Just Checking Up
Krista, IN, USA
Hope this isn't too long, I'll try to be as brief as possible but some extra info is necessary. I'll start off by saying that part of me wants to believe in the supernatural, but I'm also a scientist by study and therefore tend to analyze everything. This is a combination of experiences that happened to me or other members of my immediate family. None of it is overly scary (so it will probably be fairly boring to most folks), but it certainly was scary to me at the time.
First some background. When I was 10 (many years ago) we moved from the city to a farm that sat on 168 acres of rolling countryside in Southern Indiana. There were no neighbors within about 1/2 a mile. The house was at least 100 years old by the time we moved in. It had a very small, hand dug cellar which nobody liked to go into unless absolutely necessary because of what we jokingly called the "Indiana Mice" (HUGE rats). A brother and sister had owned the farm and when she died he was forced to sell the farm in order to pay off the relatives that crawled out of the woodwork for their inheritance. In Indiana if you die without a will any and every relative can make a claim for a cut. The story I heard was that the brother hung himself after moving because he was so distraught about having to sell the farm. I remember I heard this from my parents so I believe it is true.
We moved in right after school let out and, being an old house, it had no air conditioning (AC) or much insulation, so the main level was always much cooler than the second level. A neighbor told us that the house had started out as a one-room cabin across the road and had been moved and built on to over the years. It had very strange shaped rooms and the bathroom hung out past the rest of the house as a separate room, so I believe it (it also still had an out house, an outside bathroom for those not familiar). The staircase leading to the second story was extremely steep and narrow, with 13 stairs, and had a door on the bottom that locked with a key (very old fashioned). My brother and I (the youngest 2 of 6 kids) were forbidden to go upstairs until it had been inspected for stability. We all lived downstairs for the time being and the door was shut and locked.
One day my mom was cleaning the downstairs and she heard footsteps walking overhead. She was pretty mad thinking my brother and I had gone upstairs after being forbidden to go. She stormed into the kitchen (where the door to the upstairs was) and tried to yank open the door. It was locked. So she checked the door jam above the door where we kept the only key. It was where it belonged. She was a little disturbed by this, to say the least. I should ask her if she went upstairs to investigate or not.
That summer two of our cousins came to visit (a brother and sister). My parents had set up beds in the upstairs by then so we could sleep up there if we wanted (a single bed in each room). I remember my brother and I still slept in the dining room and my parents still slept in the living room to avoid the heat. While the cousins were there (to avoid fights between the boys and girls) the boys would spend the night downstairs one night and the girls the next. I think I mentioned no AC or insulation so the upstairs got HOT.
The upstairs had 3 bedrooms. My bedroom and my parent's room both had an alcove at the front of the house. My room had the only door to the attic (a small trap door opening in the ceiling) in the alcove. That happened to be where my bed was. This night it was so hot that I could not sleep. I was at one end of the bed near the window and my cousin was at the other end. It was too hot to sleep next to each other. I just lay awake in bed and roasted from the heat. The security light outside the house shone into the room and was in my eyes since we only had roller shades over the windows and they had to be up part way to open the window. While I was lying there (it must have been well past midnight) I heard 3 distinct footsteps directly overhead in the attic. They were walking from where my head was at the wall towards the trap door. They sounded very heavy and loud enough to be the work boots that farmers would have worn. I was afraid to move. About 15 or 20 minutes later (it seemed like an eternity) my cousin sat up and complained about the heat so I suggested we sneak downstairs and sleep in the dining room (I certainly wasn't getting any sleep upstairs that night).
I didn't say anything until the next day and I only said something then because my brother caught us sneaking back upstairs and tattled to mom. My cousin then tried to claim she saw a figure behind the roller shades on the window, but I think she was just trying to get in on the act since she had been sleeping soundly until then.
Everyone in the family tried to tell me it was the rats in the house. However, last time I checked, rats did not wear boots. Plus, you could hear them scurrying through the walls (remember, no insulation) and it was always a scratching sound. One of my first thoughts was that my brother and cousin had sneaked into the attic to frighten us (they were very fond of making up ghost stories every summer). However, the only other trap door to an attic was in the summer kitchen (on the other end of the glassed-in porch from the kitchen) and it did not connect with the upper attic (unless you could squeeze through the space between the walls).
I admit to having an overactive imagination (I can not watch horror movies to this day) but I have never imagined footsteps where none should have been and I was definitely awake. I was fairly observant and analytical even as a child and was not given to hearing things that didn't exist. I also heard footsteps walking around in my room one winter night, but I always like to think that was my dad checking on the heating system (although he wasn't in the habit of doing that).
This is the last part, I swear. My oldest brother moved back home for a short while. He came home one night through the kitchen and heard the other brother's fan going on and off in his bedroom upstairs. My brother had a box fan in the window of his bedroom and it was an old metal one with a button on top that you had to push down hard to turn the fan on. The button made a loud click and the fan was rather noisy too. Anyway, my oldest brother claims he would hear the click and the fan came on then he heard it click again and it went off. This happened a couple times. He couldn't figure out why someone was playing with the fan, but didn't think anything of it. When he walked into the living room everyone who "lived" in the house was in there watching the TV.
After a while these things died down (no pun intended). We think that the previous owner (we called him Charlie) had come back to make sure we were taking good care of the farm.
One of the last experiences happened about a year after we moved in. Mom was taking a bunch of us to a local lake to swim and we smelled someone's smelly feet. We all had sandals on so it wasn't us. Mom told Charlie to put his shoes back on. The smell went away immediately. Any time anything out of the ordinary happened we would joke that Charlie was back "just checking up".