My first story happened when I was around 10 or 11 years old. My family was moving into a new house in Lac La Hache, British Columbia, Canada. The first day we were there, while we were still bringing all our things in, I was taking a break in the living room, which was still empty and devoid of furniture or anything. I was lying around on the edge of the carpet, near a heat vent that led to the basement, talking to my younger brother, and that was the first time I felt something there. It was just a sort of creeped out feeling that I couldn't quite ignore, and eventually I just talked my brother into going outside because it was bothering me a bit.
When we first got all settled in, my brother and I were sharing a bedroom upstairs while my parents put rooms for us in the basement, which had been unfinished when we moved in. They painted the walls and put up siding, and my mother painted each of us a personalized closet door - they were lovely little spaces. Our rooms were set up a few feet from the bottom of the stairs, and the wood stove was directly beside the bottom of the stairs. Behind the wood stove was a large, empty, musty room with a chute going outside for firewood to be thrown in and stacked for easy access in the wintertime, and there was a pantry under the stairs and behind this room.
My brother and I each had one high window in our rooms, above our head level at the time, so my parents put a dresser below each of our windows so we could climb out in case of fire. We had an open doorway between our rooms with a curtain for privacy so I could run through to my brother's room without having to open a door or anything, since he's a few years younger than me and was only about 7 at the time, and I would need to be able to help him if need be. We even had a few fire drills. I knew exactly what to do in case of fire, and could do it in less than a minute, with me and my brother out safe.
After we moved into the basement, things were okay for about a week before I started hearing voices. They sounded like 10 to 15 women (the number 13 pops into my head, but that might be something I picked up later through pop culture) whispering in a gossipy way. Sometimes they would be talking about my family, sometimes they would be talking about me, which I knew even though I couldn't directly hear what they were saying. The voices were coming from the room behind the stove where the wood would be stacked.
A short time after these voices became manifest, I started developing a fear bordering on paranoia that the house was going to burn down, as well as a phobia of fire in general. It was a constant fear, and I remember many times going up to cry to my parents that the house was going to burn down that night. I also couldn't get within a foot of a campfire or fire pit fire, which I always used to love. I also started wetting the bed again, after having stopped that long before, and I remember spending many sleepless nights reading novels by my night light because I was too afraid to sleep. I'd never been a fearful child like that before moving to this house.
The most notable incidents that happened while I lived there were...well, frankly terrifying. The first was one night after I had accidentally watched the end of a TV show that came on after our family movie night (Back to the Future 3!) that portrayed a pianist who had gotten drunk and burned his hands in order to collect the insurance he took out on his hands. This put images of fire in my mind, and I think that's why I was more susceptible to what happened.
That night, I woke up inexplicably terrified and was certain that I could hear paper rustling at the foot of my bed. I glanced down at the foot of my bed and there was nothing there, so I tried to go back to sleep, putting my head down, only to hear a match strike and fire crackling at the foot of my bed. I pulled my feet up, terrified even though I couldn't feel any heat there, and when I looked down again there was nothing there. I was so exhausted from so many nights of lost sleep that I guess I fell asleep eventually. I don't remember the sound stopping.
Another notable incident happened quite shortly after the fire on the end of my bed. I could hear the voices whispering and whispering loudly, and tried to remind myself that it was just the sound of heat moving through the vents, or my parents talking to each other in their room like I had been told. But then the voices coalesced together into one voice (it sounded like many voices talking in tight unison) that told me to go into my bedroom and hit my brother. I got an image of it in my mind, me walking into my brother's room and hitting him with my fist, right in his face. Growing up, my brother was my best friend and my only real constant playmate. I love my brother dearly, and have always felt protective over him since he has developmental disabilities. The last thing in the world I wanted to do was hit my brother, but these voices kept urging me to do it. Eventually I screwed up my courage and, angry that these voices would ever tell me to hurt my brother, I went through the curtain door between our rooms. I leaned over his bed and the voices were telling me yes, yes... And I leaned down, tucked him in, and kissed his forehead while he slept peacefully. The voices stopped and didn't start again that night.
The final incident is when my mother asked me to get some vegetables from the pantry under the stairs, in a long, narrow room that went behind that haunted wood room. I went down and the moment I got near that pantry I was suffused with the worst terror I have ever known in my life. I turned the light on, but even though there was a light the room looked dim, and it was freezing cold, my teeth were chattering. The closer I got to the door, the more I almost felt like I hurt. When I walked into the room, I felt like I was being flayed alive, but not to that level of pain. It was like sheer hatred was sandpapering my skin all over. It is the absolute most terrifying, malevolent presence I have ever felt in my life. I grabbed the vegetables, slammed the door, and bolted up the stairs as if my life depended on it. I sometimes wonder if it did. To this day, I have no idea what was in that room, but I know it was different than the voices, which were just petty and a bit mean. This presence... I know it wanted to kill me that day.
There was one single experience at that place that I could consider almost positive. I was outside eating an apple, and when I threw the core onto the compost pile, I could hear a voice that said 'thank you' in a whisper, as if the voice of someone far away on the wind. That was the only manifestation I ever had there that happened outdoors rather than inside the house, and it was the last one there. We moved out shortly thereafter, though it had nothing to do with the ghosts - nobody else in my family would admit to having any experiences there.
When I was still telling the same stories years later and I suppose they decided I wasn't just imagining things, my mother and the other women in my extended family finally admitted that they'd felt scared and uneasy in that basement, especially in the areas I heard voices or in the area around the pantry door. None of the men or boys ever felt it, and my younger brother had no idea what was happening to me there. About two years after moving out, my fear of fire, which had nearly been a phobia and only started declining when we moved out of that house, finally went away almost completely, and I never wet the bed again.
To this day, I wonder what happened in that place to make it the way it was, though I know I kept asking my mother about the woman who lived there before us and whether her husband had died in the house. She said that she didn't think that woman, an elderly lady, ever had a husband. I would love to know what happened in that house, but I'm not even sure how to go about doing research on it, since it happened over a decade ago. Fortunately, since then, my ghostly encounters have been a whole lot more benign and some actually pleasant, though I haven't heard a ghost speak since that house