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Encounters In An Old House


At the time these incidents took place, I was around 45 years old. I had, by then, lived in many different houses in both the US and other countries. My family and I had never experienced anything like the things we experienced in the old green farmhouse in Indiana.

Let me start by saying that I'm an atheist and have been one since I was very young. My husband and I did not expose our children to church, but we did not forbid church for them. We left it up to them to decide for themselves when they were older.

In 2003, my family needed to move from the house where we were living. My boys loved their school and we didn't want to move very far. I had driven past an old, crooked green farmhouse just around the corner for years, and wondered if we could rent it. I contacted the owner and he showed me around. The house was in abysmal shape and needed a complete overhaul to be even liveable. I told him I was willing to do the work to fix it up and he agreed to apply the money we would spend on the house as rent. My husband was working long hours and my boys were in school, so I drove to the house every day and worked on it, tearing out plaster, redoing the kitchen and bathroom plumbing, putting down new floors, taking walls down, etc. I spent almost every weekday alone in the house and every weekend my husband and sons helped out with the heavy lifting and cleanup.

The renovations took about 4 months and nothing strange or unsettling happened during that time.

Then came the day when we could finally move in. It took most of the day but we finally got settled and I left my husband and youngest son, (I'll call him H), at the house while I drove to the school to pick up my 13 year old, (I'll call him J), from an after school activity. By the time we got close to home, it was full dark.

My son and I were chatting about school and his new room as we drove past the house to the driveway and I looked up into his bedroom window (we hadn't had time to put up curtains yet) and said "Uh oh, your brother is in your room." I could see the outline of a person at the window because he'd left his bedroom light on.

I didn't look at my watch, but it didn't take us more than a couple of minutes to park the van and walk in the front door. I was shocked when I saw my husband and H sitting in the living room watching television. I remember I asked H how he got downstairs so quickly and my husband said that they had both been sitting right where they were since I'd left to pick up J. I knew that there was no way for H to have crossed J's room, go down the hallway, down the stairs, through the dining room, across the living room and be sitting on the couch in the time it took us to park the van and walk the 10 feet to the front door. J and I told them what we had seen and my husband suggested that what I thought was a person at the window was more likely a branch of the huge weeping willow tree growing in the front yard.

That didn't seem possible to me so we all walked outside and into the street to the spot where the van had been when we saw the figure. It wasn't the willow tree and the figure was gone. We walked up and down the street over and over again, trying to line up a branch of the tree with the window and just couldn't do it. Finally, we shook our heads and went back into the house. I didn't really think all that much more about it.

A few months later, I wasn't feeling well and decided to go upstairs to my room and take a nap. I closed my bedroom door so my cat and dog wouldn't get in the room and wake me because I've always been a very light sleeper and I didn't want them to jump on the bed. I was just drifting off and felt something press down on the foot of the bed. I opened my eyes and sat up, thinking my cat had already been in the room when I closed the door, but she wasn't on the bed. I got up and searched under the bed and in the closet. She wasn't there. I went downstairs and asked my husband if he'd seen her and he told me that she had been sitting in the windowsill watching birds in the yard for at least half an hour and there was no way she was upstairs. I told myself that I was just dreaming about what I felt on the bed.

My son J had a very good friend who spent several nights at our house but I noticed one day that he hadn't been around in a while and asked J if they'd had a fight or something. J said that his friend wouldn't come to our house anymore. I asked why, and he said that the last time his friend had spent the night; he was alone in J's room watching TV on the bed (J had gone to the restroom). He said that he felt someone sit on the foot of the bed, but there was no one there. It scared him so much he refused to come to our house ever again.

I hadn't told J about what I had experienced in my bedroom. Very shortly after that, my son began begging us to let him go to church with one of his friends. I think what was happening in the house had really frightened him.

More time went by and we all began to hear footsteps on the stairs but there was no one there and footsteps upstairs when we were all downstairs. Nothing really scary, just things that made us say Huh?

