Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Who's there?


I had already written an account of my second haunting experience (which in my personal time line was actually my first experience), and all of what I included did happen...I just don't care for the way I wrote it. I kept going back and editing...and re-editing...and re-editing...changing the phrasing, etc. I decided to start over with a posting I feel more happy with. Moving right along...

It was the mid-80's, and I had moved back to Atlanta after giving college a try. I was living with my mother and working for B. Dalton Bookseller. I got promoted to an assistant manager's position and transferred to the Toco Hills store where I met Sherry, the manager. We got along really well. We both had a love of Science Fiction & Fantasy...the store had a great SF&F section because of that fact. I had been working there for a little while, and during that time she got me involved with the SCA (the Society for Creative Anachronisms...we dressed in medieval garb and re-created the middle ages...that's the Reader's Digest description). Those were good days.

Anyway, things weren't that great with my living arrangements, so it was time to start looking for new digs. It just so happened that Sherry and her roommate (Michelle) had a small bedroom in the duplex they rented that was available. How convenient was that? The great part was that they were asking $80 a month for it. I would have been a maroon to not at least consider it. As I said, Sherry and I got along really well, and I was acquainted with Michelle through my SCA involvement. So I followed Sherry home after work to check things out.

The house was on 3rd Street in Mid-Town Atlanta. It was not far at all from where I had been living, as my mom rented a house in mid-town, too. Sherry had described her house as being rather old, and she hadn't been kidding. It was old, but really neat. Two-stories high, the two halves of the duplex set-up looked to be pretty equal in size. There was a long roofed porch that ran the width of the house. The front door to the unit I would be looking over had an ancient front door that had etched glass set into it. The inside of the place was really impressive. The stairs up to the second level were directly in front of the door when you walked in, and we entered into the living room which was huge with high ceilings, a big ornate fireplace, and a huge bay window. There was a dining room on the other side of the living room that had an entry way with columns to either side, and a smaller fireplace along it's back wall. The entrance to the kitchen was in a back corner of the dining room. It was really a beautiful place. The shame was that it obviously was housing a couple of uber-slobs. There was crap everywhere. Well not literally. (haha) That was something I hadn't known about Sherry. I just kind of looked past the mess to what lay beneath. There was something else. An energy to the place. Not negative or unwelcoming, but just kind of...off. Nothing I can properly articulate. Continuing the tour, Sherry led me upstairs to the bedroom I was there to scope out.

The stairs were rather creaky. The railing went up about ten steps, and ended into the wall. The remaining two-thirds or so of the steps had wall on both sides. Looking up to the top, I could see a door with a smoked glass window in it. That was the bathroom (which was really cool...it had a huge claw-foot tub in it that was awesome for taking relaxing baths...very roomy). There was a lighting fixture on the sloped ceiling over the stairs, but Sherry said that the bulb had been burned out for some time as it was a bitch to change. We got to the landing in front of the bathroom, and right next to that door was another door at kind of an angle. That was the door into the room for rent. Sherry had told me the bedroom was small, but once I saw it in person I seriously doubted that it was meant to be a bedroom. It looked more like a sewing room to me. It was about 10'x12' in diameter, and had two windows on the two outside walls. I could look down on the backyard of the house which was overgrown and green. The closet was tiny. After Sherry had told me about the room, I had already decided I would take it if it checked out okay. It had, so I wrote Sherry a check for the first month's rent. I would move in soon after that.

My brother helped me paint the room before I actually moved anything in. I did decorate with my usual amount of clutter, but the furniture was minimal enough to make it a very comfortable space. Sherry and Michelle's bedrooms were at the end of the hall that continued past my door and ran back towards the front of the house. The hallway dead-ended at Sherry's door, and Michelle's was on the left next door. Both of the girls kept their doors closed when they weren't in their rooms. Sherry had a cat that she kept cooped up in her bedroom 24/7. I felt bad for that cat. Sherry had not only turned out to be a messy slob, but a dirty one. By the time I was introduced to the feline it was kind of schizo. Sherry never cleaned the litter boxes she had in there, so the cat went anywhere and everywhere in her bedroom. In the earlier days of them co-habitating, Michelle would leave her door open. One day when they both were out, the cat got out of Sherry's bedroom and crapped in the middle of Michelle's bed. She kept her door shut after that.

