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The Guest House

December 2003

It was 1983 and I was a starving student attending the University of Oregon in Eugene. I was a single Mom and money was very tight. I had been living far from campus in a little town called Springfield because the rent was so much cheaper there. I couldn't afford a car, and the bus ride was about an hour each way to and from school. I always looked in the paper and on the bulletin boards at the college to see if I could find something cheap closer to campus, but never found anything.

One day my sister Cathy and I took the bus from campus to West Eugene to go to an inexpensive restaurant she had heard of. On the way there, less than a mile from campus, we saw a sign that read: "House for rent, 3 bdrm, $150.00 per month." This was hundreds less that any one bedroom apartment I'd seen in the area. We took down the number and called as soon as we reached the restaurant. The landlord, Mr. Richey, said he'd meet us at the house in an hour.

The house was on West 11th street. West 11th street has huge old homes. The kind with 3000 square feet and five bedrooms, most of them are a little run down. The house for rent was actually a guest house behind one of these large homes. It was a great little house with a small yard, 2 bedrooms upstairs and 1 downstairs, a sunny kitchen and large living room with beautiful hardwood floors. All for $150.00! We didn't ask why it was so cheap, we thought maybe Mr. Richey was out of touch with the going rates. My sister decided she would share the house with me as it was so large, and our rent would be $75 each! We rented the house on the spot., signed a 6 month lease and moved in 2 weeks later.

It took us about 24 hours to find out why the rent was so low.

At first it was little stuff. In house you could hear a small child crying out in the yard, but if you went outside you couldn't hear it any longer. As soon as you stepped back inside, you could hear it again. There was also the sound of someone walking up the stairs when there was no one on the stairs. Other little things happened that scared us, but we could explain it away.

After about a month, things stepped up a bit. My sister and I woke up 3 mornings in a row and our furniture had been rearranged. Couches, chairs, nicknacks and a three hundred pound entertainment center complete with T.V. and stereo moved to entirely different walls, without a sound. My daughter was about 6 months old and had the downstairs bedroom, so I slept with my bedroom door open. I would have heard the slightest noise. One day I was going from my daughters room, where I'd just put her down for a nap, to my room upstairs. As I walked through the livingroom, I felt someone behind me. I turned around and there was no one there, but there were wet bare foot prints. They looked like the foot prints of a five year old.

A few days later, my sister and I were watching T.V. and the room suddenly got freezing cold, so cold there was ice on the inside of the windows. It was May and about 70 degrees outside. Later that week, my sister was washing her hair in the bathroom sink and felt someone push her. When she turned around and there was no one there. As she looked around the room, bewildered, the door slammed shut and it got icy cold. The door would not open and she felt a very evil presence. Luckily, the bathroom had a window. she broke it and cut herself quite badly crawling out. When I got home from class, she was waiting for me one the front steps. She had already called Mr Richey (from the neighbors house) and given our notice. We went in to pack our things and the air was absolutely thick. We could feel hatred and anger, and hopelessness. It took us about 2 hours to pack up. Nothing happened except those dark feelings.

We didn't know what to say to Mr. Richey when we went to turn in out keys. We had signed a 6 month lease and were breaking the lease and moving without notice. What if he insisted we pay for the remaining 4 and a half months.

Mr. Richey took the key's without a word and when my sister asked about the lease, He said "Don't worry about it". I said to him, "You knew. You knew it was haunted and you rented it to us anyway." I also said a lot of things that they won't print on this web-site. I was very angry. I felt that he had put our lives in danger for a measly hundred and fifty bucks.

He admitted that he did know that the house was haunted. He had purchased it about a year earlier and it had been vacant for years. He fixed it up and was renting it for $600.00 a month, everyone wanted to rent it, but no one stayed longer than 6 weeks. He told us he thought we would be safe because we were girls and he'd only rented to boys before. I never understood that logic. He also told us that right before we moved in, the boys he'd been renting to came home and found everything they owned in the front yard and their key's would not work in the locks. Thinking they'd been evicted unfairly, they called Mr. Richey. He came over, told them it wasn't he that had thrown their stuff out and helped them move it back in. As they were moving it back in, a chair they had just brought in came off the floor and crashed through a window back outside. The boys decided to stay evicted.

I graduated college 3 years later and moved to Portland. I visit my Aunt in Eugene less than I should, but when I do go I always drive down West 11th. You have to pull into the driveway of the big house to see the guest house. It's been boarded up for at least 15 years. I guess even $150.00 is too much for that place.

Thanks for reading.

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