim's mother and little sister, Jennifer, who must have been around 6 at the time. She turns to her mother and out of nowhere says "Mommy, I don't want to live here anymore." Her mother asked her why, and her answer terrified me. She said "Mom, there is a shadow in the house, I see it all the time. It scares me, Mommy. I just saw it over there" and she pointed toward the hallway. My heart began racing and I turned and looked down the hallway. Immediately, every hair on my body stood on end and I felt this heavy wave of resistance on my entire body. The hallway looked so dark and foreboding. I felt a presence in the hallway but could not see anything, but I knew there was something there. Their mother got up, walked around the corner and said "See, sweetie, there is nothing here!" and sat back down at the table.
But the house did have a shadow and I began seeing it myself. One night, I stayed over and was sleeping on the downstairs sofa, facing toward the door to the kitchen with full visibility into the creepy hallway. I remember waking up for no reason and it was pitch black out, but I could see just enough to know where things were located. Suddenly, I see a dark shadow glide from the kitchen down the hallway and into the bathroom, and shortly after, the dog (which had been sleeping on the kitchen floor apparently) stood at the start of the hallway and began growling aggressively, then slowly backing away back into the kitchen. This absolutely terrified me. I covered my head with the covers and struggled to get to sleep the rest of the night. The only bathroom in the house was located in that hallway and I refused to go to the bathroom all night even when I needed to, and thankfully was able to make it until morning.
There would be other times in the house when I would be sitting in the living room, the kitchen, in one of the upstairs rooms, anywhere and I would see movement out of the corner of my eye, with a dark flash just going by and then disappearing. Other times, I would actually see the shadow gliding out of one room and into another, or right past a person who had their back turned to it. By now, everyone had just tried to pretend they did not see it and would not speak of it, but everyone knew it was there. It did not have a face or a particular form but was of human height, just a partially see-through mass of darkness that glided around. I tried not to stare at it and I certainly never followed it, but it would appear at random times and then disappear. I always wonder where its "lair" was, where it was when we didn't see it, so I could avoid that place.
Another time, I woke up to the blasting screech of the smoke detector, followed by Tim's father running out of the bedroom from the hallway, into every room in the house to make sure there was no fire. He shouted from upstairs that there was no fire, and then ran into the basement to check down there. Nervously I followed him to the top of the stairs and stared down them. The basement stairs appeared to descend into complete darkness, with cobwebs everywhere and that stench of rotting wood. He shouted that there was no fire, but he could not get the sound of the smoke detector to stop. He unscrewed them all from the ceiling and put them down on the countertop and it finally stopped. That experience shook me.
Other unnerving experiences plagued me throughout that summer. One time, a group of our friends were at the house having gone to a local water park, and came back and were changing into our regular clothes. I was in the bathroom changing and my friends were outside in the hallway waiting for it to be their turn to change. The door was locked, and I could hear everyone talking, when all of a sudden the door just swung wide open. The knob did not turn, there was no attempt to push the door open, it just swung open, as if it had never been fully closed. I immediately grabbed a towel and covered myself with it and everyone just stood there shocked. No one knew what happened. Another time, I got locked in that bathroom and could not get out, which made no sense because the door locked from the inside. But the knob would not turn and I could not get the door open. Eventually, it just released itself and I got out.
This other time, I slept over and woke up in the morning not knowing what time it was. Normally by this time people were up and awake but this time, not a sound. I went upstairs and Tim was not in his bed, and I knew that his sister was going to be at a friend's house that day.
I went back downstairs and sat on the sofa when I heard a noise in the bedroom that sounded like movement in Tim's parent's bedroom. I saw in the kitchen that it was 10:00 AM. I breathed a big sigh and forced myself to go down the dark, foreboding hallway and knocked on the parents' door. I could hear movement that sounded like the closet door opening and closing, dresser drawers opening and closing, people whispering but I could not hear what they were saying. I knocked on the door and suddenly all the sound stopped, and then I heard the kitchen door open. Tim and his parents came into the kitchen and said "Oh, you finally woke up. We did not want to wake you, you were so fast asleep!" I immediately shouted that someone was in their room! Tim's father pushed past me, opened the door, and sure enough, no one was in there and nothing out of place. So creepy.
Another event that puzzled me and freaked me out was that when we celebrated Tim's sister Jennifer's birthday was that she could not blow the candles out on the cake. They were not those prank candles that no matter how many times you try you just cannot blow them out, so when she struggled to blow out the candles and kept blowing but they just would not go out, everyone was shocked. The final time she tried, they almost entirely blew out, but then the flame came back full force, as if just lit, and then suddenly went out all at once. This was very unsettling. Soon after, both siblings began to have nightmares about the house catching on fire. Tim recalled one nightmare where he was in the living room and unable to get out because the fire was engulfing the room and blocking all exits, and when he turned to run out the curiously placed side door which led to the porch, it was not there!
They moved out of the house later that year and over time, Tim and I grew apart. I have not spoken to him in many, many years, but I have driven by the house and every time I do, I get the same shivery feeling all over again. I do not know what had happened there, and I did not piece this together as a child but looking back now I suspect it had something to do with fire, because multiple events (strange placement of doors from the porch with one likely added later, the smoke alarm, the candles, the nightmares about fire) pointed in that direction.