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The Haunted Skull

August 2001

About five years ago, my wife and I moved into the house we live in now. It was built in 1901, and the previous owner died in the house after a long illness.

A year or so after we moved in, I discovered a pair of headstones that had been laid flat in the back yard. I thought they were just stone slabs, and one day decided to pry them up and move them. I was shocked to find that they were engraved on the other side. The graves are that of a mother and daughter who died a few years apart in the 1830s. Both were named Louisa (actually, the daughter's name was spelled "Loisa").

Ever since we moved in, strange things would happen. I awoke one night to see my wife's arm waving around above the sheets. I could just make out the outline in the dark. Disturbed by this unusual behavior, I reached for her arm to pull it down. To my surprise, my hand went right through it, and the waving arm faded away. I felt around on the blanket and discovered that both of her arms were snugly tucked beneath the blanket. I was too tired to be very scared, and just went back to sleep.

Another night around the same time, I was startled out of a sound sleep by my wife's scream. She had woken up to see me sitting up in bed. She asked me what was wrong, and became alarmed when I didn't answer. Then, as she stared, she realized that the figure wasn't me, and that I was laying flat in the bed. When she screamed, the figure disappeared.

Another night, I was woken quite suddenly as my wife shrieked and flung herself across the bed and across my legs. This of course scared the heck out of me. When she calmed down enough to tell me what had happened, she said she awoke to see a tall old man with a gaunt, stern face peering down at her. He was dressed in dark clothing, and as she looked at him he bent over and pushed his face right up to hers. That's when she screamed. We spent the rest of the night with the light on.

Not too long after this happened, we were lying in bed at about 10 PM, having just settled in. From up in the attic, I heard the distinct sounds of someone wearing hard shoes, walking rapidly across the floor, and then a loud thump, as if they had shut a door. I lifted my head off the pillow, and a few seconds later, the series repeated itself. Immediately, my wife sat up "What was that?" She had heard it the first time too. We searched the entire house and found everything secure. We even looked in the crawl spaces under the eaves. Nothing. We've never heard anything like that since.

Many, many other things have happened. Objects have been moved around. Little decorative trinkets re-arrange themselves into strange positions. There is a postcard on a window sill in one of the attic rooms that for the longest time would relocate itself to the floor. The other two would stay put, but this one particular card would always end up on the floor. One time it fell as I sat watching it. About a year ago, it just started staying put! We have a steer skull that we bought at a store in Tombstone, Arizona, of all places. We placed it on the floor in the living room. One day in 1997 we came home to find the skull rotated 90 degrees from its usual position, so it was facing the entrance to the room. There was a small puddle of clear liquid under the nose. Another time, I found the skull rotated around facing backward.

Things seem to have calmed down, although a few things of note have happened. A week or two ago, my wife was doing something in the pantry, and saw a man in the kitchen out of the corner of her eye. She turned to look, and there was no one there. She said it was definitely a tall man, and her first impression was that it was me. There seems to be something about the kitchen. When I'm sitting on the couch in the living room, I will occasionally see something in my peripheral vision. It looks like a person walking from the hallway to the kitchen, or someone crossing over toward the pantry. I always assume it's my wife, but when I glance up, there is no one there.

Another thing worth mentioning: There is an upholstered armchair in the attic that was in the house when we bought it. My wife put it in a room in the attic. (Below the leaping postcard.) She put a decorative runner across the back, and placed an embroidered pillow over it, on the seat of the chair. One afternoon I went up to the attic and found the runner pulled off the back and crumpled under the pillow. I lifted the pillow and found that the runner had been creased and pressed into the seat of the chair hard enough to leave a lasting impression in the velvet upholstery. It was as if someone had sat on it for some time. It certainly wasn't us.

Also, occasionally there is the smell of burning pipe tobacco in the vicinity of a workbench in the cellar. A number of the previous owner's tools and belongings are still in their original location there.

The house also seems to have an oppressive atmosphere sometimes. My wife and I both get a negative feeling about the home from time to time. Moving into a place that contains a large amount of the previous owner's belongings can certainly give you a sense of their personality, so perhaps that's where it comes from. I can't shake the feeling that some of the former inhabitants are still there, and that they are not happy.

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