Prankish Ghost or Overactive Imagination?
When I was eleven years old my parents and I moved into a house in Elmhurst, IL. This was a former model home and the elderly woman selling it had bought it new about a year before. She was now selling as her husband had died a few months previously of a heart attack and she was moving in with her daughter.
The incidents described below happened within the first year I lived there and ceased afterward. I lived in the house for six more years before leaving after graduating high school. Except for the last (creepiest) incident, these are in random order:
1) The Disappearing Ruler
(Note: this was thirty-some years ago, before the common use of calculators -- we had to use old fashioned brain power and a ruler!) One night I was sitting in my room doing math homework and decided to go get something to drink. I was in the middle of a problem, and left the ruler I was using squarely at the point I was working so I wouldn't lose my place. A minute or so later, I came back with my soda and sat down to continue where I left off... my ruler was gone. I knew I had left it lying on my homework, but I searched all around the area (floor, drawers, under the mathbook, etc.) I concluded that I must have taken it with me to kitchen and went back out to search for it. No luck. Irritated with myself, I went back to my room, and there it was sitting right where I had left it on top of the homework! There was no way I could have missed it.
2) The Locked Door
One afternoon, I was sitting in my bedroom listening to music and again decided to go out to the kitchen for something. My bedroom had a thumbturn lock on the doorknob, but I never needed to lock my door, so never used it. I made sure to close my door behind me, as I had my cat in the room with me and for some unremembered reason did not want him to get out of the room while I was gone. I came back a few minutes later and went to open the door and it was locked! Unless my cat had figured out a way to lock doors, there was no way this could be. After rattling and pounding on the door a few times I yelled out "Open this damn door" and checked it again, still locked. I went in the other room to get a long nail file to stick in the hole in the doorknob to try and get it open. I returned a minute later, and for some reason, tried the door again before inserting the file, and it opened right up to reveal my cat sitting on the bed calmly looking at me as if I were nuts.
3) Another Locked Door
I was required to come home for lunch everyday, since I lived close to school. After a couple of occasions of forgetting my keys at home at lunchtime and having to walk half a mile to where my mother worked to pick up her keys to get in, I learned to start hanging my keys in the back of the top dead bolt lock, so I had would have to unlock the door to let myself out to return to school thus remembering to take the keys. One day I must have forgotten to relock the dead bolt while at home and managed to forget them dangling there, so I had to traipse down to pick up my mom's keys. When I returned home, I unlocked the bottom lock and still couldn't get in because the dead bolt was still engaged. (Note: This was the kind of dead bolt that could only be unlocked with a key, both inside and out) Puzzled, I unlocked the dead bolt and walked in. Sure enough, my keys were still hanging in the back of the dead bolt. So who had turned the keys and locked the dead bolt after I left? My father was out of town and my mother had not been home the entire day.
4) My Creepiest Experience
Naturally this occurence took place in the basement. Our basement was not particularly scary: half was a finished rec room and the other half was a concrete floored laundry room. In the back corner of the unfinished part, behind the furnace was an alcove with a window where we had an old- fashioned solid oak schoolteachers desk with a matching chair. These pieces of furniture were very heavy to move and whenever I sat at the the desk,I had to pull out the chair which made a very distinctive shrieking scrape on the floor. There was no other sound like it and it grated on your eardrums like fingernails on a chalkboard.
One afternoon, I had come home from school and went down to the basement to let the cat up. I was back in my room doing homework and my cat was again sitting on the bed, when all of a sudden the screeching sound of the chair being pushed back from the desk came right up through the floor as loud as anything. (My room was directly above this section of the basement) I was terrified. I had already been downstairs and knew that neither of my parents was home and this was not a section of the country that has earthquakes. Stupidly, I decided that I had better investigate. I called down to the basement "Mom?" and, of course, received no answer. So I slowly went down the stairs and into the laundry room. (Courageous little idiot, wasn't I?)I walked back to the furnace and peered around it and found...Absolutely nothing. The chair was in its usual place and nothing was disturbed. I checked the rest of the basement and came back upstairs and locked the door behind me. So, what did I hear?
The sound of that chair being moved was totally unique and I could not have mistaken any other sound for it. My cat was with me the whole time and therefore could not have moved the chair while playing down there. Needless to say, I never much cared for the basement after that.
In all of these happenings, I was alone in the house. After the desk chair incident, I never had another strange occurence in the house. Could it have been the ghost of the old man who had died there been playing a few pranks on me? Or maybe it was mild poltergeist phenomenon, I was the right age for that sort of thing. I guess each of these stories could have a logical explanation, that's for you to decide. All I know is that thirty-eight years later, I still remember each one vividly, and they still give me goose bumps when I think about them.
Thanks for reading.