The Haunted House
August 19, 2005

Since I was a tiny, little thing, I've been determined to meet a ghost. Well, actually, I misspoke: I wanted to see a ghost. That still hasn't happened, but I have met a few.

As a kid, I did not understand AT ALL, how people could be afraid of ghosts. What's the big deal, I thought way back then. They're not physical beings, so they can't possibly hurt you.

I was misinformed.

Okay, I would STILL love to see a ghost. But I don't ever ever ever ever want to live in the same house as one any more.

1144 E. Corby Blvd. is a haunted house.

I lived there from 1994 until 2001. And at first, I didn't notice anything at all odd about the place, other than the fact that South Bend has some of the tiniest homes with the most oddly teeny-tiny little rooms that I've ever seen.

Between my various roommates and I during this time, we had anywhere from four to six cats in the house. Cats notice odd things, right?

It was ultimately the way the cats would act when one of us was already noticing something odd that finally let us start talking about the possibility of ghosts. I mean, no one actually ever saw anything odd happen. But you would be sitting alone in the house and you could hear people talking. Get up, look out the windows, nope, no one was near the house. Stand in the doorway to the basement -- bingo! The conversation stopped. Hmm.

The corner of the living room where I sat when I heard those conversations was the one corner every cat who ever entered the house would try very hard to avoid. Double-hmm.

Again, sitting upstairs, I would hear a kid giggling. Now, as I've said before, I collect old Fisher Price Little People. And at the time, I had a bookcase in the far corner of the basement which was filled with all the old playsets: Sesame Street, the old garage, the children's hospital, a couple of houses and so on. Well, I would hear a kid giggling and that distictive clink/thunk of a little Fisher Price car rolling off the bookshelf and hitting the astroturf floor. (I don't know, this house was the landlord's "party house" back in his college days. I guess astroturf is easy to clean up after wild parties.)

I'd look around upstairs. Every one of the cats was up here with me. Go down to the basement: sure enough, some of the pieces had been moved around and there was a car on the floor.

Well, okay, so what. The floor's not perfectly level down here and, as it turns out, we live close to a fault line which occasionally rumbles a little bit. Just a little fault line, the North/South continental divide. (Who would believe there's a fault line that close to Notre Dame? I keep waiting for the earth to just up and swallow that place!) Anyhow, things fall over. But what's with the giggling?

If this had been all there was to it, I would have totally ignored it. Maybe a ghostie, but probably just the house settling and those little earth rumbles. (But what about that giggle?)

But there was also a really nasty, nasty bad ghost living in that house. Got the distinct impression it was a 'he,' but who knows.

If you heard a serious thud from the basement, you could freaking feel the bad ghost at the same time. It was one of the creepiest times of my whole life. And the weirdest thing was that I would go downstairs and look through the whole basement -- and I couldn't find anything that had been knocked over. But the whole time I was downstairs, I could just feel that malevolence issuing from the basement. Feeling a bit stupid, I'd just head back upstairs (a little hurriedly, of course!). Again, the cats were NEVER in the basement when this would happen and they'd stay out of the basement for quite a while after.

But the worst of it, even worse than just the weird feeling -- wait. You know when you watch a really scary movie late at night, alone and you get that feeling that the serial killer is just on the other side of the door? or waiting in the next room? And you know you're being silly and stupid and it's just because of the movie that you feel all paranoid, but you can still feel it?

Well try getting that feeling at random times while walking around your family room (the basement) for no apparent reason at all. It's even creepier when you can't blame it on a scary movie. And it's even creepier when there's this bit of personality attached to the feeling. It felt male. It hated any nudity at all. (Occasionally you could feel him in other areas of the house, too.)

So anyhow, even worse than the weird feelings were the nightmares that everyone who stayed more than a couple of nights had. You know how in most dreams you have dream logic? You know it's your house, for instance, but in real life you've never lived anywhere even remotely like that?

These dreams weren't like that.

These dreams always took place in that house and if you were really lucky, you could make yourself wake up before the obvious conclusions happened.

Some examples:
I would walk into a room in the house and reach for the lightswitch. Nothing. Horror movie feeling. Overwhelming fear. Lights across the house go off. I've got to go down to the basement and mess with the circuit box. Flip at the basement stairs lightswitch, just in case I'm lucky.

I'm not.

Flashlight on, I head back into that corner of the basement where he lives. If I'm lucky, I wake up now. If I'm not, I go back into the room that used to be the landlord's darkroom. Just a flashlight. The feeling is becoming unbearable. I know he's there, in the back-most part of the basement, by the furnace, water heater, crappy toolbench and the circuit box. Under the stairs. I know he's there.

On occasion the dream goes far enough that I turn and see him briefly with the hunting knife. But I always wake up before he can strike.

