My husband and I bought a home in Redondo Beach, California, in 1989. This quaint, old two- story home wasn't too far from the beach and it was located in a friendly little neighborhood.
Built in the early 1940s, the house had a lot of flavor. The upstairs served as the living quarters and the downstairs had been used as a bootleg apartment by the previous owners. We decided to use the downstairs as a production area for my husband's video business. He was — and still is — a cameraman. I was taking a break from work soon after moving in because I had a newborn to care for. All seemed well for the first few months, but then my husband began remodeling the downstairs.
The first thing he did was remove a wall just under the staircase downstairs. To get to it, he also removed a built-in desk that had been placed there over three decades earlier. My husband said he thought there was a lot of unused space behind the desk area because the echo we heard upstairs above that area was very loud whenever we walked across the hardwood floors. As it turned out, he was right.
Behind the wall was a space the size of a small bedroom. It was cold and damp and full of dirt and concrete. A little vent to the outside provided just enough crawl space that little animals could get into the space without much trouble. I immediately thought of dead things, but no animal bones were found. Nothing was out of the ordinary.
Emptying this space became my husband's passion. He spent hours a day shoveling dirt out, shoring up the beams, pouring concrete and staring. By that I mean I would come downstairs to get him for dinner and the man would just be staring at the space. He was beginning to act peculiar, but I dismissed it thinking he was just excited about remodeling the area.
My husband began spending more and more time downstairs. He tore down all the walls within a matter of a few months. He tore the flooring up, he took the kitchen out and destroyed the bathroom. He rarely came upstairs for anything. He began acting as if he had no family. I would talk to him about his behavior and he'd get crazy. He would yell and call me names, then storm back downstairs with the slam of a door. His abusiveness was growing and so was my fear. But something more was happening.
Whenever I was alone in that house, I would hear things. My husband would be out on a job, sometimes gone for days while shooting on location, yet I would hear things being moved downstairs. It was as if someone very strong were pushing heavy boxes or furniture. There was large equipment being stored, so it crossed my mind the first few times this happened that my husband had hired someone to organize the equipment and may have been pushing it from one side of the room to the other. That was not the case. Though I grew to hate walking down the stairs to that area of the house, I did so anyway the first few times I heard the noises. I would find nothing, however. Everything looked just the way it had been left by my husband.
Another odd thing about the times I would force myself to go downstairs to check things out was that I would feel very unwelcome. I would run back up the stairs because I felt like something was going to get me. I knew it was silly, but I had never felt so frightened. I stopped going down there after that. I never understood how my husband could fall asleep downstairs. Sometimes, he would do so on the cold, hard concrete floor wearing only shorts! It was clear that my mild-mannered husband was turning into some strange beast. I began hating him as much as I did the lower level of my home.
As these feelings grew, my husband and I began to fight regularly. However, I would never fight with him downstairs. I didn't feel safe there. And when he came upstairs, he didn't feel comfortable. Unfortunately, his discomfort didn't stop him from baiting me and fighting with me bitterly. He would say horrible things that I couldn't believe he'd say. As I look back on our life at that time, it was like he was being taken over by an evil spirit. And that this spirit wanted me out of the picture. To make things even stranger, it seemed like I had a "good" spirit on my side upstairs. This good spirit didn't scare me in any way. He was hard to get used to at first, but I actually became accustomed to his presence, which was particularly strong in the kitchen. I found myself spending a great deal of time in the kitchen. That is the room I felt safest and most protected in. The reason I feel this was a protective spirit is because it seemed to get angry whenever my husband would fight with me upstairs. One time when we were fighting, I was standing in the middle of the livingroom and my husband was sitting in the far corner of the room. As the argument escalated, things grew ever quieter around us. Suddenly, a lamp flies across the room and crashes to pieces just behind my feet. Originally sitting in the middle of an entertainment center against the wall on the other side of the room behind me, this lamp couldn't have fallen. If it had, it would have landed by the entertainment center on that side of the room, and not behind me in the middle of the room!
Another time, just after a big fight between my husband and me, my husband stormed out to the garage. No door opener was attached. No mechanism that would make the garage door open and close was in place. Yet that's what happened several times within a few minutes of him entering the garage. He was terrified.
Things became stranger from there. Lights going off and on, doors closing, cold breezes, shadows and many, many noises from downstairs when I was upstairs… and footsteps overhead when I was downstairs. I even heard what sounded like two men talking upstairs through the open windows when I was standing on the downstairs patio outside one day.
Between the fighting and the strange activities of the house, I moved out with my young son just two years after moving in. I found a great little house down the street from my husband, so we could try to work things out. I didn't experience any haunting activities in my new house. My husband continued being horrible until he moved out. Once he had moved away from that house, he changed back into the kind person he was before. And the story has a happy ending. We got back together and moved to a new city, where we live in another house we purchased. It is not haunted.
I often wonder if the new owners of our last house ever experience anything weird. One day I will summon up the courage to knock on their front door and ask them.