A Builders Dream?
There are a lot of old houses in Pasadena California, and this one was no different with its moldy wood and creaky floors. I had been hired to do some restoration work on the three story home built in the 1890's. It had a lot of damage to it and had sat empty for the last six years.
A young couple had just purchased it and were excited to restore the home and raise their family there. You could see the beauty the home once held, and it was hard to beleive that in this day and age that a house like this had sat unoccupied for six years.
They had just closed escrow and we met there the next day to take a tour of the house and layout a plan of what work would be done first.
We arrived there at 8:30 AM and opened all the windows and doors to air the place out. It was a Saturday so the couple had come equipt with broom and mop to start removing the six years of dust that had accumulated. I went back to see why the electricity wasn't working. Edison was supposed to be out the day before and turn on the power but when I went to check the fuse box there was a notice from the Electric Company telling them that power could not be turned on because of problems with the connection that led into the house. I looked at the problem and decided new wiring would have to be installed throughout the house to bring the electrical up to date.
So we now had our first part of the repairs decided. Working lighting was essential to the couple because most of the work they did on the house would have to be in evenings after work. So not to delay I started to work on installing the new wiring. They were so anxious to get the power on that I decided I would stay and work through the evenings to have it done quickly for them.
I had started work that next Monday about 7:30 AM, my helper and I had been tearing out plaster walls to install the new wire. He left about 6 o'clock but I decided to stay and try to get in a couple more hours of work.
I had packed an extra sandwich to eat in the evening and felt hungry so I sat down on the floor and began to eat. After a long day and full stomach I just lay back on the floor for a few moments and closed my eyes. I guess I dosed off, because what happened next gave me the feeling of being suddenly awoken by the sound of a slamming door. My body jumped with surprise. After a second or two I realized where I was, and began to feel that there must be someone else in the house. I quietly sat up and just listened wondering if I just imagined the door slamming or dreamt it. I didn't hear anything else so figured yes, it was a dream. So up I got and decided I was just much too drowsy now to get anymore work done that night.
As I began packing up my tools, I was startled when I heard a door slam again, this time I wasn't asleep so was sure of what I had heard. Two floors up I began to hear footsteps on the creaky floor, now I was sure there was someone else in the house. After all this house had sat empty for six years, It would not be unlikely that someone was sleeping in the house at night. I got my flashlight and began to quietly go up the stairs. With each step I cringed as the steps creaked below my feet. Knowing with this noise I surely wasn't going to surprise anyone with my presense so I yelled up "hello", no one answered, so again I yelled "hello". I felt too uncomfortable about going up to the third floor in the dark of night with just a flashlight, so decided there was no harm that could be done to the house and if someone was wanting to sleep there tonight, so be it.
I gathered my tools and went home.
The next day my helper and I arrived at the house and I told him about the slamming doors and the footsteps. He got a big laugh at my being scared about going up to check it out. He said lets go look around upstairs and see what was been going on.
We found nothing that looked unusual. We went about our work and again I was going to put another late night in. I had convinced him to stay late with me for the owners were anxious to get power restored.
We worked till about eight o'clock and started to pack up our tools, when slam! Again from upstairs; footsteps and slamming doors, I was sure glad I had someone with me, but that didn't keep me from jumping out of my skin. But this time I had back-up, whoever was up there was going to have to find a new place to sleep.
My helper and I grabbed our flashlights and each a hammer and began to climb the stairs. We got to the landing on the second floor and stood there silently listening, we heard soft footsteps coming from the the next floor up. We quietly went to the next landing and stood listening for the location of our visitor. Slam! There it was again, the slamming door. We both jumped at the noise, but this time we were close enough to find out just who was up there.
With our flashlights in one hand and our hammers now raised in the other we begin to make our way down the hallway. Ahead of us we could see 6 doors, on earlier inspection I knew that 4 of the doors led to bedrooms, one to a bathroom and another to a large linen closet. As we reached each door we slowly opened them, one by one we shined our lights and entered each room checking closets and clutching our hammers. As we got through a few of the rooms and feeling relief of not finding anyone, we began to laugh and acknowledged to each other how we felt pretty silly, and thinking how ridiculous two grown men must look timidly tip toeing through this house with our lights and hammers in hand.
By now we were thinking the slamming door must be the wind and floors in old houses always creak. But we decided to check the last two rooms anyway.
Both pumped up now with manly pride, but both still feeling creepy, we inspected the last two rooms and found nothing. We we very relieved, but couldn't help but notice there were no openings to create a draft to cause a door to slam the way it had, but shrugged it off. We had checked and found no one in the house. We started our way downstairs and just when we reached the landing on the second floor, we heard the sound of a loud slamming door from the third floor again, we looked at each other, our mouths dropped open, we had made sure each door was securely closed as we had searched each room. We both shuddered and ran quickly down the stairs. We grabbed up all the tools we could, pulled the plug from the work lights we had run from the neighbors, and shut the door behind us.
We jumped in my truck and just sat there panting, out of breath and not speaking. We both knew there was nothing human in that house, whatever it was, neither of us wanted to know.
I certainly didn't want to go back in that house but I had a contract, what was I to do. My helper and I rode the 20 miles home in silence. I dropped him at his house and neither of us said a word, he just opened the door and got out and I drove away. Would he ever go back there with me, would I go back? I decided I didn't want to spend much time at the house again but I had a contract to fulfill. I just wanted to get the work that we had agreed on done and get away from that house. I didn't care about any profit on the work of that house so I began to hire sub- contractors in to get all the work done quickly.
I would stop by and check on the progress but only in the daylight. One thing, everyone else would always leave the job before dark so no one ever reported any strange events. I was glad when my portion of the work was done, and recommended that they find another contractor to complete the work.
Things were in condition that they could restore power and move in and the work could progress in the other parts of the house. I never heard from that couple again, I do know that they moved in the weekend after we finished our work.
About a year later, my helper and I were in the area and decided to drive by and see how the restoration had worked out on the house. When we pulled up in front of the house the house looked abandoned again. The grass had grown long, the surrounding trees and bushes were untrimmed and a for sale sign was on the front lawn. My helper and I dropped our mouths open in disbelief. We just sat there staring at the house. Just then a neighbor walked by with his dog. We stopped him as he passed and asked him what happened to the couple who had just moved in a year ago. He told me:
I don't know what was going on in that dang place, as soon as they moved in all kinds of hell broke loose, we could all hear loud noises and lights flashin from the house, and crying, the young woman was always weeping so loud you could hear it on the street. A couple of times neighbors had gone to the door to make sure she was o.k. but she wouldn't talk to us. She would just peek through the curtains and wave us away, so we left them alone. Then one day they were gone, about a week of silence and then that for sale sign went up on the lawn. The house has been empty for almost a year now. The same realtor has it that sold the house to them in them in the first place, but none of us have seen him show the place once since the sign went up. Probably sit there another six years before he sells it again.
Whenever I am in that area I drive by that house, It's been three years since I worked on that house, I drive by whenever I'm in the area, last time was three months ago, the house still sits there empty and the same sign is still on the lawn that reads "For Sale - do not disturb tenants".