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The Toybox


When I was ten years old I moved with my parents and two brothers from Milwaukie, Oregon to Portland. I was sad at first because I had grown fond of our old house. We were only able to stay in Milwaukie for two years because of... Complicated circumstances. Suffice to say it was a rough neighborhood, too rough for my brothers and me to grow up in. My little brother was only four when we moved out. I didn't like our Portland house at first because it was big and unfamiliar. There was only one kid in my neighborhood and he was seven. I also had to get used to sharing a room with my little brother, which was unfamiliar territory as well. I was used to having personal space while my older brother and the baby slept in the same room. I now had to share everything while my big brother got his own bedroom. I got used to it.

A year later I was more comfortable with the Portland house but I still had uncomfortable feelings in certain areas of the house. I had never felt this way with the last house. In my bedroom we had a huge closet where we kept most of our stuff. "Cleaning the room" meant stuffing all our crap into the closet and saying we were done. This usually didn't fly when my dad came in to inspect afterwards, but sometimes we got away with it.

One particular day (when it didn't fly) I was stuck in my room cleaning out the gigantic closet. We had a very large toy box in the back of the closet in which we kept (you guessed it) most of our toys. It was long and deep enough for an adult to lay inside with the lid shut. It was kind of like a coffin now that I think about it. The old box was built by my grandfather to store wood for the winter, when my dad was a kid. My dad filled it with firewood when he was growing up. Our new house didn't have a wood stove so my parents cleaned the cobwebs and bark fragments out for us so we could keep our toys stored inside. It was painted dark brown and made of wood. The lid was heavy and had a handle to help when it needed to be opened. The lid of the box was quite heavy for a five-year-old so I usually left it open for my little brother to access the contents easily. When I finished cleaning the room that day I closed the closet door and went about my business.

That night I lay awake in my bed, trying to sleep. While I don't have this problem anymore as an adult, I used to have trouble falling asleep at night. I would lie there staring at the ceiling, wondering if I would ever fall asleep. That night I sat in the silence, listening to my little brother's quiet breaths underneath me. We shared bunk beds, I was on the top. I glanced over to the other side of the room where the closed door to the hallway was. Next to the door were my dresser with a couple framed pictures and a digital clock with red numbers. I remember seeing the display read 11:11 in the darkness. My mom used to say that at 11:11 you should make a wish. I closed my eyes and wished that I could fall asleep.

I awoke suddenly to a loud noise. I was sleep-dazed and disoriented. I tried opening my eyes wide to adjust to the darkness but all I could see was the clock face on the other side of the room. The time was between 2 or 3 in the morning. My heart was jammed into my throat and beating rapidly. I had heard that sound before. I struggled to think of what woke me up and recognized it was the sound of the toy box lid in the closet slamming shut. The lid was heavy and if you weren't careful it would come smashing onto your head while you were grabbing something from inside. I leaned over the edge of the bunk and tried to look down at my little brother. I couldn't hear him breathing. It was too dark to see anything. I had to assume he was still there but all I could really hear at this point was my rapid heartbeat in my head. I swallowed a couple times, struggling to hear anything. After a few minutes I calmed down a little bit, and my heartbeat slowed. I still couldn't hear my brother's breathing, just deafening silence.

The floors of the whole house were old plank-style hardwood that creaked and groaned under any weight. I listened for footsteps, thinking maybe he went to the bathroom. I heard nothing for what seemed like hours. At some point I was legitimately freaked out and couldn't go back to sleep. Why did the toy box lid slam shut in the middle of the night? I squinted in the direction of the closet doors. I couldn't see anything in the darkness. It was then I remembered that I was playing with one of my dad's flashlights a few days ago. I had put the flashlight into a duffel bag that was hanging from the bedposts at the end of my bed. I sat up and grabbed the bag. The flashlight was still inside. When I twisted the flashlight to turn it on I suddenly heard my brother gasp - loudly. I quickly smothered the flashlight in my blankets and listened carefully. He was in the bed still, underneath me. His regular breathing resumed. I was relieved that he was still there and this eased my mind a little. But my heart began racing again when I thought about shining the flashlight over at the closet.

What would I see?

Was someone in there?

Would the doors be open?

It took a few seconds for me to build up the courage. Finally I shined the light at the doors. To my horror, the closet was open. I swear I had left it shut after I cleaned the room earlier. I could see the toy box in the back of the closet, closed. It had slammed shut that was for sure.

I realized after a minute that I had been staring into the closet for a long time. I turned the flashlight off. I really couldn't sleep now. I kept thinking about the open closet just sitting there in the darkness. It began to bother me, and I really wanted to close the doors. I was too scared to get out of bed so I just sat there, wide awake. I hoped that I would be able to fall back asleep but time seemed to stand still. When I looked back at the clock only five minutes or so had gone by since I woke up. Suddenly I heard another noise from the closet. This time it was a low muffled growl, not animal but electronic. It was the sound of one of my brother's stuffed animals, a lion, going off inside the toy box. I was literally paralyzed with fear. I couldn't move, I couldn't breathe. It growled two or three times, then silence again. After a few moments I decided I needed to wake my brother up. Terrified, I shined the light down to the bottom bunk and my heart stopped. He wasn't there. He wasn't in the bottom bunk. I began screaming and ran out into the hallway. I ran all the way to my parent's room and began pounding on their door to wake them up. When they rushed to the door and opened it, I saw my little brother asleep in their bed.

Who was breathing in my room?

What did I hear in the closet?

When I explained everything to my parents they told me I was having a bad dream. I wish that was the case.

I was WIDE awake.

