Haunted House Case File: An Abandoned Home

I was contacted by a nervous couple that wanted me to take a look at the old family home. It was a large house on an even larger piece of land outside of town. All the owner knew was that it had been abandoned by the family a long time before. Even basic maintenance of the place had been stopped almost 10 years prior to their contacting us.

All they knew was that the place was supposed to be haunted. They didn't have any desire to go anywhere near the place - not unless they were told that everything was fine with the house. In fact, the only person in their family that had lived at the house was their grandmother, and she had not seen the house since they abandoned it. Apparently, the only thing she would say about the house was that it was a bad place and that people shouldn't go there.

Our objective was simple. The house was supposed to be haunted, and the owners wanted to know if that was true. They didn't actually ask us to try and clear the home, they simply wanted to know what was really going on. They were of the mind that if it was haunted then it would just be demolished and sold. The land alone was worth a small fortune, but they wanted no part of any haunting.


The property itself was unsettled...

The house itself was built far from the country road leading up to it. A huge pond lay stagnant in the centre of the lot, the driveway wound along the right edge of the property up to the house.

The entire yard had gone wild decades earlier. No one had wanted to come out to do the maintenance. You could feel something wrong in the air the moment you stepped off the road and onto the driveway. To add to the uneasy feeling, this was also the dead lot on the road. All the others had tall, green grass; everything on this lot was brown and dead.

There were so many cliches that it was just plain creepy, almost what you would expect walking though a B-Movie scene. Yet it was real, and the feeling was undeniable. This haunted house was the real thing.


The drive shed looked as though it had been hastily abandoned...

Before we proceeded to the house itself, we decided to take a good look through the drive shed (an equipment shed with room for vehicles). When we entered the drive shed, the first thing we noticed was an old VW Bug sitting under a thick layer of dust.

The windows were rolled down; a few small boxes lay on the front passenger's seat and there were a handful of cassettes scattered on the driver's seat.

It looked as though someone had been packing the car to leave, but had simply run off without finishing. The car had been left, half loaded, for many years.


There was little else of interest in the yard except...

At first it seemed as though there was a well a short distance from the house. It looked odd, even at a distance, so we decided to get closer.

It was square. Wells are round, and this looked like a square concrete hatch. That was about all it took to pique our curiosity. We slid the concrete lid aside. Looking down, we saw that it was indeed a perfect square, and we also noticed an old-fashioned electric wire with old bulbs on the end.

Our first thought was that it was connected to the house. Then we looked down again and thought about it for a second. The house was to the right, but the tunnel down there went left.

With no ladder to go down, and no apparent way to turn the light on, we slid the cover back into place.


Now we had a few things to think about...

The owners of the house had not given us much information. They had simply told us that the house had been abandoned due to disturbances. In fact, they had only entered the property a few times themselves.

If they wanted us to be of much use, we needed to know more. The only person in the family who had lived in that house was their grandmother. The only thing she would say was that the place was best left alone. There had to be more to the story than that.

We talked for a short while and left. It was starting to get late; we did not want to be out there after dark. In part, our desire to leave was motivated by the fact that we had no reliable lights. The other part was that the place was simply not very inviting; as late afternoon pressed in, so did the dark and foreboding atmosphere of the place.


We returned a few days later...

When we returned, the property still had an odd, dead air about it, but the place felt more abandoned than disturbed. Walking up the drive towards the house, we joked with each other that our imaginations had got the best of us.

Sure, the place was a bit creepy, but we were not unsettled at all. We had been asked by the owner to investigate the property and learn what we could.


A broken stained-glass arch enclosed the front door...

The front door had an arch of small stained glass windows around it, many of which had been broken over the years. White paint peeled from the wooden frame, but everything seemed solid.

Then I tried the key. It slid in with no problem, but it would not turn. The lock was completely frozen from years of rain and snow. We were in luck, however. The glass pane next to the doorknob was broken, and it was possible to reach in and open the door.


A paralyzing fear gripped me...

