The Third Step
Kristin Woodruff, MN, USA
Let me just begin by saying that I am not a religious person in the least and that I have always been a very rational, mature and scientific minded individual.
From the ages of about eight till twenty I lived with my mother in a rented double-bungalow that was built in the late forties or fifties to accommodate the post-war baby boom. We moved there in 1984 after living in a series of apartments. I only mention this because I have never felt what I felt in that house in any of the places I lived before or since.
I always felt a general uneasiness about the place, like I was always being watched. There would be unexplainable cold spots in my room and in the basement. I remember waking up with absolute terror in the middle of the night, just paralysed with fear but unable to recognize what had awakened me.
Since I was old enough to stay home alone, my mother would occasionally leave me to run errands or even work a second job. It usually didn't bother me during the day, but at after dark I never felt alone. I would lie on the couch trying desperately to press myself as far back into the back cushions and cover myself with a blanket so that whoever or whatever was in the house wouldn't be able to see me.
The worst feelings originated in the basement. That was where the laundry room, a storage freezer, another TV and most of my toys were so there was reason to be down there alot. My mom brought a couch and carpeting down there so that I would think of it as a recreation room. I desperately hated going down in the basement because I never felt alone. I would always feel someone just over my shoulder and sounds coming from behind me. The worst part about the basement was walking down the stairs. The stairs were wooden with pieces of brightly coloured shag carpeting (yes, I know its tacky) in the middle of them. There were three alternating colours: green, red and orange, except for the third step up from the bottom, which was bright blue. I was never able to walk on that step and always got weird feelings walking over it.
When I was a child, I would run up the stairs two or three at a time in order to spend the least amount of time next to the step.
There were two occasions where I actually saw evidence of the ghost. The first was on a Sunday morning when I was running late for church. My mom was walking out the back door to start the car and yelling at me to hurry up. I finished putting on my shoes and ran out of my room, in the process knocking a doll down on the floor. Not being particularly tidy anyway and being in a rush, I left it there. This doll was special because my mom had made it for me. Although I could never tell her, I didn't like the thing because it scared me--not very rational for a nine year old to be afraid of some stuffing dressed in a ballerina costume, but I was nonetheless. The doll was made in the basement that I was so afraid of...Anyhow, when I came home from church, the doll was already back on the shelf. I was the last one out of the house and the first one back in.
The next occurrence which I will never forget happened a year or two later. My mom was down in the basement doing some laundry and it was getting to be lunch time so I was in the pantry, just off the kitchen, trying to decide between mac n'cheese or soup when a dark man-like shape run from my room down the hall to my mother's room. I was scared, but I had to know what had just happened, so I went to my mother's room armed with a baseball bat I had picked up along the way. When I got there, the room was empty (I even checked her closet) but I had a bad feeling.
I always got the feeling that there were two presences in the house (other than paying residents) and they weren't too crazy about me being there. I could feel both a feminine and masculine presence in my room--I always thought it was an elderly woman and her son. I don't know where the boundaries of my imagination stop and the boundaries of reality of the situation begin, but I always felt that the woman had been murdered by her son and some evidence or relationship to that would be found in that third blue step to the basement.