House Sitting Horrors
A Real Haunted House Experience
By: Gail M. Foster
One year, acquaintances of my husband asked us to housesit while they when south for the winter. The couple, antique dealers, lived in a 5,000 sq. ft. custom-built Victorian style home designed to specifically display their antique collection. They frequently held parties combined with house-tours to show their antique collection to guests and antique buyers. The home itself was about four years old at the time although designed to look like a home from the early 1900’s. Our job during the six months was to keep the house occupied for insurance/security reasons and look after the owners’ pets that were no longer able to travel out of the country. I thought this offer to pet-sit in such a beautiful home was an opportunity of a lifetime. Every corner, counter, mantel and windowsill contained curiosities and household artifacts, some whose usefulness was long forgotten. The walls were filled with paintings, old photos, nostalgic signs and posters, all tugging at the memory of a simpler time. The grand staircase was a wide sweeping curl from the front entrance up to the second level.
My first week in the home was spent wandering the many rooms browsing through the delicate, the faded and intriguing specimens and wondering the purpose of some the more peculiar items. As the weeks wore on, I discovered certain places in the house that made me feel uncomfortable. The grand staircase was elegantly impressive but I sensed a cold and creepy feeling at about the sixth step. One of the bedrooms, set up as a nursery complete with an adjoining nurse’s suite, sent shivers up my spine and another bedroom had the feeling of old-age infirmary. Whenever I walked by the hallway at the top of the grand staircase I forever had the feeling of being watched by someone. One evening, as I prepared supper, I heard footsteps from the floor above. I asked my husband who else was in the house and he replied “no one”. I told him I heard footsteps and asked him to check to make sure no one else was around. He insisted there was no one that it was probably the dog or cat. I pointed out that the dog was in the kitchen with me and the cat was sleeping beside him and I went upstairs to look. With the dog following close behind (I was the one who fed her treats), I checked the upstairs rooms. I walked through pockets of cold air and peered down darkened hallways. Although I saw no one, I had an overwhelming creepy feeling as if someone where nearby.
For a new home, it seemed very drafty and even my husband who usually thought nothing of wearing shorts all winter long wore long pants, a heavy sweater and slippers that winter. Off the Master bedroom was an oversized 20’ x 36’ with a 15’ x 10’ jacuzzi bathroom and equally large walk-in closet. The square footage of the full master bedroom was larger than my whole apartment. The owners asked us to sleep in the master bedroom to keep the cat and dog company with instruction to keep the bedroom door open so the pets could come and go at night. I dreaded getting up in the middle of the night, not only because the walk to the ensuite bathroom was so far, but because I had to pass the door that opened to the hallway at the top of the grand staircase. Each time I walked past the open door, I couldn’t help but glance down the hallway and although it was too dark to really see, I felt there was someone there watching me go by.
As months wore on, I avoided using the grand staircase completely and opted for walking to the farthest end of the house to use a smaller service stairway. I noticed that when we had guests, the creepiness lessened but when I was alone, the feeling of being watched intensified with an overwhelming cold closeness that made my hair rise. Many times we used the excuse that the cat or the dog was walking around upstairs only to find them sleeping in another room a short while later. One evening my husband took the dog with him for a couple of hours. I realized I felt braver with the dog at home, even though she was less a guard dog and more likely to want to play and lick an intruder. During the two and a half hours that my husband and the dog were gone, the house seemed to come alive with sounds. I finally phoned a friend and had them stay with me on the telephone while I searched the house in case I screamed she could call the police. I vowed never to be alone in the house and always arranged outings for the same evening as my husband’s meeting night.
TO BE CONTINUED
I hope that you enjoyed the first part of this really great story of a real live haunting. Part 2 will be coming soon…
Michael “the Ghost Guy” Rowland