As I reached my hand toward the broken window to open the door, a paralyzing fear gripped me; I couldn't move. Suddenly, I was terrified; I could feel something watching me.

Goose bumps broke out across my skin, and even the little hairs on my arm stood straight up. All of my senses were assaulted by an all-consuming realization. There was something here, and it was fully aware of us.


My friend reached through the broken window...

It only took a moment for my friends to realize that something was wrong. They were more than happy to tease me because I froze in mid step. While I was more than a bit upset with the teasing, I was also relieved by the friendly joking they were attempting. Still, I could see absolutely nothing funny in the situation. I was rather numb.

As I stood there trying to compose myself, my friend reached his hand through the broken window and unlocked the door. Of course, nothing happened, and most of the tension died off in an instant.


Something attracted my attention...

Without much of a thought, and with a bit of a push from my friends, I stepped into the entry way. At once I could see nearly half of the house. Across the room from me was a staircase leading up to the second floor.

To my left was the living room; the entryway we were standing in was the size of a small family room. Above our heads, the vaulted ceiling gave the place an open and bright air.

For a moment I looked up to the second floor. Something had attracted my attention; I could feel a presence up there. At the top of the staircase, the railing continued to the left in front of the two bedrooms. The design was simple and open; under different circumstances I would have loved the old, country architecture.

Even the railing on the stairs was rock solid, 4x4 posts. You could hit that with a truck and not worry too much. Those things wouldn't fall until the foundation let go underneath.


The living room was long, the kitchen opening onto the far end...

Turning towards the living room, I felt my friends move in behind me. The air in the place hung heavy, despite the bright light coming in from the second floor. Somehow, the light felt cold and stark.

The living room was long and the kitchen opened onto the far end; shadows closed in on the doorway. Now this room was much brighter, and, by comparison, the light in the entryway was a sickly yellow.


The once-over of the first floor went well...

Soon our nerves calmed down and we found ourselves feeling more comfortable. Although, comfortable here is relative. There was still tension in the air, though we had no further upsets and the once-over of the first floor went well.

There wasn't much of interest that we could find on the first floor, except for the staircase leading up, and another staircase leading down. The staircase down ended in darkness, and while the lights still seemed to work on the main floor, the ones for the basement were dead.


A breath of fresh air was in order...

That made the decision easy. We weren't in the mood to go poking around in the basement with our flashlights just yet; a breath of fresh air was in order.

Outside we felt an immediate relief from the pressure. Inside there had a been a pressure building. It had started off as simply as a heavy feeling in the air, but had grown subtly until it was like being in a pressure bell.

While the sun was a welcome sight, it was also hot. The shade the drive shed offered was most inviting compared with the idea of sitting on the porch of the house.


This was something we had never expected to find...

Sitting on the hood of the old VW Bug I relaxed and pondered which part of the house should be our next stop. That's when one of my friends called me over. He didn't say anything, but pointed to a box in the car.

It looked like there were some candles, a pendant, and a few other items tucked together in once corner of the box. Being rather curious, I pulled out the pendant and dropped it to the ground straight away. This was something we had never expected to find.

You couldn't mistake the pendant's construction, nor the markings it bore. Whoever had fashioned this pendant had done so for the specific purpose of devil worship. They had not been lazy in its construction. It was very finely crafted using the proper materials, and the metal had been expertly shaped and etched.


We decided we would take a quick look and call it a day...

The implications of the pendant and the candles left us with enough questions that we were tempted to leave and go straight to the owner for some answers. The basement and the upstairs remained unexplored, so we decided we would take a quick look and call it a day.

We left the pendant on the hood of the car; carrying it with us into that house would have been a bad idea. In fact, we didn't really relish the idea of doing much with it other than destroying it. That wasn't our decision, however. We would have to take it to the owner and explain just what it was that we had found.


A plan came easily, and we set out for the house...

We stepped out of the drive shed, and the moment we saw the house we knew it had seen us. It was like being stared at, and this time it provoked our curiosity instead of leaving us with an uneasy feeling.

