Having grown up in a haunted house and being surrounded by a family of avid believers, I have adopted a position in dealing with the supernatural that is oriented in belief and respect, but initial denial to preserve my own sanity. I choose to ignore ghostly encounters until I have time to sort out in my own mind if they are real or imagined. This tactic has worked well for me, but in one occurrence led me down a very unhappy path. The following story is a bit long, but completely honest and sincere and, based on the other stories I have browsed through, I would consider it a worthy read.
In 2008 I was living with my friend, Katherine, in my parent's house.
She had recently moved to Florida from Texas, and we soon grew bored of our sleepy town in Central Florida. We decided to move into a house with some friends in Fort Lauderdale (near Miami) to try our luck in the booming South Florida industry. The house we were moving into was a large 1920's Florida style house that had been through many renovations throughout its long history. Before we moved there I was warned with stories of a ghost haunting the older portion of the house, but dismissed it as overactive imaginations. It was only when we moved in that I got the whole story, and understood the full scope of exactly what was going on in that old house.
When moving into the house, which the girls had gotten for a fairly cheap price in the South Florida real estate market, the landlord had given them only one rule: never step foot in the attic. One of the previous roommates had a borderline obsession with the supernatural. She even went as far as to keep a spirit workbook with different experiments that she tried to get in touch with the spirit world.
Within a few months, even the residents that didn't care about ghosts began to notice something strange occurring in the older part of the house. While taking a shower in the master bathroom, it was common to hear someone whispering to you, with the words just too distant or unearthly to be understood. When home alone it was also common to hear the locked front door open and close and someone walking through the house, but when your shower was done and you came out to greet the other person, there was no one in sight. When in the master bedroom connected to the bathroom it was hard to shake an on-edge feeling of being watched, and closely at that. These things could be explained away by the rational minded, but the roommate with the ghost obsession could not leave it alone.
It wasn't long before the four original roommates decided to use a Ouija board to figure out just where this ghost was coming from. During the trial, conducted in the bathroom where the spirit was most often encountered, they learned a few things about the fifth rent-free roommate. The ghost told them that it was a girl, nine years old. It liked them but hated Chester, the group's pit bull. It warned them strictly and repeatedly not to go into the attic and signed off quickly. The male roommate, our friend Marcus, made a joke out of the situation and immediately made a bee line for the attic. Once up there, the only thing that he found was an old cardboard box. In the box, creepily enough, were the toys of a young girl along with a diary dating back to 1932. The box was never placed back into the attic, and I don't think that the little girl liked this one bit.
The four began to fight regularly and experience anger toward one another, normally for trivial reasons. Things got so tense that two of the girls moved out with little warning, which led to Katherine and I taking their places. Katherine, being of Catholic Mexican heritage, was very superstitious and not pleased to hear of the ghost in the house. Within weeks of moving in, her personality began to reflect this. Though I believed what was happening in the house was the work of a ghost, I tried to ignore the terrified feelings that would come over me while home alone, or sometimes even with others around. I made a joke out of the situation while Katherine became more and more anxious over it. She had lost her happy, bouncy nature and became dark and depressed. I couldn't understand it, because we were living in an exciting place and making decent money. But things slowly got worse.
One evening I returned from work to find Katherine sitting on the front porch of the house crying hysterically. When I finally calmed her down enough to speak, she told me she couldn't tell me what happened because I would think she was crazy. When she finally felt up to telling me, she relayed a story of her night at home. She experienced the ordinary ghost happenings: the chatter in the shower, footsteps through the house, doors shutting. She tried her best to pray and burn sage to comfort herself, but to no avail. While walking from the older part of the house into the kitchen, she saw a flash run by her and was not able to move or breathe. She felt like inside of her head whatever it was told her not to tell anyone that she saw her.
After hearing this story, I decided that Katherine had officially lost it. Several months passed but she never forgot what happened that day and refused to be alone in the house. She was deeply depressed and cried often for small reasons. When another roommate and I went on a month long trip to Europe, she saw her opportunity and fled back to Texas, leaving our guy roommate Marcus alone in the house.
After several weeks Marcus emailed us and told us how excited he was for our return. Things at the house had gotten worse and he now made excuses not to be there alone. One night, while he was in his bedroom, he came into the kitchen to get a drink and found every cabinet door open, the trash can standing up on top of the counter, and several blocks from the attic box laid out on the floor. When we returned, the change in the house was easy to recognize. Normally a pretty happy place, the house now had a dark and foreboding feeling. It seemed our ghost was not too happy with Katherine's abandonment.
Although I initially wrote off my bad feelings as culture shock and sadness of Katherine's absence, it was hard to deny that I was feeling as depressed as she seemed. During my morning showers, in the haunted bathroom, I would cry deeply for no reason at all. I never wanted to be alone and found it hard to sleep, laying awake for hours scared for no reason and waking up before the sunrise like someone had just shaken me awake. I began to feel like the other roommates were keeping secrets from me. I have never had a history of mental instability, so this depression really threw me off. Activity in the house had gotten worse, ranging from cold chills creeping up your neck at random (Florida is not famous for cold breezes) to furious door slams and running footsteps in the middle of the night. On a visit home to my parents, I felt cheered as soon as I was driving away from the house and felt no symptoms of depression until I returned and pulled back into the driveway and was instantly filled with dread and started crying uncontrollably.
The last straw came to me when I was home alone one day. I had felt the strong presence of our ghost all afternoon and heard her moving about the house, but chose to ignore it and burn sage to give myself peace of mind. As the sun began to set and I was walking from the older part of the house into the kitchen, in the same position that Katherine had been in that day, I saw something that made me drop the glass that I was carrying. In the middle of the kitchen stood a little girl, barely visible (you could make out her features but she was, I don't know how to properly describe it, misty at the edges). Her hair was ratty and dangling down almost to her waist and the nightgown she was "wearing" was very old fashioned. Her eyes seemed to stare right through me and her face had a very childish look of anger.
The next thing I recall I was standing in the living room (a solid 20 feet from my original position), stumbling against a wall like the wind had just been knocked out of me. I have no idea how much time passed or how I got from point a to point b. Nothing like that has ever happened to me before or after that day. Within two weeks I had packed my bags and was back to the sleepy central Florida town. My depression had subsided as soon as I escaped the house, and now new renters live there.
I can only wonder if the little girl has taken a liking to them or is deciding to cause trauma to them like she did for Katherine, and eventually me.