GHOSTLY PHENOMENON - 1950s Haunting of the Long Family in Inglewood, California, time frame 1956-1960.
A Summary Overview:
There were several paranormal events that happened to me and my family back in the 1950s when I was a boy.
First was a fire demon which appeared to me in the dark when I was 4 years old during Christmas time in 1951 when we lived in Renton, Washington, near Seattle.
I was getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and the house was all dark except for a fire burning in the old pot-bellied stove in a corner of the living room down the hall from my bedroom, and the bathroom was in between. When I began to go into the bathroom, something bright flashed in the corner of my eye and I turned to look toward the pot-bellied stove, with the warm orange flicker of fire over the dark living room, when suddenly a being made of fire, about 3 to 4 feet tall, shot out of the stove and began dancing across the room in front of me! I was terrified and wet my pants.
This weird thing had flames for a body, and big red fiery eyes. I ran to my parents' bedroom and jumped in their bed, but my mother noticed I was wet and crying, and she got up to help me, while my dad just rolled over and went back to sleep. I was too scared to go into the hallway again so my mother had to change me in her bedroom as I hid under her blankets. I never again saw anything as weird as this, not even the ghost I saw in 1958.
Then a house my family moved into in Inglewood, CA. Suburb of Lennox in 1956 was haunted and there were all sorts of frightening and scary ghostly and poltergeist phenomena experienced by my entire family in that house over the next 3 years.
It began soon after we moved into the house at 10130 Condon Avenue in 1956. All four of us kids had to share the same room for a while, three brothers and one sister, and we were all young children at that point. I was 9, my sister was 8, and my two younger brothers were 6 and 4. We slept in U.S. Army surplus bunk beds, one on each side of the room.
The haunting began one night after the whole family had gone to bed. I was just going to sleep when suddenly I heard scratching sounds coming from underneath my bed, on the bottom wood frames of my mattress box springs. It was unnerving to say the least, and very frightening. Then the scratching noises, like fingernails on wood, would suddenly begin somewhere else in the room, either on the wall, or underneath the beds of one of the other kids. It scared the hell out of all of us, and made my younger brothers cry.
These eerie sounds were sometimes, but not always, accompanied by knocks or raps on the walls or floor. These strange things would continue over the next two years, and although they were not a nightly occurrence, they did happen frequently.
Then in 1957, something new started, along with the rappings and scratching. Our house was old and had old hardwood floors with no carpeting, only area rugs. We began to hear the sounds of feet, bare feet, walking on the bare hardwood floors at night after the family had gone to bed after 10 PM. They sounded like the person who was walking was old and frail, because the footsteps went 'swish-swish' on the floor as the walking moved around the house, like the person couldn't or wouldn't lift their feet up off the floor, and just shuffle along.
Well, if you think the scratching and knocks were frightening, then you have to know that we were all horrified at the sound of ghostly feet moving around the house! None of us ever saw anything, but we all, at one time or other, heard plenty of weird, unexplained sounds of an invisible ghostly person moving about the house.
On one occasion I especially recall, which still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand on end, we had all gone to bed and all the lights were off, (except that ever since the ghostly phenomena started, my parents made sure there was a night light in our bedroom so we weren't completely in the dark) the scratches began under my bed and then under my brother's bed across from me, and he let out a yelp.
The scratches moved back to under my bed, and something knocked on the window between us. Then we heard the sounds of the ghostly footsteps starting from the dining room, and then coming into the hallway, and then into our bedroom. The door was closed but not locked, and something opened it up and it opened all by itself, with the ghostly footsteps coming into our room toward the foot of my bed. I looked and there was no one there, and I could see all the way down the hall to the closed door of my parents' bedroom at the back of the house. In between that was the bathroom off to the right, and a hall closet to the right which was closed with a door.
Our family cat, Snowball, was curled up asleep at the foot of my bed, at my feet, when all of a sudden; something struck the foot bed frame of my bed with a loud, resounding clang! Instantly, our cat jumped up, arched her back and hissed in anger. I was terrified, to be sure, and hid under the covers. My brothers were both screaming and crying and my sister was yelling bloody murder for my mom and dad. They both came running down the hall from their room and turned on the light, and demanded to know what was wrong now. We told them the ghost came into our room to scare us, but we couldn't see it, only hear it. My mother told me she had also heard the ghostly footsteps, and she told me she knew the house was haunted.
On another night, the ghostly footsteps came into our room, then turned back and moved back down the hallway, then the closet door opened by itself, and a basketball which my dad had thrown up onto the top shelf came bouncing down on the hallway floor, and began dribbling by itself, bouncing up and down from about a 3-foot high level. My dad flung his bedroom door wide open, came bounding down the hall, grabbed hold of the ball as it hung in midair, and threw the lights on. Of course, nothing was there, and we were all in our beds, terrified with fear. Dad told us all to try to settle down and go back to sleep, and said he didn't know why the ghost was haunting the house. When he went back to bed, he took the ball with him, and all was quiet for the rest of the night.
In April 1958 my brother and I both saw a real ghost - the same ghost at the same time, of a tall, thin, gaunt and wrinkled old woman in a white lace wedding dress. We ran away screaming! We were chasing each other, playing, around the dog run around the garage and lean-to shed at the back of the garage, on an afternoon after school.
This first house was a 1920 vintage wood and stucco Spanish-style 2-bedroom home, with a front and back yard, and a separate garage in back of a dirt driveway, with a lean-to shed built onto the back of it, with one door that was always padlocked, and with one window which faced onto a dog run around the garage, surrounded by property borderline trees and a fence.