There were two objectives in returning to the house: the basement needed a look, as did the upstairs. A plan came easily and we set out for the house. We would start with the basement and finish upstairs. Part of the hope was that the upstairs would be like a breath of fresh air, a bit relaxing and boring, before we left.

It was always nice to leave a place on a more relaxed note. Leaving a place stressed and nervous only serves to make the return visit more tense.


The basement simply seemed to eat most of the light...

Walking straight into the house, we pulled out our flashlights and turned left toward the stairs leading to the basement. There was no hesitation as we started down the stairs; we descended in pairs.

Upon reaching the bottom of the stairs, we aimed our flashlights into the room. The basement seemed to be one large room. Both the walls and the floor were finished, with light-coloured paint on the walls and thick, blue carpet.

It was like a giant storage room, but something in the basement seemed to eat most of the light. With the size and number of flashlights, it should have been fairly bright, yet the beams of our flashlights produced a minimal radius. It was like punching fine shafts of light through a black curtain.


Sitting on top of an old blue trunk was a clear explanation...

The basement was dark and damp. Beyond that, the shadows seemed bottomless. Even then, it wasn't really an uncomfortable place to be; that in itself made me uneasy.

Hey, I'm no different than anyone else; I have my fears. One of them happens to be basements, and another is dark basements. There is a big difference between the two. Logic told me I should leave this basement. The calm was unnatural.

I went over to the corner of the room closest to the stairs and found another surprise, like the one in the old car. Sitting on top of an old blue trunk was a clear explanation of what had unsettled this place so terribly.

There was a pair of half-burned candles with a large satanic pentacle between them. In a box beside this makeshift altar there were old photos, and next to that an old camera - and I mean old, the old kind you'd see in the movies of Billy The Kid.

There isn't much more detail I feel comfortable telling here, but those photos were something I'll never forget. If it hadn't been quite a few years ago, and if the equipment present had not been so ancient, I would chalk it up to trick photography. The problem with that is these photos predated the concept of trick photography completely. I was alarmingly certain that they were real.


Suddenly the atmosphere changed; we were no longer welcome...

A feeling of revulsion swept over us as we looked over the altar and photos. I could see it in the eyes of my friends; they were feeling a bit uneasy too. The hint of fear in their eyes was no doubt an honest reflection of the fear in my own.

The stairs felt so far away and in an instant the path back to the stairs seemed impossibly black. It was as though it was midnight and instead of flashlights we just had tiny night lights.

Suddenly, the atmosphere changed; we were no longer welcome and we made for the stairs. An incredibly loud, yet silent, scream filled the basement.


No way we're going back down...

It felt like we had bumped into a room full of people as we made our way out of the basement, and those stairs seemed to go on forever.

The moment that we were off the stairs, everything seemed calm again. Even the sickly yellow light was a great relief compared with the dark below. Like we had always done, we leaned against the wall and rested for a few moments.

For some reason, we had simply never felt comfortable sitting. It was as though sitting was a more open and vulnerable position.

We just stood there, looking at each other. As we looked towards the stairs, you could see it in our eyes: there was no way we were going back down there.


A nervous debate...

The last thing any of us wanted to do was to come back again. At the same time, we didn't particularly want to stay much longer. I couldn't tell you how long we talked. Time was a relative thing in that house, and moments could seem like hours.

For a moment, we tried to justify skipping the upstairs and just calling it a day, but I knew there was something up there. We had little choice but to take a look, and standing there debating only served to keep us in that place even longer.


It was time to head up...

Looking up from the entryway there were two doors visible, both of them open. The door further along seemed wholeheartedly uninviting. On the other hand, the first door didn't look overly pleasant either. Regardless, it was time to head up.

The stairs were solid under our feet, and the banister was rock solid. As a rule, I hate heights, but this wasn't going to be so bad. I'd already been through a few homes, and more than one porch, and this was definitely an improvement, at least as far as the construction went. It was not really a house to showcase craftsmanship in, however.


The first bedroom had an unpleasant, almost sickly feel to it...

