In 1981, my new husband and I and our newborn baby had just moved into a very 1st floor apartment on a very quiet dead end street not too far from where I had grown up.The landlady when giving us the key, explained how the second floor was empty so we would pretty much have the entire yard to ourselves for a while. She also informed us at least 3 or 4 times in the conversation that no one in the houses approximate 100 year history had ever dwelled there but family.This home had always been inhabited by Santilli's and their blood relatives. Needless to say, the old woman was far from the welcome wagon! It seems the last living relative dwelling in this home had died and now the house, which she herself did not live in, fell into her care.She was hesitant if not greatly saddened to rent this apartment out to strangers.
I personally loved the apartment, being a great lover of history, and historical things, I was really excited to fix the place up and get settled. My Mom and aunt came over every day for several weeks to help wallpaper and paint. We started with the nursery. After working in the nursery for a few short days, my mother came to me during a lunch break and asked if I considered calling the parish priest and asking him to bless the house for us. She never went into further detail, and when asked, she made light of the whole thing saying many people bless their new homes just as a ritual, to assure peace and tranquility. My mother being a very religious woman, I never questioned her again and truthfully never really thought twice of it. That is, until one morning while changing my baby sons diaper, with my back to the french glass doors I had a very uneasy feeling of someone watching me. I turned quickly around with one hand still on the baby's stomach to keep him from rolling off the baby changer. Nothing. No one was standing there. My heart was racing and I felt very foolish and childish. I didn't realize until I was leaving the nursery that the glass doors were nearly shut tight and the room was very cold although it was a beautiful warm August morning. I hadn't opened any of the windows in the house yet, so I knew a breeze could not have pushed them shut. Oh well, it was nothing, really.............so I thought, and continued on with my days activities.
First I went down into the basement to start a load of wash. I forgot to mention that my husband worked 1st shift and I was alone most of the time which didn't bother me except for the basement. I really never liked old basements, and I wasn't thrilled about going down there alone. I put the baby in his little seat and carried the laundry basket down to the basement. I could hear noises coming from upstairs and thought it may be my mother who stopped in to see the baby many mornings. Leaving the washer to spin out I ran up the basement stairs expecting to see my Mom, but no one was there.I called out "MOM?!"..no one. O.K. I took the baby outside and placed him in his baby swing where he spent the time usually watching me hang the laundry on the clothesline. Again, as I was putting him into the swing, I felt like someone was behind me, I quickly turned around and saw no one, but looking up to second floors windows, I saw her. The face of a woman. A girl not that much older than myself with long auburn colored hair peering out the window at me. As I stood staring at her, she drifted away from the window. I walked up the small hill and over to the front road to see if there was a new car parked there, thinking maybe we finally had ourselves a new neighbour upstairs. No car. Nothing.
I finished the laundry and put the baby in his carriage and walked to my mother's house not too far away to spend the afternoon till my husband got home. I never mentioned I was afraid to stay home alone!
That night, my husband hung my beautiful shadow box with all my pretty nic nacs on the living room wall, and shortly after admiring it..we went to bed. It was roughly around 1am when a huge CRASH woke us both up at the same time..we looked at each other, half asleep, and said "OH NO! Not the shadow box!!!" My husband dashed into the living room and I stayed in bed and awaited the verdict. He came back into the bedroom a few minutes later with a funny look on his face..I asked him if anything was broken..he told me nothing had fallen, everything was intact. He took a walk through the rest of the rooms, and came back to bed. We both thought this strange, but we quickly fell back into the deep sleep we were so rudely awakened from.
Not too long after, a terrible thump hit the footboard of our bed, shaking the entire bed hard enough for my husband and I to jump up to a sitting position from a sound sleep. He turned on the light and we both looked at the footboard and under the bed, there was nothing. Once again, my husband ran to the living room where the shadow box was on the opposite wall of the bed's footboard. It still hung on the wall all intact. After making another round in the house, he found nothing. Now, the baby, who was in his cradle beside the bed, was awake and crying. I picked him up and cradled him in our bed for his 4am feeding. I watched the sun come up that morning. I should mention that my son never once spent a night in his nursery. He cried and cried and went into fits of screaming every time I tried to place him in his crib. Every person bent on giving a new mother advice, insisted that I was spoiling him and that I needed to let him stay in his crib and cry a few nights until he got used to the idea. He was now almost 4 months old and yet to spend and hour in his own crib. I couldn't bear the fitful screaming and always rushed to his rescue and returned him to his cradle beside the bed.