It was inside this shed that we, my brother Bob and I, saw the ghost of the old woman in the wedding dress standing inside, looking out at us with cold, dark, stony stern eyes, through shabby white lace curtains, next to an old steamer trunk. We knew this room was locked and there was no way anyone could be inside of it.
We later discovered from a relative of old Mrs. Dillon, when he came to empty the contents of the storage room, and opened the trunk in front of us before loading it onto his truck, that the white lace wedding dress had belonged to a woman who had died in the house in 1955, and was folded up neatly inside of that steamer trunk. That woman was the man's grandmother, old Mrs. Dillon, who had died at age 77 in November 1955 of pneumonia in the back bedroom occupied by our parents. He also showed us a picture of Mrs. Dillon, and it was the same face we had seen on the ghostly apparition!
Other strange poltergeist-style phenomena that happened in that house is that many times objects would move about by themselves at all times of the day or night. Cups, glasses, saucers, pens and pencils, and salt & pepper shakers would move around on the dining table, or move back and forth from the dining table to the mirrored sideboard of the cupboard. One time things my mother had put on the dining table returned to the kitchen by themselves when all of us kids were outside playing. Another time a glass of water tipped over by itself in the kitchen while my mother was peeling potatoes. And yet another time an ink pen shot past my face and embedded itself in the wall - right past my nose!
There were neighbor houses on both sides, fairly close together. The same was true for the second house, which was an old white wood frame house, in the ranch and prairie style, with a large front and back yard. There were no nearby bodies of water, since these locations were in the major Los Angeles area. Both houses are located under the flight path of airliner planes coming in for landings at LAX - Los Angeles International Airport. Yet this did not account for any of the unusual phenomenon we experienced.
In 1959 my family moved to a different house in Inglewood's Lennox district where more ghostly phenomena occurred over the next year.
Strange and bizarre things happened to my family until the end of 1960 when it all came to an abrupt end when we moved out of that house to one in Norwalk.
This paranormal activity occurred over 45 years ago. It took place mostly from 1956 to 1960, about 4 years, but the worst of it was in the first house, from 1956 to 1959. The last activity occurred right after a fire which burned down our garage in October 1959, when a ghostly bizarre face kept appearing at the windows of the house from the outside at night, glaring at us. It was startling and very scary.
The main thing I remember about the second house we lived in was its old-fashioned charm and quaintness. The walls were covered in varnished knotty pine boards in some of the rooms and it was much larger and more spacious than our previous house. It had a large kitchen area and pantry, laundry room, and dining room. My room was right off the kitchen which was great so I could sneak a snack sometimes in the middle of the night.
A few times I recall the covers being pulled off me as I slept in bed. There was no one there, and it gave me the creeps.
Most of the strange ghostly phenomena occurred in my sister's room in the second house. She kept being smothered by some large heavy entity which had a very bad smell and labored breathing, and pressed her down into her bed until she had to scream very loudly, and then it suddenly released its grip on her. She said it felt like it was trying to choke her to death.
Also, at the second house, there was a large black walnut tree spreading over the back of the house. We would always hear the walnuts falling on the roof of the house, but that did not explain how the walnuts would appear in piles in my sister's bedroom at the back of the house in the mornings, or sometimes appear near the ceiling and roll down the inside walls of my sister's room and then roll across the floor by themselves. Sometimes the walnuts would appear to drop down from the ceiling and land on my sister's bed as she slept and then wake her in terror. Other times the walnuts would appear on the floor in nice neat little piles.
There was no way the walnuts could get into my sister's room. Yet they did-almost every day! There was no squirrel or other animal that was doing this, we would have discovered it. And why no broken walnuts or shells? This bizarre yet harmless paranormal activity still remains a mystery to all of us to this day.
The first house, located at 10130 Condon Avenue, was built in 1920 and was owned by a family named Dillon, and the ghost was that of old Mrs. Dillon, who had died in the back bedroom of the house of pneumonia in November 1955. The house remained there until the year 2000; when it was torn down to make space for a parking lot for a storage rental company. I visited the residents who lived there in the house in the 1970s, and they told me they knew the house was haunted, and they experienced some of the same weird ghostly phenomena that my family had experienced first-hand. They told me that sometimes the candles would light themselves, or that someone unseen would blow them out, or move things about when no one was looking.
The second house, located at 10529 Grevillea Avenue, was built around 1910 and originally was a farm house when there were no other houses around it.
The second house stood until sometime around 2001, then was torn down and a new house was built on the site.
My whole family experienced these strange and amazing frightening ghostly phenomena. My dad, John A. Long, was an engineer with North American Aviation in El Segundo. My mother, Lila Long, was a housewife.
My name is Don J. Long, the oldest of four children; my sister's name is Bonnie Long; my two brothers are Robert and Kenneth Long. There were no photos, recordings, or any other form of evidence other than our family experiences, sorry to say.
I grew up to know and believe that there is a spirit world which exists in the same space as the material world we live in, and paranormal phenomenon is the evidence of that spirit world. Because of these scary and startling experiences with the supernatural world, it was no big leap of faith for me to become a born-again Christian when I grew up, and have remained so to this day.
Who knows if these things are caused by evil spirits, or by the ghostly spirits of the departed dead?
We do not need any help, but we wanted to tell our story if anyone wants to hear all the incredible details. You may contact me via my e-mail address if you are interested.
Thank you. Don J. Long