Like all haunted house stories, this took place right after I moved. Cliché, right? My wife and I had saved up enough money from our rental to finally put down on a house of our own. So we moved in and everything seemed right...at first.
It wasn’t until later that I realized there were warning signs. The seller seemed really anxious to close, and we were offered a much cheaper price than we expected for the space we got. While there was a moment of doubt, we quickly decided it was a great deal. How could we possibly pass it up?
The strange occurrences were small at first. I would be up late watching TV and swore I heard something. I’d pause the show and make out what sounded like dragging noises. After investigating, I wouldn’t find anything. Even stranger was that no matter where I walked in the house, the noise always sounded the same distance away. When I focused on it, I noticed the particular noise was rhythmic.
It was like that every single time. My wife never heard it, it was only me. None of us believe in ghosts, mind you. But as I said before, it was a small thing. So I brushed it off.
One night, I woke up in a startle. I listened intently but could hear nothing. I got up, and decided to grab a late night snack from the kitchen. Halfway down the hall, I heard something again. Except this time, it sounded like dirt being sifted around. I knelt down, and swore that the sound got louder. Before I knew it, I had my ear pressed to the hardwood floor, listening intently.
I jumped up from the floor. It was that same pattern of noises, but this time it sounded like someone in the dirt. Trying to ignore the chills washing over me, I took a step towards the kitchen.
Something grabbed my ankle.
I fell forward, almost busting my chin on the floor.
Flipping over, I turned to face my assailant, but there no one was behind me. I brushed it off and chalked it up to poor balance from a sleep hangover. My wife got a good chuckle out of that one.
After that, the house began to feel.....heavier. It was this weight over me that would come and go. This was accompanied by us feeling cold no matter how much we ran the heat. Yet, it was only in certain spots, particularly on the floor. I liked to walk around barefoot no matter what time of the year it was. Yet this was the middle of summer and my feet were freezing.
Another night, I woke up again. My ears stood at attention, but found no source of what awoke me. I got up just like before, except I never made it to the kitchen. About halfway down our long hallway, I suddenly felt a horrible pain in my right leg. I had to limp to keep moving, unntil my other leg was wracked with a wave of pain. It was so bad, I found myself facedown on the ground, trying to catch my breath.
Then I heard it again. That awful succession of noises...
For reasons unknown, it was now clear to me that the sliding sound was coming from our hardwood floor. And this time the sound was getting closer.
I watched in horror as a hand came around the corner in front of me. It was soon joined by another, and they tugged at the floor. My heart hammered in my chest as a person came into view. It was a woman with long black hair, her disheveled clothing smeared with dirt and hanging off in shreds. Her mouth was crudely stitched shut. She looked up at me with empty, lost eyes and I instantly felt a lifetime of pain and misery. It took my breath away, and I had to focus on my breathing to keep myself from fainting.
That awful sound repeated as she grabbed the floor and pulled herself towards me. I was in a terrified trance, eyes locked with her as she slowly closed the distance. I could now see that she dragged herself because her legs were horribly mangled. A low moan emanated from her throat, sending ice through my veins. Her very presence seemed to drain me, and I couldn’t move no matter how hard I tried. She made this awful gurgling sound as she got within arms reach. In seconds, her face was right up to mine. I tried to scream, but like her, I couldn’t make any sound.
I woke up.
“Ah!” I shouted as I sprang up in bed.
My wife tried to console me, but it did very little. I’d never had a dream that felt so real before. Shaking, I walked out into the hallway where I had collapsed in my dream. I put hand on the floor, expecting it to be freezing cold as usual.
But it was warm...
“Honey?” I felt the soft hand of my wife touch my shoulder. “What’s going on? You look white as a sheet.”
“I’m okay...I just...”
On the floor in front me, I noticed the faint trace of fingernail marks.
“Was that there before?” My wife inquired.
“I’m...I’m not sure.”
“Let’s go back to bed. We’ll talk more about it tomorrow.”
I tried to hold back my stubborn expression, but she read it anyway.
“C’mon, you need to rest.”
With an exasperated exhale, I went back to bed with the strange occurrence replaying incessantly in my brain.