The feeling lasts for a couple of days -- not just a few hours like with most nightmares. And no one after having one of those, will actually go into that back part of the basement -- especially not when one of the breakers trip. And they trip all the time in that house. I'm not saying the ghost actually tripped the breakers, but going back to the circuit box usually involved figuring out who had had the nightmares last.

The worst nightmare that I had involved me waking up in the morning and walking out of the bedroom. The house was not air conditioned, so I'd put a little window unit in the bedroom because I canNOT sleep if I get too hot. So the bedroom door was always closed during the summertime to keep that cool air in.

So in this nightmare, I walk out of the bedroom and into the living room. And into one of the worst things I've ever seen in dream, reality or movie.

Not so graphic version: my cats had been killed. Stop reading now if you're the squeamish type. Skip down until you see
*****HEY IT'S OKAY NOW*****


Seriously, you don't want to read this if you're easily grossed out.


Okay, I double-warned you. I walk out into the living room and each of the four cats I had at the time has been mutilated. Each one has a frickin' railroad spike through the chest/tummy area and is nailed to a wall. One cat to one wall. There's writing on the wall, using of course, the cats' blood. I don't remember what it said, I'm not sure I even remembered once I woke up for real. They were further bloodied, but I won't go into it.


*****HEY IT'S OKAY NOW*****

And we all knew that those weird nightmares that took place in that house were related to that ghost. I've never had any nightmares similar to that since.

But the last coincidence that really just confirmed things was when one of my roomates had a friend over. We were sitting on the living room floor when this friend suddenly got a weird, weird look on her face.

"Is there a ghost in this house?"

I shrugged. "I think so. There's a kid who plays with the toys down there. I can hear him giggling sometimes."

She shook her head. "No, there's some--" She shivered and paled a bit.

Now, look. I think this lady's a bit of a flake most of the time, but this was really freaky. She was sitting in that spot where the cats wouldn't go -- above the spot in the basement that I thought of as the ghost's. And it was obvious from her reaction that she wasn't doing this just for her "rep" or for attention. You don't turn that color for fun. And I never saw her do anything like it ever again. (Of course, she didn't set foot in that house again, either.)

"What's the matter?

"There's something wrong in your basement."

My roommate shot me a look. I nodded. The bad ghost had been very active lately.

"There's a bad ghost down there, too."

About six months and two roommates later (I'm a little more stubborn), I finally had a roommate who was himself so scary that the bad ghost quieted (or left, I was never sure which).

How did Justin get the ghost to leave? He played techno-goth every night. He watched more horror movies than any human on the face of planet. And anime. The really, really violent anime.

I don't know if he scared the scary ghost or if he just satiated the ghost's need for violence.

And that's the story of the bad ghost. And that's why I no longer think that ghosts are harmless. I don't think they could physically hurt me ... but that one taught me they can make you hurt yourself just from the paranoia you start to get!

Posted by Red Monkey at August 19, 2005 3:21 PM | Storytelling: She was, of course, supposed to be sleeping. | | StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble |


Croaker said:

Oh, my god what a great story. Its giving me the creeps just reading it. How did you stay so long in the house? Did you ever do any research into the ghost or ask the landlord about it?

August 19, 2005 10:08 PM


enderFP said:

You know, oddly enough, I never did ask anyone about it. I intend to do some more research into the history of Kalamazoo, Michigan, area. That's the area I'd already been researching for a novel one of these days. The things I learned about Kalamazoo were far scarier than the ghost at the house, so I guess I didn't think to research it.

How I stayed so long? The place was at least $100 a month cheaper than any other rental place in town; it was walking distance to school/work (it's about six blocks or so south of Notre Dame); and the landlord didn't care at all about pets - very unusual in this town.

Plus, I'm stubborn. :)

August 20, 2005 12:12 PM


thodora said:

"Bad ghost routed by painful techno-goth!"

hell, play enough crap goth music, and I think ANY lifeform would bugger off just to stay sane...

great story.....

August 20, 2005 7:17 PM


Mandy said:

That's so scary, I've never seen nor heard a ghost, nor do i want to.. I've heard lots of stories though, even my own sister told me she'd heard one once, and I believe her. I do have really weird dreams/nightmares though, all sorts of stuff goes on.. now that scares me heaps!

August 21, 2005 12:03 PM


Andy T. said:

I am starting to believe some people pick up on this type stuff, and yes, they are the flaky ones. I don't know about ghosts being harmless. I'm very unusual for a pagan in that I believe evil exists as a spiritual force.

August 25, 2005 6:05 AM


LYNN said:

I would love to see pics of your FP Little People. I have become infatuated with them and even started creating new characters from the damaged little people.



September 15, 2011 12:04 PM
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