Uncle Johnny was my favorite Uncle. So too was his sister my favorite Aunt. As was things in the old days children often lived with their parents when not married, even when they were older.
I grew up next door in a small (actually tiny) house on their property. We were all very close. Uncle Johnny and his sister were like second parents to me. As I grew up he would show me everything he knew about building and fixing things. But as life would have it I would go away to Military School and then move to Pennsylvania. We visited but not as much as I would have liked.
Then one day as I was coming home. I saw my father leaving with my sister to get my mother from work. His only words to me were to stay in the house until he returned and that Uncle Johnny and Bill were dead. A million things ran through my mind of how it could have happened. Car accident, some type of accident at home. What could have killed both of them? To my shock it was natural causes.
My uncle had worked on Friday and had Saturday off. As usual he went out that evening after work with friends and came home around 1am. They all heard him come up stairs. He followed his normal routine as usual, used the bathroom, washed up and then went to bed closing his door behind him. This night he mistakenly closed the door very hard, no one knows why. The next morning my Aunt got up early and went into the City to go shopping and his parent's let my uncle sleep in, since it was his day off.
Around noon my uncles mother (great aunt) decided to wake him up. She went to his room and called. No answer. After several attempts, knocking on the door and no answer she decided to enter the room. There was my uncle lying peacefully in his bed. She went up to him to shake him awake and instantly knew he was dead.
She ran to the window and screamed to her husband that she thought their son was dead. His father ran into the house and up the stairs to his wife. When the father reached the top step he had a massive heart attack and dropped dead at his wife's feet. Understandably, she lost all control, ran into the street yelling and crying, and a police car stopped to help. She never rebounded from the ordeal and died little more than a month later, leaving my aunt Nina alone.
After all this tragedy we thought it was over until about 6 months later. I drove back to NYC to visit my aunt one weekend with my soon to be wife. We did the normal stuff. Chit Chat, dinner etc. I decided to stay the night and leave the next morning. When it came time for bed my aunt said I could sleep in her room since I knew about my uncle dying in his room. I told her it didn't bother me if I stayed in my uncle Johns room but she insisted I didn't. She then said it was ok since she no longer slept upstairs. Mainly because she couldn't get her Doberman to go upstairs after everyone died. She said things were going on but wouldn't elaborate. So I went to her room and my wife to be went to my uncle John's room. (we didn't tell her) I went to bed with the door open. My aunts open door faced the top landing. I could clearly see the hall light at the top of the stairs. It was a low wattage bulb and the hall was dimly lit but could be seen clearly.
I was just about asleep when an upstairs door slammed shut hard. It startled me and I sat up. All of a sudden, the light in the hall seemed to fade out but it wasn't the light. There, standing in the doorway to my room, was the figure of a man. I could clearly see the lit hallway behind it but since it was backlit by the hall light, I could not make out any features. Everything around this shadow type silhouette was clear. It looked exactly like someone put a cardboard cutout of a man in the doorway.
I was just frozen. I don't know if I was scared, paralyzed or what. I just sat there for what seemed like forever staring at this thing. It never moved but, finally just kind of faded away before my eyes. I hadn't fallen asleep yet so I know it wasn't a dream. After that everything was calm and I finally went to sleep after a long while of popping back up to see if it came back.
The next morning I went downstairs for breakfast and asked who slammed the door. My wife to be said it woke her up and she thought it was me. My aunt was sleeping at the bottom of the stairs on the couch with the dog at her side but said she heard nothing. I don't know how she couldn't have heard it. I never did tell my aunt what I saw but years later after she moved she admitted things happened in the house but never would go into it. We remained close for many years later and I even lived with her after my divorce at the end of her life. Not until then did I find out how afraid of dying she was. She was one of those people who are terrified of death to the point of not even wanting to speak of it. Which is why I guess she never spoke of her old house and the incident. She passed away in 2000 in such a way that she knew she was dying right to the last second. I was there and the look of terror on her face made my blood run cold. I miss her very much and still have feelings of guilt to this day that I couldn't help her at the end.
The old house is no longer there but, I am curious if the new home that is there, has any activity?