You are here: Real Ghost Stories :: Haunted Places :: Fifteen Years In A Haunted House

Real Ghost Stories

Fifteen Years In A Haunted House


I grew up in a haunted house. It was an old brick house in a historic neighbourhood nestled in the Fox River Valley, about 45 miles outside of Chicago. We moved there when I was just 5, and it wasn't until I moved out as a young woman that I realized just how unusual our experiences in that house really were!

The first time I remember really being frightened by the house, I must have been about 6. My little sister and brother and I were still young enough that we were all sharing the large back bedroom, my sister and I in bunks, and my brother in his own little bed. It was the middle of the night, and with a start I found myself wide-awake. I don't know what woke me, but immediately I could sense that something wasn't right. I was on the top bunk, and I felt convinced that someone was standing beside my head, staring at me. I was afraid to even breathe. I squeezed my eyes shut and refused to look. Suddenly, there was a loud clatter of noise in the closet. Petrified, I just lay as still as I could and, after what felt like hours, I finally fell back asleep.

From that point on I remember a pretty steady stream of frightening incidents. For example, when I would leave my room for a moment I would often come back to find my radio turned all the way up, or the radio and the TV turned on, or the shades on all the windows up. In several heart stopping instances the radio turned on, or the shades would drop, while I was still in the room. My sister would often leave her room for a moment only to return to door locked from the inside. In the closet I mentioned earlier, books would fall off the shelf, and hangers would fall off the rod, for no apparent reason.

One night I was up late reading in my bed when I heard someone pacing in the hallway. The paces were short, like someone was just walking back and forth in front of my parent's room at the opposite end of the hall. Since my mom is prone to worry, I assumed it was her, and climbed out of bed to go see what was the matter. As I pulled my bedroom door open my heart froze. The hall light was on, and I could see to the end of the hall, where my parent's door was shut, and it was completely empty. I quickly shut my door, returned to bed, and stubbornly resumed my reading (albeit with a pounding heart!)

Most of the activity seemed to happen on the second floor, where the bedrooms were. One night the family was hanging out in the dining room after dinner when a tremendous bang in the bedroom above us shook the entire house. We all cried out, it was so loud, and for a stunned moment just looked at one another in shock. My dad insisted that it must have been a sonic boom. When we went upstairs and found nothing amiss, I accepted his explanation. It wasn't until I finally experienced a sonic boom in 2001 that I realized that that is not what we felt that night. The only way I can describe it is as if a very heavy trunk or armoire was dropped from a good height onto the floor above our heads.

After we had been in the house several years my mom confided in us that when we first moved in she woke up several times to see a woman standing at the foot of her bed, watching her. She wondered if it could possibly be the ghost of her mother, who had died when my mom was a kid. After talking it over with my dad she decided that even if it was her mother, it was too frightening for her to handle, and so the next time her visitor appeared she told her to leave and never come back. The woman obliged. This is the only time my mother has ever talked about ghosts, and since then she has said she doesn't believe in them. (I have a funny story about that, but will have to save it for another time.)

I most often experienced things in bed. Often I would be sleeping and suddenly find myself rudely awoken by some unseen force hitting the bed to the right or left of my feet. Sometimes it was a gentle push to the mattress, but other times it was like a fist or heavy book hitting the bed. Sometimes it felt like an animal jumping into bed and I would reach down, thinking it was one of the cats, to find that I was still alone in bed. The summer after my freshman year in college was the worst. I would wake up to the very jarring sensation of my entire bed hitting the floor, as if it had been lifted up just a tiny bit and dropped again.

It was also during that summer break that I saw something I will never forget. It was a sunny morning I was in bed slowly coming around, when I heard whispering in my bedroom. I opened my eyes to see who was in my room and standing directly beside my bed and looking down at me were two distinct shapes - an adult and a child. I was squinting up at them because sunlight was pouring in the window to the right of my bed, but the strange thing was that even though they were standing opposite the window, they were completely dark and featureless, like silhouettes. Startled and confused I started to push myself up out of bed and said "what?" and at that moment they vanished.

That was the only time that I ever saw anything that might have been a ghost in that house, but my brother was not so lucky. As a teenager he saw a group of hooded figures on our front porch, hovering lights in his bedroom (my sister experienced this as well), a bizarre animal-looking creature in the living room, and eventually started receiving verbal taunts and threats from a demon in his own bedroom.

While whatever was in the house threatened my brother overtly, it was a little slyer with my sister and I. On several occasions we both woke up to find chunks of our hair missing. It was as if someone had snuck into our rooms while we slept and with choppy, imprecise strokes, cut our hair less than an inch from our faces. At first we suspected our little brother. It was the less frightening option. But he denied it ardently, even tearfully, until we finally accepted that there might be another explanation.

