I Lived in a Haunted House
October 18, 2014 Kristance Harlow
Halloween is just around the corner. In Argentina, Halloween isn’t that big of a deal. You won’t see crowds of little kids in costumes knocking on doors for candy. Nobody is carving pumpkins or parading in spooky outfits. The closest you’ll get to that is if you’re feeling like you need to dance, you can dress up and go out to a club for a Halloween themed party. Other than that, Argentina is too busy enjoying the arrival of spring to worry about creepy hauntings and zombies (except, of course, indulging in the return of awesome shows like the Walking Dead and Grimm).
I love spooky stuff this time of year. I’ve been to Cemeterio de la Relecotta twice since moving to Argentina, but only really explored it once. I’m planning to go visit again this month, with a plan to visit the graves with the creepiest stories. I am missing the autumn traditions of the north. I’m not a pumpkin spice latte fanatic, but I sure miss carving pumpkins and indulging in hot apple cider. I had an awesome adventure once in college when I went to the Haunted Forest outside of Burlington, Vermont.
Currently, I’m getting my spooky fix by going on a ghost reality TV kick. My drug of choice is Ghost Adventures. It’s a show I used to think was utterly ridiculous. Years ago, my brother and I had a Ghost Adventures marathon and laughed hysterically at the way the investigators taunted invisible entities as if their macho attitude could fight off “evil.” I used to prefer Ghost Hunters and their critical approach to debunking claims of the paranormal.
I have had a very real paranormal experience myself, and it’s something I’ve been reflecting on as I binge on paranormal TV shows. I am still a skeptic, I watch these shows and all too often it’s quite obvious that the investigators are matrixing so-called faces and not realizing that random noises are completely ordinary in any building. As I sit here writing this, the door to our apartment is shaking, but I know it is because of an air current that makes its way through the hallway. Having seen the most epic of paranormal experiences, I brush off basic noises and blurry shadows.
I’ve always had different reactions to the idea of the paranormal, while many people I knew were (naturally) fearful of creepy energy and unexplained footsteps, I was intrigued. Sure, I feel adrenaline, but I’m not very afraid of being hurt by something unexplainable. I’m afraid of the living. I’m more afraid of breathing people than those I can’t see.
Prior to my own significant paranormal experience, I was even more of a skeptic. I have always taken a very scientific approach in my life. Following an old wives tale for the cure for a cold? I research it before I believe it. Hearing the floorboards creak? Must be the fluctuating temperatures that expand or shrink the wood. Did something fall randomly? Must have been situated in such a way that it was leaning and had gravitational potential energy was just waiting to pull it down to the ground.
The home I spent the second half of my childhood growing up in, had been renovated many times, including a bit by us. The building had previously housed everything including a carriage repair shop, an automobile repair shop, an apartment building, a single family home, and a second home for skiers who frequented the local ski resorts. We picked out the home without ever seeing it in person. Before we moved to Vermont, we lived in Oregon and my dad’s family helped us find a Vermont home to move to. My aunt and uncle took a home video of the house. I picked my bedroom before we even got there. The room I chose was in the corner on the second floor and had antiques in there. I was ecstatic when we arrived and the previous owners had left a lot of the antiques in the home, including the ones that drew me to my room.
Throughout the many years we owned that house, I was the only one who never changed rooms. Everyone else did, my brother moved rooms because of his fear of having to walk past the stairs to the third floor in the dark. Walking past those stairs at night was unnerving, it always felt as if someone was staring down at you from the top of the steps.
Growing up as a teenager up in a 100+ year old Vermont home meant hearing a significant amount of “unexplained” noises. There was a constant creepy feeling in the home that affected certain members of my family more than once. I remember once being with family and friends and hearing something upstairs that no one wanted to check out. I grabbed a baseball bat (in case it was a person) and searched the whole house to prove that there was no one and nothing there.
My non-beliefs were shaken when I was in high school. My brother was in elementary school, and whenever he had his pals over they loved to annoy me to the nth degree. We’re talking the works: banging on my door, chasing me down the stairs, and sneaking into my room when I wasn’t in there. I had just experienced that kind of day and was exhausted from herding the wild children out of my room. Falling asleep was not a problem that evening.
