Growing up Haunted
Real life ghost story from where I grew up.
A lot of people talk about going ghost hunting. Some people even talk about seeing ghosts. With all the shows on television about them and the supernatural, everyone seems to be an expert on what's real and what's overdone, or clearly just staged. I would like to tell you a story today. Not made up or exaggerated. This is a factual story about the home I grew up in and what happened while I lived there. Nothing is being exaggerated or added. This was my earliest memories up until the time I was 18 and moved away from this house. Ghosts and the supernatural shouldn't be taken lightly. It is nothing to mess around with, and it can be very dangerous.
Marion, Iowa from 1975 - 1993
The home I lived in was actually a duplex. One apartment upstairs and one downstairs. It had once been just a single family home that was built in 1896. I lived upstairs with my great grandparents. The house has since been turned back into a single family home and I often wonder if the people living there ever have any problems.
My story starts out when I was very young. Think back to your first memory. What's the earliest thing you remember seeing or doing? Some people have a clear picture of a happy event or person. I wish I was that lucky. My very first memory was when I was maybe 2 or 3. I had a crib still and slept in the same room as my Grandma and Grandpa.
The bedroom/dining room was off the living room and the door was always left open because the heater for the entire upstairs was in that room. We didn't have a lot of money. Some people would even call us poor. So when you came up the enclosed staircase, you entered our unit into the kitchen. The kitchen had a swinging door that led to the dining room/bedroom that we used. That's where the heating unit was. From there you turned into the living room and another direct turn put you in the actual only official bedroom. It wasn't really used so much as it got very cold in there during the winter.
My crib was along the wall by the kitchen and my grandparents bed was directly across from mine. The doorway to the living room separated us. I remember waking up in the middle of the night. I don't remember why, just that I had woken up and was sitting there looking around. Movement from the living caught my attention and I stood up. I was tall enough to look over the top bar of the crib. It came to about chest level. I leaned over and looked into the living room. There were these dark-colored, long drapes on the window opposite the doorway to the living room. They were a blue or purple with large flowers. While I was standing there, I watched as those drapes floated away from the window and were coming towards our room. There was no real definition to it. It was like a cloaked hooded figure.
When it reached the doorway, I remember screaming at my grandparents to wake up. However it was like all the sound had been sucked out of the room. I knew they should hear me. I knew I was screaming, but it was completely silent. The figure had what looked like a large knife in one hand. Again, it was not defined, more of a shadow. It raised that arm over my grandparents and I remember being absolutely terrified. I was crying and trying to yell for them to watch out.
The figure then turned to me. Like it had just noticed that I was there. It paused and then raised it's other arm and the fabric was gathered so that it looked as though it was holding it's finger to it's face. I remember hearing a hissing Shhhh sound. Very faintly, but it was the only sound in the room. I remember being quiet then. The figure turned and floated across our room and disappeared through the window opposite of that doorway. Directly opposite of the one it came from.
After that I don't remember what happened next. I don't recall if my grandparents woke up or if I went back to sleep. However, I know with every fiber of my being that that was not a dream. I remember the entire scene, in full color. I can picture every detail as I retell this story and it gives me a lump in my chest just thinking about it.
Fast forward a few years. During the daytime, I don't remember feeling anything scary or creepy about our home. Nighttime, however, was a totally different story. In that back bedroom was a long closet. At one time we believed that was where the staircase had been that connected the upstairs and downstairs before the home was converted to the duplex. I always felt like something was watching from that bedroom. Specifically from that closet area.
When it was time to go to bed, I would be in the kitchen saying goodnight to my grandparents. There was a heavy swinging door between the two rooms. I would throw that door open as far as I could and then run for my bed. My bed was now along that opposite wall next to my grandparents bed. The foot of the beds were about 2 feet apart. the headboards on opposite sides of each other. So I would run for my bed. Jumping into the blankets and covering myself up before the door stopped swinging and it went dark.
Most of the time, I would go to sleep just like any other normal person. Other nights as I lay there waiting, I would get this really bad feeling. That feeling that starts in your chest and creeps into your head. You know someone is there. Watching you. Waiting. That feeling that when your walking alone at night that makes you want to run for car. That feeling that makes you turn and look expecting someone to be right there and there's no one around. This was like that to begin with. Then it would slowly get much worse.
When I felt this I knew something was coming. The air felt heavy. I would pull the sheets and blankets up over my head. Nothing could show. The feeling got worse and worse. I had to hold my breath as I felt whatever was there was coming right towards me. Holding my breath, afraid of the movement my chest would make. I feared anything could give me away and if it noticed me. If it knew I was there, something very bad was going to happen.
After what felt like an eternity it would start to go away. Whatever it was had left and I could breath normally. I would uncover myself and go to sleep for the night. This happened for years.
Moving forward to about 16 years old. This is the time I started to notice other things. I would stay up late in the living room talking to friends on the phone. That back bedroom would be right in my line of sight. All night I would feel like something was watching from that closet in the bedroom. It was creepy and made me nervous, but that really bad feeling I used to get wasn't as intense anymore. This is the time when I started noticing what I refer to as the slideshow.
I would be laying in bed after waking up in the middle of the night. Usually from having to go to the bathroom or just waking up for no particular reason. I would lay there in the dark staring at the ceiling when I started to see these images. It looked as though someone was projecting them into the air. They were only about two to three feet high and floated through the middle of the room. Once again, they came from that back bedroom and would turn that corner, float out of the living room, through our room, and then keep going right out the window next to my bed.