A couple of days after I had moved in, I arrived home from work to find the house empty. I decided to take advantage of the absence of my roommates and take a long relaxing uninterrupted shower. I finished up, had turned the water off, and was drying off when I heard someone coming up the stairs. It appeared that one of the girls had come home. I heard them come up the stairs and turn to walk down the hall to their bedroom. I finished drying off, threw on my PJ's, and walked into my bedroom. Glancing down the hall, it was really dark. The shadows in that place were. They always seemed to be a bit darker than your usual shadows. I couldn't even see a sliver of light from under either of the closed doors. I called out their names and didn't get an answer. I felt pretty creeped out, and a chill ran through me. I know I had heard someone walk upstairs. No doubt in my mind. Walking into dark rooms in places I've lived has never been something I had ever been nervous about, but there was no way I was going to walk down that hall. Bottom line...I was freaked out. I went down to the living room, turned the TV on and the volume up, and stayed down there until someone came home. I remember not being able to look back at the stairs. It takes a lot to scare me, but I was absolutely on edge. A short time later, Michelle came home. That's when I found out that Sherry hadn't told me everything about the house.

Michelle was not surprised that I had an experience. If anything she was jealous because she had yet to have one. The news bulletin was that the house was haunted, and the 'ghost' would walk up and down the stairs. I hadn't ever witnessed anything that paranormal before, so it took me some getting used to. As I've mentioned in posts on here, I'm very open minded. Having said that, it threw me for a bit of a loop being front and center for an event like that without any prior warning or any prior experiences. Was it a deal breaker for me? Not at all. However, I really wish that Sherry had told me about it from the beginning. When Sherry got home I learned more. The manager of the downtown B. Dalton store (her name escapes me) had been the previous tenant, along with her husband and daughter. They were the ones that had turned Sherry onto the place when they were moving out after living there for quite a long time, and were very upfront with her about there being a ghost in the house. I had a number of questions about the ghost that my roomies couldn't answer, so I queried the previous tenants. They, too, were in the SCA, so I chatted them up at the next meeting...which was conveniently the next night. (The night of my "event", I slept with the lights on.)

Talking to the old tenants was a good move. Since they had lived there for a number of years, they had done their own investigating. The thought had crossed my mind about the neighbor just on the other side of the wall, and whether or not they had a staircase against that same wall. Maybe that was giving the illusion of a haunting? Nope. They had also asked the neighbors if they had experienced anything, but they had not. Looked like the haunting was specific to our digs. They got used to the presence. They said that it would go up and/or down the stairs at no specific time, but usually at night. They also felt that it would hang around sometimes at the top of the staircase outside of the bathroom because it would feel chilly right around there. The husband said that he had caught a glimpse of a shadow in that area a couple of times, as well. Having that discussion helped my mind set tremendously. I just wish I would have known about it prior to moving in so that I would have been prepared and not so freaked out witnessing things when I was home alone.

I lived there for about 8 months, and in that time I heard the footsteps pretty frequently. Michelle and I became good friends and on a couple of occasions when hanging out in my room she was finally able to witness our fourth roomie. I think it did excite her to think that she was living with a ghost. I remember one time when we were talking in my room, we heard the footsteps ascending the stairs. This was the only time I did this, but I was curious. I went out in front of the bathroom door and looked down the stairs. I could hear the creaking, but saw nothing. It was rather dark downstairs, so the stair well was really dark. Thankfully there wasn't any sort of contact made. I think if something had poked me or touched me in any way, I would've soiled myself. lol If Michelle hadn't been right there, I would never have gone out for a peek.

When I eventually moved out, it wasn't because of the haunting. True, I started closing my door when I went to bed, and there were a few times that the door was opened. There was no logical explanation for it either. The main reason for my moving out was drama. Three females living together can be a recipe for the dramatic, and I don't do drama very well.

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