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The Locked Room

January 2006

Although this story is not first hand experience, it gave me that funny cold feeling up the back of the neck when I was told it, so I'll share it here in the hope that it'll evoke the same reaction in any reader.

A friend's family owns a construction business, with whom numerous family members find employment. Her Uncle and Grandfather were called out to carry out work on a property in a nearby village, whilst the family who lived there were away on holiday. As the family would not be there, but knew and trusted the Uncle and Grandfather, they were given a set of keys to the house and the relevant rooms which they would require access to, namely the kitchen and an upstairs bedroom. They arrived at the property in question rather late on a winter's day to examine what needed to be done.

The two men examined the kitchen first, and then proceeded upstairs to look at the bedroom. By this point it was beginning to get dark, as English winter afternoons tend to lose sunlight by about 4:00. They unlocked the bedroom door, turned on the light, and began to plan their work. It was at this point that both began to feel extremely uncomfortable in the room, and horribly afraid. Both tried to ignore the sensation for as long as possible, telling themselves that they were grown men, and that there was a job to be done. However, after another few minutes, both had to admit to the other that they were desperate to get out of the house, and return in daylight. As quickly as possible, they turned out the light, locked the room, hurried downstairs, turned off the kitchen light, and left through the backdoor, locking it behind them.

However, as they walked towards their van, discussing the horrible sensation they had experienced, they turned to look back at the house. They then noticed that both the downstairs and upstairs lights were on. Feeling irresponsible for leaving them on in their rush to leave, and not wanting to needlessly run up the household electricity bills, they decided to return and switch them off. Common sense can be forced to prevail even at the creepiest of times!

They entered, went up the stairs to the bedroom, and walked towards the door, only to find it unlocked and ajar. The Uncle, who had the keys in his possesion, switched off the light, locked the door, and both proceeded downstairs, where they switched off any other lights, locked the property, and the Uncle pocketed the keys, which were attached to the same key ring. They then walked over to their van, and were about to get inside, when, upon looking back at the house, they realised that the bedroom light was on.

By this point, I probably don't need to point out that neither man was particularly happy about re-entering the house. However, something, be it stubborness, dutifulness or sheer morbid curiosity, encouraged them to once again go back and turn off the light. So they re-entered the this time dark kitchen through the back door, and mounted the stairs to the bedroom. This time, the door was closed, but a definite shaft of light could be seen underneath. The Grandfather, disbelieving and irritated by the events of the evening, turned the handle to open the door, and found it unlocked. As both had made absolutely sure that they had locked the door upon leaving, and that the only key was in the Uncles pocket, this new did little to calm their already rattled nerves. The Uncle reached into his pocket for the bedroom key, and pulled out the key ring, only to find the key no longer there. Without speaking, both men pushed the bedroom door. It became clear from the amount of effort required, that something was against the other side of the door, making it difficult to open. Both men leaned hard against it, and it slowly gave, allowing them to squeeze around it into the room. When they checked the other side of the door, they saw that a large chest of draws had been pushed up against it. As they surveyed the room, they realised to their horror that all the furniture had been shifted in position, and now stood in a completely different lay-out to the way the room had looked before. Worst of all, on top of the chest of draws lay the key to the room.

That did it, as far as both were concerned. Without switching off the light or locking the door, they got themselves away from the room as fast as possible, with no thought for dignity or personal safety. They gave themselves enough time to lock the outside door before scrambling into their van and starting the engine. As the Uncle backed out of the drive as fast as possible, the Grandfather looked back at the house for a final time, only to see the bedroom light switch itself off.

Upon the family's return, they rang to explain why the requested work had not been carried out. The family were extremely understanding, and explained that they were having the work done in order to try and sell the house as quickly as possible, as they no longer wanted to remain there. As far as the two men were concerned, the family did not need to say any more.

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