And while I'm here... more ghost stories for your reading pleasure. :D
I can't even begin to rival some of these stories and pictures. But since I now cannot sleep (thanks a lot), I have a couple stories of my own. Not even about me mostly, but about others in my family. Nothing preternatural has ever happened to me, except maybe once (I'm sure it has a rational explanation, but it was scary at the time). My brother and I were staying home during a Christmas vacation, near Chicago. My parents and younger siblings went down South to visit relatives. This was the first time they let us stay by ourselves, but we were in high school and had part-time jobs and didn't want to take off for the whole week. One night, rather late, I went outside to look at some freshly fallen snow. It was just a beautiful scene -- all hazy blue (you know how the sky in winter reflects the snow and seems blue, not black?), and I felt sentimental about something, so wanted to go check it out.
When I got outside, I noticed some weird lights in the sky to the southwest. As I watched them, they became clearer and more distinguished. Finally I realized that they were becoming three crosses: one large one in the middle and two smaller ones, one on each side of the large one. I blinked my eyes, and the crosses were still there. They seemed high up in the sky, but not like overwhelming the entire universe, just off in the distance. I ran in to get my brother, and he, too, saw these crosses. We were so scared, thinking that it was a sign of the end of the world, that we called the police. The police said they'd received several calls, and the only explanation they had was that Argonne National Labs, nearby, was doing some kind of testing with gas emissions. (Holy!) We called our parents, too, and they were worried. The crosses stayed in the sky for maybe half an hour, and then just as gradually as they came to a distinguishable image, they faded out.
My dad has had two weird things happen to him. My dad awoke around four in the morning once, because he heard a little voice say "help." Dad got kind of freaked out, and woke my mom up. About a minute later, they got a phone call that my mom's dad had just died -- three states away.
The other story also involves my dad. He had been talking with a lady at his church whose son had just been killed in a freak automobile accident. The woman was obviously distraught, and my dad was trying to help her out by offering some kind of encouragement. The woman was afraid that her son wouldn't go to heaven because she wasn't sure her son had really believed in God (forgive the religious stuff), and he had been kind of rebellious and stuff -- a partier, etc. One night my dad had a dream that the young man spoke to him. The words were in Latin, and my dad, not knowing Latin, woke up after the dream and wrote the words down. Later, he told the woman at his church what the words had sounded like, and she, knowing Latin, smiled and said that they meant, "Don't worry. I'm in heaven."
When I was a little boy, I lived in a tiny two-bedroom house with my parents and four siblings. One night, my brother and I were standing at the front window staring outside as it rained. This was a strangely quiet moment for the two of us, despite the lightning and thunder. We just stood there, mesmerized by the patter of the raindrops against the cold glass, drawn to the troubled sky. The greatest part of our attention, however, was focused on the tree.
There was only one tree in our front yard, a cruel-looking rotted thing that never had any leaves. This particular night, the wind had whipped it into a horrible frenzy, its spindly black branches raging against the storm as though it resented every stinging drop of rain. Wordlessly we stood, just far enough away from the glass to keep from fogging it.
All at once, a terrific streak of lighting lit up the sky, and in the branches, staring down at me, at us, was a deformed creature the likes of which I'd never seen. Now, all of these realizations came at the same time:
1) It was solid.
2) It stood on two feet, on one particular branch, at one particular part of the tree.
3) It knew we were there.
4) My brother saw it too.
5) I was, simultaneously, seeing it through my own eyes and my brother's eyes, and it was not the same!
To me, the thing appeared to be a grotesque caricature of a farmer -- a flattened-down, deformed cartoon farmer wearing a flannel shirt, overalls, and a head-splitting grin, holding a metal pitchfork at his right side. At the same time, I was aware that what my brother saw in the very same space at the very same time, was a similarly deformed caricature of a skeleton, with thick bones and empty eye sockets.
The lightning flickered and blinked out, and in the fraction of a second it took to get used to the dim glow of the far-off clouds that back-lit the tree, it became clear there was no longer anything there.
When one receives a shock that is so tremendous that it surpasses tears -- like a spectacular blow to the head, or the unexpected snapping of a bone -- there is only the wait. The wait until the violence washes over you. Will you feel pain? Will you lose consciousness? There is only the wait.