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mrdeagle (6 stories) (69 posts)
13 years ago (2009-11-29)
Thanks freakb! I have been told before by a friend that I should find the history of the house. I heard local historians or the library are a good place to start. I would like to know more... Thanks for reading! 😊
freakb (10 posts)
13 years ago (2009-11-28)
wow... That is really scary I just get goosebumps just by thinking about it. Probably you could go find out the history of the house. Or it could be a kid etenty trying to communicate with you. Good luck and Good story. 😊
mrdeagle (6 stories) (69 posts)
13 years ago (2009-11-08)
didssy_: I haven't had any paranormal experiences where I live now. I live in a third-story apartment in downtown Portland. I do miss the Portland house even though it's a little creepy at times. I haven't had any experiences in the house in a few years either. My parents still live there though.
didssy_ (4 posts)
13 years ago (2009-11-08)
Wow, really nice story, I could imagine everything as if I was there in your place. Prettyyy scary! And it's really strange that you've actually saw your little brother sleeping there, a few inches underneath you.
Well, guys, I guess I have a similar experience too, but it's only a few months old, and it still happens sometimes. For the last Christmas at school, we decided that we will exchange presents, but by a raffle. I got a doll-like witch, which laughs and her eyes shine in red, when there is a loud noise, or is being pushed or touched. Sometimes when I'm trying to fall asleep, it suddenly turns itself on, without any reason. I mean it's across the room and everything is in peace, without any noise at all. Sometimes it even wakes me up. And then, in the morning it's just the same witch doll, which doesn't turn on whenever it wants to. And this isn't the first unusual thing that has happened in my room. I've heard twice last year when I'm in bed the spooky breathing, like someone has problems with their throat. I live in an apartment, so I checked whether it is coming from the outside, or the wall, or the corridor, but there was nothing. And suddenly when I got back to bed I continued hearing the awful breathing beside my own. I've also heard things slamming on my desk, when there's actually nothing there.
And I've got to say, you're lucky that you're not living in this house now! There's nothing unusual where you live now, right?
mrdeagle (6 stories) (69 posts)
13 years ago (2009-11-07)
chicken: Thanks man. I can't believe some of the stories that get published on this site. The submission rules sound rigorous but don't get enforced very strictly. 🤔
That's freaky you had a similar experience. I hope to read about your experiences if you ever feel like sharing.

Paulo: The lion was actually a first time gift for my little bro from my Grandma. She's still alive so I guess it's not her ghost... I wish we still had the toy so I could post pictures of it, it was really creepy looking. It had these big weird eyes that looked like they wanted to eat your soul. But yeah it's gone now. 😕
paulo (7 posts)
13 years ago (2009-11-07)
are you have gifts of toys? Or second hon maybe its the first owner playing with his toy 😭 😭 😭
chicken (29 posts)
13 years ago (2009-11-07)
This is by far the best story I've read on this site. Thanks for using correct grammar. Yeah, I've had some weird stuff happen to me when I was a kid. I remember one time this electronic dinosaur started roaring out of nowhere that was in our closet. Same reaction- heavy heartbeat, high alertness, wondering what the hell it was... It hadn't been touched for at least that day...
Another time, when I had bunk beds, I had cleared off the bottom of all my junk I had kept there (my sister had moved to a new room, so the bottom was empty). That night I went to bed. Before I could fall asleep I heard these noises coming from down there, as if someone were sleeping and shuffling around. It freaked me out.
mrdeagle (6 stories) (69 posts)
13 years ago (2009-11-06)
neu: I have wondered that myself for years. I have come to think that it's the house, because weird stuff has happened over the years. Most things weren't particularly scary, just unusual, like the footsteps. Sometimes we heard stuff moving around in the attic at night. There was a light switch in the hallway that would turn off by itself. When my little bro was a toddler he used to talk to an empty room and sometimes he said he saw people walking around in unoccupied areas. Once he said a woman walked past our room but we were the only people home. Man he could freak me out. 😕
neu (3 stories) (10 posts)
13 years ago (2009-11-06)
Reading your comment about why your brother went to your parent's room-- wow! That's pretty scary. I wonder if it was the toy box or the house that was haunted.
savanna7 (4 posts)
13 years ago (2009-11-06)
that was really scary now I feel really tired after reading your story I don't know why but I felt so hyper before reading this. I wonder why? Any reasons you think why?
mrdeagle (6 stories) (69 posts)
13 years ago (2009-11-06)
Hey Pjod: it's funny you would ask why my brother was with my parents. I asked him the next day why he left me alone and he said he had a nightmare. When I asked what the nightmare was about, he said he dreamed there was a ghost in the closet. That freaked me out even more. 😨
Hobbyholly: My parents still live in this house but my brothers and I have all moved out. When we all still lived there we would frequently hear footsteps in the hallway at night. It was never threatening or scary but certainly a mystery. The next day when we discussed it there was never anyone up walking around when the footsteps were heard. And yes, we do still have the toy box. Unfortunately it has been moved outside to the back patio. It is used to store yard work equipment and is really in disrepair.
gvf7225 (3 stories) (12 posts)
13 years ago (2009-11-06)
that was a creepy story, I get goosebumps just thinking about it. Something had to have scared your brother first for him to to sleep in your parents room. Good story.
sheba_buckley (1 stories) (6 posts)
13 years ago (2009-11-06)
This has definitely been one of the better stories I've read here. Very creepy! Thanks for posting it...
hobbyholly (11 stories) (572 posts)
13 years ago (2009-11-06)
hmm interesting account. Did your brother say why he moved to your parent's bed last night? Did anything else ever occur in the home?

The toy box sound very well crafted, do you still have it?
Pjod (3 stories) (978 posts)
13 years ago (2009-11-06)
Great story. Any other problems from that closet when you were a kid? That experience obviously made an impression, as you remember so many details. Why was your bro in with your parents that night? Did something also scare him?

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