We had a very startling mystery unfold in this house recently…

I will warn you that this entry is a long read- so grab your popcorn, coffee, wine.. whatever floats your boat..sit back and get comfortable!


Just over a week ago- I had a very exciting day. The most important part of our kitchen renovation was taking place. My granite counter tops were installed! Out with the old and worn -and in with the new!

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Renovation in Progress! New counters!

We have been working hard since moving in to erase all traces of the previous owners (seriously no offense this place was a dated dungeon) and as I love to play designer in my own home- coming up with ways to make the house our own is extremely fun for me.

I have a large- gorgeous (albeit dated) kitchen- Rumor has it that the original owner was a carpenter and did all the carpentry himself, including the kitchen (and the fireplace mantel in our basement family room) – While Honey Oak isn’t exactly ‘my’ favorite wood color- my husband and I have made sure that we honor the woodwork- but just redecorate the rooms to blend and showcase it better (Seriously… if you are using honey oak- I beg of you- do NOT paint the walls AND buy curtains/accents that are in the same tone as the wood….This place was an Oompa Loompa inspired nightmare before I attacked it with paint and wainscotting!)

I have been waiting for the day the kitchen falls into line with my tastes and a more modern yet classy look.

As much as I would love to discuss the house renovation details with you…. this is just a part of the story and I will save the renovation blog for another day!


Two years today is when we received the keys to this house and this story begins on the very first day my husband and I started to move in.

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Otis

Otis (our beloved Boxer) and I had been in the spare room-located downstairs, I had been making the new bed- when suddenly a man’s voice boomed through the basement:

“Who’s there?!”

I jumped.

It was so loud that I actually thought someone had been standing right outside the bedroom door- but no one was there! Otis immediately took attack position, yet would not leave the room that we were in. His hair standing on end, he was surprisingly quiet as he gazed out the door into the family room. Normally hearing another human speak would have triggered him to run, barking to see who was there or at least growl…

He LOVES people.

Not this time.

I stood there wondering who the hell it was that was in my new house! I was about to launch into a tirade about how I am the new owner and to get out-but I was a bit disturbed. It had that kind of feeling where the hair on the back of your neck pricks up and you feel off.

It had been so loud AND the dog responded, clearly I was not hearing things.

After my initial reaction and the various scenarios flooding quickly through my mind, I logically thought it was my husband… however he had left to run an errand.

I had to consider that it was an option, but even while I looked out the window to confirm he was in fact, not home- the car absent from the drive… I knew that it wasn’t him.

The voice had been deeper this his, more stern.

Maybe a window was open?

I stormed around and checked the house- Otis was hesitant to leave the room (Which is funny because as soon as we moved in- he decided THAT room was one he would not go to) there were no open windows. There was no one in the house! I even walked around to see if there was anyone outside.

No one was there.

Otis remained in that room the entire time, absolutely refusing to leave it.

While I filled my mom in, I decided to keep the story to myself to see if anyone else had an experience of their own. I didn’t have to wait long. After a few days of living in the new house, our oldest daughter freaked out that she swore she saw a man in her room in the middle of the night and he was standing just inside her closet then he was gone.

“It was a man mom! He was standing there watching me and then he just vanished into thin air. I saw him!!”

After that, she was not happy with her new room. She wanted to switch to either switch with her sister or take the basement spare room. We said NO. From that day on, she has refused to sleep without her closet doors closed tight.

Interesting..

She didn’t know my story at all.

While I listened to her freak out, I told her to keep her experience from everyone else. I wanted to see what else happened and I didn’t want it influenced.

That was now TWO incidents of a male presence- and my daughter had been blissfully unaware of my encounter.

It wasn’t until we had lived here a few weeks, when at dinner one night my husband started telling me the story of the previous owner- the one who’d originally built the home- and how he had died in a tragic accident, (Not on the premises)  I didn’t believe him at first- I actually thought my kid had spilled the beans on her experience and he was pulling my leg to get a rise out of me… I even confronted them about it- and my husband was surprised. She hadn’t said a thing. I was still convinced my husband was making things up.

As I got to know the neighbors- some who my husband hadn’t even met yet..they repeated the same story about the original owner and the accident.

Okay…so hubby wasn’t pulling my leg…

The one thing I want to know about the original owner:

Did he smoke?

More incidents:

We will suddenly smell cigarettes- it will come in strong waves- like someone is sitting next to you and suddenly lights up. You can actually sit on the couch, watching TV and the scent of cigarettes will surround you- the scent so thick that it reminds me of sitting in a bar with friends and having someone accidentally huff into your face. It isn’t a stale cigarette smell, it is ‘fresh’ and incredibly strong. Then the smell will just disappear, like it wasn’t even there to begin with!

