Home is Where the Haunt Is

A quiet, desolate hallway lay in wait outside your door. The endless possibilities of the inky darkness loom in your anxious brain, causing every sound you hear to be the threat of an evil spirit or grotesque monster. It’s in our nature to fear things as a child, to have our guard up against a threatening world that is much bigger than us. This can lead to irrational thoughts of the boogeyman, or nightmares of things so dark that they wake you in a cold sweat. But what about the real dangers? The secrets your house or your family may hold that tell a story of the spirit world seeping into your domestic bliss? Growing up with many friends who have experienced bone chilling hauntings in the comfort of their own home (and briefly living in a haunted house myself in my 20’s), has taught me that ghosts don’t just haunt the sprawling halls of old mansions and abandoned hospitals. Spirits attach to people and places for all sorts of strange reasons, and the severity of their activity can flux over the years. This leads to a very personal experience with entities that haunt one’s home, mixing the trials of everyday life with horror movie material. A child hitting puberty, parents who fight every day, money troubles; these can all lead to coaxing negative energies out into the light. These stories being relayed to you are told by people who have been up close and personal with phenomenons they don’t understand. Drudging up these nightmares can cause a whirlwind of reactions, and living with near constant paranormal activity (especially as an impressionable child) catastrophically affects their relationship with fear. While it often makes for iron clad nerves in stressful situations, it can also leave people looking for danger in the dark everywhere they go. 

Story 1 – Kate

Kate spent many years at her grandparent’s home, a place seemingly innocent but with an ability to be rather sinister. This experience has rattled her once solid atheistic beliefs, to say the least. 

“My grandparents bought their house right after they got married in the late 50s, a simple cottage style in the Scarborough Toronto area. My mom and her three siblings were born and grew up there. It had a master bedroom that sat alone on the second floor, two bedrooms in the back of the house, a massive garage, living room, and basement. The basement felt endless and had so many corners. They knew when buying the house that a man named Mr.Eloff died in the living room, and possibly a child was lost in the stand alone room upstairs. My mom and her two sisters grew up in the 70s, and considered themselves a coven; they played with Ouija boards in the basement when they would often hang out down there. 

Whenever I grew up I spent most of my Christmas’s and Summers here. We moved so much, and it was the one constant place. I can’t recall a time when I stayed there that I wouldn’t feel or see strange things in that house…and I wasn’t the only one. Everyone in my family had similar experiences. In a way it never bothered me because my family had just accepted it as normal. As if every house would eventually have ghosts some day. However letting something be, and trying to welcome it, are two different things. I saw many strange phenomenons partially growing up in that house. When I was very little I saw a girl run upstairs, and I followed behind, but after a moment she just vanished. I think that might have been my first experience when I was 6 or 7. There was always pacing in the hallways at 2am, and this was heard from everyone. The wood would creak all the way to the kitchen and back endlessly. I would play in the basement, and I remember feeling this weird energy in a certain spot. It was always cold. I didn’t know about the Ouija board stuff, until I was a teenager digging through old boxes and found one. When I was 13 I stayed in the back room and woke up in the middle of the night feeling a massive weight on top of me… then the closet door slowly opened, and there was just this dark abyss staring at me. I remember thinking “If I’m quiet and ignore it, it won’t bother me. It’s not there if I act as it’s not”. I laid there just waiting for the sun to rise. 

I was staying in Toronto with my mom in the fall. She had a high school reunion, and I was staying in the house with my nana and papa who went to bed at 8pm. Earlier in the day I felt the house was heavier than usual. I went to the basement to grab some drinks to take up stairs, and for the first time I felt obligated to talk to the spirits of the basement in order to challenge my fear. I remember my aunt Debbie always telling me that when you try to interact with ghosts or demons you are welcoming them in, but my curiosity got the best of me. I was hitting this point in college where I was becoming a hardcore atheist, and I was so embarrassed for living in fear of the supernatural because of my mom’s side and their witchy ways. Tarot readings, full moons with windows open, and palmistry. Always feeling fate wrapped in strange ways. So I started talking to the dark basement and asking the house if it’s haunted and what’s here, and why I haven’t seen anything. Nothing happened. I felt so stupid talking to myself. The basement was quiet and cold, so I walked back up stairs.

