I Never Got Too Comfortable

A couple of years ago, my boyfriend and I bought a house in the suburbs of Atlanta, but before that, we lived in a one level duplex much closer to the city. The home was built in the 1950's and numerous people lived there before we moved in the fall of 1998.

Nothing horribly terrifying happened there, but it never felt like home and I hated when my boyfriend was not home because I always felt like i was being watched. He worked nights at the time and I worked during the day, so I was usually at home all night long by myself.

The first thing that was immediately unsettling was the attic hatchway in the ceiling. The hatch was in the hallway that connected the livingroom to the bedroom area. For some reason, the door would never close completely. If you held it closed, it would stay, but as soon as you removed your hand, it would open about an inch or so. Maybe it was just my overactive imagination, but as I would sit in the living room, I always felt like I had an audience peering at me through that slit in the ceiling. Occasionally, the cord that hung down so that you could pull open the door would sway back and forth as if someone had just moved the hatch, but I would never see the actual door moving. Sometimes I would notice that the door appeared to be open wider than usual. Perhaps it was all in my head.

Also, If I was standing in the living room I could look down the hallway and see into the master bedroom (just half of one wall). It was unnerving when I would see, during the middle of the day, shadows dancing on the wall. There were no trees to shade the sun coming in the window of that room and therefore, no reason for the quality of the light to shift as often and almost rhythmically as it did.

When I was in bed at night, I would often hear footsteps in the hallway coming towards me from the living room, but they would always stop about halfway down the hall, where the attic hatchway was. Sometimes my little dogs (2 Jack Russell Terriers), who would always sleep in bed with me at night, one on the left of me and one on the right, would wake up and run out into the hallway staring down the hall, cocking their heads to and fro. Once in a while, they would growl softly down the hallway, sending icy shivers down my spine. Occasionally, I would wake up in the night to hear scratching inside the wall of my bedroom. My boyfriend said it was just squirrels that would climb into the walls for warmth and maybe he was right, but it sure did scare me! I would also wake up and see strange shimmery "clouds" floating across my ceiling. They looked not so much like clouds as ice crystals on a window, with the sort of veiny look that ice gets on glass. You could see through them, but everything on the other side looked wavey, like heatwaves.

There always seemed to be a sad, dark cloud hovering over us in that place. I would have irrational bouts of terror that would send me scrambling out of a room squeaking in fear and my boyfriend said he was always depressed.

Finally, the basement was very, very strange. It spanned the entire distance between the two units. One side was finished (the side under our unit) and the next door neighbours had installed a pool table and often went down at night to play. You could only get into the basement from an external door in the backyard that was never locked. Over the decades, people who had lived there had stored all sorts of strange and seemingly unless things in that basement. I use to love going down there (always with another person) to rummage around, but I would always steer clear of the unfinished portion of the basement. There was a doorway that connected it to the rest of the basement. No lighting fixtures were on that side of the basement and the ground had not even been cleared. In fact the entire space of the floor was dominated by a huge rock. There was about a foot and a half of space around the perimeter of the space that you could walk along, but other than that, the rock loomed up almost to the floorboards of the house (about seven feet on that side of the basement). All along the wall were old, antique mirrors. I never understood that. They looked like they had been left there like everything else, but for some reason, only mirrors were stored on that side of the basement. Very strange.

One last thing. We found out from our neighbours that in the 1960's an elderly woman had been strangled in our unit by an estranged member of her family, or so the story goes. It certainly wouldn't surprise me.

Anyway, we have since bought a new house (built one month before we moved in) and since then, we have both felt like an ominous cloud has been lifted from us. I have had no unnatural experiences in my new home and only feel a constant sense of peace and warmth there. Although, it was built on old plantation land where many slaves lived and died over 100 years ago, so who knows.....

Submitted by Nessie, GA, USA