Mortimer

In 2003 my two roommates, Grant, Jared and I moved into this rental house in the industrial part of the historic of downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan and lived there until 2005. This house was very old; it still had gas outlets in the walls from when they were used for lights. The house also had your typical Michigan basement that had a creepy little "shed" in the corner with what looked like two shelves for small bunk beds built into it, as well as some very odd looking sinks or vat type things. It also had an attic in Grant's room, which we never explored for reasons you will soon find out.

Grant and Jared had been living there for the first semester of college and then I moved in in the winter of the second semester. Everything was cool until all the weird small things started adding up and escalating to bigger happenings.

On the third night I was there. We all were in our rooms upstairs, sleeping and studying when I heard these heavy footsteps downstairs. They went from the front door, walked through the den, down our hallway and into the kitchen, and sounded like it stopped in front of the sink. Because this house was very old, you could pretty much hear where everyone was when they walked in the house, both upstairs and downstairs (very hard to sneak girls in and out of), but just to double check I stuck my head out of my bedroom to see that Grant and Jared were in their respective rooms. They had not moved. I pretty much wrote it off as either my imagination because the house was creepy anyways or to the fact that old houses are naturally loud and make weird sounds all the time.

A couple of months later I was sitting in the den with a couple of friends watching some TV. On top of the television sat an old candle we used as an ashtray. Out of nowhere, the ashtray "fell" off the TV. I say "fell" because it looked like it fell but it fell with enough force to land a good four feet away from the TV to land on my shoe sending ash all over the couch and my lap. My friends stopped laughing; they were a little creeped out.

Another time, later on that month, Grant complained that there was something in the walls in his room. What ever it was, it traveled quickly. He came and got me one night when it was occurring. It sounded like someone with long nails was scratching on the walls frantically. It started in the corner of his ceiling and went down his wall behind his bed then over to another wall and back up to the ceiling and came real close to the door panel leading into the attic in the ceiling and stopped. This occurrence happened for about three weeks straight about every other night. We just wrote it off as vermin the walls but those things just moved unbelievably fast.

We also started noticing that our locked back door would be discovered to be wide open when we came home from school. Both roommates claimed to have never used the door because it was such a pain to open mainly because, I must embarrassingly admit, we piled our empty trash can bags against the door and being freshmen college kids, there was a mountain.

Then things grew quiet in the house for a while.
Grant ended up moving out at the end of the semester. Jared took Grant's room and Bo moved into Jared's room. After a month of sleeping in Grant's room, Jared mentioned that he could hear children playing outside his window at 3am on a consistent schedule. He insisted that it sounded like they were right outside his window and he could hear them walking around on the roof right outside his window.

Christmas break came and went and Jared had brought home two kittens to look after for a friend while he was away. The kittens were cool but they were frisky and were always playing with each other. They ended up really creeping us out though. They would be in the middle of playing with each other, then just suddenly stop, and look at the same spot on a wall. They would watch this "spot" go all over the room. They were both watching the same thing and we could not see it. They would also stalk and pounce on something we were unable to see. They always looked baffled when they landed on the ground with nothing to show for it. I mean who knows maybe the cats were getting into the paint chips or something, right?. Then for two months during the winter, though it happened more sporadically throughout the rest of the time in the house, there was a weird occurrence in our living room.
Any time we sat down there, and it occurred more frequently at night, we would get this sensation of something pulling our arm and neck hair. The air would get heavy, moist and morose smelling. It would trigger our arm and neck hair to stand on end and goose bumps would rise on our skin. I thought I was the only one experiencing it until Jared was sitting next to me one day and asked if it felt weird to sit in the living room. He described the sensation and I flipped out. We were now pretty convinced there was something going on in that house.

Once winter started to pass, we got antsy and decided to throw a party in the house. After cleaning and party proofing the place Jared and I decided to take a nap in front of the TV in the living room on our couches. I had just started hitting that deep sleep when suddenly I heard a loud pounding coming from our storm door on the front porch. Startled, I leapt up to answer the door but when I opened it no one was there, when I came back I noticed that my stereo was on full blast. Jared was just waking up, probably because of the loud music. I always had the stereo turned off when I was not using it, force of habit. It never just turned on by itself nor has it since we moved out. Also when you turn it on you have to turn up the volume and press the play button to get sound, it never just started up full blast.

I think one of the creepier instances I experienced was when I was home alone in my room working on some homework, softly listening to some music when I heard this awful scream come from our community closet at the end of the hallway that led to our bedrooms on the second floor. This scream was not just your typical scream, it was like a women's scream mixed with the howl of a wolf and then a man's sinister laugh afterwards. I quickly turned off my music to see if I could hear it again. Silence. I wrote it off as my imagination and turned the music back on and the second I turned the music on I heard the wolf scream again. I decided to ignore it though I was thoroughly creeped out.

Since the scream, things tended to get a little more intense. The whole feel in the house was morose. It was hard getting motivated to do things, hard to get homework done, hard getting out of bed. Jared ended up not going to classes and eventually flunked out but one morning at about 5 am, I awoke to the sound of an explosion. The whole house shook from the inside. The windows rattled, two of my Simpsons action figures that I had lying about on shelves in my room toppled over and my poster fell down. My first thought was "oh sh*t our kitchen ceiling finally caved in!"(we had a leak coming from our bathroom and was leaking through our ceiling and into our kitchen sink when someone showered) so I ran downstairs in a panic but everything was fine and in it's place. I ran to the basement and stuck my head down the stairs, nothing. Everything was fine. On my way back up the stairs I ran into Bo, he asked "Dude, did you hear that?!?" in a real freaked out voice. I told him I did. It was so weird. We looked around the block thinking maybe a house blew up or a factory a couple blocks down had an accident but nothing was out of the ordinary. It was as if both of us imagined it or something though the evidence I had that I was imaging was my poster and action figures. I still have no clue what did that.

The last major experience we had was when Bo and I were watching a movie in the living room when the crazy hair sensation I described above was happening. We started talking about it and coming up with explanations for it and the possibility of sharing the house with a ghost. I believe at that time we referred to him as Mortimer.
Well we started kind of freaking ourselves out and all the sudden there were some weird sounds coming from the basement. Scratching at the basement door and what sounded like some banging around in the actual basement part. We decided to get out of the house for a bit to calm down, so as I came back downstairs from getting my jacket I made a joke about how Mortimer must have wanted the house to himself, maybe to entertain a woman friend and just as I finished saying that our locked front door slowly swung open. Our pace became much more hurried getting out of the house. The house was starting to get to me.

After the screams I heard, the house took on a very uninviting feel to it. Productivity really ceased. It was hard to get home work done in the house and to run errands. It was hard to leave the house, but once you got out on to the main street, you felt a thousand times better. I was creeped out to be alone in it. It was just like something kind of sucked the energy out of you. My friends felt it and the roommates felt it. The house had so much charm at first and was alot of fun to be at and then it just leeched the life out of you near the end.

I still drive past the house once in awhile and it has been a year since we moved out and no one has moved in. I was not a believer of ghosts, open-minded maybe, but I definitely did not state I believed in them until I moved out.

If anyone has any insights or any possible explanations for anything experienced under that roof, please let me know. I wish I knew of this site while I was still living there.

Submitted by Ryan, Michigan, USA