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The Mattress

August 2001

In Martinsburg, there is the home of the man who founded the town, General Adam Stevens.

Friends of mine were curators of the house and the adjoining museum. I have only lived here for about 8 years and at that point only about 5, so I knew nothing of the history behind the house itself.

My friends offered to give my mother, sister and I a tour. They had been in the house before, but I had not...and I was very apprehensive.

We walked into the house and through the front rooms and back into the kitchen area. I felt a sense of dread...I was very sad for some unknown reason and instead of freaking myself out by asking any questions, I just kept quiet.

We then proceeded upstairs through the back bedroom, then up to the front bedroom on the left side of the house (if you are looking from the outside) I caught a whiff of something burning, and I thought that maybe it was from the BBQ we were having across the street, then I remembered that we were not having one at the time.

As we went into the hallway to cross over into the other front bedroom, I caught a whiff of the most hideous odor which smelled like rotting flesh. I could not breath, I could not speak, I thought I was going to faint the odor was so overpowering.

I looked at the others, and they were just walking along, and I could not believe that they could be so calm with such an odor permeating the air. I wanted to say something, but I could not get the words out, so I just continued on.

When you go through the other bedroom, it takes you into the children's room. For some reason the smell dissipated a bit, so that I could at least breathe, but I could not go any farther into the room than right by the doorway that led into the hallway.

I started to freak out...literally, I was breathing funny, and I finally turned to my Mom, pointed to a toy chest in the room, and said, I NEED TO GET OUT OF HERE! I have never run so fast, and I did not stop until I was across the street at the museum.

I was telling my mom all that I had felt, and she suggested I ask about it. So I asked my friend if something tragic had happened in the kitchen, and he replied that they had found human remains underneath the fireplace. Then I asked him if there had been a fire in the house. He knew that I knew nothing of the history, and I could tell he was starting to become uneasy, so I told him that I thought there was, upstairs in the front of the house...he was shocked, there had been a fire there but no one had died due to the children being able to throw a mattress out of the window and jump to safety. Of course they did not escape being burned, so that would explain the stench. I told him that I could not go into the children's room, because I felt almost an odd connection with something in there. I said it had to do with the trunk. Neither of us could explain it, but at that moment he was going back to the house to shut the shutters on the windows. There are, I believe, 5 or 6 windows in the upstairs part of the house, and of those windows, he couldn't keep more than 3 to stay latched. I felt the windows were keeping an eye on me. (I know that sounds paranoid, but this was the first time something of this magnitude had happened to me) When he finally gave up and came back outside, I asked him once again what it could be about the children's room that scared me so much. He looked at me and said "your name is engraved on that trunk".

Since that I time, I have been in the house once more. It was during the day, on Gen. Adam Steven's Day. There were people in period costumes, and tours of the house and grounds. I only felt apprehensive when I went into the children's room. I think there were just too many people for there to be a lot, if any activity. My sister did bring up when we left that she did not like the doll that was in the children's room. She said that it was watching her. I don't know whether to believe her or not, but if I can sense things, why couldn't she?

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