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Home Sweet Home (2)

Ashley, TX, USA
October 2014

A year ago my roommate (lets call him James, to protect his privacy), my husband, our two dogs, and myself moved into a new rental property. James found the house and a week after signing the papers we all moved in. Nothing out of the ordinary happened for a while, just every day noises that old houses make. We all decided to go to an antique store to pick up a unique painting, and to our surprise we got it at a great price. Normally a work like this would go for double what we ended up paying for it. At the time none of us really thought anything about it, just chalking it up to a bit of good luck and charm on our end. We figured that with the eclectic scene we were doing in the living room, a particular macabre painting had caught our attention.

The painting depicted a profile of a young boy, who was sitting up against the wall with his head bowed down and knees bent up towards his chest. Above the young boy was a figure of a woman in a red and purple Victorian style dress, with a large ruffled collar. Placed upon the woman's face was a white boned colored bird mask, with an elongated beak. Her boney fingers and nails seemed to caress the back of the young boy's head.

Naturally we all fell in love with the painting and my husband hung it in the living room above our couch. It fit perfectly with the rest of the items we had picked out. Things gradually started to change in the next few weeks after purchasing the painting. It was small almost laughable events. We would put our keys on the key hook by the door and they would be in the kitchen or bathroom the next morning. My husband would joke and say "Maybe our painting put them in there". We would all scoff at the idea and poke fun with him. On a couple of occasions we would wake up in the morning and notice our back door wide open. I check the doors every night and make sure they're locked. I didn't think much of it. I'm studying to be a nurse, I thought my late night cram sessions might have been a factor, so I must have missed a lock.

Things like this happened more frequently and seemingly more aggressively as well. Our well adjusted dogs would bark and growl in the middle of the night at nothing. It was strange because they are friendly and usually quiet animals that keep to themselves at night. Even the air started to feel a little thick in the house. We would occasionally get a scent of something burning in certain areas of the house, but it never stayed in one spot. James and his dog Adi stayed in the room to the right side of the hall, my husband and I stayed in the room to the left. It was a perfect set up allowing everyone privacy but still the comfort of knowing that if you needed anything you could just call out down the hall.

One night I had woken up to the sound of the television in the living room and at first I ignored it, thinking it was my husband, who likes to stay up late every now and then. When I closed my and rolled over, I felt a body layng next to me. When I examined the body with my hand, I realized it was my husband and figured it was James in the living room. What got to me was, why is James watching TV around 1:00 in the morning, when he has to be at work by 7:00? and so I had gone to check. I asked James "Why are you up so late? You have work tomorrow." James replied "It's Adi, she's keeping me up. I woke up about an hour ago to her sitting on the edge of the bed, staring directly at my closet door, and growling. I checked and didn't see anything, but it startled me. She stopped growling though."

Like the other things this started to happen every night. I got used to the sound of the TV on late at night or early in the morning. What I couldn't get used to was the tension in the house. We had all become easily annoyed at the smallest things. Arguments had become a normal installment in most of the conversations in the house. We would yell, say horrible things, and on occasion throw shoes or something small at each other. The over all feeling in the house was that of anger, violence, and depression. Eventually we all had trouble sleeping, if it wasn't some noise it was the dogs constant barking that prevented sleep.

We all took a trip one weekend to talk and sort things out. As soon as we pulled out of the drive way it was all smiles, back to the old group of happy healthy people. We rented a small cabin in New Mexico for the weekend, we all needed a break and what better way to do it than away from the house. James had brought up the fact that none of us had started a fight since we left the house. It was strange and the more we talked about it the more we started to worry... Was it our house? Is there anything we can do to fix what's going on?

The following Sunday when we arrived home, before even stepping one foot inside the house, one of our friends whom we had asked to house sit had immediately barged out the front door. She approached us, told us she was glad we were back and hurried on out. We could tell by her haste and the black circle under her eyes that she didn't want to stay any longer, and she hadn't had any sleep during her stay. We did our best to brush it off, by reminiscing the eventful weekend we had in New Mexico.

A couple of days and nights had passed by with ease. We were all in pleasant moods, laughing and telling jokes. On the third night of that week, while in the middle of dinner and watching t.v., I kept hearing a slight knock. "Turn the volume down." I told my husband, which he had done. "Do you hear that?" I asked. All three of us had an ear perked up, waiting for a noise. A few seconds of silence had passed when James said "There's someone standing outside the back door."

James wasn't one to joke about something of that nature, so my husband motioned for us to stay in the living room while he checked everything out.

He went to the back door and saw nothing, so he slowly opened the door. I held my breath as he stepped outside, it was nothing... Nothing to be found to suggest someone was outside of our door. That was it we were tired of feeling like prisoners in our own home. Not sleeping and jumping at every little sound had us all on edge. For the next few weeks we made phone calls and did as much research as we possibly could. Unfortunately the TV shows and movies about ghostly encounters makes getting help for these issues seem easy. But, it wasn't like that at all for us.

We called churches who wouldn't or couldn't provide blessings because of lack of proof or maybe they just didn't believe us. I know I wouldn't have. We even went as far as trying to contact people with knowledge of how to rid ourselves of this problem. Most of our leads turned up to be greedy hacks who promised the world for a large fee up front with no refunds. No one seemed to have an answer and everyone was falling apart because of the stress. That was until we had made our own efforts to research on how to do blessings ourselves.

With hours on ends of studying on proper procedure and the materials needed to bless our home, we had supplied ourselves with a stick of sage, a feather, and prayers that we each had written down. Starting at the front of the house with a sense of doubt, trying to find faith in that this would work, I lit the sage and began wafting the smoke with the feather. Both James and my husband took turns reciting the prayers they had written down. I had given them my prayer that I wrote because both of my hands were occupied by a sage stick and feather, and the thought of clipping the paper to my sleeve seemed a little tacky. As we made our way pass the living room and into the kitchen, the standing lamp by the couch (our only lighting in the living room) had gone off, followed by the sound of a heavy scrape and then a loud thud. We all immediately came to a halt.

My husband walked into the living room to find out what had fallen. When he had turned on the lamp, we could see the painting we had purchased was face down on the hardwood floors. We took that has a sign that perhaps it was the painting that had started all this calamity and chaos we had dealt with for so long. Without hesitation I told my husband and James to discard the painting, but nowhere near the house in fear that it would linger about. The two left in my husband's truck and drove off.

They had only been gone for at least 5 or 10 minutes, and I felt this heavy weight lifting. A sense of calm and serenity had finally made its way into the house. As soon as my husband and James came back, I could tell that they were feeling so much better and relaxed. Curious though, I asked "So what did you guys end up doing with the painting?" James looked at my husband, then looked at me "We dropped it off at a garage sale a few blocks down." I didn't reply to what he had said for the fact that it was no longer our problem to deal with anymore. Ever since then, we haven't had any more experiences.

Ashley, TX, USA
00:00 / 01:04
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