Monday, October 31, 2011

Something wicked this way comes: Scary tales 7

The house the tried to eat me.

My parents divorced when I was a week old. It was not a bad thing, quite the contrary, it was a very good thing. He was not a particularly nice human. Well he still isn't but that is a different sort of scary story for a different time. Despite the divorce he was still my father, and we were very young and my mother did not want to overly influence our opinion on the man, so we were allowed to see him on the odd holiday. One year, when I was about 10, for Thanksgiving he wanted to fly my brother and myself to Connecticut to spend time with him and his new family.

My mother was reluctant to send us, but we were old enough that if something bad happened we could probably get help on our own, so she packed us up and sent us off. For the most part she was right, we could take care of ourselves. We successfully navigated the dangerous waters of rich elitist step families, conned our step brother out of all of his allowance via a well played game of poker, and made our father pay way more than he should of for things we didn't actually want or need.

The first night we were there was awkward though. I had never met my stepmother or any of my step and half siblings. My step brother was the same age as my real brother, and then there was my 6 year old half brother, my 2 year old half brother, and my half sister who was about a year old at the time. It was a very strange situation to be thrown into, and I was sort of convinced that my step mother was going to be an evil witch like all step mothers tend to be in fairy tales.

We got to the house in Old Lyme, which was set back in the woods. It was a sprawling two story house of a design that was wholly foreign to a girl from the south. There was a plaque by the front door declaring the house was nearly 100 years old. It was dark and cold and late, so introductions were kept brief before we were hustled off to bed.

I was staying in my sisters room, which was by far the best room in the house. It was like a second master suite; it had its own bathroom, balcony, and sitting area. It was off the main hall way and there was a little tiny room across the hall from it, which was used as the live in nannies room. I am not certain the actual original purpose for a room like this would have been; guest room, inlaw room, servant room. All I know was it was big and kind of cool. It was also freezing cold, just over my bed. I was tired from the flight though, and I bundled my blankets around me and was soon asleep.

Now the problem with being in a strange house is that nothing is familiar. I awoke at some point in the night needing to pee, and had to sleepily find my way to the bathroom. As I said before it was in my room, so this should not have been a hard thing to do. I was still slightly asleep though, so when I stepped out of the bathroom and was in the main hallway instead of my bedroom, I was slightly confused, but easily convinced that I had just in my sleep riddled state, gone to the wrong bathroom.

I am a lifetime insomniac, so I have this weird need to know what time it is whenever I wake up. Being in a strange house doesn't change this need. Unfortunately there was no clock in my room, and I was not in the habit of wearing a watch. My best option was to go downstairs to see if there was a stove or microwave clock. I padded quietly down the long hallway past my brothers room, turned the corner heading towards the younger boys room and the stair landing, and made it to the top of the stairs before I recalled that they had a dog I had not met yet. I began to wonder if the dog was in my father and step mothers room or down stairs. I wondered if it was a friendly dog or not. The last thing I wanted was to go downstairs for the time and get mauled by some strange dog. After a minute of debate I decided it was best to go back to my room and go to sleep.

As I turned back towards the hallway I heard the sound of footsteps coming down the hall towards me. They were far enough away that they had to have been coming from the general area of my room, which meant that it had to be the nanny. I had only met her briefly, but the nanny creeped me out. She was Asian, spoke almost no english, and she always looked angry. I really did not want to run into her in the hallway in the middle of the night.

So I did what any rational 10 year old would do; I hid. Actually I pressed my back against the wall and hoped she wouldn't come to the end of the hall and see me. After a moment of sitting with my eyes squeezed closed I realized the footsteps had stopped. They had not gone back down the hall, they had just stopped. This was perplexing to say the least. Cautiously I peered around the corner hoping she was not standing there waiting to scare the hell out of me. To my relief, and eventual dismay, she was not.

What I did see confused the hell out of me. You see this was a long wide hallway, probably 15 ft long. About four feet from the start of the hallway, on the right, was my older step brothers room. At the very end of the hall facing the entry to the hallway was the bathroom door. On the left wall, just before the end of the hall was an opening. If you turned into the opening there was a nook with a door to the left and to the right; the left being the nannies room, the right being my room.