My mom stayed late at her high school reunion, and my grandparents were fast asleep. I was on my laptop in the living room with a single light on. The hallway was connected to the kitchen which was connected to the dining room which was connected to the living room which was connected to the hallways: so one big loop. The normally quiet footsteps we heard in the hallway started to get faster… which was out of the norm. I went to the hallways and turned on the light. Nothing. As expected. The pacing starts again at 2am, and I wasn’t about to wake up my grandparents, but I could feel my adrenaline pumping. It felt like someone was truly running back and forth in the hallway to the kitchen then back to the hallways. I notice the dining room start to look darker… the only source of light being my laptop and a dim table lamp. The footsteps stop, and I feel at ease for a moment. Then I hear them run, heavy, and I see a silhouette of a lady run into the dinning room and dissipate as she enters the living room. She is faceless, but has a head, neck, and arms… but runs and falls and fades into the ground in silence. I’m hugging my laptop in silence and shock, my heart beating insanely in my chest. I started crying because I had never seen something I couldn’t explain that was so supernatural and horrifying. I couldn’t tell if she was in pain, stuck, or running towards me to hurt me. I just saw the shape of the thing that had been pacing in the hallways since I was a child. Eventually my mom came home, and I was still in the same spot in shock and not able to move or sleep. I told her what happened and she said It’s fine and to sleep. The next morning I was sitting on the porch with my grandpa and he brought up the experience from what my mom told him. He says ‘It’s okay. You aren’t crazy. I’ve seen her many times.’ 

I’ll never forget the feeling. How close it was. I feel there are things in this world we can’t explain, and depending on how much you want answers… they might be better off left alone.” 

This goes to show that whether you believe in the supernatural or not, its ability to effect you is stronger and much more terrifying than you think. 

Story 2 – Liz

This story comes from an old high school friend of mine. We’ve both always been interested in the creepy side of life, and the very first night I stayed over at her house I experienced the ghost of her dad wandering the halls late at night. Her and her sister would hear drumming around the living room (their father was a musician) and to this day there are constant sounds of disembodied footsteps throughout the house. This story, however, comes from a second home of hers. Her best friend growing up resided with a dark entity that seemed out to harm Liz every time she came over. 

“I had a best friend that I met in 1st grade, and we were always attached at the hip. We spent a lot of time together in and out of school for many many years. 

She would always ask me to stay the night, and since she was my best friend, I always intended to. There was just the fact that every single time I was there and night fell, something would go wrong, or I would get hurt. Like clockwork, I would get scratched or harmed in some way, throw up for no reason, get migraines that made me full on lose vision, nosebleeds, suddenly get petrified with fear that would leave me shaking and sobbing for no explainable reason, or sometimes all of it at once or one as a result of the other. It was so frequent that me being clumsy became a joke. There was a particular time when I tried to run inside of the house from the backyard. To this day, I remember ABSOLUTELY seeing the door be wide open. But when I ran into it, it was a glass door and I got hurt pretty badly, ripping my toenail off and giving myself a nosebleed. There were many times I would feel pains I didn’t recognize and then check the mirror to find scratches on my body. The more late it would get at night, the more I felt uneasy and often woke the entire house up so I could call my mom to pick me up because I just could not stay.

This became a constant habit. I would always intend to stay the full night, but it seemed to progressively get worse every time I tried to stay. My friend’s parents, along with my mom, began to get more and more frustrated with me. Each time I stayed over, I would promise I could make it through the night, and never did. I would have to swear that I would stay if I wanted to even go over. 

