I grew up in central New York State in an old Victorian farmhouse that my family had renovated. At the time, the house was a little bit over 100 years old, and I really loved it. There were so many rooms in the house that going into a room after not being in there for a while felt like going into a new world. There was a great sense of history about it, and my dad had heard stories that it had been used to hide slaves during the time of the underground railroad. (We had a couple of walled-up tunnels in the basement--so this may be true.) I would often spend hours walking the grounds (we had 235 acres of fields, woods and ponds) and playing in the surrounding barns. I would find Native American artifacts in our fields during plowing season, and the barns still held tons of old bottles and tidbits that I loved to examine.
When I was a freshman in high school, I asked my best friend, Becky, over for the weekend. Becky would stay in one of our guestrooms, which my mom had decorated with pink rose wall paper, lacy-white curtains and a marbled green carpet. It was a lovely room—it looked like a garden—but I never liked it. As a child, I had first picked out this room to be my own, but after several weeks of having a reoccurring nightmare and having to crawl in with my parents before I could sleep, they moved me into another room.
It was late at night, and Becky and I were sitting on the bed with a candle lit and listening to ELO’s "Telephone Line" over and over again on my small record player. We were talking girl stuff—boys, school work, teachers…the normal stuff, when we remembered something strange that had happened that day. My sister, Vicki, was a freshman at St. Bonaventure University in the southern part of the state and was several hours away from home. She called home earlier that day and I had answered the phone. All I said when I picked up the phone was "Hello?" The first thing out of my sister’s mouth was, "Hi…is Becky there with you?" I don’t know how she knew that Becky was visiting for the weekend. I asked her how she knew…she said she didn’t know—she just felt it.
Becky and I starting discussing how strange that was, that Vicki was able to read my mind. Vicki and I used to be able to finish each other’s sentences at times, something that has faded with the passing years, but we never had something like this happen before. As we were discussing the possibilities, something weird started happening in the room. The candle we had burning began casting a strange shadow on the wall over the bed—it took the form of a head and shoulders. The music started to sound strange to us…and a feeling of terror came over me. Becky sensed it, too, but she was even more afraid by the look on my face. She said I had gone pale white and had a strange look in my eyes. We both knew we had to get out of there. We ran down the stairs, and we must have sounded like a herd of buffalo. My father, who was working a night shift at the time, was downstairs in the kitchen getting a cup of coffee and a snack before leaving for work. We huddled around him, not sure what to tell him. He must have thought we were nuts. We were both trembling like crazy and decided to get some coffee and spend the rest of the night in my room.
To this day, I don’t know what happened. We might have been two girls who just scared themselves silly, or it may have been something else altogether. I’ll never know now since we sold the home five years later and that was many years ago. I still love that house…but I hate that pink rose room.