Another bone chilling incident was the axe. One morning when I was a senior in high school we came down for breakfast and, sitting in the middle of our beautiful antique dining room table, was an axe. It had not been there the night before there was no reason for it to be there now. In fact I don't remember ever having seen it before. We didn't have a fireplace, we lived in suburbia, and my dad was not exactly Mr. Handyman. Everyone denied having put it there and so it sat in the dining room for several days until someone finally had the good sense to put it out in the garage.

The axe was something that seemed to appear out of nowhere, but some things would simply disappear and then reappear. I once had whole weeks wages disappear out of a coat pocket, only to have the full amount reappear in the same coat pocket, which had been searched by me, my mom, and my sister, two weeks later. My sister had a similar incident with her keys. Other things would just be rearranged.

When my sister and her husband were still dating, he lived for a while in my parent's house, in my old room. One day he asked my mom who had been coming into his room and moving things. My mom was shocked. No one, she insisted, we respect your privacy and would never go into your room. (At the time, she and my Dad were the only other people living in the house.) He then explained that almost every night when he came home, he would find the objects on his headboard shelf rearranged. He would right them, and then the next day they would be moved around again. He said that the object that was moved the most was a framed picture of my sister. It would often be face down or turned around.

Mystified and exasperated by the events in the house, my brother and I tried to research its history, but found nothing significant. However my parents, who were always sceptical of the idea that the house was haunted, came home from a visit to a neighbourhood pub one night with the interesting news that they had run into a young man whose parents had rented the second floor of the house before we bought it, and he had asked them how they liked living in a haunted house. I wish I knew what his experiences in the house were, but I think I can guess.

Alarmingly, things seemed to get worse the older we got. After the summer with the whispering silhouettes and the dropping bed I decided I had had enough. When I went back to school that fall I really worked on my prayer life. I prayed constantly. And when I got home the following summer I felt confident and less afraid than I had ever been. I made it a habit, whenever I got home, of sitting down on the front stoop, laying my hands on the steps, and praying for our house and our family. I would pray in the house as well, whenever I felt watched or uneasy. I posted my favourites Bible verses in my bedroom where I could see them, and prayed out loud with my family members. This was new behaviour in our household and at times I was embarrassed to do it, but I tell you the truth, it worked for me. I had a series of very frightening dreams, and then things seemed to really calm down.

My parents owned that house for several more years, but I never felt helpless or in danger there again.

Find ghost hunters and paranormal investigators from Illinois

Comments about this paranormal experience

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

StephenOsborne (3 posts)
12 years ago (2011-01-06)
Kim: I'm compiling a book of Illinois ghost stories and would be interested in getting more information of your experience. If interested, please contact me at leftyIN [at] Please be assured that if I use your tale for the book that names, etc, can be changed or only first names used to protect identities. Thanks!
IrishGal (4 posts)
13 years ago (2009-12-14)

Wow. Last night I had something happen in the house. It has been several months since anything has happened here - perhaps a year even. It was almost to the point that I thought the presence may be gone, or not coming back. So I think that all my talking about it lately, watching all the ghost hunting shows on TV may have set the stage for this to happen. I was even talking about my house and it's happenings as well as your story last night at a Christmas Party with close friends.

Fast forward to about 2 hours after the party ended. I was in bed about 12:00 midnight, then got up again to use the restroom down the hall upstairs. I was sitting there when all of a sudden the door opened a little bit, not just with air pressure which can happen in these old houses when the heat turns on. No, in fact, the doorknob was turned and it actually squeaked like it does when a hand is on it! I was a little freaked out, and I said "Alive or dead, leave me alone and I mean it." So, I finished washing my hands, opened the door, left it open, and when I had was about to reach my room across the hall - it turned again! While it was wide open -all by itself, complete with the knob turning and squeaking as if in response to my challenge to "leave me alone"! Goose skin came up immediately on my arms, I crawled into bed and woke my groggy husband up to tell him what had just happened. Again, I didn't take it as anything malevolent, but rather as it saying "Yes, I am here. I know you have been talking about me." I think watching the shows may have opened up some channel of sensitivity, and although it seems interesting to me, I don't want to "encourage" it,

More later,

KimCan (1 stories) (19 posts)
13 years ago (2009-12-11)
Hi IrishGal! I love those Sears mail-order homes! A cat and a dog ghost sound like good company. 😊

I am sorry to hear about Mrs. D! She always took such lovely care of her home and garden! Her place got more and more beautiful while our house just got more and more run down. I know that we were not the neighbors she would have chosen to have next door, with all of the pets and children running around! I hope Mr. D. Is well! Even though they didn't see eye to eye with my parents, he always had a kind smile for us kids.

