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Alone In The Dark

July 2007

About 10 years ago, before I moved away from Grand Rapids, I used to live in a mansion that was converted into apartments- not unusual in the least, as we had a large historic district that was about half rentals. The house was simply amazing- a sprawling Italianate built in 1864 with a widows walk at the top.

There were 32 apartments in the building- mostly studios and one bedrooms.
I had heard stories about the house being haunted from many of the tenants- it seemed everyone had some sort of experience, ranging from the typical "cat chasing invisible things above the fireplace" to full scale apparitions. The latter, witnessed by a professor from our Art School, involved him walking through the foyer to see a "dark woman" glide down the stairs and through the wall on the landing between the first and second floors.

We later found out, through a few visits to our historical society, that before the place was converted into apartments in the 1920s, the wall that the woman went through was the entryway to the dressing room/parlor of the main bedroom.
We always assumed it was just Mrs. Morris, the original lady of the house, who had a rather sad story, and so might have been grounded in her home. I lived in three different apartments in the building in the years I spent there, and had a few experiences, but none compare to my first.

I lived in an apartment made up of part of the original dining room. The apartment was set up strangely- there was a long hallway that led into the living room. Through the living room you could enter my bedroom, and through my bedroom you found the outer bathroom (a sink), and then the inner bath (the bathtub and loo). The light in the bath was such that you had to screw it in to make it go on.

One afternoon I was taking a shower (I know, I know) and I heard someone walking down the hall. I thought that my boyfriend had forgotten something and come home from work. The footsteps were slow and heavy- they went through the living room, and into my bedroom. Now I was a little mad- I liked to keep my room private and here he was walking around in it. Then he came in the outer bath and finally in the inner- then the light went out. Now I am standing there, soaking wet, in a pitch black room (there were no windows since it was in the interior of the building), and I realized that it was not my boyfriend, and I swear I have never been so terrified in my life. I did not call out,- I was too afraid something would answer.
After a minute of standing there with my eyes shut (so I would not see anything), I got out of the shower and immediately got out of that room. After I convinced myself that whatever it was had left, I went back in the bath- the light bulb was completely screwed out of its socket. I convinced myself someone had come into the apartment- I had left the door unlocked and a friend came in, but it was bolted tight and chained. It was the only time I ever had anything physical happen to me.

I heard plenty of strange things, and saw shadows and images from the corner of my eye, and yes, my cat like to freak out over invisible things like all the other house cats, but it was the only time I had physical proof that something was there with me, and so it was the most memorable. Plus we finally had proof of something we suspected all along- that there was more than one ghost in the house. Those footsteps certainly belonged to no lady, living or otherwise.

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