These didn't really bother me. There was no feeling of something being wrong or out to get me. It was literally like a slide show of moving scenes. The strangest thing about them was how widely they varied in theme. The most common one I would see would be some kind of vintage carriage. There was a stage coach style with running horses and people inside. There was an even older version of the victorian era. This one fully equipped with knights in armor escorting the carriage to whatever destination they were headed to. Then there was the death coach. This one I named of all of them as it appeared most often. Black enclosed carriage, pulled by either two or four black horses. Curtains drawn, however, you knew someone was inside. The driver was always headless. Wearing all black. The only color was a faint red glow from the horse's eyes. This one I felt could see me just as I could see it. Again though, it wasn't necessarily a bad feeling. Just a knowing that we could see each other.
There would be other images of people walking in all different era clothing. Some would be people riding horses. Some looked like maybe they were fighting. I actually began to enjoy watching these little slides. It wouldn't last long, maybe a couple of minutes and then I would go back to sleep.
Looking back after the fact and talking with different people, I strongly believe there was some kind of portal there. A doorway to other dimension or plane. I don't know exactly, but something was definitely not right with that house. That back closet was connected to something or somewhere evil. It was wrong and powerful. The last incident before moving convinced me that we had to go.
I was 18 years old when the final incident happened. Up to this point, some of you are questioning if this is real or if I was just imagining this? I want to assure you that these were not dreams. By this time, I was an adult and I know for certain I was not asleep. My mind did not play any tricks on me. This last incident was the absolute worst of everything I had experienced up to this point.
It was my senior year of high school. I was taking art classes at the community college and had not gotten my driver's license yet. I was waiting until I turned 18 so that we didn't have to shell out over $300 for driver's ed. I thought it was me helping to save money. Later, I regretted that decision for years. At age 18, you could just go in and take a driving test and get your license, no classes needed. So Grandpa had been driving me back and forth to the community college until I could take that test.
I remember the day the accident happened with absolute clarity. I had had my wisdom teeth surgically removed a couple weeks prior. I was at my drawing class and my mouth was bothering me horribly, and I called my grandfather to pick me up early. I was in the teacher's private office relaxing and waiting for him to arrive. I waited. And waited. I didn't know what was taking so long. This is 1993 keep in mind. People did not have cell phones. I called the house and Grandma just said he should be coming. Again I waited. Nothing. I called again. This time my other Mom answered. Very weird. Why was she there?
The next words I heard would forever change everything in my life. "Grandpa's been in an accident. You need to get here ASAP."
I went to the campus office and got a bus pass. The next couple hours went by really slow as it was a couple transfers to get back to our house. Grandpa had been on his way to come get me and turned in front of another vehicle. It was bad. Really bad. His neck was broken and he was in surgery. To put this in perspective. Grandpa was born in 1901. He was 92 years old, still working as a school crossing guard. He was by no means feeble or unhealthy.
The next couple weeks were a blur. He came out of surgery fine and I turned 18. I got my license and could now drive, but I was totally blaming myself for his accident. I had insisted on waiting to save that $300 driver's ed fee. If I had just let them pay for it, this would never have happened. I blamed myself for years over this.
I helped take care of Grandma as she didn't get around as good as Grandpa and went to school. Grandpa was getting better until one day it went very wrong. My 18th birthday to be exact. While eating, the food went down wrong and into his lungs. What was supposed to be me going up to have birthday cake with him turned into him being put into ICU. From there it went very, very, bad. He passed away a week and a half later.
I was left to take care of Grandma until we moved into an apartment with her daughter, my other grandma. Before the move is when the finally incident happened.
I had gotten used to waking up during the night to check on Grandma during this time. We still shared that same room and kept a chair by the bed. She would have a glass of water and her false teeth in a cup on the chair.
This particular night, I woke up and looked over across the beds to find her sleeping soundly. I lay back and my brain was just running. I couldn't sleep. I lay there about 10 minutes when that all too familiar feeling of being watched came creeping up on me. I sat up looking over towards Grandma and found myself staring into a pair of cold, black, dead, eyes.
Sitting in the chair next to where my grandmother was sleeping was my Grandpa. Or rather something doing a sick and twisted impersonation of him. It looked like him in almost every aspect. He was wearing his tan dickies, pants, and shirt. His huge black heavy shoes that he always wore. He was sitting there staring at me. Almost solid. I could barely make out the chair behind his figure. I sat up further and closed my eyes. I remember thinking this couldn't be real.
Opening and closing my eyes quickly several times, he was still there looking between me and her. IT looked like him, but it wasn't him. I knew it in my soul. This thing was wrong, evil. I felt waves of nausea hit me as I stared into those eyes. There was no comfort. No loving family feelings. Just dead, empty, black eyes. It sat there staring back at me and a creepy smile crept over its face. This was not Grandpa. This was wrong. This thing wasn't supposed to be here.
"Get the Hell away from her! You can't have her!" I growled under my breathe.
We sat there for a few minutes. I just kept repeating that over and over. I knew if I moved or looked away something bad was going to happen. So we sat there staring at each other. That creepy, snarky smile still on its face. Finally it started to fade away, but that sick feeling stuck with me.
Needless to say, I never went back to sleep that night. There is no question as to whether or not I was dreaming. This lasted over several minutes and while is what after a tragic even there is no doubt in my mind as to it really happening.
It wasn't long after this night that we moved. That was the last time I seen that thing. I believe whole heatedly that there is a Demon residing in that house. To this day I can still feel spirits from time to time. I can walk into a place and say whether it's haunted or not. I can sense if they are just there and mean no harm or if I have the urgent feeling to not be there. Always trust your intuition or your gut. If something is telling you to leave, get out. These things can be dangerous. There were other incidents that took place there; however, there were other people involved. I cannot speak for them or verify their validity so I left those out. Just believe me that there are things out there. Very real things. Ghost hunting is not a game. You can bring things home with you when you leave. Be safe and smart. Thank you for taking the time to read my story.