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Phantom Footsteps On The Front Steps


This story happened in my grandparents' old house. I had moved there, along with my boyfriend, because of an eviction. The house was empty because my grandfather had recently died (about a year prior) and my mother was deciding what to do with the house.

This isn't a one-time story, or anything particularly scary, just a strange thing that I would love to hear some opinions on.

The house is very old, built in the late 1800's I think. My grandparents lived in it from the mid-1940's to the time of their deaths in the mid and late nineties.

A little background; I have no idea if this is relevant or not, just interesting. Relatives who lived in the house many years ago used to hear footsteps walking around upstairs. Nobody else was in the house when this happened, and when they checked, nobody was upstairs. I never heard those footsteps.

The front door of the house is at the top of a small set of wooden stairs. My grandfather put the wooden steps in after the concrete ones began to crumble.

Shortly after moving in, we all (three of us were living in the house, with many regular visitors) began to notice footsteps coming up the front steps. Nobody would ring the bell or knock, and so usually somebody would get up to look. Nobody was ever there.

This was heard by everybody living in the house, plus a few others. So I know it wasn't just me hearing things. The sound was very distinctive, as anybody with wooden steps will know. They seem to magnify the sound, so even a lightweight person walking up is audible inside the house. It's not like the sound could be replicated.

I never felt threatened by this, and never really thought about it until much later, after the sounds had stopped. Another relative now lives in the house and has never heard the sound.

I've thought a lot about this, mainly because it was so obvious and heard by everybody. Was my grandfather checking on us? Was it a residual haunting from the distant past? I have thought this to death and have no answers, though I'm sure I'll never know for sure anyway.

Incidentally, the footsteps sounded like a fully grown person, not a child. They would vary in speed and "heaviness"; sometimes it sounded like somebody bounding up the steps, and sometimes they were slow and measured.

Not a scary story, just pretty weird and unexplained. Would love to hear similar stories or opinions...thanks!

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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, Phobic1981, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

Phobic1981 (2 stories) (14 posts)
12 years ago (2010-02-08)
Hey Lou thanks... I thought I'd thought of everything but I would have never considered a delivery person! Great idea!
LouSlips (10 stories) (979 posts)
12 years ago (2010-02-08)
What I believe you are hearing is from a residual haunting. The reason that the energy/entity walks up the stairs and neither knocks nor enters, is because that is the same way they acted in life. If I were you, and wanted to investigate this further, talk to the neighbors. They may or may not be experiencing the same. It is likely the spirit of a delivery person, milkman, mail carrier, that is still making their rounds. The reason why these things seem to happen in fits and starts is a mystery... But this was my first impression when I read your description of these events.

AshGrove (1 stories) (13 posts)
12 years ago (2010-02-05)
Always a pleasure. Good to be able to discuss it with you. The snow and lack of footprints detail is excellent. That's impressive. Thanks for the answers to the other points. Best wishes.
Phobic1981 (2 stories) (14 posts)
12 years ago (2010-02-04)
Hey AshGrove... Yeah I know it's a weird thing because it could be so many different things. As for your questions... We pretty much ruled out house creaking/settling because it would happen day, night, summer, winter, and all points in between. As old as it is, the rest of the house doesn't really creak at all.

The third tenant I mentioned was family, my boyfriend's mother.

As for somebody coming up the stairs and then changing their mind, believe me, we checked:) we would go to the door, look around, run around the house on a couple occasions. We checked for footprints in the snow, when it happened in winter, and found none.

As for the second-hand incidents, they happened to my mother and aunt. Apparently they started when they were both pretty young, both in grade school, and continued through their teens.

Funny that you mentioned my grandfather only checking the steps...that's one reason I often don't think it's him. He was the sort that always wanted to help everybody out, so I can't imagine him confining any "visits" to just the front steps:)

My general feeling is that it's something paranormal, though I'm absolutely frustrated as to what. I certainly never felt threatened in any way by it. My mother now lives in the house and mentioned the other day (I had forgotten) that she did hear them when she first moved in, but they've stopped now. So that would put their time frame at about 2001-2006.

Thanks for reading and trying to figure it out with me!
AshGrove (1 stories) (13 posts)
12 years ago (2010-02-04)
I was curious about the geology of Minnessota. I looked at a chart on wikipedia but it looks fairly mixed across the state.

