It's that cool and creepy time of year again, and Wendy and I couldn't be happier. With the changing of the seasons and arrival of beautiful fall foliage, October is our favorite month of the year. But for all October has to offer, I'd be remiss if I didn't say we spend the whole month looking forward to Halloween. And I think everyone can agree that Halloween isn't complete without a good ghost story.

Without fail, whenever we are introduced to a group who learns we live in an older home, at least one or two people always ask the inevitable, "So...is your house haunted?" Some people ask it bashfully, others more directly, and some even ask as if they are actually telling us it is surely inhabited by spirits.

When we're asked, our most common answer is, "Well, we don't know, but there have been a few weird happenings and we've experienced some things we simply can't explain." Our response is sometimes met with skepticism, and other times with shock, but most often, whether or not the person asking the question is a believer in ghosts, spooks, haunts, or the paranormal, our response is typically met with intrigue, and the desire to learn more.

Last Halloween season we shared two of the "ghost stories" we have about our home. The first, the legend of the peanut ghost, is rather innocent and innocuous. Today, we just laugh and point out how often we see peanut shells laying around, though most likely it is just trash left behind by squirrels.

The second story, the tale of Mrs. Bryan, is a bit creepier and more difficult to explain. We continue to see things out of the corner of our eyes, and on more than one occasion in the past year I've gone downstairs just to make sure there's nothing in the house, though I could swear I just caught a glimpse of a person.

This Halloween I want to share a third story, which is actually the most difficult to explain and has me creeped out to this day. This story is also the one that makes the least overall sense in my analytical, "there must be an explanation for this," sort of way. No matter what possible justification I can come up with, there's just no logical explanation for how it happened.

This all goes back to a night in 2010. Wendy and I had spent long rainy day inside the house. I had spent much of the day organizing the wreck of a basement (some things never change), moving and organizing some heart pine flooring that was original to our house and getting it situated and neatly stacked on the floor.

As it was getting later, Ollie let us know he was tired and wanted to go to bed. This was the routine we established with him, so when we was tired, we listened to him and got ready for bed. 

We tucked Ollie in downstairs in his crate, since that's where he liked to sleep, then turned in ourselves. We were both particularly tired after a fair amount of work that day, and we had more to get done the next day, so we hit the hay and fell into our slumber.

All was quiet until roughly 3:00 o'clock in the morning when I woke up and thought I saw a person standing in the corner of our bedroom. It was one of those instances where you wake up and your eyes start playing tricks on you. I sat up and started staring at the figure in the corner until the figure simply turned into shadows from the door. A bit confused, but sure my mind was playing tricks on me, I went back to sleep.

I slept soundly until about 4:15 when I was oddly awoken again, but this time by something different. I wasn't sure exactly what it was, a noise, a feeling, a person...I just knew I was awake, and it had happened rather gently. We're used to street noise, people walking by the house having loud discussions and occasionally yelling, the creaking of the house, and even fire truck or ambulance sirens, but this wake up was different than all of those, this wake up was quiet and close.

Though I was awake, I made a conscious decision not to shoot up and out of my laying position as I had done earlier. Instead I laid still, trying to figure out what had just woken me up. I'm not sure if it was more curiosity or lethargy, but I didn't feel a sense of urgency. I was laying on my right hand side, looking at the partially closed bedroom door when I began to focus on the illuminated wall switch with my open left eye. The other side of my face, still buried in the pillow, represented the half of me that just wanted to fall back asleep, but my left eyed stayed on the dim light of the wall switch as my brain tried to process what it was that may have woken me up.

After what felt like it could have been minutes, but was more accurately a second or two, the occurrence that had stirred me from my peaceful slumber only a short time earlier, the thing that I was trying to understand, that thing happened again. The sound was a dull but noticeable thud that seemed like it had just come from the foot board area of the bed. Accompanying the thud was movement. In my still groggy state I continued to fixate on the light switch, the only area of light in our otherwise darkened room. As the thud occurred, I could see the light switch begin to move in a slow oscillating fashion.