Finally, about a month before we moved, I was walking across the kitchen when a bottle of my son's cologne literally flew across the room in front of me. My husband was in the living room and saw it also. That did scare me a little. We decided that it must have been my walking across the bouncy kitchen floors that knocked the bottle off, but it didn't just fall, it was more like it was thrown because it went straight across directly in front of me.

We now live in a different house and none of us have experienced anything similar. Other people are living in the old green farmhouse now and I want to stop by and ask them if they've noticed anything strange, but I don't know them personally and I don't really want to look like an idiot.

As an atheist, it's hard for me to explain what happened at the old farmhouse, but I've basically accepted that we are sort of like fish in a pond. Fish have no ability to perceive or even imagine the world we people inhabit, just outside of the water. Perhaps we humans live in our own little pond?

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

Indianarobin (1 stories) (4 posts)
10 years ago (2012-12-27)
I would like to add a footnote to this story I submitted several years ago.
My husband, son and I were watching old videotapes that we had converted to DVD and happened upon one with video we had taken inside the house. My husband was taping my young grandson jumping and playing and everything is normal until toward the end of the video where we hear a really creepy voice that we can't identify. We can't make out what it's saying but, I have to tell you, we all felt our hair standing on end. The voice is very deep and sounds like it's someone standing right by the microphone, which is on the camera. It isn't my husband's voice. Neither of us heard that voice while we were making the video.
This all happened just yesterday and we're still trying to process it.
everlong (1 stories) (26 posts)
13 years ago (2009-08-25)
I know what you mean with the fish analogy, but I have to tell you that fish can see people that are outside of the water. They can distinguish colors even. Cool story by the way.
hobbyholly (11 stories) (572 posts)
13 years ago (2009-05-21)
I find it awful how old houses that were once cared for and loved end up.

Wether it is vandalism, torn down completely or just left to rot.

I often drive through IN (Lebanon,Merriville just to name a few) to get to Ohio to visit family. I see many old abandon farms/farm houses from the side of the road in utter shambles. It sounded like you tired to breathe new life into something. Its a shame.
Indianarobin (1 stories) (4 posts)
13 years ago (2009-05-21)
Hi hobbyholly,

I'm glad you liked my story. I'll always be grateful that I was able to experience that house and what was inside.

I don't know a lot about the history of the house. It was horribly neglected when I started working on it, but as I tore through years of fake wood paneling and ugly ceiling tile, I could see that somewhere along the line someone loved the house and made it beautiful. The old wallpaper, the old pastel painted plaster walls, and the beautiful and astoundingly huge willow tree in the front yard attested to that.

For years, though, it was used as a rental and it was almost destroyed. The north face of the house had settled and was almost a foot lower then the south face. The roof leaked, the asbestos siding was painted a horrific pea green, someone had painted the trim in one of the bedrooms black and had drawn marijuana leaves all over the door. (This, by the way, was the room with the window where we saw the shadow.)

I had the distinct impression that something bad had happened at one time or another and whoever had loved the house had abandoned it. No one who lived in it after that had any respect for it.

I don't remember if I said this in my original story, but as I was working at tearing away some old construction from under the stairway, I did have the impression that I was doing something I wasn't supposed to do. You know how it is, you just feel wrong about something but don't have any concrete reason for it.

I think I saw somewhere on this site that we can post pictures? If that's possible, I'd be happy to get a picture of the house and post it here.

A final note. My family and I were very happy in that house and I miss it still. We moved, not because of ghosts or anything like that, but because of the cost of fixing everything was just too much for us.

I felt peaceful there in a way I don't anymore. Not that I'm not happy now, but life was special there.
Indianarobin (1 stories) (4 posts)
13 years ago (2009-05-21)
Hi anglefeathers,

I'll try to answer your questions as best I can.

I've been an atheist for as long as I can remember. When I was young, around 9 or 10 years old, I went to church with a friend down the street and I can remember to this day thinking that what I was hearing and seeing wasn't right. Praying, offering blessings and reciting from the bible simply made no sense to me.

