Chill on Churchill Drive
Lisa Paredes, Illinois, USA
In the summer of 1978, my parents became the proud owners of a three bedroom split-level house with a walk-out basement located in a small town called Belleville. The house was advertised as being in a nice neighborhood, nice school district, nice price. They forgot to mention one small fact-a not so nice ghost.
I was the first one in my family to express a belief in the ghost. I felt his presence almost as soon as we moved in. Everybody else smelled his presence. He made himself known by emitting a rotted flesh smell in the master bedroom. Of course, my parents thought it was a dead squirrel in the attic. They had the attic cleaned out, washed and painted all the walls in all the upstairs bedrooms, and ripped up and replaced the carpets. All of these things were done in hopes that the smell would go away. It never completely did.
Then there is the sound, the sound that comes to you in the middle of the night when all others are asleep. When you try to listen for it, you can never tell where it is coming from. The more you strain to hear it, it changes from a squeak, to a pounding, to a scratching as it slowly becomes less audible. As you relax, lay back, and become sleepy, resigned to giving up the hunt for the sound, it suddenly grows louder, and louder until you sit back up in bed scanning the room for its origin. Is that the heater vent? No, it's coming from downstairs. No, wait! It's outside, outside the window. You will never know because now you can it can hardly be heard.
One of the most frightening things that happened to me was when I moved back home from College. I went to stay in my old room. It was clear the ghost did not want me there. I do not know why. At night, I was plagued with the night sounds. They seemed to be even more aggressive than I remembered. I continued to sleep in the room because I was not finished fixing up the basement which was going to be my new bedroom. Then one night, I was awakened by something. I was not sure by what. I was very sleepy and was about to drift back to sleep when the sound came to my ears louder than ever! I lay in the bed petrified with fear. I could not even scream. I felt the presence of the ghost very close to me, closer than ever before. All of a sudden, I felt something at the foot of the bed. I looked down hoping to see that my cat had just jumped on the bed. Nothing. The door to my bedroom was still clearly shut. The cat could not have been responsible. I was in the process of trying to reason with myself that it had only been my imagination when I felt it again. Something was at the foot of my bed. It started to shake the end of the bed almost too subtly to feel at first but with growing intensity. Until, there was no doubt. My whole bed was shaking. I found my voice and my feet and ran out the door. This 23 year old girl slept with her mommy that night. I moved into the basement the next day. The ghost seemed happier with this situation too as he never bothered me with such force again.