The Pool Boy
I apologize for the length of this story but I felt I needed to include the details.
I can also assure you that it is 100% true. I have never told this story to anyone, not even my wife. Why? I don't know why, I guess I just wanted to keep it to myself. Who knows, maybe I will show her this site and let her read it for herself.
My parents divorced when I was 9 years old. About 2 years later (about 1979) my father married a very nice woman and they purchased a house together. The house that they bought was your typical single story, Californian, stucco, suburban tract house from the mid-1960s. It was clean, airy, well-lit, and cheerful. And it had this great pool dominating much of the large backyard. It was just about the last place you would expect to be "haunted".
I lived with my mother and spent about every other weekend with my father and stepmother. I liked the arrangement for many reasons. First my Dad's house was larger than my Mom's. It also had a rec-room with a pool table and a full bar. But the best thing was the swimming pool complete with slide and diving board!
My father decided that if I liked the pool so much it would be my job to keep it and the surrounding patio clean. I really didn't mind since the pool had a great filter and sweeping system. My job was mainly to skim the leaves and junk off of the surface and put away all of the towels and pool toys before I went to bed.
The first strange occurance happened around the third or fourth weekend I stayed over. My bedroom window looked out over the patio and the pool itself. I woke one night to the sound of splashing. It didn't sound like people were swimming but more like someone was tossing something into the pool or something had fallen in. I got up and looked out the window but I saw nothing. In fact the surface of the pool was dead calm. I didn't give it much thought and went back to bed. The next weekend I heard the same splashing noises and this time I crept out of bed and went out the backdoor to the patio. Once again there was nothing or nobody out by the pool and the water was still as glass. I just figured I had imagined the noises and went back to bed.
Early the next morning my father called me out to the back yard and asked me why I hadn't taken all of the toys out of the pool when I cleaned up the night before. I told him I had. He then took me to the edge of the pool and pointed to the bottom of the deep-end. There, at the bottom, were 4 diving rings (hard-plastic rings about 7 inches around that you throw into the pool where they sink to the bottom and you dive for them). I told my dad that I specifically remember retrieving them with the skimmer net the night before. My dad told me to be more careful next time because if left in the pool they can disturb the pool-sweeps's pattern (which I still think is B.S.).
Anyway I figured that I had just forgotten and didn't dwell on it. But the next weekend the same thing happened. I took special care to remove everything from the pool and store them on the patio Friday night. Yet Saturday morning the diving rings were back at the bottom of the deep-end. At first I thought someone was playing a joke on me. But the more I thought about it I realized that it was almost impossible to gain access to the backyard unless you went through the house (there was an 8 foot cinderblock wall surrounding the yard and both gates were padlocked to prevent neighborhood kids from wandering into the pool).
Throughout that summer every time I put the diving rings on the patio they ended up in the pool the next morning. It happened so much my dad finally stopped chewing me out about it. Other things happened as well. Inflatable pool toys like rafts and beach balls would be fine when I put them away but in the morning they would be deflated, not punctured but the plugs pulled out and all of the air was "squeezed" out. Of course I asked my dad and step mom if they had done any of these things and they just gave me a look like i was on drugs. I never mentioned any of these things to them again.
One Friday night after about 2 years of these occurances I had a brainstorm. I took my bicycle lock and chain and ran the chain through the diving rings and chained all of them to the patio support pole. I figured there was no way anybody would be able to remove the rings and put them into the pool (I was the only living soul who knew the combination). The next morning I nearly crapped my pants when I went outside and saw that while the chain was still around the pole and the lock was still closed the rings were not on the chain anymore! It took every ounce of my courage to go to the edge of the pool and look down. Sure enough there were the rings at the bottom. Needless to say I was freaked out beyond belief. I fished the rings out and took them into the alley behind our house and threw them into a storm drain hoping to be rid of them forever.