"What is this?" I thought, laying still and trying to figure things out. "What's going on here, and why is the light switch moving?" As my thoughts did their best to race through my groggy mind, seemingly stuck in a bit of mental quicksand, I began to realize what I was seeing. The light switch wasn't moving at all, rather it was the bed that was shaking, and I was moving as I laid in it. But how was this possible, how was the bed moving?

Again, no more than a second or two later, a third and very noticeable thud occurred at the bottom of our bed. It sounded as if someone was slowly bumping into our bed, but done so with a hand or arm wrapped in fabric to deaden the sound. The noise was enough to wake me from a sound sleep, and the rocking of the bed was enough to creep me out a bit, but it wasn't a hard strike or loud noise by any means.

After this third thud the cobwebs began to clear and my mind was absolutely racing. Initially I was worried someone had rammed their car into the side of our house (don't laugh, it's happened in our neighborhood before) or that the ground was actually shaking beneath the house. Without lifting my head I glanced back at my glass of water on the nightstand. Though my eyes were still a bit fuzzy, I could clearly see the liquid in my glass was not moving, which meant the room was not shaking and only the bed had any motion.

I was nearly frozen in bed, attempting to lay as still as possible, for I wanted to keep hearing and experiencing the thuds until I was able to figure out just what this occurrence was. No sooner, a fourth thud left the bed moving again, but I was no closer to a probable cause. "How was this happening?"

As I laid there waiting for the next sound, Wendy began to stir. I didn't want her to wake up or move, I wanted to figure out what it was that was shaking our bed. Ollie was downstairs and Mel was laying in bed with us, but was far too small and tired to shake the bed in the way we were experiencing. We knew our neighbor was out of town that week, and nobody was staying with us in the house. There seemed to be no logical explanation for why our bed was bothered.

After the fourth thud Wendy finally gathered her thoughts and began to realize that our bed was being bumped by something. A moment later we heard and felt a fifth and final thud. Wendy quickly sat up in bed and said "WHAT WAS THAT?!?!?" I told her I didn't know, but it had happened several times and I had been trying to figure it out. I looked down at Mel, who was laying in the middle of the bed by our knees, and he was absolutely alert. He was looking around, just like us, trying to figure out what was going on. At the same time, Ollie was downstairs sound asleep, no barking or noises in the least bit.

After that fifth bump, the sounds and movement stopped, seemingly as quickly as it started. Wendy and I started to try to come up with what had just happened, but we were at a loss. Was it a car or truck outside, an earthquake, something else? What had been thudding against our bedroom foot board hard enough to wake all three of us up in the middle of the night?

We checked online to see if an earthquake had occurred, I checked twitter to see if anything, such as an explosion, was being reported, and I checked Facebook to see if any local friends had noticed something similar, but nothing was popping up. Later, we even talked to friends and neighbors, none of whom had felt anything similar.

After a few minutes Wendy and I went back to sleep, still with many questions in our mind. When we woke up a few hours later to a sunny Sunday morning, we immediately began talking about "the incident." We again checked for earthquakes (because that's obviously the most logical thing and we needed to keep checking), still nothing registered. Then we started talking about how "Mrs. Bryan," a widow and the original owner of our home in the late 1880s, had had woken me up a few years earlier, and perhaps she was still at it. It may have been a bright and sunny day, but we had just had several days worth of rain. I thought to myself, "You know, I just put all of that heart pine flooring stacked on the floor in the basement, and though it was dry when we put it down, what if water started coming into the basement?" 

I mentioned my hypothesis to Wendy and headed down to the basement. During the previous day's rain, water started coming in through the basement walls and floor and pooling in the center near the blocked drain. The water was backing up form the center and crawling towards the stacked up flooring. By the time I got down into the basement, the water had moved back all the way to the flooring and the edge of it was sitting in the water. I quickly moved the wood and stacked it in the better location. Luckily, the water hadn't done any serious damage to the flooring, it just needed to be wiped off, but had I not ventured down to the basement it could have been ruined.

