A Haunted House

R. Christopher Cook
Issue Date: 
October, 2018
Article Body: 

It was 1976, and my wife and I were hunting for our first apartment together. Back then, two and three bedroom apartments were renting for $300 to $600 a month, depending on there location, condition, size etc. Then she found one in Bridgewater; a three bedroom for just $165 a month. It was on the second floor of a very old house, the rooms were large with ten foot ceilings, very spacious. The bathroom was 10’ by 12’ with one of those giant bath tubs that stood four inches off the floor on legs. There was no shower. For me that was a problem, but the landlord agreed to suspend a hoop from the ceiling and run a pipe up from the faucet. That sealed the deal. I should have known when it seems too good to be true it probably is…
We moved in a couple weeks later. I, my wife Jone, and she had a daughter from a previous marriage. Wendy who was a darling, beautiful child just five years old. We had a room, Wendy had a room, and the third bedroom was a perfect magic studio. I was a practicing magician and had some large tricks that had to be stored, and of course room to practice and rehearse. Jone was a psychic medium and clairaudient which meant she heard voices. We were the perfect tenants for the place, that is until things began to happen.
The first thing we noticed was Wendy started talking to an invisible friend. I thought that was normal, many kids have invisible friends. But her mother was more suspicious and observant than I was. She noticed Wendy never talked to her friend outside the house, and when she did talk, she would talk and pause like she was carrying on a conversation. When we asked who she was talking to, her only answer was the man. He never had a name, just the man. Her mother was perplexed, she heard voices all the time. We used to do all-night radio programs together, from 12 a.m.- to 5 a.m.; people would call in and she would do readings for them over the phone. Yet she could not hear the voice that talked to her daughter. This was strange.
Then things got stranger, things began to move. For example, one night Jone had a couple of friends over. She got out an old Ouija board and they began to play with it.
I was in the other room practicing card tricks. I didn’t know they were trying to talk to the ghosts in the house… I was in the other room trying to keep the place of four Aces in a deck of cards. But sure enough that’s what they were doing, and although they didn’t know it at the time, they let the spirits out. Things really began to happen after that. For instance, late that same night I woke because of a scratching noise. I was in bed asleep but heard something moving. I got up to see what it was and when I walked into the living room I couldn’t believe what I saw. The planchette was moving around on the coffee table by itself. I walked all around it looking for wires or strings, there were none. I looked over it and under it and could not explain what I was seeing. I grabbed the moving planchette and threw it in the kitchen trash. The next day the board and all went out in the trash, but it was too late. What was done was done…

After that, many things began to happen; the lights began to go on and off for no apparent reason. And you would catch a glimpse of something moving out of the corner of your eye. It never happened in front of you, just in your peripheral vision, so you could never be really sure. All old houses have noises, but nothing that sounds half animal and half human. The noises seem to come from the living room closet. They continued until they made me nuts. Eventually one afternoon I took everything out of the closet and began to examine it, like a magic trick. At first, it seemed normal enough, accept the hooks that were along the left and right walls. They all had two screws except the first one on the left side that had only one. I looked at it carefully, pulled on it, and although it did not come forward it seemed to move. Then I twisted it and it turned ninety degrees counterclockwise and there was a click. The left wall of the closet opened and there was a staircase behind it. A secret passage the landlord never mentioned. The hairs on the back of my neck began to twitch and tingle.

I got Jone and showed her what I found. We got two flashlights and went up the stairs together. It was the attic, which we didn’t know was there. A very large area that was completely empty. When we looked around carefully, we found four eyebolts that were set into the beams. Two were on the angle beams supporting the roof and directly underneath them two were drilled into the floor. The only explanation we could think of was in years past someone was held up there. It was very spooky.

We spoke to the landlord and he knew all about it. He just didn’t think it mattered. Of course later we found out no tenant had ever stayed there more than a year. He also neglected to mention that. We moved out shortly after that and bought our own home in another town. It was a big old Victorian with gables and lots of room. One day, I was going outside to wash the van. I went through the garage and grabbed a hose off a hook. That is when I noticed the wall open….and all I could think was, here we go again.