I also read Jonathan Livingston Seagull when I was young and the idea of moving to a higher plane of existence after you die, which is the main point of the book, seemed to be a bit more reasonable.

As far as religion goes, I think what we identify as 'good' or 'evil' are at the core of every sect. I simply do not believe in good or evil.

Don't get me wrong, I think there are people who exist who should be isolated from society for safety's sake, but I don't call them evil. It seems to me those types of people are less evolved and operate on a more basic level than the rest of us. Those who can't feel empathy and who have no ability to separate right from wrong are that way because of who they are, regardless of how they came to be that way. They aren't evil, they just are. We, as a society, are the ones who put the 'evil' label on them.

To my way of thinking, a supposed god who judges others on whether they are good or evil and either rewards or punishes them just doesn't seem realistic. A serial killer who doesn't have the necessary mental ability to stop him or herself from committing atrocities upon other people should be separated from the rest of us but wouldn't they deserve mercy from a god who would know they couldn't help themselves?

Does the fact that some people have faulty wiring necessarily relegate them to eternal damnation?

Anyway, sorry for the rambling.

I absolutely didn't believe in an afterlife until I lived in that house. Now, I don't know what to believe. It's been three or four years and I still haven't come up with any explanation except that there are things around us that we can't explain because we don't have all the mental wiring required to explain it. Most of us have never looked through that particular window so our brain has to make the deductions and connect the dots with what it already knows.

I do think human beings are different from other animals. The fact that we're self aware, that we can envision and imagine places we've never been, our ability to feel compassion, our willingness to sometimes give our lives for someone other than our children, sets us apart. Those qualities are what some refer to as the soul.

I hope that when we die, that very important part of us goes on to somewhere else, somewhere just a little bit better than where we are now. Not heaven or hell, but some place where we can sometimes dip a toe back into this world, just to see if it's still there.

Like I said before, I tend to ramble on but this is the crux of what I believe.

I hope this answers your questions.

One last point I wanted to make.

If I'm right, and there's really no way of knowing for sure if I am or not, then the planes of existence are endless. Just think about how much we humans have evolved just in the past 100 years. You can see the evolution take place in as little as one generation. My 17 year old son is more intelligent than I'll ever be, more tech savvy and more open to ever expanding ideas than most of my generation. If we can continue this expansion as a species while we live, I think it's more likely that there is no finite level of after existence.
hobbyholly (11 stories) (572 posts)
13 years ago (2009-05-21)

First off, I enjoyed your story.

Second of all: Thank you for being respectful of those who have a belief but not sacrificing your convictions.

Finally: did you know anything about this farmhouse? Anything about the land?
angelfeathers (106 posts)
13 years ago (2009-05-21)
Oh, stop! You are so a "particularly intelligent person!" Your submissions are well thought-out, perfectly punctuated and correctly spelled. (That's more than a lot of people can claim!) I think you're "fishing for a compliment!" 😆 Just kidding about that last part - but not about the first. You're obviously a deep-thinker, and I like that quality in a person.

Your post has intrigued me. You're a self-described atheist. So, in relation to your fish pond theory, what do you think happens when you die? Do you go on to the next plane of existence? Or is that just the end? If we humans go on to the next plane of existence, is it an infinite or finite plane? Who (or what) inhabits it? Do you have an explanation of what constitutes a "ghost?" Or do you not believe in them?

I'm NOT trying to be impertinent, really! I appreciate your willingness to share your fish pond theory with us, and I'm trying to understand your perspective. I have my own, of course; but I feel that if I can understand yours better, then I'll be able to communicate better with people who share your beliefs.

Thanks for sharing.

Indianarobin (1 stories) (4 posts)
13 years ago (2009-05-21)
I wanted to elaborate a bit on my 'fish in a pond' theory.