We once arrived home from errands to that stench of cigarettes taking over our basement. The smell was incredibly overwhelming, it was like someone had hosted a party in our absence. Not going to lie- I stormed through that house looking for a culprit. I have even entertained the idea that some jackass is living in some hidden room that we are unaware of just to help explain it.

After I couldn’t find any reason for it, I finally started yelling “Whoever the F is smoking in this house- knock it off!”

I stormed back up the steps, gave the kids the ‘all clear’. It was about ten minutes later the smell had just vanished.

(..and it actually stopped for several months after that!)

Footsteps are common.

So common I barely take note of them anymore.

The sound of doors opening and closing is another one. I will always go investigate- especially if I am home alone. That activity usually happens during the day. We had a door slam shut in the basement once for no reason as we sat in the family room area. (We have a large open concept floor plan) That was fun…

I also find the connecting door from the basement bathroom to laundry/utility room open quite often.

“Girls- would you stop using this door!”

“It wasn’t us!”

I try to keep it locked at all times… but it still opens.

I heard a whisper in my ear on Christmas Eve as I sat wrapping gifts in my room, the breath of it moved my hair and I could feel it cold in my ear and I jumped. There was no breeze in the room. I was the only one in the house at the time.

It gave me the creeps but I just whipped around:

“GO AWAY!!”

It isn’t just us. We have had guests that have remarked on some of the above and who have had their own odd little experiences- mainly with the sudden cigarette smell floating through a room then dissipating.

Several of our younger guests like to avoid the spare bedroom- one of my daughters friends remarked ” Can we camp out in the living room? There is something about this room that creeps me out”

(Just like the dog- who for the first month we lived there would sit outside it whining before running away from it..)

I always say “Don’t mind him- he’s harmless” or “It’s okay- its just the ghost.”

As I mentioned, we were experiencing things before we even learned of the original owners death. I am not saying it ‘IS’ him but it is awfully coincidental and who else would it be?

So as the old counters were ripped out of my kitchen- my oldest daughter came up to me, cringing:

“I don’t know mom… is this going to start the activity up again?”

“I’m sure he’ll be fine”

Or not…


What you are about to read is my entry as I wrote it the day after our counters were replaced.  I am keeping it in the original text so you can get a feel for how I felt that next day as I wrote it out:

We went to bed early last night.

By early I mean we were all in our beds by 9:30pm.

My oldest was hanging in her room.

My youngest had been watching TV in the downstairs family room- until I shooed her upstairs. I had been downstairs dealing with laundry and as I walked past, I patted her on the head, told her to turn off the television, turn off the lights and be upstairs in ten minutes.

I remembered that a window was open in the basement. So I sent my oldest to close it- she gave her sister the reminder to shut everything down and go to bed.

After my youngest was tucked into bed- as is my routine- I walked around the house, went to the front entry landing.. peered down into the basement and saw that everything was turned off.  I opened the door to peer into the garage- needing to make sure that everything was shut and locked. (We’ve had surprise mornings when suddenly the garage door is open.. but nothing is missing…) I locked everything, turned the house lights off- said good night to my daughter and went to bed.

I couldn’t sleep.

I could hear my oldest still watching television in her room, even with her door closed it was loud.

I texted her to turn it down and go to bed when her episode was over.

I tossed…turned… scrolled the internet.

I was restless.

I again- texted my teenager to shut her stuff off… she texted back ‘In a minute’

A few minutes later the house was silent, her light was off.

I start scrolling the internet again, started talking with friends.

It was midnight at this point.

My oldest daughter screams and comes running into my room.

“Mom I think there is a bug on me or in my bed!! I felt it crawling on me!!!”

I turn on the lights- look through her hair, she shook out her clothes. No bug.

I examine her bed covers… I don’t see anything but we get a lint roller out and roll over the linens just in case it was a tick. (You never know what the dog is bringing in with him)

She was freaking out.

“I felt it! It was crawling on me! It was huge! I cant find anything though!”

She refused to sleep in her bed.

I told her to rip the sheets and comforter off the bed then- and to put on her spare set.

There was nothing. No bug. No spider. No tick. Nothing around her bed.

She tossed her bedding on the floor (teenagers!)

I wasn’t impressed.

“If there really is a bug in there and you are terrified of it- are you really going to just leave it on the floor all night so it can crawl back into your bed? At least go put it in the laundry room! I will wash it tomorrow!”

She was not happy to be carrying the possibly bug covered bedding- OR having to run downstairs to the laundry room.

