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Darby Road

Cathy, NC, USA
October 2009

In 2000, my husband and I rented a duplex on Darby Road. This was in a small town in Virginia. The duplex was beige, built in the 70s and pretty ordinary looking. The first floor had two rooms: the living room and the kitchen. As you opened the front door the staircase was right in front of you. At the top of the stairs there were two bedrooms and a small bathroom. The front bedroom was ours. The bedroom in the back was smaller and contained a full size bed and two bookcases filled with books

Things were fine for the first six weeks or so and then unnerving frightening things started to happen. The first incident happened while we were lying in bed watching TV. One of the perfume bottles on my dresser flew straight up into the air like a rocket and then crashed back down. It was loud and forceful and seemed deliberate! It scared us and amazed us at the same time.

Next we noticed the cold spots. Certain areas of the living room and the rear bedroom on the second floor were frigid. No matter what the thermostat was sat on those areas were always icy. They were so cold that I would actually shiver when I stood in the cold spots.

When we moved in I had hung up framed photos of family and friends in the stairwell. One afternoon I was sitting in the living room when a photo fell from (or maybe flew off) the wall! It crashed so hard and happened so fast I couldn't decide if it had indeed fallen off the wall, or if it had been thrown by invisible hands! Shaking and frightened I walked over to the bottom of the stairs and looked at the photo now lying face down on the tiles. I thought for sure it would be shattered, but it was all in one piece. The frame didn't even have a chip. But there was something worse: that same photo continued to fall off the wall over and over and over again for the duration of our stay! There were about a dozen framed photos hung in the stairwell and it was the only one that ever fell from the wall.

After about 6 weeks of living there my husband got a job as an electrician that required him to travel. I had to start staying by myself Monday through Friday and this is when I started to feel uncomfortable. As long as it was light outside I felt pretty safe, but when it turned dark I would start to feel creepy like someone else was in the duplex. Most nights I would eat, watch TV, take a shower and hold up in my room until my alarm went off at 7 am. I also hated going down stairs at night. Something about going down those stairs (that had no handrail mind you) really scared me! When I did have to go downstairs at night I went as fast as I could and turned on all the lights. But this was rare. After a while I made sure that I had no reason to go downstairs after dark! I really felt there was something/someone down there that didn't want me around.

Then I started to hear things in the rear bedroom. The two bedrooms were separated by the bathroom. One night sitting in my bedroom I thought I heard fluttering. That's the only way I could describe it. Fluttering. I leaned off the bed and slowly opened my door. I listened but didn't hear anything. Then I heard it again and realized it was the sound of someone FLIPPING BOOK PAGES!!!!!!! It was coming from the rear bedroom and no one was there but me. I was so scared I thought I was going to get sick. Just thinking about it now brings back the feelings of fear and nausea. It stopped after one more flutter. Again it seemed like invisible hands had taken something tangible and moved it, manipulated it, just like you or I could have. Luckily this only happened two or three more times while we lived there. It was never that loud again, but more faint and soft. The incidents occurred off and on for months. Sometimes it was weeks before something happened, but the cold spots and creepy feelings were there all the time.

We'd been there about three months when we found out we were expecting a baby. We were very happy and proud. We had been talking about moving out and decided that we were going to leave as soon as we could after the baby arrived. I had gotten my fill of the uncomfortable weirdness. About a month before our son was born something new started happening in the rear bedroom. One evening we thought we heard scratching in the walls. It would start and then stop as soon as we commented on it. It was subtle at first, but changed quickly after the birth of our son.

My parents came to stay for a few weeks after our son's arrival. They stayed in the rear bedroom and said they heard scratching behind the walls all night! By the end of their stay the scratching had gotten loud and was no longer staying in one area. You could hear it in the wall behind the headboard. Then in a second it would be inside the closet, in another second the scratching would be behind the wall that separated the bedroom from the bathroom. The scratching went from spot to spot within the blink of an eye!!! We called the landlord and asked her to send someone to check the space between the roof and ceiling (there was no attic). We thought maybe a rodent had gotten in somehow and was running around in there. The handyman and landlord came to check it out but found nothing. No animal droppings or fur, no telltale signs of animal inhabitation.
In fact the handyman said he had no idea how an animal - rodent or otherwise, would have gotten into the walls because he found no openings it could have used.

Three weeks later my husband, our newborn and I left. I didn't realize how badly I wanted to leave until I started packing. I had everything ready to go in about 3 days. I had given birth about 5 weeks before. I couldn't get away from Darby Road fast enough.

We did talk to our neighbor Larry who lived on the other side of the duplex. According to him he never had any bad experiences on his side. No cold spots, no flying photos, no scratching in the walls.

I have no explanation for what happened there. We left Virginia 5 years ago and hadn't lived in the duplex since the beginning of 2001. I wonder if it's still there and if the current inhabitants have had any experiences.

Cathy, NC, USA
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