When I got back upstairs I told Wendy what I had found and we kept talking about what we experienced in the middle of the night. We were both somewhat dumbfounded and had no idea what to really think. Wendy's hypothesis is that Mrs. Bryan tried to warn us that the water was approaching the flooring but we chose to ignore her. I have no idea if the potential for waterlogged flooring is responsible for our early morning wake up call that morning, but I have no better possible explanations.

To this day, this is one of those events where I simply can't assign a dismissive and logical cause. Every time I think about it I get completely creeped out and wonder what it could have been that woke us up. One thing is for sure, when I wake up in the middle of the night now, I always lay still for a second to see what it was that startled me awake. I'm forever curious and absolutely hope to someday discover what it was that jarred us awake. 

Do you have any thoughts as to what could have awoken us from a sound sleep? Have you ever experienced something going bump in the night in your home? Maybe you've seen something out of the corner of your eye, or have experienced something you can't quite explain? If so, we'd love to hear your stories, and we hope everyone has a very happy Halloween!

Comments 29

Comments

Kelly
10/31/2012 at 10:43 AM
Yess I waited all year for this! That would freak me out too. Was the shaking constant, like it felt like someone was lifting up the bed or just shaking it?

I don't really believe in ghosts but I love ghost stories. However, at the end of August something peculiar happened in my home that I can't explain.

It's an old colonial built in 1861 and there are three floors. Our master bedroom is on the third floor, in the back of the house. I went up to change the bedding. My dog did not follow me initially as I went up the stairs, but I assumed he'd come bounding up shortly after like he always does.

It's important to note that it's very quiet up in that room because of its location within the house and I didn't have the tv or radio on, just pure silence.

So as I start making the bed when I hear the distinct noise of his little paws on the carpeted stairs, little thumps on unison. I heard him hop on the landing, which is right on front of the bedroom door. I was not facing the door, so I called out his name as I tucked the sheet around a bed corner, waiting for him to come over to me.

However, he nothing happened. So I turned around to look, and he wasn't in the doorway, where I distinctly heard him hop up. I stuck my head out the door to check the landing and guestroom but he was no where. So I ran all the way downstairs to find him laying on the couch next to my husband on the first floor. He'd been there the whole time -- never went upstairs.

About a month after that in late Sept. I had a dream that a beautiful gray weimaraner bounded up the stairs and into our room and stared as us, then left.

I guess we have a ghost dog?
Alex
10/31/2012
I love it when I'm 100% sure Wendy, Lulu, or Mel is right around the corner or in another room and when I go to find them they are nowhere to be found.

I would love to have a ghost dog in our house, might keep Lulu in line a little better. :-)
10/31/2012 at 11:03 AM
That is a very spooky story. I tell myself that I don't believe in ghosts, but then I let myself get freaked out by any ghost story.

On the bright side, at least your ghost has an eye out on your home renovations! Maybe she'll guard your downspout next time.
Alex
10/31/2012
This is precisely what we tell ourselves. We'd much rather a haunt that cares about what we care about. I do wish she would be more proactive about perimeter security.
Kelsey
10/31/2012 at 11:08 AM
I just caught up on all your ghost stories and am deliciously creeped out! I don't "believe" in ghosts, per se, but I don't disbelieve in them either. It's always fun to hear a good ghost story with the potential to be true.

Sadly, I don't think my house is old enough to have ghosts, but it does make its share of odd noises. When my husband and I first bought it and were working on it in the evenings before we moved in, we'd hear all kinds of strange creaks and bumps that our apartment-dwelling ears weren't used to. So far the only frightening things we've found are water damage and hideous linoleum under the carpet!
Alex
10/31/2012
Personally, I would prefer a haunted house to water damage, but that's just me.
Katie
10/31/2012 at 11:56 AM
Not an old house, but still a creepy story...