When I looked down the hall I should have seen my brothers door slightly ajar on the right and the bathroom door standing open at the end of the hallway. What I did see was my brothers door standing slightly ajar on the right, and then a solid wall running across the hallway about half a foot after my brothers room.

What the...?

Slowly I approached the wall that should not have been there. I began to wonder if I was still asleep or possibly hallucinating. I reached out and hesitantly touched it. The wall was solid. I pushed on it with all my little might, but it didn't budge, and remained quite real.

I had to be dreaming. I pinched myself hard, since that works in the movies, only I just managed to leave a little welt on my forearm. I seemed to be awake, and the wall seemed to be real.

Then there were the footsteps again coming from the far side of the wall. I was 10 so I did the only rational thing; I ran and hid. Well actually I ran back around the corner and pressed my back to the wall again. I was now convinced it was the nanny and she was the evil witch, not my step mother. After a moment the sound once again stopped. I was beginning to get really scared by now.

I looked down the hall again, now not knowing what to expect. The hall was the same as it had been before with its strange ghost wall. This was obviously a problem. I knew I was awake, and I knew the wall was real, but I didn't know what to do. I thought about waking up my father and step mother, but somehow I was afraid they wouldn't believe me or that the wall would disappear before they got there.

I was standing in front of the wall when I got the brilliant idea to wake my brothers instead. They were right there in the room by the new wall. I could actually look in and see them sleeping. If I just shouted at them from the door I could wake them up and watch to make sure the wall didn't disappear. It was a brilliant plan.

I looked in at the boys and then turned back to test the wall one more time to make sure it was real before I woke them up and possibly humiliated myself. Sure enough it was solid as ever. I wasn't insane. I left my hand on the wall and turned my head to call into the room and I stopped.

As I looked into the room, where I should have seen the guys asleep I instead was staring at my sisters crib and my own bed. It was no longer my brothers room. I might have gasped in shock, I might have let out a little shout, I can not remember now. I probably did both.

I looked back and the wall my hand was on was still real. I looked behind me to see if I could still see the stairs or if it would be the entry into the hallway, but instead I saw another wall. In fact as I spun around in place I discovered that there were now very solid walls on three sides of me, and my only escape was into my own room.

At this point if I had been thinking rationally I might have considered that going into the room the house seemed to be herding me into was probably unwise, but I was not thinking rationally. I was 10 and I was now officially terrified.

Without another thought, before the landscape could change on me again, I bolted into the room. I threw myself into my freezing cold bed and pulled the covers up over my head. Everything is better when you are hiding under the covers.

I sat awake for the rest of the night. I know I never went back to sleep. I was a professional insomniac at that young age, I knew when I was awake or not. I know I had not been asleep and dreaming. I know it was real.

The next morning when I was asked how I slept, I did not relate my story to my stepmother. I did however mention I did not sleep well and asked if perhaps the house was haunted. She told me that some people thought it was, and some weird things had happened in that room in the past.

I slept on the couch the rest of the week.

And the dog was an old golden retriever that would have sooner licked me than bite me.

In the 20 years since this incident I have often wondered if it was real or not. The memory is still fresh in my brain to this day. I can hear the footsteps, I can feel the welt on my arm (which was there the next morning), I can feel the wall under my hand. I was so certain at the time it was real, and even now I can't find a point in the memory where it could have been a dream. It is so vivid I can't imagine it was.

I have had many paranormal run ins since then, and I am certain I will have many more, but I am certain that this one will stand out for all times as the scariest moment ever. Ghosts I will take any day of the week. Possessed houses is something I will gladly take a pass on.

I do hope that you enjoyed my real life ghost stories and scary tales.
Have a happy Halloween, and remember there are things that go bump in the night, and just because you do not believe in them, does not mean that they do not believe in you.


  1. Oh yes, you definitely saved the 'best' until last!

  2. That sounds terrifying. So weird!