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Unseen Roommates

Josh, MD, US
March 2012

About 13 years ago, my then husband and I rented a house on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. It was a two-story house built in 1919. The original structure didn't have plumbing or an actual kitchen, so an addition was built on in the 30s or 40s with a small, galley-style kitchen, a bathroom at one end of the kitchen, and a laundry/storage room. Whoever built the add-on left the original windows in the walls, so there was a window (complete with wavy glass) between the dining room and the kitchen.

During the eight years we lived there, we experienced many strange, inexplicable things. Within days of moving in we noticed we (and guests) kept seeing someone walk by the window in the kitchen. We also often heard footsteps upstairs that were so distinct the first few times we rushed upstairs thinking someone had broken in only to find the rooms empty. Eventually, that just became part of everyday life in the house. We also occasionally smelled perfume in the living room, even though no one wore perfume in the house. It would start out strong and slowly fade away.

After we'd lived in the house for about six months, I was alone in the house when I heard a huge crash from upstairs, complete with the sound of shattering glass and the house shuddering from the impact. When I ran upstairs to see what could have fallen over, nothing was out of place or broken. It happened again numerous times over the years, sometimes while other people were in the house. Looking back, I wish I'd paid more attention to whether it was an annual thing (maybe on the anniversary of some specific event) or random.

The most unnerving thing that happened in the house came several years into our time there. One night when I was brushing my teeth in the bathroom downstairs, I was leaning over the sink when, in the mirror, I saw (and felt) someone walk up behind me and stand in the doorway. I didn't bother looking up because I just assumed it was my husband waiting his turn at the sink. I told him I'd just be a few more seconds, and then I heard my husband upstairs yelling, "What did you say?" I spun around but there was no one behind me, even though I'd seen a figure just moments before out of the corner of my eye and very distinctly felt someone there. I started shutting the bathroom door while I brushed my teeth after that experience.

I found out later that the house was built by our landlord's grandparents and that they had died there. I've often wondered if they were still in the house, or at least some echo of them. The presences never felt threatening, and for the most part, we lived together quite well.

Josh, MD, US
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