Standing on that balcony felt like a terribly vulnerable place, and for just a moment, I pondered the idea of being stuck. In that moment I think my friends could see my heart sink and could probably guess what I was thinking.

None of us wanted to dwell on the idea, and before long two of my friends went into the first bedroom. The room was empty except for a few half-packed boxes left open on the floor. There was also a closet with a few garbage bags, no doubt filled with clothes.

Standing in that hall, looking through the doorway, the first bedroom had an unpleasant, almost sickly feel to it. It was almost tangible, a powerful feeling of pain, suffering, illness and misery.


The mutual feeling was 'Hell No!'

If the rest of the house had been really weird, then the second bedroom was truly something special. The crown jewel of the last place in the world you would want to be.

We looked in the room and it felt like a solid wall of energy. A few boxes littered the floor, and a portrait leaned against the wall. The portrait, an old black-and-white cameo, was of a young woman.

A simple oval frame enclosed the portrait, a once dark and richly-stained wood surface now dusty and faded. An intricate scrollwork wound around the whole of the frame; it looked like the inside of a locket.

We looked at each other; the feeling was mutual: "Hell No!" Even though that portrait was a profile, it was staring at us nonetheless. It didn't need to look us in the eye to do it.


We simply couldn't make ourselves move...

Still, the thought of having to come back haunted us almost more than actually standing there at that moment. Once again, we realized we were starting to get more than a little freaked out by the place.

It was time to stop for a moment and think things out rationally, to calm ourselves so that we would be able to finish up and leave. We told ourselves all of the right reasons why there was nothing wrong. We told ourselves everything we needed to hear.

Unfortunately, we also knew we were full of it. And even if we wanted to rush to finish up, we simply couldn't make ourselves move. At least not towards that door anyway.


The world moved in slow motion...

It was incredibly frustrating. No one wanted to go in the room. At the same time no one wanted to leave. It was actually a somewhat heated debate, with each person trying to goad another into going.

Well, especially under a lot of pressure, I can be downright impatient. So I finally said, "To hell with it; I'll go!"

I took a step into the room, or at least I tried to. Yes, my right foot crossed the threshold, but it never hit the ground. As my foot crossed the threshold a force hit me, centering on my abdomen, and the world began moving in slow motion. I was knocked back with incredible force, stunned and unable to see.


For a brief instant I thought the banister would snap...

Then I felt myself hit the banister. Slightly curled up from the blow, I could feel its solid form against my ribs. The banister was bowing outwards under the force of the impact and I could feel myself sliding. The fear of going straight over the banister hit me and I threw my right arm over it, holding on for dear life.

I could hear the banister cracking, straining under my weight. My feet were off the ground, and the only thing I had to hold onto was ready to give way. For a brief instant, it felt as though the banister would snap. It simply couldn't be pushed any further.

Then I felt it snap back into place, leaving me on my knees, leaning stunned against it. My right arm hung over the banister and felt like I'd nearly dislocated it.


If you stare into the abyss...

When I felt the pain in my shoulder, I was grounded once again. The world blinked back into focus and I could see my friends. They were already most of the way down the stairs, one of them almost at the door. When they saw me, they stopped.

I was still on my knees when I turned to look back into that room. I didn't want to, but at the same time, I had too. The room may have looked the same, but it didn't feel like it.

It was like staring into the abyss. They say that if you stare into the abyss long enough, the abyss stares back. I couldn't look away. A moment later, it was like we were staring through one another.


I wanted out...

All I wanted to do was leave; part of my mind was screaming at me to run. There is a point, shortly after staring through one other -- a brief moment -- where you stare so deeply you actually touch.

And at that very moment, my legs started working again. I stood up and bolted for the stairs. I wanted out more than I wanted anything else in the world.

I went straight down the stairs. My friends had started for the door once more. It felt like the stairs were endless and the door was so far away. We could feel the presence in the room staring at us.


The door slammed shut...

My friend threw the front door wide open, but we paused for a brief moment. Our gaze turned towards the basement, then towards the living room. Finally we raised our eyes toward the bedroom.

