A Ghostly Interlude

This happened to me when I was a teenager growing up in the Bronx.  My family lived on Campbell Drive in the second floor apartment of a two-family house.  Built in 1942, it even still had the original glass doorknobs and other structural furnishings from that era.

From the beginning, Mom and I sensed that the place was haunted.  We’d see shadows moving out of the corner of our eyes.  The hallway lights that were activated by motion sensors would come on when no one was around.  Sometimes late at night, we’d get the feeling that there were people talking in the living room.  It was that kind of elevated energy vibe that you experience whenever you are at a party or in a restaurant.  The second we stepped into the living room, the atmosphere would return to normal.

One night, I was waiting for my mother to get home from work.  I was sitting on the couch deeply engrossed in a book when I suddenly heard piano music.  Before that moment, ghosts were the furthest thing from my mind.  The neighbors weren’t home, so it wasn’t a radio or someone else’s television.  The music was coming from our old, out of tune piano that we almost never played.

Steadying myself, I looked over to my left.  Just as I expected, the piano was closed and no one was sitting there.  I stared at it as the eerie music continued to flow beneath the invisible musician’s hands.  The tune was unfamiliar to me.  After another minute, there was a loud jarring sound as if someone had purposely banged on the keys, then the music stopped as quickly as it had begun.

I swallowed once or twice, the oppressive silence roaring in my ears.  Nodding, I got up and said, “Well, so much for watching the electric bill!”  Then I turned on the television, switched on all of the lights, and waited for mom to get home.

 

The House that Never Sleeps

Thanks to Renee for contributing this story!

On Englewood Avenue in Teaneck, New Jersey there is an old, white house with high levels of paranormal activity.  Renee states that her family has known very little peace since buying the house in 1960.  The spirits are particularly disturbing at night.  After everyone has gone to bed, you can hear doors opening and closing and sounds of a loud party going on downstairs.  However, if you brave your fears and check below, the noise stops.  Family members have reported seeing dark shadows walking around and incidents of waking to find ghostly figures standing by their beds.

Built in 1917, the house was part of Dr. Gaylord’s extensive property.  The original house included six bedrooms, four bathrooms, a powder room, and a kitchen.  Renee’s family built on additional rooms.  Most of the negative activity takes place in the newer parts of the house.

One account that Renee shared with me happened when she was a child.  She and her siblings were playing outside.  A little boy appeared and asked if he could join in their game.  After a while, Renee’s mother went into the yard and called for her kids to come inside.  They turned to say goodbye to their new friend, only to see him vanish.  They never saw him again.

A man resembling President Ulysses S. Grant has been said to appear inside of the house or on the grounds.  The scariest part is all that you see is his head floating by as if he is walking, but there is no body attached.  The family has found flags and bullets on the property.  While the former president could not have been in the house being it was built after his death, there is evidence that he knew the Gaylord family and perhaps had visited their estate before.

Big bursts of activity usually occur around the holidays.  One Thanksgiving, Renee’s sister saw the face of a red-headed man and she screamed.  Later on that same night, she was carrying a bowl of gravy when a portrait suddenly fell off the mantel, causing her to drop the platter she was carrying and scald herself.  Renee’s aunt was visiting and mentioned that she wanted to see a ghost.  The red-headed man must have taken this as a challenge because she woke up to see his face leering above her bed.  Unable to get back to sleep, she went to stay in a hotel.

Unlike other places where the spiritual phenomena fluctuate, this house continues to have a high level of activity.  It would seem that both the living and the dead residents are constantly vying for space.  Thankfully, most hauntings are not as intrusive as this one.

 

A Strange Welcome: Marillac Hall, Part 1

I’ve had my share of ghostly encounters and strange experiences.  So, I was understandably nervous about moving into the oldest and most haunted dorm on the College of Mount Saint Vincent’s campus.  What made it even creepier was that I was going to be there a week before all of the other students because I was helping with college orientation that year.  Marillac Hall was built in the late 1800s.  Everyone had a ghost story about that place, but I couldn’t pass up a chance to live in that truly beautiful, historic building.

My room was on the fourth floor of one of Marillac’s two wings.  The room was larger than the other surrounding suites.  It had originally been the floor lounge, but had been converted into another dorm room to maximize space.  This was a smaller floor and had fewer rooms than the other three levels in the building.

Every fall, my mother would spiritually cleanse my dorm room for the start of the school year by mopping the floor with perfumed water.  My then boyfriend, George, and I went down to the kitchen on the second floor.  As I turned on the sink, I sent a mental message to any spirits that might be in the building saying hello and that I was just borrowing a pot for some water.  I don’t know why I did this other than that I was nervous.  Directly after this, George and I both heard a woman calling my name from the stairwell above the kitchen.  She distinctly said, “Tara, where are you?” in a sort of sing-song voice.  Both George and I thought it was my mother and I answered, “I’m here in the kitchen.  Don’t go walking around or you’ll probably get lost. This building is confusing.”  We went up the stairs, but did not see my mother anywhere.

When I got back to the room, I asked her why she didn’t wait for me when I came up from the kitchen.  She insisted that she had never left the room.  That’s when George and I told her what we had heard.  My mother’s eyes went wide.  Our family friend, Artie, who had helped move me in, started giggling, “You’re in for a quite a year if they have already made contact with you, Honey.”

That night as I fell into an uneasy sleep, I could have sworn that I heard the doors upstairs opening and closing.  I was the only one on the floor that night, so I kept telling myself that it was the wind running through a drafty, old building.  Of course, that didn’t explain what I saw the next morning.

 

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