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House on Division Street, Dover

Joe, Colorado, USA
October 2005

During 1987 through '89 I rented a house on West Division Street in Dover, Delaware, while I was a student at Wesley College. It was a large old house, three stories, built in 1790 according to the cornerstone, located just a few blocks from the Governor's Mansion (also haunted, there are many websites regarding this house) and the tavern where the Constitution was ratified, ensuring Delaware's place as the first state.
Around the corner was a street that was still cobblestone, and beautiful Georgian houses were everywhere. For the historical value, the neighborhood was great. Being right on the edge of the campus, the location fit our needs perfectly, and was very cheap.

I lived there with two roommates. My bedroom was the attic, which was a reached by a steep enclosed spiral staircase enclosed by a door at either end. When my parents were helping me move in, my father said he didn't like the attic where I was going to sleep and almost made me back out on the place. (He was financing the security deposit) He just kept saying he didn't like it. My father is not the kind of person to talk about the supernatural let alone "feelings" of any kind so this was very unusual.

The attic had hardwood floors, white plaster covering the rafters and two windows at either end that had small hand blown glass panes. Whenever I was up there alone I always felt as if someone was watching me, and often would see movement out of the corner of my eye, but when I would look towards the movement, nothing would every be there. A feeling of uneasiness came over everyone that ever came in there, and I can say that in two years my roommates actually entered the attic only once or twice, and would never stay more than a minute or two. They always insisted on studying or hanging out in their rooms. Whenever possible, I would sleep at a girlfriends, even if it meant walking several blocks from my house late at night after attending a party at my own place!

Within a week of living there, Jeff, Dan and I started hearing things. Now just in case someone might think it was from the college party thing, I need to add that we never heard anything when lots of people were over, only when one of us was alone or there were only a few people at home. We were all down in the dining room studying for a test we all had the next day when we heard footsteps in the hall on the second floor. Thinking it was a robber, I grabbed a baseball bat and we ran upstairs only to see nothing. As soon as we went back downstairs, the footsteps started again. These incidents would happen almost any quiet night, and gradually got worse. Whatever it was started running up and down the hall, not just walking, and slamming the doors to each bedroom and the door leading to my attic room. After a few weeks we stopped looking to see if anyone was there and didn't even comment about the noise to to each other when it happened.

If we were all upstairs, often we would hear a sound as if someone in the kitchen was taking all the silverware and violently throwing it on the floor and against the walls. We didn't have any silverware, we all ate at the cafeteria on the campus a few blocks away! No plates either. The only thing in the icebox usually was beer and leftover pizza.

On one of the few nights I slept there (My girlfriend at the time and I had a fight) I woke up to the sound of the shower on the second floor going full blast. I got up to go down the attic stairs to see who was taking a shower at 4:00 am and halfway down the stairs I felt something push me hard enough that I fell, breaking a couple of fingers on my right hand. Jeff and Dan were in the hallway and saw me fall. They both said that it looked like I was literally thrown down the stairs. After turning the shower off, my roommates took me to the emergency room. When we returned a couple of hours later, the shower was back on. Jeff and Dan mentioned that it had been coming on every night for the last few nights.

We all kept this to ourselves, not wanting to be thought of as strange or whatever. As I said before, these things never happened when we had a party and there would be 60+ witnesses. This stuff only happened on quiet evenings. After we had lived there for about a year one night we were watching a rented movie in the living room when we all heard the sound of a woman softly crying. After turning the TV off, we could hear it clearer, and it was coming from the basement. I thought that someone had gotten stuck in there. The only entrance was outside, and when we made our way to it, it was padlocked. As soon as Jeff touched the door, the crying stopped.

The next Saturday, I borrowed some bolt cutters and we popped the padlock off the door and Jeff, Dan and myself went down the stairs into the basement. I have to say that a feeling of sadness overwhelmed all of us down there. More depressed or sad than I personally have ever been before or since, and from the looks on Jeff and Dan's faces they felt the same way. There wasn't much down there except some old snow tires and trunks and various other junk. However, there was a well in the floor with no cover which Dan almost fell into, and there was a tunnel leading off what was the front of the house and out under the street. The tunnel was lined with brick unlike the basement itself which was stone, and looked as if it had collapsed not too far in so we didn't explore. I heard the woman crying two or three more times over the next year but it wasn't near as often as whatever was going on in the rest of the house.

I had a friend, Kevin, who was "spiritual" meaning he claimed to be able to tell peoples fortunes via tarot cards and see ghosts and so forth, and he also was born and raised in Dover. I approached him on what had been happening in the house and right away he mentioned that his sister went to Wesley in the 70's. One night when she was dropping him off at our house she told him that she was at a party at our house when she was a student and one of the students at the time was really intoxicated and fell down the stairs from my room to the second floor, broke his neck and died. Kevin was also was kind enough to research the property through a contact at the historical society. We discovered that the house was built by a Quaker family who operated an underground railroad station out of the basement in conjunction with another family across the street. They would use the tunnel to move escaped slaves from one house to the next without being seen. One night a woman smothered her crying baby to avoid being heard by trackers that were searching the streets and after was so distraught that she drowned herself in the well in the basement!

I now live 2000 miles away and have a family, but I think about that place often. I wonder if the current residents hear the same thing.

Joe, Colorado, USA
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