When my parents moved into their 1965 bungalow about 20 years ago, they were only the second owners. The house hasn't been updated since it had been built, as it was two seniors living there. Unfortunately for me, they didn't bother telling me that Mrs. B had passed away in the home, until many years after we moved in.

About 6 months after we moved in, I was about 12 years old, and staying home alone watching tv in the basement, when I heard an unfamiliar voice calling my name from upstairs... I went upstairs, and there was nobody there. This happened again and again when I was home "alone" and in the basement. The voice was a nice old lady, and I never felt like I was in danger.

Finally, I gave up and asked my Mom what the heck was going on. At first she hesitated, but then explained that Mrs. B was in a wheelchair before she died, and could not go downstairs. Ah ha! That explained it!

Mrs. B kept up her shananigans for a few years, but eventually she moved on. I think she was finally happy with the renovations my parents did, and came to accept that it was our home now, and she was needed somewhere else.

Funny part is that in those first few years, a few of our family friends felt that there was "something" weird about our house, and it wasn't the funky purple toilets!

Now my hubby and I live in a 1920 craftsman home, no spirits in our home, but I'm sure there are plenty in our neighbourhood!
Alex
10/31/2012
What a great story. We've head very similar stories from neighbors, especially when their kids see things quite often that they are aware are there but never informed their kids of. There's a neighborhood story about "The Woman in White" that we'll have to scrape together for next Halloween.
Karin K
10/31/2012 at 12:47 PM
Oooo this was a great post. I'd never read last year's, and I think I enjoyed it even more. Perhaps Mrs. Bryan was as proud of this house as you two are, and needs to come check on it frequently. Plus, it was nice to see an Ollie pic. If my theory about Mrs. Bryan is true, I wonder how much she tormented the bachelor dude who lived there?
Alex
10/31/2012
If it is Mrs. Bryan, and she was proud of this house, perhaps she found us as the right owners. I know her other house, a much more grand house around the corner, was torn down in the 1960s.

I've sometimes thought about previous owners' experiences and wondered if they had ever seen anything. I would love to know if she eventually drove any from the house.

Ollie was such a fine looking fellow, don't you think?
Tara
10/31/2012 at 1:09 PM
This is creepy! Since moving into our historic Old Town house in May, we have been woken up quite often in the middle of the night by our creaky floors in the hallway outside of the bedroom. We assume it's our neighbor in the mirror image house next door, but it's always in the wee hours of the night! It's like someone is standing Right Outside the bedroom door. And I have been seeing things out of the corner of my eye since the week we moved in - but they are always close to the floor and fast moving (I keep thinking it's a mouse or bug but we haven't seen any!) Thanks for sharing - Happy Halloween!
Alex
10/31/2012
The more you pay attention to the things out of the corner of your eye, the more those things seem to appear.
Isaac
10/31/2012 at 1:56 PM
We buried our dog under my grandmother's house that was being constructed at the time.
After its completion, and my grandmother moved in, there has been a sound that can only be described as a scream, that originates in the crawlspace of the basement from time to time. Many people have heard it; nearly everyone in my family. Totally freaked out a handyman that nearly crapped himself and ran out of the house.
This was a new house, with forced hot air and the normal water pipes. So no steam venting or other explanation can be given. Plus, it originates within the crawlspace, not the basement.
It doesn't faze my grandmother; as no other occurrence has ever presented itself aside from the scream; and she just says, "Oh, that's just Dinah calling", the name of the dog.
I never heard it until one day I dropped by to see my grandmother, who had gone out. I was sitting upstairs watching the TV. Nobody has ever heard the sound outside of the basement, as usually it is pretty muffled. Additionally, nobody has ever heard it repeated immediately, there is usually some time between screams.
Anyway, I was watching TV upstairs when I heard it. Imagine a 10 year old screaming for help without any words. That's EXACTLY what it sounds like. Scared the begeezus out of me. So I cranked up the volume of the TV. The scream comes again, this time louder. So I cranked the living crap out of the TV volume so that it is blaring. Keep in mind my grandmother has an enormous TV with accompanying sound system. I've got the volume to where it is deafening. Again, the scream comes, this time however, with my name. I shit you not. "IIIISSSAAAAAAAACCCC!!!".
That's it. I've had it. I go flying out the back door into the driveway to see my grandmother pulling up. She takes one look at me and obviously sees something's wrong. I tell her the story as we go back in together. I turn down the TV volume as I had left everything on. No scream comes. I hang around for a couple of hours with her. NOBODY is in the house.
Totally true story. Now, I'm an atheist, and I don't believe in the paranormal, but I honestly cannot explain what happened. I know what I heard though, and if you want to make the trek to Indiana, you are more than welcome to drop by and hear the sound yourself. It is my intention to catch a recording of the scream. However, I've never heard it since; though my grandmother and some other relatives keep hearing it.
Alex
10/31/2012
That's crazy. I think I'd have a hard time dealing with scream type noises. I'm okay with the more subtle types of hauntings. Let me know if anyone takes you up on your offer to come see for themselves. :-)
10/31/2012 at 7:52 PM
I had fun reading all three stories this morning. You really have a sense of how to tell a story, such a pleasure to read. I love spooky stories, too. Other than sensing a presence in the basement for about the first two years, nothing creepy has happened here.