The house was far from empty. Those that had once lived here, those that were responsible for the pendants, were still here. It was their place, and no one else was wanted.

We ran straight out the front door. I was the last one out and I grabbed the door knob on my way through. The door slammed shut with surprising force, as though something had hit it from the other side as it closed.

Some of the stained glass windows broke further, and a few pieces of glass struck the porch around us. Then everything was quiet. It was like being in the eye of a storm.


I looked down to see a piece of broken glass...

Outside the house we felt so free and safe. Whatever was in the house apparently did not venture beyond the walls of the place. It was something that you could feel in the air; it was another matter of thresholds.

Now let's just put that pause into context for a moment. In fact, that pause was a moment, maybe a few moments. It certainly wasn't more that that, although at that moment it felt like a 15-minute coffee break.

We turned to head off the porch, and, in fact, straight up the drive and off the property; we were out of there. But once again, I froze. My foot suddenly felt warm. The inside of my shoe was wet.

I looked down to see a piece of broken glass next to my shoe, and you could see the blood on it.


The property grew cold and dim...

Now let's be honest: I'm accident prone, and my friends are used to it. All I had to do was point to my foot. Moments later, I was grabbed under each arm and carried off that porch.

They helped me walk a good 20 feet from the house before we stopped to look at it. It was actually bleeding quite badly. Now, generally speaking, I bounce pretty well and I'm not a bleeder. Being accident prone, I've proven this theory time and time again.

This, however, was different. The cut was bleeding, and putting pressure on it wasn't really helping like you'd expect. One of my friends tore a strip off their shirt and we bound my foot tight.

There was no doubt that the glass had hit an artery, but the situation was well in hand. As we continued down the drive, the property grew cold and dim, like a shadow was falling over the place.


The next farmhouse over...

We simply didn't care. The way out was clear and we took it as fast as we could. I was still in trouble, and we knew it was time to get to the hospital. We were outside of town and we weren't sure just where the closest hospital was, or how far it would be.

The decision was made to head to the next farmhouse over and call an ambulance. Then it would all be over. A short ride to the hospital, a few stitches, and we would be home.


The owner was going to be unhappy...

Within minutes we were next door, where a young woman was tending the front garden. When we told her that there had been an accident, she hurried inside to call the ambulance.

A few minuets later she came back out with a blanket and a pillow. With my foot propped in the air, resting comfortable, I waited for my ride back to town.

Well, the owner was going to be unhappy. Where I live the ambulances always come with at least one cop car. So, not only had there been an accident on the property, but there would be a police report to go with it.


Simply checking out a house...

I knew what to say before the ambulance and police arrived. We had been there simply checking out a house house, inspecting it for the family, and I had stepped on a piece of broken glass.

Well, we were finished with the house. The owners weren't going to take any chances. Even if they didn't believe what we told them, they did know for a fact that the place was in dangerously bad shape.


Goodbye and good riddance...

That would mean only one thing. They would get rid of the house and the property. There was something really wrong with the house, and it was no place for them; it was a piece of family history best left behind in the dust.

We did speak with them one last time. They called to make sure that everything was all right. At the time, we were sitting in my living room relaxing, trying to sort out the day's events with a few other friends.

It was as we had expected. There would be no one going back to the house, it would just be put up for sale, as is. We would find out no more about the place or its history, and that was a bit of a disappointment.

Even then, it wasn't a big issue. It was nice to be sitting there with a coffee, my foot resting on a pillow atop the coffee table. I, for one, didn't really need to know more about the place; I just needed to recover from it.


In retrospect...

I've often pondered what it would have been like if I had had the chance to return to that house. A chance to actually clean it up and make it livable again; I don't know what to think.

Yeah, I would go back if I was asked to by the owner. Yes, I would definitely make sure I was prepared for the worst. There is also a small list of people that I would like to have on the team.

In case you were wondering, yes, we all had nightmares for a while after that experience. I don't know about the others, but sometimes I still do. That place left a few real marks on me and it taught me many valuable things. The scar in the shape of a smile, on the instep of my left foot, will make sure that I never forget these lessons.



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