What she told you about the history of the home is the same thing she told us and about all we ever knew. I often wondered if maybe there had been a smaller house or some other kind of structure on that lot before the man built the house for his daughter. Given the age of the two neighboring houses it didn't make sense that that lot would have been completely vacant. I'll probably never know.

A young couple bought the house from my parents. It needed a lot of work, but one of their parents was a contractor or a carpenter or something and they hoped to fix it up themselves. They didn't stay long. After that a For Sale sign seemed a permanent fixture in the yard when we would pass through town.

You are right about raccoons in the porch attic! We would have them removed and they would just come back. I hope that with all the changes the house is now finally raccoon proof! (And that whatever else was there has moved on!)
IrishGal (4 posts)
13 years ago (2009-12-10)
HI KimCan,

Sorry it took so long to respond. I know your old house! Yes, it has been totally renovated, added onto, the whole works. The 1/2 garage has been taken down, and a new one put around the very back of the house. I know the people in the large Victorian next door, although the lady recently passed away. It was she who told me that your house was built by the man who built her home. Your old home was built as a wedding present for the couple's daughter and she lived there for many years. This must have been almost one hundred years ago, perhaps 90. The house sat empty and for sale for a very long time. It was in bad shape. There was evidence of an animal of some kind living in the small roof above the front porch, as I saw traps up there, and then they totally renovated the whole place.

What a cool story, though. I wonder if the new owners have a clue? Yikes. I don't know them and probably wouldn't mention it if I did!

I live in a Sear's "mail order" home in West Dundee. Our activity seems to occur mostly at night, when I am awake alone, but sometimes my husband is witness to it along with me. Mostly it involves footsteps upstairs while we are downstairs, swinging chandeliers, hearing doors slam when none have, a ghost cat which my hubby has seen, a ghost dog which one of my psychic friends has seen. I love my house and don't feel any threat here. I think it is the late wife of the builder of the house. I know for sure she would be the only person to have died in the house, probably in the 1930's or 40's.

I don't have any knowledge of the Clearwater's hauntings, but I will put some feelers out. I know a lot of the locals and someone would know something around here.

Nice hearing back from you. I will stay in touch!
KimCan (1 stories) (19 posts)
13 years ago (2009-11-19)
Hi IrishGal! I can't wait to hear about your West Dundee experiences! Our old house isn't the one you mentioned. It's a brick house on Oregon, long time residents would remember it as a house with half a garage but it's recently been massively renovated.

Hey, have you heard anything about the Clearwater being haunted? Back when it was the Dundee Theater there was a lot of strange activity there and people said there had been for years. I wonder if it is still going on!
IrishGal (4 posts)
13 years ago (2009-11-14)

I currently live in West Dundee in a haunted house, but not to the degree yours was (which I will write about later). I am aware of 3 other haunted houses on my street, one of which is an old brick one with the number "310" which was built by one of the original settlers of this area named "Oatman". The house was moved from it's original site at the corner of Oregon and Third. Would you be willing to tell your old address or simply confirm if this number was your address and if it was on a street beginning with "L"? I am very curious about it. Great story! I was born in a haunted house in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago (near Oak Park) which also had a large number of very lovely old houses.

KimCan (1 stories) (19 posts)
13 years ago (2009-11-01)
Hi Trudy82! What a small world! 😁 I did go to DMS, but I'm 31 now so we probably weren't there at the same time. I graduated from Dundee Crown in '96.

I'd never heard of the Dole Mansion until I read your comment but I looked it up and it looks really spooky! You should write a story about your time there!

Your experience with the dark figure in your room is very freaky! Interesting that you were going through depression at the time because my brother, who definitely had the worst experiences at our house, was depressed too.😢 Sad to think that kids who are already having a hard time might also face a greater risk of being terrorized by some malicious spirit. Actually, it kind of pisses me off!