One night, after tucking him in the crib, and listening to his little cries for what seemed like forever, but in actuality was only a few minutes, his cries took on a horrible high pitched scream, a panicky kind of scream. My husband jumped from the bed and ran to the nursery, reassuring me it was o.k. he would get the baby for me this time. A few minutes later he was back, and looking panicky himself. He handed me the baby and told me that one of his model airplanes fell off the shelf in the spare room. He checked it all out and there wasn't a thing broken on it. It was just sitting on the floor, completely intact. We talked about how that plane should be in a million pieces falling from that height. The spare room was connected to the baby's nursery. That same night, after drifting off to sleep, my husband and I were both awakened by the sounds of loud footsteps and voices, laughing and talking......like a party going on upstairs!! We could hear chairs being dragged and what sounded like furniture being moved. We both thought that it must be the new people moving in upstairs, maybe that's why I had seen the young woman's face in the upstairs window, we thought. She must have been getting the apartment ready to move in......there was no vehicle outside, but maybe someone dropped her off. I thought the new people sounded like real "real party animals" and I was disgusted at how rude they were to move in at that hour of the night..........I mean who moves into a 2nd floor apartment after midnight!!!
My husband was trying to give them the benefit of the doubt and thought maybe they work odd hours and this was the only time they could move in. He was anxious to meet the new people and said "they sound like fun people. Finally, we have neighbours our own age!!" We were surrounded it seemed on that little dead end street by elderly people.
The next morning was a Saturday morning. My husband went upstairs fairly early to introduce himself, as we could hear footsteps and voices and thought the people were awake and having their coffee by now. He came back downstairs a few seconds later looking sick, and proceeded to tell me that the upstairs was dark and completely vacant! No people..no furniture...no vehicles..nothing. I called my mother, who then, called the priest, who came that very day to bless the house! It was then that my mother admitted to me the same strange things happened to her in the nursery, and she felt very uneasy about the apartment.
The next day, Sunday.The house was blessed, and all was well, except when I went into the bathroom to take my shower, there was a huge crack in the tiles and a very big mushroom..yes..I said a mushroom..was growing out of the tile along with a lot a fungus! My husband laughed..picked the mushroom out and joked about how we'll have to get on the landlady to repair the bathroom and he wondered how the "relatives" she always talked about, felt about us starting an indoor garden.
The next morning the mushroom was back..like it grew overnight. It was huge and fully grown and lots of other fungus continued to spill from the cracked tiles. We got rid of it once again, and I proceeded to take my shower, but every second that I was in there, pieces of paint and ceiling fell onto my head and into my eyes..I screamed for my husband to come and see what was happening. It was that day that we called the landlord to complain and began looking for a new apartment. The landlady insisted that the bathroom never had any problems with it until WE MOVED IN..and we were inclined to believe her. We asked her about the new tenants and she had no idea what we were talking about. There were no new tenants, as she could not bring herself to rent the upstairs apartment out quite yet. It was where the last living blood relative of the Santilli family died, and it was hard enough to rent out the downstairs to us.
We moved out almost immediately after that day. We moved to a beautiful contemporary apartment in Cranston, with as far as we knew it, no family history. My mother informed us that the old Santilli house had a CONDEMNED SIGN posted to it. Our adorable little apartment condemned? We had worked so hard to fix the place up, we could not make sense of why or what had happened in such a short amount of time to condemn the place.
One sunny spring afternoon, a few years later, we decided to take a drive by the place out of curiosity's sake.The house was gone.Torn down, and the little landlady we were told, the houses's last blood relative, had passed away. A new couple had purchased the home and tried over a year or two to spruce it up, but no one knew where they had gone to or what exactly happened, except for all their hard work, the house progressively deteriorated and was eventually closed up, and recently torn down.
This is a true story. It happened approximately 20 years ago. I am still very fond of historical homes...the kind you see in magazines, or admire from a distance. I still live in Rhode Island in my own home now, which is decorated in a historical fashion..but does not thankfully have any blood relatives attached to it!