Seconds later, after she has left her room- I hear her scream for me again-

“Fire! The fire is glowing in the basement!”

What the….??

She was frozen in the landing- completely unwilling to go down the stairs!

I went running- thinking the house was on fire.

It was the fireplace- it was on and crackling- the light of it illuminating the entire basement.

I flew down the steps and you could feel the heat of it- the air in the basement was hot and it felt like the fire had been on for awhile. I was pissed too because the fan hadn’t kicked on like it was supposed to. I ran over to the switch- turned the fan ON and the Fire OFF!

Now please note that I had been the one to lock the house down. I had not seen the fireplace glowing (and from the entryway landing you can see it if you look down the stairs) … The fireplace had NOT been on when any of us were in the basement before bed. Its the middle of summer! That thing hasn’t been on in months!

My oldest was still up the stairs, freaking out and didn’t want to come into the basement.

“I told you the ghost may not like the renovation!”

“Now you are being dramatic- I have to ask your sister- maybe she played with the switch before bed”

While I do believe in the paranormal- I am also a skeptic. I don’t attribute every little thing to spirits…I want to consider all options before I come to the ‘it was a ghost’ conclusion. That said-as listed above- we have had plenty of unexplained activity before.

I sat on the couch, listening to the fan, staring at the fire place trying to logically figure out what had happened.

I was completely dumbfounded.

I doubted it was my youngest. The light switches are located on the opposite side of the room- by the stairs..they are nowhere near the fireplace switches which are on a different wall, across the room… she couldn’t have mistook them for the light switches… nor would she. She knows she is not allowed to turn the fire on without permission…also- I had shut the house down. I absolutely maintain that when I turned the house lights off- there was absolutely no glow from the fireplace.

It was dark.

Pitch black.

The fire was off.

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Photo of our fireplace taken last winter.

“Are you pulling a prank on me? Because this isn’t funny!” My oldest daughter finally came to join me on the couch after running to dump her laundry- and I was agitated “The fire was on, the fan was off… that is a stupid and dangerous stunt!”

“I haven’t been down here since I closed the window!!!! You know that!!!! I just saw the glow when I got to the entryway!!! I haven’t even taken my stuff to the laundry yet!!”

True.

I had been awake. I knew she hadn’t left her room- this house echos like crazy when you walk through it…you can’t even tip toe through it without thinking elephants are approaching. I would have heard her door open..it makes a distinct sound- her show was loud enough as it was- had her door opened- I would have known.

Also- she was ridiculously scared. She likes to try to pull fast ones, but eventually she will start laughing. She will put up a good fight, eventually crack and then take credit for her prank. She refused to go near the laundry room and when she finally did- she sprinted- threw the bedding through the door and ran back to me. That kid was scared.

This morning I approached my youngest:

“Were you playing with the fireplace last night?”

She looked confused.

“What? No! Why?”

“We found it on in the middle of the night- Someone turned it on and I know it wasn’t me”

“I didn’t do it! I’m not allowed to touch it!”

(True…I said this above…and she seemed very shocked and was telling the truth)

So there you have it…

My oldest daughter either pulled off what she thinks is an epic prank…

Or perhaps our ghost was making himself known…

If it was him…I like to think he was sending a message that he likes the new counters… and not trying to burn this house down. Maybe he is letting us know we should update the fireplace next…

If it was my daughter… then she deserves an Academy Award for the entire thing. She is still adamant it wasn’t her and she seems incredibly genuine (and incredibly scared of the basement now…)

I will let the reader decide.

**end of original entry**


It has been well over a week since this incident took place and while the fireplace has stayed off (I keep randomly checking on it in the middle of the night now)  we have had yet another round of a room suddenly smelling like cigarettes (the kitchen this time) only to have it vanish.

The other night around 4 a.m. I was wide awake.. tossing and turning, trying to get comfortable when suddenly my door handle rattled…the distinct sound of someone grabbing and turning it to open..

I sat up waiting for my youngest to open the door…

It rattled again.

I went over, yanked it open and looked.

No one was there.

I could hear my youngest snoring.

Oldest was down the hall fast asleep.

Dog nowhere to be found.

As the goosebumps formed, and my hair stood on end- I hightailed it back to bed and threw the covers over my head like I was a kid again.

You can approach all that I have told you with skepticism, that is your call and quite frankly it makes no difference to me.

I want to be skeptical too… 

After all, who wants to deal with an invisible male occupant who has no problem creeping you out, but doesn’t contribute to the housework?

-Irene


Authors Note: Any encounters you want to share with me? Leave them in the comments or send me an email! I would love to hear your stories.

Daily Prompt Word:
Prickle

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