My head filled with heavy rushing blood that battered the insides of my eardrums. In an excruciatingly slow movement, I turned to my brother at my side, my eyes leaving the tree and traveling in an arc that cut across the fence, the porch posts, the window frame, the wall, and finally his face. In his eyes was reflected all the fullness of my experience. We didn't say a thing to each other. There was no need.
I was only six or seven. In the years that followed, I have seen nothing remotely like the thing in the tree. My father eventually cut the tree down. Why, I don't know -- we never did tell him.
Well, it's told like this. Buttsi was on his way home late one night after work. He almost always walked the train tracks because they were a straight shot towards the house. These train tracks ran past a cemetery which was alleged to be haunted something fierce. One of those ancient old settler cemeteries. So it was about mid-December or thereabouts, and Buttsi is strolling on home after work. It's already dark and has been so for a few hours. From the way it's told, there was no moon that night. Anyway. He's walking on home, gets right near where the cemetery starts. He starts hearing somewhat muffled footsteps behind him a ways, but doesn't think much of it. Plenty of other guys walk home this way as well.
So he keeps going and the footsteps get a touch louder and louder. And, he states, don't exactly sound like footsteps but more "hard" sounding. So about midway through the cemetery, he's getting nervous and the steps are getting closer, so he ventures a look behind him. Now according to Buttsi, he saw a "goatman" or "the devil himself." He describes this entity as a man who basically had goat hooves and horns along the lines of the mythical Pan. And this thing was heading straight for him. Reportedly, all the snow around this creature was instantly melting as it walked through. So Buttsi runs like a motherfucker, screaming like a banshee.
He hears the clop-clop-clopping of the beast's footsteps behind him speed up to catch him as he's running. Finally he gets past the graveyard, and sees the thing stop right at the edge of the cemetery. He keeps running and looking back... after a short time, the beast just vanishes.
Buttsi runs the hell home and never walks home past the cemetery ever again. Reportedly, he collaborated his story with some of the other guys at work, and some of them had also either had encounters with this thing or had heard of it.
And thus ends yet another of my crazy immigrant family's great mass of ghost stories. If only I could remember some of the ones my great-grandmother would tell me when I was little about some of the crazy shit in Poland... she used to always give me nightmares.
Well, I suppose I'll contribute a few first-hand and second-hand stories to this thread.
When my mother was in medical school, she shared this really old house with a few of her friends. She still swears to this day that it was haunted. I remember her telling me about how when she would be vacuuming the house, some unknown entity would pull the vacuum right out of her hands. There would be doors that would open as you pass them, which freaked her out, but the thing that made her decide to leave the house is when she woke up one morning and the entire lower floor was blanketed with fog.
About two years ago, we moved into the house we are living in now. When the house was being built, we found cut-up rats in our garage and a bloody handprint on the wall. None of us thought much of it at the time, but weird stuff has happened in our house after we moved in. For instance, my parents will hear people running down the hallway outside of their bedroom in the middle of the night, among other things.
One thing that has happened to me was when my grandmother was staying with me while my parents were out of town about a year ago. It was very early in the morning and I was awakened by a low howling of the wind. I thought it must have been a window open or something, but then I heard the howling get louder and louder, and the front door, which we always keep locked, began banging back and forth creaking on its hinges. I decided to take a look around, but I couldn't find any intruders or someone like that in the house, and my grandmother was still asleep. I still don't know what caused the door to open.
So my old college dorm was full of ghost stories - but I never had any trouble. I heard about hands coming through the ceiling and corner-of-the-eye ghosts from lots of people. My favorite was a room on the top floor where some kid killed himself. My buddy was the RA up there and got nothing but complaints - music coming from the room, the window sliding open over and over throughout the night. He had to go in there once or twice a week to close the window and check it out.
From my first day till I graduated, they kept trying to fill that room. In all those years, nobody was able to stay in that room for more than a week. I heard stories about "creepy feelings," radios and TVs turning on, the window opening, and so forth.
We had a great campus - a small school in the WVA mountains, built in the late 19th century. The whole place looked haunted. Allegedly, Jesse James came to the area after faking his death. According to local legend, James helped organized the school and lived high and well. Some locals even believe he became a senator in the 1890's, one of the two famous robber barons who helped strip WVA in the early 20th.
West Virginia is a great spot for ghost hunting. I think the "most haunted battlefield" from the civil war is Droop Mountain. People come in hordes on the anniversary of the battle and camp out in the hopes of seeing... whatever.
