When I was about five years old, my mother remarried the father of my elder sister and we moved into the house that my stepfather's parents had given us, after they had built their new home across the street. We lived at the end of a dead end road, with only four other people occupying homes on said stretch of pavement. Even from that early age, I can remember thinking that the land that we lived on was strange and haunted, especially since my step-grandmother would often tell me (and the other grandchildren) ghost stories.
Our house was considered a "shotgun house"; that is, from my parents' room at one end of the structure, it was possible to see all the way down to the other end, where my bedroom was. There was a long, narrow hallway that led to both my room and that of my sister, as well as an old bathroom that we no longer used. The hallway was tiny and seemed to stretch on forever, and there was only one light there to drive away the shadows; it was a dim, dingy yellow bulb that did little to abate the darkness, as there were no windows in that corridor, and no way for light from the bedrooms to penetrate the gloom. The living room and the kitchen were divided by a thin wall, and the hallway stretched on from the kitchen area, although it could also be accessed via the living room. For a while, there was an old picture that used to hang on the right wall of the hallway. I remember feeling somewhat unnerved by the picture; it was an oil painting, depicting a red carriage, drawn by a single black horse, traveling through an old covered bridge above a stream. Even after the painting was taken down, however, I still felt incredibly uncomfortable in the hall.
Now my sister was a few years older than I was, and since she had her license, a car, friends and a job, she usually didn't come home until late in the evening. On the weekends, she would often stay over at a friend's house, while my parents would go out and visit their friends. Since I was old enough then (around the age of ten) to take care of myself, I would often get left home alone. I remember that I never felt disturbed by any room in the house, save for that hallway.
On the nights when I would be left to myself, I would sit in the living room, on the loveseat (a smaller couch, made for two people), huddled up in a blanket with the television turned up. I did this to drown out the sounds that I could hear coming from the hallway. I could hear footsteps, as if people were walking up and down the corridor, but they never seemed to come out into the kitchen or living room, or into the bedrooms at the other end of the passageway. Our house was old, but I could tell the difference between the sounds of the home settling and the creak and patter of footfalls, and what I had heard had most definitely been the latter.
Oftentimes, when I heard the footsteps, I would also hear voices coming from the hallway, if the rest of the house was silent (i.e., if I had turned off the television and radio). I could never make out what the voices were saying, but I could hear them speaking and it sounded like a multitude of people were talking, all at once. Some nights, when I was home alone, I would catch myself praying that my parents or my sister would come home soon so that all of the noises and weird feelings would stop. The eerie things/noises never seemed to happen when there were other people in the house; I only really heard and felt things when I was alone.
For a while, after I had grown up, I thought that perhaps I had just been silly and letting my imagination get the better of me, but a few months ago (I'm twenty-three now, by the way), I talked with my mother about the things I had felt and heard as a child in that house (this wasn't the first time that I had spoken with her about it). She admitted that she had often felt uneasy when home alone there, and that the uneasy feelings always seemed to come from the hallway. I decided then and there that I was not being silly; someone else had shared the nervous feelings.
Eventually, my fear of the hallway got so bad that I took to walking down the corridor with my back against one of the walls (usually, the left side of the hall) so that I could see in all directions, because if I walked normally, it felt as though there was something there, watching me from behind, no matter which direction I was walking. I would never go into the hallway if the light wasn't on, and I would first go into my bedroom, then call for my mother to turn off the hallway light, since the only switch for it was in the kitchen. It was terrifying.
Apart from that, my grandparents had moved to a house directly across the street from us (as I said before, we lived at the end of a cul-de-sac). One weekend, they asked us to watch their house while they went on a short vacation. It was the day that they were scheduled to return and it had already gotten dark outside. My sister had been sitting in the den (the first room of our home when stepping through the front door), and she noticed that the front porch light of my grandparents' house had suddenly lit up. This surprised all of us, as it was strange for a couple of reasons:
A) My grandparents did not have a motion-/time-activated light, which meant that it could only be turned on by someone physically flipping the switch inside the house, by the door.
B) No one was in the home when the light came on. My grandparents' car was not in the driveway, and when my stepfather went over to check on the house, there were no signs of forced entry. All of the doors and windows were still locked, and no one, save my grandparents and my family, had a key to enter the home.
C) The light had not been left on after my dad had gone over to check the house earlier that day.
We still aren't sure why the light came on that night, but it turned itself off after about ten minutes.
Much like in my own home, there was one room in my grandparents' house that I never wanted to enter. It was the guest bedroom, directly across the small hallway from my grandfather's room. It wasn't particularly creepy, as it wasn't dark and received plenty of light from the large window facing the road, but something about the room made me uneasy about setting foot into it. I never wanted to sleep there, despite the fact that the bed was incredibly comfortable. I would rather make a small bed of blankets and pillows on the floor in the living room than spend ten seconds in that guest room, which the rest of the family thought that I was silly for. I could not explain (and still can't) why I felt that way, but there was something about that space that send unpleasant shivers down my spine.
Apart from that, my grandmother often enjoyed telling her grandchildren ghost stories. Although I am not sure how much faith I put into the truth of this tale, she did tell me, when I was younger, that there was something that walked up and down our road at night. If you were unlucky or foolish enough to be walking the street alone, in the evening, it would follow you all the way to your driveway. If you stopped walking, it would stop walking. When you started walking again, it would do the same. Supposedly, it would only stop behind you twice, if you stopped. On the third time, it would simply keep walking. I was never brave enough to test this story for myself, and neither were any of my family or friends, so I don't know how true it is, but it certainly had me spooked when I was a child.
Anyway... I was just wondering what any readers of this story think. Were these places possibly haunted and if so by what? Why did it seem as though I was the only person to feel afraid of these rooms and places?