My reason for thinking on that was my mother once spent a lot of time alone in a wooden house which was built on chalk. The chalk would cool at night and make the stairs creak.

You mention that there were three people living in the property. Was the third person a tenant or a family member?

If we think in terms of your grandfather in visitation, would his presence focus only on an exterior part of the front of the house, rather than throughout the living space?

You mention that the house had many visitors during the time you occupied it. It is possible to associate that with a not uncommon occurence that some people do approach a property but for whatever reasons decided not to call in. I now that is unusual - especially repeatedly but I only have the information presented in the account. I'm sure you have already evaluated such aspects of the experience.

The secondhand recollections (you mention you were not present) of the noises from upstairs... Was this when your grandparents lived there? Were these events recounted to you as an adult or during childhood?

I have a personal experience of staying in an ancient manor haouse as a child. It was once owned by Oliver Cromwell. A beautiful but scary medieval house containing priestholes between the walls and a prior occupant buried beneath the fireplace of the grand hall (a christian burial I can reassure you). I would be packed off to bed and told to watch out for the headless ghost in Elizabethan dress that walked the corridor to my room. Complete nonsense but absolutely terrifying for a child I can tell you =D lol

My point is that second hand stories are difficult to gauge. I experienced something identical to your recollection here firsthand, but there is tsill an element which cannot be verified...

In 1990, I visited a shared house of some friends locally. I arrived in my car and parked on the front driveway (the car belonged to a close friend who had recently committed suicide - see my "Death Communication 2" story in the Psychic section of this website, recently posted - the car was gifted to me by the deceased's mother).

I called at the door. The girlfriend of my buddy answered the door. He was out of the house for a short moment so I was invited in and sat in the lounge chatting with his girlfriend. From above the noise of someone stomping about could be heard through the ceiling. Like someone sitting on a bed, struggling to put on (jeans), then moving about the room. It was unnerving and I was assured there was no one else in the house.
In an act of bravado, I picked up a ceremonial handbell from the mantelpiece of the fireplace. I walked into the hall of the house ringing the bell and stood at the foot of the stairs. I sensed something upstairs and I was too scared to go up there. I had the impression of an energy 'form' (I can descirbe it as something similar to the special effect used in the Predator films - but not as distinct). I retreated back into the lounge. I don't remember whether the noises continued or not. My friend returned to the house. We mentioned what had happened. He didn't seem 'in on a joke' or to believe any different than we were the only people home at that time.

Other strangeness happened in the house. It was fairly modern, 4 bedroom detached house, built in the 1960's. I believe a couple of the occupants were involved in some occult activity in the house. But probably of a whiter/elemental kind, if somewhat selfpromoting (this was the beginning of the 1990's - a decade of many newage suss gurus;). There was an instance of someone being in the upstairs bathroom and hearing a housemate climb the stairs and go into their bedroom. The occupant of the bathroom then finished up and exited the bathroom only to then meet the housemate coming upstairs for the first time. There was also a fire in the kitchen when it was apparently unused. But all these recollections are secondhand and unverifiable. (I mean fires often occur in kitchens and which subtenant wishes to admit to negligence if liability can be avoided?...its typical group dynamics).

I find your experience interesting. Its just very difficult to discount some of the prosaic explanations.

What is your instinct regarding it Phobic1981?

Best wishes
Phobic1981 (2 stories) (14 posts)
12 years ago (2010-02-04)
Hey AshGrove... Well the house was all wooden construction, as far as I know. It was built on bedrock, meaning that the basement was rock, not concrete or finished or anything. If that matters.

Fully detached, the garage wasn't even attached.

We all heard the footsteps day and night. There was no pattern to when they would come. I heard them while up late by myself, but a group of us sitting in the living room in broad daylight also heard them several times.

And we did have a cat, but I assure you, these were not cat foosteps. Many times the cat would be sitting in the living room with me and he would obviously hear them too (head up, ears turned). Thanks for reading!
AshGrove (1 stories) (13 posts)
12 years ago (2010-02-04)
hi Phobic1981.
Interesting experiences. I have more questions rather than impressions right now.
Was the house of completely wooden construction or was it also brick? Was the house fully detached or joined to another? What times of day would you experience it?
Was it light or nightime? And I assume no cats or pets usually living in the front garden?

Best wishes

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