Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Haunting on North Street

When you grow up in a haunted house it's hard to be impressed by some of the ghost shows that air on television. We never had to use a gadget to pick up voices from beyond they spoke loud enough to wake you out of dead sleep. Barely heard footsteps would have been a welcome relief from the pounding that moved through my grandmothers house every night. When I hear people say that they wished to see a ghost so they could believe, I think some wishes probably shouldn't be made.

The house I grew up in had a history of haunting dating back over a fifty year time span. It touched the lives of four generations and left no doubts about paranormal activity. It wasn't uncommon to be awakened from a deep sleep to a face hovering over your bed. I discovered early on that sleeping with my head under the covers made the horrors that awaited in the dark much more acceptable.

I can't remember a single night that went by when there wasn't some type of activity taking place. Some nights it was simply a rocking chair moving on it's own while other nights full apparitions would walk in front of the television. The most memorable night there,  is one that still haunts my memories. I remember this night so vividly even after more years than I care to admit here.

My grandmother was only able to get around by wheelchair and was resting alone in her front bedroom. My baby sister and I were in the middle bedroom, while my mother and middle sister slept in the back bedroom.  To help understand the layout out of this home it had once been two separate shotguns style houses that had later been combined into one residence. All the bedrooms were on one side of the house while the kitchen, living room, washroom and bathroom were on the other side.

It was late night or early morning depending on your point of view, a little after three in the morning. Behind the back bedroom where my mother and sister slept there was a room used for storage that had a door that led outside. This door was forced open by winds we would learn later should not have been present as it was a calm summer night. A roar echoed through the house that I can only describe to this day as the scream of some wild animal. This was the type of roar that you expected to hear from a lion attacking prey. The footsteps pounded through my mothers bedroom before stopping at the bed where me and my sister were awakened by the loud sounds.

My youngest sister and I were both to afraid to scream and huddled closer in the bed together not sure what was going on. The lights in both the bedrooms turned on without help from human hands and the backdoor slammed and whatever had entered our house was gone. To this day I don't know how any of us went back to sleep but we did and there wasn't any talk about what had happened. That in itself should explain that this was not that unusual for this house. What child do you know that can go back to sleep without some comforting after an event like this took place?

An hour later I awakened to my baby sister screaming that there was a man standing beside her bed. She gave a quick description of man with a bandage wrapped around his head. It was at that moment my mother was awakened not from my sisters screams but by a phone call from the neighbors. Her son had just committed suicide. This should have been a warning to us to leave the house but looking back now our family was just not financially able to make that kind of move.

The events kept occurring in this house and I have to admit I was pleased when my mom remarried and we finally left and moved to the city. I visited my grandmothers house at least once a month and while I loved spending time with her it was always overshadowed by the evil that remained there. Many circumstances happened over the course of the next eight years and we ended up moving back in with my grandmother again. A new spirit had found their way into this house that my mother repeatedly saw. A little girl that she claimed had no face when she looked your way.

My Grandfather had worked with a company that kept him out of town except on the weekends but when we moved back he had fallen ill and had to give up his job. For reasons I can't explain it seemed that whatever was haunting this house had become kinder in some ways. Perhaps I had just grown up over the last eight years and the things that I now saw just weren't as terrifying. Objects still moved on their own and late at night you would hear the voices speaking but it was not normally directed at any of us, more like a conversation that was being overheard.

My mom decided to find a place of our own that was close enough that she could visit to take care of my grandparents. My grandfathers health was slowly declining and mom had to be trained to do medical care at home so he wouldn't need to be put in a nursing home. My grandmother was still in a wheelchair and couldn't do the things necessary to make him comfortable. My grandfather had always ignored the strange events that were surrounding him in the house before but as his illness grew worse he started talking with whatever haunted his home.

There were days when I would visit and he would have full conversation with people that weren't there. I wanted to believe it was just part of his illness but after all the things I had heard and seen growing up in that house I couldn't fully make myself believe it was just illness. I won't get into some of the conversations I overheard because I feel it disrespects his last days. Over the years I've always questioned if the events that happened were part of some dark force or just the illness that caused the horrible ending he fell prey to.

We were sitting at home late one afternoon when my mom got the phone call that would change all of our lives. My grandmother, who still was in wheelchair said she hear a loud sound in the back room and was afraid to investigate. I was a mom myself by this time and we loaded up in my moms car afraid of what we were going to find when we arrived at their home. My mom made me and my five year old son wait in the front bedroom as she walked back to the back bedroom. My grandfather had ended his own life.

The police were called in and I remember following the ambulance with her in complete shock. The strongest man I had ever known would never have done something like this in my mind. My grandfather had been the epitome of a true alpha male before illness had found him. It was incomprehensible to me that this strong powerful man would ever give in to such a weakness. We would discover later on that the way he committed the act did not make physical sense to the officers and that this was an act that would be almost impossible for him to commit on his own. Again I won't go into the details of just how it happened out of respect for his memory.

After his death my son began displaying strange behaviors. He would converse with imaginary friends and even a dog that no one else could see. I was working in the medical profession at this time and accounted this to losing his grandfather in such a horrific way. I found my son a psychiatrist and he spent two days a week speaking to him about dealing with his loss. The strange conversations with his friends continued but the psychiatrist informed me it was truly his way of dealing with the death of a man that he loved and respected.

My grandmothers health continued to decline over the next year and she suffered many ailments. Let me just say that my grandmother was my heart and the bond that we had was stronger than any other relationship I'd ever had. I had been working when I got the call that she had overdosed on insulin and they had just taken her into the hospital. My grandmother had always been extremely careful with her medication and I just couldn't accept that she would make an error like this. That night I lost my best friend and confidante. It was something I didn't accept easily and I there was a part of me that blamed it on that house. Everything evil seemed to center in that one place and I knew that to have a normal life that house could no longer be a part of my reality.

Of course all the illnesses and pain could be chalked up to bad luck. What can't be explained was the things that not only I saw but every member of my family had witnessed. It wasn't just one family either, my grandmothers house was like the safe place when anything went wrong for any of her children and grandchildren. The next door neighbor also gave accounts of how rugs would roll up under furniture without moving a single chair out of place, again you can chalk all that up to an overactive imagination if you choose.

We sold that house and the owners that reside there now have asked if something bad happened in the back room. I don't know what experiences they have had in that home, mainly because I choose not to know. I still have relatives that live close to that house but I never ask if they've heard anything. In my mind whatever evil haunted us all those years is best left to dwell in the darkness of our past.

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