Not to far away from me, off the side of a busy road, there has always been a building that stuck out in comparison to all of the others. Surrounded by contemporary buildings is a single house-like structure made of stone. It looks like something out of an old movie or a painting. When I was a small child, I was always curious about this building, but the sign outside of it changed from time to time, and, because I wasn’t able to read and I never wanted to distract my parents from paying attention to the road in front of them, I never asked.
As I got older, I lost interest in the unique stone building. By this point, I knew that, while part of it had been sold as a hair salon, part of it was and had been for many years an antique store.
Around my mid to late teens, I became very interested in antiques, specifically antique photos from the Victorian era and Americana like old cameras and telephones. I wanted to build my collection and thought it would be fun to go to that antique store since it was so close to home. Since I was unable to drive, I convinced my mother to take me one free afternoon.
Walking into the building, I was struck with how brightly lit it was on the inside. There were items everywhere. It seemed very disorganized, yet the inside of the main room appealed to me due to all of the history lying within it. There were old toys, books with browned pages, and many items that I didn’t recognize.
The walls were painted white, and I noticed that one of the walls looked slightly strange. The wall was, like every other wall, covered with old framed photos and posters. I figured it was just an old decorative touch left behind by the original owner that the current owner didn’t change. I later discovered that, behind that wall, was a staircase not known about or easily gotten to, and that that old building had previously been a part of the underground railroad, and the staircase leads to a small space where people could hide out throughout a night.
Walking around the store, I noticed that there were antique items being sold on both floors. Once I finished looking through the items on the ground floor, I excitedly went upstairs, looking forward to what I would find. I ran up the stairs, giggling at how the old, uneven wood floor squeaked beneath my feet
The top floor was split into multiple rooms, all, like the ground floor, filled with items with no clear system of organization. Going from room to room, I was happier and happier because of all of the interesting items I had seen.
The last room, however, was unlike any other part of the building. It was darker than the rest and looked almost as if no one ever went into it. I remember seeing an antique baby carriage sitting in the middle of the floor. The carriage was beautiful in comparison to the other items throughout the space.
It didn’t take me long to feel uncomfortable in that room. I was stiffer and more anxious. I didn’t like being in that room by myself. At the time, I thought I was panicking unreasonably, but I now know that, maybe, my gut feeling of discomfort was justified.
Quickly leaving that room to go back to the brightly lit main floor to find my mother, I calmed myself down by looked through some of the antiques a second time. While my mother was talking to the owner of the store, who was working as the cashier at the time, I overheard the man talking about how it was believed that the building was haunted and that many people had come there in the hopes of proving this.
I thought back to the room I had been in. This building that held, and still holds, so much history within it seems to have a lot of history of its own. If it truly is haunted, I am curious about what spirits or beings may be lurking in that dark room on the top floor at the end of the hall. I haven’t been back to that antique store since.