I woke up in the middle of the night. I was absolutely freezing. I must have kicked my comforter off in the night, as it was off the bed. I lay for a moment and squinted at the glow in the dark stars pasted on my ceiling. It wasn’t winter, but I knew I couldn’t fall back asleep if I was this cold. I was fully awake and tossed and turned for a minute before biting the bullet and deciding to retrieve my fallen blanket.
The moonlight was barely peeking through my blinds and the air was still. My breath was frosty in the strangely cold summer evening. I pushed myself up and stretched as I sat up straight. I looked towards the foot of my bed. There, sitting upright on the edge of my mattress, was a little boy.
My first thought was that it was one of my brother’s friends. He seemed to be less than 10 years old and was looking back at me. I was about to tell him to get out, until I realized I didn’t know this boy who was staring back at me in my room. Time seemed to slow down during this interaction, I was hyper aware of his appearance. His skin was pale, with a hint of blue shimmering off his face. He wore a sailor striped shirt and khaki shorts. Everything about him radiated as if he was iridescent, shaking in his attempt to manifest in solid form. A three-dimensional colorful shadow of a little boy.
He was reaching down, as if to grab the blanket from the floor. I could tell he wanted to help me. Realizing the strange nature of this encounter and his existence, I instinctually gasped. I inhaled suddenly and gulped down a chilly breath. I scooted back, ever so slightly. I continued to look at him, curious about who this stranger was. He heard me and looked back my way.
His face simply sank, his sweet face that had just seemed so hopeful now looked disappointed and sad. He took his gaze from me and looked down towards the floor. I remember his eyes, lonely and lost. It was like he wanted to help me and my fear reaffirmed a fear in himself. It scared him off. He got off the bed and sat up on his knees. He took two or three steps, while down on his knees, and vanished.
As he disappeared, the air warmed back up and my breath was no longer visible. I stayed awake for a while after that. I grabbed my blanket and curled up under the covers. I kept looking around my room, wondering if he would show himself again. There was nothing scary in seeing him, it was just like an interaction with any other sad child who simply needed love. Yet, he wasn’t a normal child. He manifested and disappeared. He didn’t appear and disappear instantaneously and it was not something I saw out of the corner of my eye. It was a memorable interaction and I remember the experience like it was yesterday.
Our house was home to more than just my paranormal experience. When my brother was really little, probably only seven or eight years old, he was playing video games in his room. I’m pretty sure he was indulging in some serious Tony Hawk action when he looked to his left at the large mirror doors that covered the closet. He saw a boy, dressed in the same garments that I previously described.
The boy jumped onto the bed and my brother dropped his controller and high tailed it out of that room and down the stairs. Our parents’ removed the mirror doors after that. What makes this extra fascinating is that neither of us discussed these incidents with each other for a long time. When we did, our separate descriptions lined up perfectly.
Other people who visited our house saw and felt things they couldn’t explain. One friend of mine also saw the same boy, only this time he was standing on the stairs to the third floor. My parents’ heard things they could never explain. Someone running quickly down the stairs, when no one else was home. Shadows ducking around corners.
Years later, we did some research and found out some fascinating and terrible information. While I can’t link to any reports here as we found this information from our local town hall and I am thousands of miles away in Argentina, I will relay what I can recall. In the 1970s (I believe this was the decade), a young boy lived in the home with his parents. The story is that he drowned at Star Lake, which is just up the road a couple of miles. He was in the same age range as the apparition multiple people have seen in the house. In such a tight-knit community, I later realized that I knew the grown cousin of this boy. I never told her about the hauntings, but she told me about his existence and that he lived in that house.
I cannot deny what I saw that night and what I felt and heard in that home. What it means is beyond my comprehension. I don’t pretend to know that I know what the “paranormal is.” I just know there is so much that we do not know. I also know what I saw. Phenomena that we cannot explain may never be understood, but I know there’s something. Whether it’s echoes of energy imprinted on a location, rifts in the fabrics of multiple dimensions, time lapses, or even lost souls…
Today, the house is basically empty. We no longer own it and it is locked up by the bank. The wind still blowing through the cracks in the window panes. Another family moved on from its aging halls.
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