However, in San Francisco I often woke up with the feeling of having been touched, I often saw what seemed to be a human figure at the end of the bed and when I could stand at the stove cooking I often felt a very cold breeze along my neck. A house sitter once claimed to hear someone walking around at night. She also claimed that whenever she returned from being out all the cupboard and closet doors would be open. And there's more to the story. Maybe I should start writing a spooky post for next Halloween!
Wendy
10/31/2012
Oooh! You just gave me goosebumps with your San Francisco house stories. Yikes! :-) Thanks for sharing.
phyllis
10/31/2012 at 11:54 PM
I enjoy reading your Halloween hauntings; they are equal parts entertaining and creepy! I'm on the fence about ghosts, but after being "visited" by a few, you'd think I'd be a solid believer. Generally, they're either people I've known or pets I've had. They visit usually after a week of their passing and then they're gone.

My first visit was from my pet cat I had as a child. He passed away unexpectedly and I was pretty broken up about it. One day he appeared in a black and white portrait my parents had hanging on the wall. The human faced morphed into a cat face, and no sooner had I collected myself and recognized what was going on, our beloved cat's face was gone.

The second "visit" came by way of my grandmother's perfume. She wore Estee Lauder's White Shoulders. It was a very distinctive scent and I always recognized it as hers. I was pretty close to her and I was pretty torn up after she passed away. About a week after her passing, I smelled her White Shoulders lingering around me, on and off for about a week and then it was gone.

The next visit was the most recent. Our beloved golden retriever passed away about 2 years ago. Once again, about a week after his passing, I could hear his dog tags clanging, as if he was sitting right next to me. Of course, we had his tags tucked away in a drawer, so I knew that couldn't be the source of the noise. And no sooner had it begun, it was gone. This one was the most heartbreaking for me, as his untimely demise really hit me hard and I longed to hear his tags again, one more time.

The last visit is the only one that's quite perplexing to me. It is what I believe to be the original owner of our current home. I say perplexing because all of the other visits made sense as to their commonality; I knew and was personally connected to all of them. I didn't know the original homeowner (obviously) so I figured the only way she was roused up was when we had moved into "her" home. Once again, about week or so after we moved in I could smell a distinct scent of cigarette smoke. I am pretty allergic to cigarette smoke, so this was quite annoying to me. I just shrugged it off as weird house smells. But about six months later after we had painted every room and installed a new floor in our kitchen, that damn smoke smell came back! It was so strong it was like someone was sitting right next to me toking through a whole pack. It went on like this for a day. And then suddenly it was gone. After about a year or so of putting up with this annoyance I finally asked my neighbor if she knew anything about our home's previous inhabitant. She confirmed my suspicions and said that the original homeowner was a chain smoker. Now I know that smoke does linger in carpets and walls and furniture. But it doesn't explain why I could still smell it after we had repainted every room, replaced the tile floor in the kitchen, and knew that the hardwoods had been recently sanded and stained by the most recent owners before us.
Incidentally, I haven't smelled it since the passing of our dog. I can only surmise that she decided to vacate the place and hitch a ride along with our dog on his way up to Heaven.