One night, there was a slumber party there with a few girls from school. I didn’t want to miss out, nor did I want to call my mom to pick me up this time. I wanted to prove that I could stay and didn’t want fear to get the best of me. That’s when my worst night happened. Early on, just after mostly everyone fell asleep, I glanced to see the stairway lights flickering on and off. The few people who were awake saw it too, and obviously that planted seeds in our head so we went to see who was playing with the light in the middle of the night. No one was at the bottom of the steps where the other light switch was. This obviously frightened me, and I wanted to go home but I had to prove that I could stay especially because I was already on thin ice. Now there were other people there and I didn’t want to embarrass myself, so I just put a blanket over my face and tried to sleep as best I could. Throughout the night, I began to get colder and colder and more uneasy, I don’t think I really slept much at all. I kept pulling my sleeping bag up in a daze, and I would feel it slowly sliding off. Mind you, I was sleeping on the floor and away from everyone, so there’s no explanation for it doing so, especially because it wraps underneath me. At the time, I assumed I was just sleeping crazy and possibly kicking it off. Around 4 AM, I was so cold it was unbearable. I found myself coiling up and putting my arms and legs inside of my shirt to hug myself and keep warm. At this point I was so exhausted I hardly remembered I had a sleeping bag in the first place and only focused on keeping myself warm as best I could. 

The next morning, after a night of not being able to sleep at all, I woke up to see my blanket was entirely gone and my back was sore like I had a sunburn. I was pissed, I thought someone was playing a prank on me and took my sleeping bag. This took me by surprise since no one there was the type to do such a thing, especially when it’s so cold. I asked everyone about where my sleeping bag was and nobody had a clue what I was even talking about. Then I went to the bathroom to check out why my back was sore in the mirror, and sure enough, I had scratches with no explanation of how they got there. Again, this was typical for me when I would stay there, and as frustrating as it was, I just knew it happened again. Then I looked over, and there my sleeping bag was, in the bathtub. The fucking bathtub. Nobody knew how it got there. I still don’t know how I didn’t feel it being pulled out from beneath me. 

The next night I stayed over, I was still traumatized and desperate to go home but my mom refused to pick me up. I couldn’t stop thinking about what happened to me at the slumber party and I felt the same uneasiness as I always did, but this time it was heavier. It was time to sleep, everyone was ready for bed, and I was starting to panic. I was laying down, practically sobbing because I knew I was stuck there and I knew that something was fucking with me and it wasn’t my imagination anymore. I was a target for whatever was in that house, I assumed because I didn’t live there, yet I was there all the time. The same night, my friend’s mom and dad came into the room before we went to sleep, and they told me they were going to do a ritual to help me stay over. They said it would make me feel better. I had no clue what the hell they were doing, but if they promised it would help me sleep. They decided to do La Limpia to relieve me of the fear I felt and get rid of whatever negative energy was attached to me to let me get some sleep. As an adult now, I know this is a process that’s actually pretty popular. I had no idea about this but they were insistent and I was desperate. I let them pray over me and use an egg in a practice where they rubbed it on my forehead, then cracked the egg into a glass. When it was cracked into the glass, not only was it bubbled, the yolk had black dots all over it that they told me was an evil energy that was removed from me. I was able to sleep through the night. 

It took me far too long into my adulthood to really understand that the fear I experienced in that house was not normal, and to this day the thought of me constantly getting hurt and being too petrified to stay sends shivers down my spine. My friend and I haven’t spoken about this since she moved out of that house. I think because I was so young when this happened, it made me more sensitive to paranormal activity, and I’ve experienced plenty of other things since this, but never to this degree. Now I have the understanding that I was experiencing something beyond this realm.”

Trying to fit in with a group of friends can be tough enough as a kid, and we’re conditioned to think that we can’t show fear unless we want to be seen as weak. This leads to situations of unnecessary danger, and without the proper steps to backtrack from that, an everlasting effect on the psyche. 

Story 3 – Ashley

This horrifying tale is a lengthy one, as the dark spirit that has chosen to taunt Ashley has had the ability to do so her entire life. In fact, it even reared its ugly head just last week. Through forms of sleep paralysis, strange sounds, nightmares, and full figures, Ashley hasn’t known peace from this entity for as long as she can remember. 