Fish have evolved exactly as much as they need in order to thrive in their environment. They have no need or ability to conceive a world beyond that which they inhabit. They have instinctive understandings of water currents and temperatures, mating and feeding areas, various inherent dangers which surround them, etc.

However, when I go out in my little rowboat, drop a line in the water, catch a fish and bring it to the surface, the fish is now experiencing things completely outside it's normal existence.

Yes, it can see me. It knows it can't breath. It feels the air on it's scales for probably the first time. It sees the sun without the filter of water.

The fish experiences these things but has no ability to comprehend them. I think, when I release the fish back into the water, most will soon forget this ever happened. Some, though, will remember and will be a bit harder to catch the next time.

Now, if the fish were more evolved, they would perhaps tell the story of what they experienced, trying to make sense of it in the only context they have.

I call this 'looking at life through your own window'. Everything that your mind takes in during your lifetime is processed through the filter, or window, of your previous experiences. If something happens that is outside of anything you've ever experienced before, your mind will try to place it in context with what you're used to.

For a lot of people, what happened in my old farmhouse would naturally be filtered through religion and the idea of an afterlife.

I don't have that religious filter and never considered that I was seeing something from beyond the grave.

My thoughts were more pragmatic. I imagined myself as a fish in a pond, going about my business in a world familiar and understood. Every once in a while, I would catch a glimpse of something strange, perhaps a person swimming. I would react as I would with any predator, moving away quickly or hiding and watching from a place of safety.

I know humans are probably the only species on this planet who have the ability to imagine a place or environment they've never experienced. I've never been to the very bottom of the lake, or to the top of Mt Everest, or to the rain forest or the moon, but I can close my eyes and almost experience those places.

So, when I saw and felt the things I did in the house, I, being human, was able to conceive a level of existence of which I was previously unaware.

I know what I personally saw and felt in that house. These incidents happened. There is no getting around that.

But instead of life and afterlife, I think what people experience when they see ghosts is a quick glimpse of another level or plane of existence. I can't begin to explain any more about that other world, because I have no context or window to look through. It's enough for me to know that it is there, though, and I'll always be hoping for another little peek into it.

This is just what I believe, not necessarily what is actually true. I am not a particularly intelligent person and there are much smarter people than I who can figure things like this out.
kira_sano (3 posts)
13 years ago (2009-05-10)
thats a good story I think you should look into the house's history if you want to know for sure

❤ kira ❤
Tonith (1136 posts)
13 years ago (2009-05-09)
I can understand your views as an atheist about the afterlife but just this sort of thing has happened to clergy who do believe in an after life but not ghosts because it doesn't jive with their doctrines. It makes them rethink a bit too. What you experienced could have been nothing more than residual energy from whomever lived there at one time. Like a recording being etched in time and space. Bottles flying across a room could be poltergeist activity or just kinetic energy released from your children making them the catalyist. Lots of maybe's here but if you have never experienced anything like this before or since living in that house it's most likely whatever was there, stayed there.
Necropolis_Seraph (6 stories) (64 posts)
13 years ago (2009-05-09)
Nice story. And spooky too. I wouldn't want anything flying across me, flung by an invisible entity.
Enchantress (2 stories) (25 posts)
13 years ago (2009-05-08)
I like your analogy or whoever you spell it - fish in a pond - very true if you think about it
KimSouthO (27 stories) (1960 posts)
13 years ago (2009-05-06)
Wonderful story. I would disagree about there not being life after death, as exhibited by your experiences in the house, but I do not want to get into a theological discussion so,,,

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with us!

God Bless!
Jitow (362 posts)
13 years ago (2009-05-06)
Seek and you will find that you are much much more than just a fish in a pond. I hope that your son is still in church. These things happen and they happen for a reason.
angelboo424 (28 posts)
13 years ago (2009-05-06)
Angelfeathers you took the words right out of my mouth!

angelfeathers (106 posts)
13 years ago (2009-05-06)
Ah, yes; but aren't you curious as to what lies beyond the pond -- and who's fishing in it?

Great story! Thanks for sharing!


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