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The Last House On The Left

Mary, NJ, USA
September 2005

A couple of years ago, I lived in a two story house with my brother, my dad, my boyfriend at the time, and my two cats. We lived in the apartment on the second floor and we were there for about a year. It was the last house on the left on a dead end street.

Initially, there seemed nothing strange about the apartment. But I soon began to notice that the apartment-- the whole building in fact, had this feeling of...deadness to it. That's the only way to describe the atmosphere there--it just felt DEAD. And stifling. The feeling was especially strong in our living room. At night, if I got up to get a drink of water, I dreaded having to go through the living room to get to the kitchen because I always felt as though someone were sitting on the couch GLARING at me. My father, my brother and my boyfriend said they felt the same thing--as though there were a presence sitting on our couch, always glaring. Friends who came over to hang out would say they feel as though someone was sitting there watching them--without knowing about my experiences. Often, as you were passing through the room, it would seem as though, out of the corner of your eye, you could actually SEE a dark form sitting there. It felt strongest at night. In fact, all of the creepy things I experienced there happened at night.

One night, at about four in the morning, my boyfriend and I were up, talking. Suddenly, we heard a knock on the downstairs front door. I thought this very odd, not only because it was so late, but also because we had a doorbell and there was no need for someone to knock. The downstairs apartment was empty, so that meant it had to be someone knocking for us. My boyfriend insisted on answering the door. I told him not to, saying, "Are you crazy? Anyone who answers a strange knocking at four in the morning is always the person who gets killed in a horror movie!" But it was to no avail. He headed downstairs anyway and when he opened the door, there was no one there. He even went out onto the porch and looked into the yard on the side of the house. There was no one there. He heard no footsteps of someone trying to make a run for it. This happened more than once.

Another night I lay in bed reading, when I heard a loud "tap, tap, tap" at my bedroom window. It freaked me out, but I decided to move the curtain back (the window was right above my bed) and saw nothing there. This wasn't a bug flitting at the window, trying to get at the light inside my room. It was a loud, deliberate set of taps that sounded exactly as though someone had tapped at my window with their finger. I pretended it didn't happen and went back to reading.

One night when my boyfriend and I were going to sleep, I talked to him about wanting to quit smoking. I told him how much I hated it and how badly I wanted to stop. I grabbed my pack of cigarettes from off my night table and flung them at the opposite wall where they landed on the floor with a light thud. They sat on the floor right next to the bedroom door, which was closed. "I'm done with them," I said and laid back down to go to sleep. Of course, the next day, I wasn't as determined. While drinking my coffee in the kitchen, I decided to get up and grab my cigarettes. I walked into the bedroom and looked behind the door, but they weren't there. "That's odd," I thought. "I remember seeing them there last night after I threw them." I proceeded to search my room from top to bottom. I couldn't find them. I then searched the rest of the apartment, even though I knew they couldn't have been anywhere but in the bedroom. I still didn't find them. In fact, I never saw that pack again.

The absolute worst thing that happened to me there was when I was up reading at like two in the morning. I was home by myself. My boyfriend and father were both working the overnight shift at that time, and my brother was spending the night at his girlfriend's. I was lying in bed, reading, when I heard a scratching at the door. I looked and saw that my one cat, Yayo, was sleeping at the foot of the bed. "It must be Fly [my other cat]," I thought to myself. For a split second I thought it was odd, because whenever she wanted to be let into the room, she would meow outside the door. But I didn't really think anything of it. I also didn't feel like getting out of bed, so I went back to reading. A couple of minutes later, the scratching started up again. This time I got up and opened the door. There was nothing there. I squinted into the darkness of the living room, but didn't see Fly. I walked into the kitchen, and there, fast asleep on the table was Fly. There was no way, in the couple of seconds it took me to get up and answer the door, for this cat to run from my door to the other end of the apartment, hop up on the table and fall into a deep slumber. But this is what I told myself anyway, so that I wouldn't have a nervous breakdown.

There were other oddities that happened there. Aside from that "dead" atmosphere, we all noticed that things would often break for no apparent reason. --Appliances and such. They would just fall apart or just stop working. -- Like my brother's stereo and two of my VCRs. And these weren't old, cheap things--they were all relatively new. And it happened quite often. In fact, I made a list of all the things that broke over the year's time we spent there, and it totaled to almost fourty different appliances, gadgets, etc.

My one cat, Yayo, would just be hanging out, when she'd suddenly start growling at thin air. Since I've moved to my new place, she hasn't growled at anything. I would have these odd thoughts pop into my head that had to do with the attic. I know this sounds SO weird. The attic was empty, except for an old dresser. I had been up there a couple of times to explore, but usually stayed away from it because it kind of creeped me out, although I can't say why. I remember times when I would be going to sleep at night, and suddenly I would smell an old, musty odor--like an attic kind of smell. This smell would manifest even during the winter, when there was no heat or humidity, which usually makes odors stronger and could thus maybe explain why I smelled it so strongly. --But like I said, I'd be able to smell even during the winter, and it wasn't something that was constant. Whenever the odor appeared, I would think to myself, "The attic's down here again." There was also a period of time when I was waking up with headaches every morning. They were really strong, almost like migraines. I complained about it to a friend of mine who came over all the time. I remember telling him jokingly, "The attic's coming downstairs and giving me headaches." After I said it, I kind of stopped for a second and thought to myself, "Why would I SAY something like that? And why would I think that was funny?"

Everyone who ever came over for a visit would inevitably say something like, "I don't like it here. It feels wrong here." They'd never be able to point out why, but no one I know ever felt comfortable hanging out there or staying there.

After a year, we moved from that place and I am so glad we did. Aside from that "dead" feeling, I always felt stifled there--even if all the windows were open and the place was sparkling clean. I always felt stifled, like the walls were closing in on me. Everyone I lived with felt that way, too. It's been about two years since I lived there, but occasionally I'll drive by it, as I still live in the same town. When I look at the place now, I can't believe we chose to live there. Because even from the outside, the house seems to loom over you with that feeling of deadness.

Mary, NJ, USA
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