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Vermilion House

Shiri, IL, USA
February 2003

I am a twenty-year-old woman who lives in a little mid- western town. I am writing this story to encourage those people who have been troubled by odd experiences. I have been there and I won! I know this is long, but once I started typing, I had to get it all out.

Let me clear up a couple of things about myself before I go on.

First of all, I do not believe in ghosts in the traditional sense. I really don't think that lost, forlorn souls wander the earth. However, I do feel that sometimes things happen that defy explanation and I more than believe that Satan likes to send out his friends to impersonate people and animals to confuse us and scare us nearly to insanity. It is not a comforting thought. I would rather it wasold auntie Kay coming back for one last good-night kiss.

I can't say that it all started when we moved into the house. All of my life, I have been subject to "that feeling". For most people, it's a tingle on the back of your neck. For me, it is a feeling of dread that starts in the pit of my stomach and runs up my spine, causing all the little hairs to stand up on my neck and arms. Usually, it only lasts for a second or two, sometimes a few minutes. Sometimes it doesn't stop at all, it gets stronger, pushing me to the edge of panic and I have to leave the area. It leaves me feeling weak and disoriented, with a pounding heart and a rather nauseated tummy.

Sometimes it comes when one would expect it to, like in a creepy house, or when a light suddenly burns out, plunging you into darkness. Many times it happens in places you wouldn't expect it to, like the grocery store, or the local county forest preserve (I love the woods). There are some places I just can't go. Sometimes, I get a feeling about a certain person, like they're dangerous. I have learned to pay attention to that feeling because, when I don't, bad things happen.

It all really started to snowball when we moved into Vermilion House. Vermilion House is very old. So old that no one really knows just how old it is. It was the second home built on our street, and we live downtown. My neighbor owns the third house built and his is nearly 250 years old!

When my house was built it was a small farmhouse. It is considerably larger now, but you can still see the outlines of the main house.

We moved in when I was fifteen. I got that feeling as soon as we pulled in the driveway. I didn't want to go in, my mom made me.

It was a two-story house, but when we went in, I couldn't find the stairs. The realtor finally showed them to me, but we didn't see the second story of the house until after we had bought it.

The door to the stairs had been padlocked shut. Not with one, but two locks. No one had a key and we had to wait for them to be cut off.

The house has three attics. One over the back addition, one in my sister's doorless closet upstairs,and one in my closet, also upstairs. I can go into the attic over the addition without a second thought. I can leave the attic in my sister's closet open long enough to get stuff in and out of it. I have never been able to so much as poke my head into the one in my closet. I tried once, as soon as my hands hit the door, I got so dizzy I had to get off of the chair I was standing on before I fell off. My dad is the only person who has ever opened that attic. It was the only time in the five years we've lived here that it was opened.

The thing that scared me about the upstairs was that I felt like I was being watched, whether people were up there or not. I wasn't the only one. One of my best friends once stayed the night with me. I say once because she only stayed once. She complained that she couldn't sleep because she felt "creepy". She said that it was a collector doll that I had on a high shelf. She felt like it was watching her. I put the doll away but she still couldn't sleep. We ended up going downstairs and sleeping on the living room floor. She never stayed over again. In fact, I don't remember her ever going upstairs since then.

The really weird stuff didn't start to happen until we'd been there for about a year. It was like whatever is in the house was building up momentum, waiting for the perfect moment. When things started to happen, they happened fast.

My closet door also had a lock on it. I kept it locked at all times, I hardly opened it. It scared me and I didn't wear my dress clothes very often anyway. I would come home from school or work and find the door open. I would wake up in the morning and it would be opened, or just unlocked, like something was teasing me, letting me know it was there, but not actually letting me see it.

At first I thought it was my younger sister, who is a known clothes- horse. She always denied it and soon I realized that the door was being opened when she wasn't home.

My bedroom lights would shut themselves off, as if something knew I hated going up those stairs in the dark. The smoke and carbon monoxide detectors would go off for no reason, waking us out of a dead sleep. Several times, the smell of natural gas or something on fire has permeated the house. We've had it checked professionally several times and each time found nothing wrong.

One of the scariest things was the door to the stairs. Around the locks, the door was scratched, scuffed, and even cracked as if someone had been trying to get out. I only made this connection when my sister "accidentally" locked me upstairs and then left the house. I had to climb out of the window and down the T.V. antenna to get out. The marks that I made on the door, were right over the older ones that had been there when we moved in.