After the bike lock incident I rarely went out by the pool alone. At this point I should say that I never told anyone about the strange things happening around the pool, mainly because I was an insecure teenager and feared being branded as a nutcase. My parents would have thought I was drinking or stoned so I just kept my mouth shut. The straw that broke the camel's back came towards the end of August 1982. A friend and I were swimming one afternoon when he excused himself to go inside and use the bathroom. I still felt creepy being in the pool alone so I swam to the ladder in the deep-end and started to haul myself up. As I was climbing out with my back to the pool, I heard 4 distinct small splashes --"plop" "plop" "plop" "plop". I turned around and watched as four diving rings sank to the bottom of the pool. These were the same rings I had thrown into the sewer nearly a year before! There was no one in the backyard and my friend was still inside. I just sat there paralyzed with fear. There is no way any living thing could have caused the rings to fall into the pool! My friend came out about 1 minute later and I asked him if he had thrown the rings into the pool. He kind of laughed and said "What rings?" I showed him the rings at the bottom of the pool. He said "When did you guys get those?" Now My friend was generally a very serious person and never played practical jokes. I asked him again and made him swear to tell me the truth. He looked at me and could tell I was serious. Again he replied "No." I told him we were done swimming and he followed me into the house. I then told him about all of the things that had happened over the last 3 years. He just sat there slack- jawed. He didn't tell me I was nuts, he didn't tell me to stop "BS-ing" him, he just listened. I knew he believed me.
It was getting late and he needed to go home so we both reluctantly went back out to the pool to retrieve our sandals and t-shirts which we had left on a table on the patio. I can admit today without any shame that I peed in my swimsuit when I looked into the pool and saw our sandals and shirts floating on top of the water AND the rings were no longer at the bottom of the pool nor anywhere else.
That Fall my eldest stepsister announced that she and her husband were going to have a baby. My dad shelled out the big bucks and had a wrought iron safety fence installed around the pool. That way people could enjoy the patio and not have to worry about his new step-grandbaby wandering into the pool. Since no one used the pool in the winter there were never any toys or accessories to put away. But I still had to skim the pool when I stayed over. After the safety fence was installed I never noticed anything strange. And the next Spring and Summer all of the inflatable rafts stayed inflated over night and I never heard any splashing sounds again. I didn't give it much thought over the next few years. I was just glad the creepy stuff had just stopped and I was grateful. When I turned 18 I no longer had to stay with my dad on weekends and eventually moved out of my mothers house in with some friends of mine. I was also going to college and one day I had to do some research on a local election for Poli-Sci class. I went to our local library and asked the research librarian for the microfilm of our local paper from November of 1978. I started to scan through the film looking for the article when I realized the clerk had given me the film for October and not November. I was just about to rewind the film and get the correct roll when a small headline caught my eye. "Tot drowns in accident". To this day I have no idea where I found the strength not to scream when I read the accompanying article. It said that a 3 year-old boy who was visiting his Aunt and Uncle had unlocked a door and wandered into a backyard swimming pool and drowned. The first thing I noticed was the address where this had occured....It was my father and stepmothers house! The poor kid had died about half a year before my parents had moved in. His name had been Ricky. I just sat there reading the article over and over. I then knew who or what had been causing all of the strange things to happen at my dad's pool. I made a copy of the article and left the library without finishing my research. I went to my dad's house and showed him and my stepmother the article. My dad said "Well we knew about this when we bought the house but we didn't want to scare you." Scare me! I nearly broke a blood vessel laughing so hard. I couldn't believe it! My dad asked me what was so funny and I almost told him about all the stuff that had freaked me out those years before. But I figured what was the use. I then excused myself and went out into the backyard. For the first time in many years I didn't feel afraid when I looked out at the pool. I figured Ricky finally stopped his antics when my dad put the safety fence up. Maybe Ricky felt at peace knowing the pool was now safe. I sat down in one of the patio chairs and just watched the water. After about 10 minutes I got up to leave. Just before I opened the patio door I turned to the pool and said "Bye Ricky". My dad and step mom still live in that house and haven't mentioned any happenings.