Anyway, glad you found my story! I'll favorite you so that if you submit any stories I can read about more of our Fox Valley ghosts. 😊
Trudy82 (5 stories) (57 posts)
13 years ago (2009-11-01)
Hey by the way you didn't happen to go to Jacobs High School did you? If so when did you graduate? I also went to Dundee Middle School. Hope you don't mind me asking.:) That would be really cool if we actually knew each other!
Trudy82 (5 stories) (57 posts)
13 years ago (2009-11-01)
Hello Kim! I was very intrigued to read your story, because I grew up in Algonquin! We lived in two different homes in the newer section of Algonquin throughout my childhood, and when we built the second one it seemed like something may have been upset by it somehow. I have had some experiences there but nothing too major. Mostly being visited and toyed with by dark figures every once in awhile at night. The scariest time was when I was a teenager, and I woke up with all my hair standing on end. I could sense a dark shape floating around by the ceiling over my head. I was paralyzed with fear and too afraid to reach out and turn on the light. Then suddenly it rushed at me so fast and halted to hover about an inch from my face! I could feel that the entity was unfriendly and heavily amused that it was able to scare me. It took all the courage I could muster to finally dart my hand out and grope with the lamp to get it turned on... All the occurrences were mostly in the first five years or so after the house was built. I was also going through some teenage depression at the time too, so it could have been spirits preying on me for that reason too. I've always felt that there were some spirits angry about the building of the house on the land, and some that were feeding off my fear and depression I had at the time. I'm 27 now and when I visit the house I don't usually get a creepy feeling at night anymore. Anyway, that's pretty cool to hear about someone else from the Fox River area having experiences! Have you ever been to the Dole Mansion in Crystal Lake? I used to work there as a musician/teacher. That place is DEFINITELY haunted!
mrdeagle (6 stories) (69 posts)
13 years ago (2009-10-27)
*Turning all the lights on in the house* 😨 😨 😨
Your stories are so frightening!
bldfalcon (12 stories) (262 posts)
13 years ago (2009-10-27)
I had disturbing experiences myself
About seeing a young lady cut her self and leaving a pool of blood on the floor. The creepy part is she bleeds everytime I see her. She cries out for me to help her. I hate ghost's like that. Like leave me alone. Otherwise, good stories. I really liked it. It relates to my experiences and everyone elses I bet.

The closet still creeps me out, just for the record.
KimCan (1 stories) (19 posts)
13 years ago (2009-10-26)
Hi Hayle, I don't know what part of IL you live in but the town I lived in was West Dundee. The theater I worked in there as a teenager was also haunted, and there were always rumors that the cemetery and old Dist. 300 school building (now a home for Seniors) were haunted as well. It was a pretty old town by IL standards. Many of the houses in my neighborhood predated the Civil War. The house right next to ours was home to the very first well dug by the original settlers. (Well, the white ones, not the Native Americans.) Perhaps the history and the natural features of the town may have made it a more active place? I've heard that nearby Barrington is also quite haunted.

Hi Meowmix_Symphony and Kissofdeath13! Thanks for your comments:) It all happened so long ago that it doesn't scare me very much to think about it anymore but it does make me sad that we put up with it for so long. My advice to people going through anything like this is that ignoring it and hoping it will go away doesn't always work. In my experience faith and prayer works, and some of the other advice I've heard on this website sounds really good too.

Hayle (12 posts)
13 years ago (2009-10-26)
oh my gosh I had no idea there were any haunted houses in illinois I also live in illinois and always thought it was a pretty calm not so much ghost activity place that's a nother reason of how you should never undrerestimate the paranormal
Meowmix_Symphony (1 stories) (7 posts)
13 years ago (2009-10-26)
That story was so frightening, I'm reading in the morning with my lights on and I'm still scared. Half way through, I had to turn on music because it was silent (parents sleeping). I had SOME of these experiences too, but the dark figures are yet to happen... Not that I want it to 😕
Thank you for sharing 😁
kissofdeath13 (8 posts)
13 years ago (2009-10-25)
wow that's weird and scary 😨 I would of freak out. I had experience a few strange things before but never like this. Sometimes I would wake up and find my closet door open and I know I closed it
KimCan (1 stories) (19 posts)
13 years ago (2009-10-24)
Thanks Jazzalazz! I don't know if those shadow figures I saw were actually ghosts or just another trick being played on me by whatever was in the house, but I definitely didn't enjoy it.

Thanks Paranormal_believer94! I was afraid it was too long for anybody to read, lol. There was even more stuff that happened in the house, but I just couldn't include it all!

Recently I've heard that limestone and water can magnify hauntings and I think this is really plausible because our house was a block from the Fox River and there was so much limestone we used to pull chunks of it out of our garden!
Jazzalazz (4 posts)
13 years ago (2009-10-24)
That was very interesting, I have not seen things like that... But sometimes I wish I had seen ghosts like that
paranomal_believer94 (3 stories) (8 posts)
13 years ago (2009-10-24)
What a great story- and chilling too! I've only had a brief experience but it's nothing compared to what you experienced. It's a good thing God did his stuff. Peace with! 😁

To publish a comment or vote, you need to be logged in (use the login form at the top of the page). If you don't have an account, sign up, it's free!

Search this site: