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Spooky Neighborhood: The Bad Luck Token


As I said in my previous story (Spooky Neighborhood), for a number of years I lived in an area that was once part of the grounds attached to the old Fayetteville Arsenal.

The very first place I lived in that neighborhood was in a house dating back to the 1920's, which my first husband and I purchased while I was pregnant with my younger son.

Now, like most neighborhoods, this one has had its share of good and bad times. Just now it's on the upswing, but when we moved there, it was kind of rough--my other half wanted the house because a) it had 2 stories and b) it had a fireplace.

One thing about the street this house is on that may or may not mean anything is that directly across from our house was a place that had once been occupied by one Helena Stoeckley, who was a figure in the infamous Jeffrey MacDonald murder case--the book and film "Fatal Vision" were based on this true crime. Since poor Ms. Stoeckley was a serious abuser of drugs, you can guess the reason why it was, in the '60's, dubbed "Haight-Ashbury East" by the locals.

I protested, saying that the neighborhood was not of the best, and my other half said that he'd grown up in a bad neighborhood and he'd turned out all right. I told him that most people usually want better for their children than what they had, and, that said, we made the purchase and moved in. This proved fatal to my marriage and close to being so for me personally.

Almost immediately after we moved in, I was standing at the kitchen sink (in all my third-trimester glory) one afternoon and saw what I thought was my husband in the dining room. Of course, it wasn't--he was on Fort Bragg at the time. That was something which was to occur again and again--the seeing things that weren't there kind of thing, the shadows from the corner of the eye, etc.

The years I lived there were not the best--there were a few bright spots (such as the birth of my younger son), but within two years of moving in my husband decided that the marriage and fatherhood thing wasn't for him and left me with a 16-month old toddler and a 7-year-old with autism--and a house that needed massive repairs in a neighborhood about as peaceful and serene as your average demilitarized zone.

My older son has always been something of an empath--maybe it's partially due to his condition--but for a very long time--well over a year--every night, without fail, he would go to bed willingly enough then cry for an hour or so. He was never able to tell me why (at this stage his speech was still rather limited). I can only describe the nature of the weeping as being as if he was grieving over the state of the world in general; one time it occurred during the day and all I could get out of him were the words, "I feel very sad, dear..." One of his first lucid sentences, I must add.

As my younger son grew older, he had recurring dreams in which he would be sitting cross-legged in our kitchen, looking up at a woman in a long dress whose face he couldn't see.

While living there, we survived a fire and several break-ins, mostly when we were out, but the final two resulted in my being raped during the next to the last one and, almost a year to the day later, being nearly murdered. It was almost as if the house was cursed or a bad luck token or just plain didn't like us. It was then I took the hint and we got out of there--while in the hospital recuperating from the wounds that had come close to killing me, a dear friend came to see me and I remember saying (I was still kind of sedated) to him, "You know, Charles, I really think I ought to move out of there..." His reply was, "My dear, if you weren't talking this way I think I'd have to go burn it down!"

Funny, but even though life didn't immediately get better after I did that, it certainly led me on to better things--including the man to whom I've been happily married for over twelve years.

Maybe the song is right--"you've got to go through hell before you get to heaven..."

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

libertybelle (14 stories) (207 posts)
16 years ago (2008-07-08)
Thank you, everyone, for your comments.

Pinkroses, I think there was a very slight misunderstanding of the story--it wasn't my younger son who had the crying spells, it was his older brother, who is autistic and suffered from delayed speech (BTW, he's unique among folks with his disorder--he's not only very verbal now, but he also establishes and tolds eye contact with others). No big deal, I just wanted to set the record straight, since I'm not always the clearest communicator in the world, and I'm well aware of that failing in myself.

ChrisB, I look on the whole experience as proof of the adage "What doesn't kill us makes us strong..." The up side of something like that is, when you survive, you realize that you can survive a whole lot more than you give yourself credit for being able to do.

Carrycat, although I wouldn't wish most of my experiences in that house on anyone, I've been able to take the life lessons it taught me. It made me quite sensitive to others' suffering and difficulty, and for that insight, I'm grateful.

Jennifer, I'm glad I'm out of there, too. In some ways it was hard, but all I could think of at the time was the effect that this could have on the two little fellows I loved above almost anything. Thank God, they grew up relatively unscathed.

Faerielike, my life since then has been a lot better. It isn't perfect (nobody's is), but I don't spend half of my nights jumping at every sound or going crazy around the end of May (near the anniversary of the two assaults I survived). I agree firmly with Oscar Wilde, who said "Living well is the best revenge..." Besides, the individual responsible for the attacks has already had far too much power over me, and I'll be hanged if I'm going to willingly give him any more!

And to all of you, I wish love, joy, peace, and happiness!
faerielike (15 stories) (268 posts)
16 years ago (2008-07-08)
My goodness what horrible incidences! I hope after all that, life treats you well and I hope you never have to live in another place like that again! And I do think sometimes in one way or another that song is right. 😉
Jennifer40 (20 stories) (202 posts)
16 years ago (2008-07-07)
I'm so sorry you had to go through all that. I'm glad you got out of there and things are looking better. Thanks for sharing.

Jennifer ❤
carrycat (3 stories) (45 posts)
16 years ago (2008-07-07)
hi Libertybelle-i am sorry for your suffering, but I do believe that bad energy can be left behind or that if you are around negative energy it can impact your life drastically.
Thank you for the story
ChrisB (6 stories) (1515 posts)
16 years ago (2008-07-07)
Wow this was an amazing story. It was very scary. I almost felt the hairs on my neck go up. Thanks for sharring this story with us. I feel very sorry for you that you had to go through all of this. I think I would go crazy. You are a very strong person. I hope to hear from you soon and take care
pinkroses (1 stories) (33 posts)
16 years ago (2008-07-06)
Libertybelle I am so glad that everything is better for you now. I am so glad also you have survived what you had been through. I agree that upon reading what your son spoke while sitting with crossed legs in the kitchen, "I feel very sad, dear", that he was overtaken by this woman spirit he has seen in his dreams. Take care and God bless you and your family. ❤
libertybelle (14 stories) (207 posts)
16 years ago (2008-07-06)
Thanks for the input, rhodes68. It was a pretty wild ride, and my friends and I still feel that it wasn't the house per se, but something even more elemental that just infested the gound, in a manner of speaking.

Sometimes I get the urge to ask the people who bought the place how thinggs are going with them, but haven't acted on it so far--although my younger son walked down that street one day when he was about 15 or 16 and swore he could still feel very bad vibes from the place.
rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
16 years ago (2008-07-06)
Libertybelle thank you for sharing such an intimate and yet, horrifying story with us!

All I can say is that living in that house must have been a life-changing experience!

I'm sorry you had to go through these hardships and I'm happy that life is now generous with you and your family.

"I feel very sad, dear" gave me the chills since it's something an elderly lady would say and definitely not a young child.

I feel as if that house had so much energy that was enough to last a life time.

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