Do you believe in ghosts?
Sometimes called an Apparition? A spirit, or image of someone who has died and reappears, but not always seen by everyone. Or, perhaps you just enjoy hearing stories about the afterlife. Especially the kind that leave you thinking was it fact or fiction. Well, what I’m about to tell isn’t fiction at all. It is all facts, I know this, because I experienced it when I was about seven years of age.
My family didn’t have much money when I was growing up. Our mother was a single parent of ten children .Although a couple of my older siblings had moved out on their own , there were still six of us left for her to raise all alone. She often struggled to pay the bills. When she could no longer afford to pay the rent where we living, she packed up everything we owned, and we moved in with my oldest sister Ann, her husband Joe, and their children.
It was an old house, with lots of windows, and a huge backyard, which was perfect for all of us kids to run around, and play in .The exterior of the house was pink and white with some of the color peeling away. But it had become our home, and we were happy to be there. My sister and her husband had rented the house from a friend of theirs for a price which fit their budget. When they had first moved into the house, they had noticed one of the bedrooms upstairs had a lock on its door. Thinking of the safety of their small children, they decided to remove the entire door. There wasn’t anything out of the ordinary inside of the room. It was completely empty with the exception of a small piece of carpet. Once my family joined them in the home, that bedroom would become the very place were my brothers would be sleeping. It was considered “the back bedroom”. Our mom, and us girls shared the bedroom which was right before you would enter the “back bedroom”. It was sometimes a bit crowded but we made it work.
No one ever questioned why the room had a lock the door, even though the property was vacant. Little did we know we were about to become fully aware of the terrifying reason why it should’ve been left undisturbed! Everyone got along well with our new living arrangements. We helped out with the younger kids, and was anxiously waiting for my sister to give birth to her last child. The house had two levels, therefore my mom tried her best to keep us in our living area as much as possible when it was television time. I liked the house, however, I would often get such an eerie feeling as though something wasn’t quite right. You know, the kind of feeling you sometimes experience when you thought you heard someone whisper your name but you’re home alone? Or maybe you’re almost positive that you just saw someone, or something run past you, or see a shadow coming down your stairs, and you’re saying to yourself,” this isn’t real”. You can hear your heart starting to pound almost out of your chest, and in an instant, you realize you’re just letting your imagination get the best of you. Well unfortunately it wasn’t my imagination.
I would be the first one to return home from school. My daily routine would be to come home, change out of my school clothes, get a snack, do homework, and go upstairs and watch television or play with my dolls.
I would pretend to serve them tea, and cookies while sitting on the floor. However, this particular day would be unlike the others. As I sat on the floor playing with my dolls, I heard someone calling me by my first name. ”Gwen”, they were saying. Feeling a little puzzled because I thought all of my brothers were either at work or at school I just decided to ignore it , thinking it was all in my mine. So, I continued on with my playtime, but I heard it again. This time it would be louder, a little dragged out and it sound sad.” Gween”, the voice said. It was clearly a man’s voice. Not a voice which I could recognize, so I knew it was a stranger.
But what is a stranger doing upstairs in our house?
I didn’t know how to react, therefore I stood up, and slowly turned around.
At that very moment I became speechless. What I saw was a man whom I had never seen before in my young life walking towards me in a stiff jerky motion.
His skin was ashy in color, his eyes were black as coal, without any white showing. I opened my mouth to scream, but no sound came out. All of a sudden I tasted something very salty.
The next thing that I can remember happening is hearing my mother’s voice saying, ’Gwen what’s wrong? Why are you screaming, and why is your nose bleeding?
Once she was able to calm me down, my mom asked me to tell her what exactly had gotten me so upset? I took in a deep breath, and started to explain what I had just seen in my brothers’ bedroom.
At first I wasn’t sure if she even believed what I was saying, because she had this look of confusion on her face. After a few minutes of silence she asked me again to tell her what I had seen. ” You saw what?! I repeated my story to her. “I just saw a strange man in the boys’ bedroom”. At this point she could see that I was genuinely frightened and upset. My mom then took me by the hand, and we both went downstairs to join my sister and her younger children in another part of the house. We shared my encounter with the rest of the family that evening. However they weren’t quite ready to believe that there may be someone else other than our family living in our home.
After what had happened that day I no longer wanted to play upstairs alone after school. I started having nightmares and my nosebleeds had become more frequent. I was no longer happy in our house like I use to be. Everything about it would creep me out. The doors would open all by themselves and the floors would creak although there would be no one walking on them at time. Oh yeah ,and when the wind would blow through the cracks of the windows and doors, instead of the usual whistling sound that wind makes, it would make a slow achy moaning sound as if someone were in an eternal state of pain. One day my brother abruptly called me upstairs to show me something he had found in the bathroom. When I looked into the toilet before he flushed it, was a spider floating around inside which to this day I am pretty was a tarantula! I ran out of there as fast as my feet could go, and never looked back.
My first thought was “did that man in the back bedroom put the spider in the toilet to scare us? Well no matter how it got there I knew I wasn’t ever going to use that bathroom again.
My happiness was fading away more and more with each passing day. I no longer wanted to be left alone. I had to have someone with me at all times. I am sure it was a bit annoying to my family having to escort me around the house. Perhaps they would have been a bit more understanding if they too would’ve seen that man. I guess it really wasn’t up to me to make this decision.
It was a hot summer night and we were having a very intense thunderstorm. The flashes of lightening would light up our bedroom. The roar of the thunder made the entire house shake. You could hear tree branches scratching on the window panes. Ignoring the heat, I decided to pull the blanket over my head in hopes to fall asleep faster.
All of a sudden I was awakened by a loud crack of thunder! As I sat up I noticed the room was lit up from the lightening. As my eyes were coming into focus I wasn’t quite prepared for what I would see standing in the doorway of my brother’s bedroom. There he stood once again. The strange man whom I’d seen that day after school. Not only was he calling my name again, he was also pointing at me. I didn’t know what he’d wanted and to be honest I really didn’t care. I was worried for my brothers who were actually in the same room with him, and for us girls. I turned and shook our mom as hard as I could until she woke up. She raised up to see what was going on, she simultaneously turned on our bedroom light. Once the lights came on he was longer there. I am unsure if my mom saw him standing there, however, in an instant she jumped out of bed, went into my brother’s bedroom, woke them up, and had them sleep on blankets in our room for rest of the night. I don’t remember much more about that particular night. It was decided the bedroom door would be replaced and no one were allowed to go inside.
My family no longer felt safe living in this house which we all shared. My sister Ann and her husband found another place to live and we did as well.
A few years after we had moved out, the house had gotten demolished and a new home now sits its place. As an adult I learned the identity of the stranger in the “back bedroom’. Apparently he was a relative of the people who rented the house to my sister. For reasons unknown to me, he had committed suicide in that very room which had been locked when my sister and her family had first moved into the home. My brother, Jimmie told us that sometimes while he would be outside, he would see the same man looking out of the upstairs window. My sister won’t
mention what she had seen while living in the home. The memories haunts her to this very day.
I often wonder what happened to that man since his home has been torn down? Has his spirit finally been set free? Or is he now trapped in a new room, still waiting for someone to help release him from his pain? Whatever the answer may be, I will never forget my experience at “The House on Joppa Farm Road”.