Hope you had a spooky Halloween!
Wendy
11/1/2012
Wow, you sure have an arsenal of stories, all totally fascinating. I think that's so wonderful that your pets have visited you. I had a similar situation with smelling the perfume of a deceased family member. It was really bizarre in the moment, but years later I discovered several other family members had the same experience. Cool!
phyllis
11/1/2012 at 10:48 PM
After posting that, I realized I probably sound like some kind of hokey medium or psychic (but I'm not). Ha, ha. For the most part, my life is pretty ordinary...I just "smell" dead people...lol. I never thought to ask other family members if they got visits...maybe I should?
Delighted
11/1/2012 at 11:51 AM
I have one more story to add to the group..we live in a house built in 1859 and owned by the same family until we bought it. Wonderful house but many unexplained events..never frightening, just puzzling..one of the best events happened after my husband replaced the doorbell. The old one dated back to the fifties and had a distinctive sound. The new one had ( in my opinion) a disappointing ring but we just figured that was the price of new technology.
The night after the new doorbell was installed, we both woke up at the same time - the doorbell was ringing..but it was the OLD doorbell. And our dog was sound asleep in her bed.
I never doubted the wisdom of the house after that, I figure it was an indictment of the new doorbell?
Wendy
11/1/2012
No joke, I just got goosebumps reading this. That is so bizarre (and freaky)!
Margie
11/1/2012 at 4:08 PM
If you hear tapping on your bedroom windows, I think it means Mrs. B wants you to make the storm windows.
Wendy
11/1/2012
LOL! You know it, Margie!
JC
11/9/2012 at 12:20 AM
OMG I just burst out laughing when I read this! :D
Cheryl in Wisconsin
11/1/2012 at 5:51 PM
I don't think anybody either 'believes in ghosts' or doesn't. I think you've either witnessed some type of paranormal event or you haven't. My brother and I lived in a house when we were in our 20's that had a load of activity. It was unnerving and fascinating at the same time. I had a 95-pound Doberman back then that was my salvation, I think I would have lost it without him.
Wendy
11/1/2012
That's an interesting way of looking at it, and I have to agree.

So glad you had your big 95 lb. protector! Even though Lulu leaves something to be desired when it comes to being a guard dog (ahem, copper downspouts), I always feel more safe having a dog in the house.
threadbndr (Karla)
11/1/2012 at 5:54 PM
My house doesn't appear to have any leftover 'vibs' or whatever it is that we call 'ghost', but my parents house in the same neighborhood does.

When my younger sister and I were kids, the toys we left out would occasionally get re-arranged. One night our dog was sleeping in my room, instead of with my parents downstairs as she usually did. About 2 in the morning, her growling woke me up and she was staring out the door into the playroom, where a little toy merrygoround was spinning away. I thought maybe my little sister had snuck into the playroom, but when I checked on her, she was sound asleep.

Still not sure what to think about that one.
Wendy
11/1/2012
Oooh. That's super creepy! Thanks for sharing, Karla!
JC
11/9/2012 at 12:07 AM
Wow, awesome story. I'd suggest that if this happens again, try asking if it's her, and if there's a problem. Seems quite likely that she was trying to help out, and keeping an eye on you guys.

My house is nearly 90 years old, and I haven't really heard any odd noises that couldn't be explained (like bangs from the furnace ducts flexing, things falling, or things like squirrels and once a rat - which freaked me out).
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