I live in the Honors House at the University of Tulsa. This building used to be a frat house during the early eighties, until a hazing ritual ended in tragedy. A freshman named Leo was tied between two mattresses and thrown from the second-story roof. Of course, the mattress sandwich is supposed to land flat. But the throw was awkward, and Leo landed head-first. His neck snapped on impact, and he died instantly. The frat was disbanded, and the house stood empty until the university built an addition onto it, renovated it, and turned it into the Honors House.
Room 208, Leo's old room, is supposedly haunted. I haven't seen anything in there, but I've been in there three times this year. Usually someone occupies it, but this year it stands empty. Two years ago, one of the housemates was in the room with her boyfriend. The curtain supposedly blew into the room, though the window wasn't open. Then it happened. Those downstairs heard a scream, and the girl, white-faced, rushed down to the first floor and started sobbing in my friend's arms. There were burn marks on her neck. She confessed that she'd told her boyfriend, laughingly, that she didn't believe in the whole Leo story.
We in the House believe, however, Leo is not a mean spirit. I mean, wouldn't you be a little pissed off if someone told you they didn't believe in you? We like to believe, since Leo was murdered by the stupidity of frat boys, he would take the side of the geeks – those who live in the Honors House. We visit his room on rainy nights and tell ghost stories, which give way to conversation and laughter. It's not a trivialization of Leo... more of a tribute. We don't want him to be lonely. So we visit him from time to time. We make donations in his name to charities. Et cetera.
I don't know if I'd ever like to see Leo. But then again, maybe I would. I can neither say, nor can I decide. Whether he shows himself to any of us is (as far as we know) his decision.
Not all presences on campus seem to be friendly, however. Although I've only heard mention, the fifth and upper stories of the McFarlin Library are supposed to be a "bad place." They're locked off to the general public, presumably because they keep rare books and other such commodities there. They discontinued construction of those chambers, though, because the dean whose offices were supposed to be contained therein died before construction could be completed. Or so the story goes. Why they wouldn't have just kept building escapes me. But apparently those spaces were converted into storage units instead.
Can you imagine, though, if the dean chose those spaces as his soul's final resting place? A force of inordinate power, lurking like a brain at the top of that imposing building, peering out through windows resembling those of a castle: narrow slats through which to fire arrows. Never a light shines in those windows, only impenetrable darkness. My goal, before I graduate, is to explore those chambers.
When we moved in, the house was in pretty bad shape (which explained getting it for only $28,500). We moved in and were there for about a week when we started noticing strange things happening. Cupboard doors opening up overnight, toilet flushing by itself, closet doors being opened, and every once in a while our television would change channels by itself. Some pretty freaky stuff, but nothing too freaky, so we just dismissed it and thought nothing much. Then we watched an episode of Sightings
In this episode, a guy left a tape recorder going and said "if there is anything here that wants to make itself present, feel free to do so.." So we decided to do the same, set the recorder in the attic, went to the movies. We came home and listened to the whole tape. It was a 90-minute tape. We went through a good 85 minutes and there a whispering-level voice breathed into the recorder. It sounded like the noise made to put steam on glasses to clean them. Then nothing for a minute, and then it sounded like the tape recorder was being thrown about the room for 2 minutes, then it stopped.
Years ago, when all my friends and I were ~17ish, we dabbled with Ouiji boards. In the beginning, nothing really major ever happened, and the "sessions" usually ended without anything notable.
After a while of constant use of them (I rarely myself used the board, I was happy just being an observer), it seemed like we always got the same "ghost" talking to us. You can read into that however you'd like. There was always one that would talk to us, who was a nice spirit (I guess). They warned us of an evil presence they called Jake for some reason.
Jake would always seem to come through whenever one of my friends (Tom) would get on the thing. It would always threaten him, and such, but nothing ever became of it. The only real creepy thing to happen was to my friend Tom's now-wife. She was at college, and playing some Tetris
-like game one night like she always did. Well, when she finished up one round of it, the high score list had JAKE and some astronomically high score. It filled all top 10 positions. She got really freaked out (she never was there for our "sessions"), turned the thing off, and didn't touch it again till the next day. All the scores were back to normal.
Do I believe all the Ouiji Board stuff? I'm still skeptical, as I've yet to see with my own eyes anything weird. Just stories from friends. I don't not believe, but at the same time, I understand people's imaginations can run wild.
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