“Since I was six, which is when I moved into the house where my parents and brother still live, I have been seeing shadowy figures, hearing footsteps, voices, and sometimes screams where there is no person of origin. Things would go missing and reappear in strange places, as well as small objects falling off of otherwise stable surfaces for no apparent reason. Out of my family of five, I had the most paranormal encounters though my mom also saw some of the same things I did. As an empath with some precognitive incidences, growing up in that house was growing up in fear… not of the dark, but the things that would emerge at that time, generally between two and three in the morning. I had recurring nightmares, sometimes escalating to full on night terrors, and bouts of sleep paralysis; all of which seemed to emanate from the presence of a tall, humanoid shadow-figure with a pointed head. The sight of it in a dream would immediately alter its course as the shadow chased me down while I became slowly blinded and paralyzed. When I would wake up, I would often see it in the vicinity, though many times I was unable to move and very afraid that it would draw closer. 

For most of my childhood and until I left for college, I slept with a crucifix underneath my pillow to keep it at bay. Some instinct told me that without any form of protection, it would draw nearer and that would be very, very bad. Even outside of the home, I still see this figure in dreams. Once in college, I had several successive dreams where the figure stood in a field behind the nearby cemetery and beckoned to me; each night, I would be closer to him. He towered, seven or eight feet tall, his fingers like smoky tendrils that brought death to the grass around him. I largely put it out of my mind, until when driving back to campus one night I got lost and my car, which had never previously had any issues, stalled. The engine died, and I frantically tried to restart it, not wanting to be in an accident since my headlights were now off and the road was not very well lit.

Suddenly, the radio in my car came back to life, though the engine was still refusing to turn over. I looked up and saw the field from my dreams. I knew then that if I did not get out of there, I would die. I kept trying and trying to start my car, unable to look back up towards the field. About a minute later, the car started (the radio was still bouncing from station to static to random station), and I drove like hell in the opposite direction. 

I saw it again recently, while home on spring break. I was dreaming a normal dream, when something flipped like a switch. Suddenly, I was floating above myself in the room, looking down on my sleeping body. I was facing the wall, away from the door, when I saw the shadowy figure in the corner, about six feet from my sleeping form. He moved closer with his horrifying smoky fingers extended. I screamed, not because I thought it would alert my sleeping self, but out of absolute mortal dread. I woke up in my own body, a scream coming out of my mouth but otherwise unable to move. I could still sense something behind me and felt that if I turned around, something bad would happen. I laid there until I felt the room become lighter in atmosphere. This was the strongest apparition I’d encountered in years and I think the closest to me he has ever physically gotten.

My parents and family had long since believed that the house was haunted and that I had seen stuff in the past, since I at age six talked of a “Robert”. My parents didn’t tell me until later that they knew  what I was telling them was more than childhood fantasy.  Robert was the name of the man who passed away in the home shortly before my family bought the house from his son and moved in. There was no way I could have known, unless I had indeed met or heard from Robert. I still feel his presence (he doesn’t have so much of a shape as a feel that tangibly alters the atmosphere in the room). There were other presences in the house, ones that were not malignant. Some of these would appear as passing with their backs to me, and I could hear voices though it was covered heavily by a static-like sound. Mostly, though, they weren’t so much shapes or shadows as sort of repeated echoes or a patch of a room with an altered feel, emotionally and temperature-wise (again, like Robert). I could hear their footsteps as well, but never had any trouble from them. I once saw my great-great-great grandmother in my brother’s room one night, singing something to him. As I passed, she shushed me before, with her back to me, passing through my brother’s bed and past the wall.