The door would also open and shut itself. My dad always said that it was the air pressure. It seemed like a reasonable explanation, except it did it every night, no matter what the weather was like.

I moved out of the house for two years and moved back in about four months ago. We have had all kinds of weather and that door has never moved unless someone moved it.

Sometimes, I would be home alone and hear these horrible banging noises. They would shake the house hard enough to cause the piano to play by itself and things to fall about in the cabinets. They always came from upstairs. It was like a wall had fallen in, or maybe an entire room. When we looked nothing was ever out of place. The neighbors wouldn't have heard or felt anything out of the ordinary.

I was beginning to think I was crazy. None of this was affecting anyone but me! Then, finally, one of those bangs happened to my dad and he admitted that something might be wrong with the house. I think back on it now, and realize that my dad NEVER went upstairs. I don't know if he was just lazy, or if it bothered him too.

I started making excuses not to sleep upstairs. It was pretty easy to do because the second story had neither heat nor air-conditioning. However, my mom started to yell at me when I didn't go upstairs at night. After that, I would wait until she went to bed, then I snuck downstairs, slept, and made sure I was in my bed before she got up. She found out after a while, and I finally relented and told her everything. She sent me to a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist told me I had an over-active imagination. An over active imagination did not explain the absolute terror I had at the mere thought of being in my room alone.

Things got really bad. By now, I was eighteen and my parents had gotten a divorce. The day I turned eighteen, I flatly refused to see Dr. Klein anymore. She was nice, but she wasn't helping me.

The last straw came soon after. I went up the stairs one night to go to bed. I had strung Christmas lights around my room, in an attempt to keep some lights on up there. It wasn't just that I was scared, the stairs were very dark and very dangerous. I've injured myself on them many times. It didn't work, though. Those lights would become mysteriously unplugged.

One night as I lay in bed, the lights went out. I lay in bed waiting for something to happen. I was too afraid to move. I had a really pretty porcelain Indian doll. As I watched, her head turned to look at me. I ran downstairs, crying, and after that I boxed all of my dolls up and put them into storage.

I started waking up to feel my bed shaking. Once something grabbed my shoulder. Then, one night as I was going up the stairs, lights out as usual, something terrifying happened.

There is a window at the top of the stairs. As I walked up them, I noticed a man-shaped shadow blocking the window, and my way to the light switch. At first I didn't think anything of it. I had met my sisters many times on the stairs. I said "excuse me" and walked past it. I had sat down on my bed before I realized I WAS THE ONLY ONE HOME! Everyone else had gone to visit family for the weekend. I looked back and it was still there, a shadow so black it was nearly a hole. Only now it seemed to be facing me.

My first though wasn't "ghost" but rather "axe- murderer"! I reached over and turned on the bedside lamp- and it was gone. Then I smelled gas. I ran down the stairs in a blind panic, nearly falling. As soon as my foot got off the last step, a loud bang echoed (yes echoed, like in a stadium) through the house and the door slammed shut behind me. I slept in my car.

A week later, I had moved in with my dad. I didn't even bother getting most of my things. I didn't want them, not enough to go back upstairs.

A year later, my dad traded me in for a 23 year-old, alcoholic, slut; so I moved in with my grandparents. Four months ago, I started feeling like I was a burden on my grandparents and I moved back into Vermilion House. My dad owns it now (mom eventually lost it in the divorce). I have the entire second story to myself, like my own apartment. Strange things still happen in the house, but not as badly. I think it might be scared of me now. My days of running down the stairs, bawling, are over. Every time it has come, I have stood my ground. Every time, it has backed down.

A final note, my mother is the only person in my family who would not admit something was strange about the house. Even my middle sister, who wouldn't know a "ghost" if it were dancing on the tip of her nose, wouldn't go up alone if the lights were out. My mother, who thought I was crazy, (literally) finally admitted to it.

One night, soon after I moved out, she woke up to see my shadow man standing over her bed. He was talking to her and handed her a blue piece of paper with a date written on it. She can't remember the date or what he said, and she swears that she must have been dreaming. But it must've been an awfully realistic dream, because she woke up trying to remember where she had put that paper.

Imagination? Ghosts? Demons? Maybe just something caused by the energy of a disturbed teenage girl's mind. You decide.

Shiri, IL, USA
00:00 / 01:04
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