Another weird event that has stuck in my mind (as well as my sister’s and dad’s) happened when I was about 10. My sister and I shared a room with bunk beds and as young kids do, would prank each other often. One favorite prank was to hide in the top bunk underneath blankets and wait for the other to enter the room and pop out. On one evening, after a shower, I entered the bedroom and turned on the light. I saw a movement at the top of the bunk, and saw that there was a noticeable bump underneath the blankets, as well as the slight movement of a breathing body. I shouted out “I see you, you might as well come out”. I then heard my sister’s reply from the living room, “Who are you talking to?” Before I could even look away, the blankets collapsed as if there had never been anything underneath them. I ran to the living room and told my sister and dad, who didn’t believe me at first. However, upon checking the bed, it became clear that someone had been there recently and I swore up and down that it wasn’t me. They believed me, but were clearly put off by their own lack of ability to explain what I saw. 

Certain areas of the house made people feel weird, and after dark, things got worse. All of my and my siblings’ friends refuse to spend the night in the house, either because they just felt something very negative and oppressive or they had their own encounters. My sister’s best friend spent the night once, waking to find that she saw two figures lying down in the living room. The only other individual in the house that night was my sister. This friend saw the shadowy figures rise and begin to approach her, making her speechless with fear. She eventually was able to scream, which made them disappear. My sister didn’t see anything (she rarely did, though she was aware that strange things happened), and tried to calm her friend who was unable to get back to sleep and will not stay overnight.

My friends, too, preferred to stay away. One friend, upon learning that my house was haunted, wanted to commune with the spirit. I allowed her, but said I would not be in the same room out of my own fear. She was not able to quite articulate what happened, just ran out of the house and kept saying that something tried to hurt her. She wouldn’t even cross the threshold of my home after that. On another occasion, I asked a friend who was a practicing Wicca to help me get a sense of what was going on. She spent a total of three minutes in my house before walking out and also refusing to re-enter. She was afraid, saying that there was a great malignant presence and she couldn’t stand to be in there. She would not cleanse the space, fearing that the spirit or entity would retaliate. Her advice was to never live there, as she could hardly imagine how an empath like myself could bear it.

I’m not sure how much this altered me, as I have no other experience of being other than this, but I am very wary of dark corners of my dreams. I trust my intuition and have picked up some light interest in witchcraft for protection, but I am afraid of tapping into the same energy that haunted and terrified me for years. I absolutely believe anyone who says they have had a paranormal encounter, and I also feel very validated when I am believed. But honestly, if I were to identify the lasting effect of living in a haunted house, it is that there is something inexplicable and deeply attached to me and follows me wherever I go. The shadow figure not only haunts my house, but haunts me. That scares me, as I do not know what this figure is, other than my instinct telling me it portends death. The fact that it seems to be linked to me, despite distance, is also worrisome. How did I pick this up? And why me? These are questions I will likely never know the answer to. I just hope he never actually catches me.”

The absolute evil of something unexplainable torturing someone psychologically for years is an unfathomable nightmare. With no way to know why or how it found its way into Ashley’s life, she may never get the answers of how to rid herself of it. 

Story 4 – Jesse

While this was a one off experience for Jesse, this haunting will remain one of the most defining  moments he’s ever encountered. Having your future somewhat laid out for you in unknown ways by a devil like creature is not something you soon forget. 

“I fell asleep in the living room as I dozed off watching TV. I awoke paralyzed by the sound of demon dogs in the garage next to me. The sound was very loud & grotesque and I still remember it to this day. Sitting up petrified by the sound, I looked outside and saw a man standing there very calmly playing a fiddle. I could not make his face out, but his energy was so dark I imagine he was a demon of some sort. I was terrified and paralyzed at the same time by what I was witnessing. The sound of my screams woke up my entire family. 

My dad asked me what just happened and I told him. He frantically checked the garage and ran outside the house with a baseball bat. He saw nothing. The look on my face is all the validation my parents and siblings needed to realize what just happened. We proceeded to hold hands and prayed together, although we had never prayed as a family. I never even witnessed my parents praying together.  

Just a few months later I would be struck by a car right in front of my house near the same area I saw the man with the fiddle. The accident changed my life forever. I was in the hospital for nearly a month. Since the incident, I’ve had several leg surgeries, but thankfully have recovered both physically and spiritually.” 

Experiencing such an intense premonition with vague visions of the future makes the entire story a hazy look into the power of the supernatural.