In the morning, I’d told my wife about all the strange experiences, and to my shock she actually believed me.
“What do you want to do then?” She asked.
“Well...I have a theory I want to check out.”
“What kind of theory?”
“Well, let’s just say that ghosts exist, and there are certain reasons why they haunt certain places. If that is true then...I think there could be a body in our crawlspace.”
“What, are you crazy?”
“I know how it sounds. But, what would it hurt to look?”
“Are you really expecting to find a body down there?”
“I’m not sure, to be honest. But hopefully I can get some answers.”
That afternoon, I found myself standing at the door to our crawlspace. It felt ridiculous, but so many details pointed to it. The sounds and cold spots were all related to the floor. The ghastly woman’s clothes were smeared with dirt. It was obscure, but it was all I had to go on.
I had to pry the door open with a crowbar, but I managed after a minute or two. A wave of unnatural cold air blasted me, so strong that I had to throw on a coat just to stop from shivering so badly.
I clicked on my flashlight, illuminating the eerie underbelly of our home. The dirt sifted under my feet as I crouch-walked around. Expecting to see more, I was almost disappointed that the crawlspace was completely bare. Not quite believing it, I shined my light around some more. The back part of the crawlspace led to concrete and it was there that I noticed one section of the wall looked different than the rest.
Hands quivering, I pushed against the section of concrete and felt it shift under the pressure. It continued to wobble around in place when I touched it again. Holding my flashlight between my teeth, I used both hands to pry the piece away from the wall. To my astonishment, it pulled away very easily. Stranger was that the section of wall fit the hole exactly, like a puzzle piece. After leaning the piece of concrete against the wall, I found that the concrete was covering a door with a padlock.
There’s no way anything good is behind this...
Minutes later, I had returned in front of the door with a pair of bolt cutters. I debated whether or not I’d go in. There was no reason I shouldn’t satisfy my curiosity, because if there wasn’t anything then great, but if there was something terrible, I’d just have to deal with it. Either way, I had to know.
I clipped the metal bar off the lock and it fell softly to the dirt floor. Taking in a deep breath, I dared to aim my beam down the opening. The crawlspace extended further into the house, and I had a good guess where it led. I now had to crawl on my hands and knees as a knot of dread formed in my stomach.
“You always tell people not to do this in movies, why are you doing this now??!” I chastised myself, knowing all too well how stupid this was. But the part of my brain that can’t look away from a car wreck pushed me to carry along regardless.
It was difficult to navigate the flashlight and crawl. A mild claustrophobia settled in that gave me a sense of urgency. The temperature couldn’t have been any more than a meatlocker. My hands shook despite my thick jacket. Eventually, I came to a dead end.
Is this all?
I stopped for a moment and shone my light around some more, hoping a more thorough search would bear some fruit. Yet, there was nothing. Sighing in frustration, I decided that perhaps I really was losing my mind and having vivid dreams after all.
How could I have been so stupid?
I made it halfway across the hidden area when I felt my legs suddenly give out. They weren’t even tired or sore. It was as if they stopped working on their own. I attempted to cry out, but my mouth felt as if some force held it closed.
Just like a stitched mouth...
The few things I could move was my neck, and I turned to the side to see...
A tuft of a blanket?
Due to the narrow space, I must have missed it. I slowly reached for it with all the internal alarms in my body going off at once. Ignoring the warning, I pulled the cloth back to reveal a skeletal hand.
In this moment of revulsion, something turned on my motor skills again as I regained control of my legs again, crawling out of there as quickly as I could muster. Heaving, I stumbled out of the crawlspace and instantly felt a rise in the temperature. I sat on the porch and stayed there as I called the police and explained the situation.
It turns out that one of the previous owners of the home was a major suspect in the disappearance of a young lady fifteen years ago. There wasn’t enough evidence to conduct a home search so they were never able to find the body. And what they found was something I wish I had never known.
From examining the body, they found that her captor had broken both of her legs so she couldn’t escape and sewn her mouth shut to keep her from screaming. It was hard to tell how long she’d been locked down there before she died, but they figured it was a month or two. The cause of death was unclear. All they knew was it was enough to pursue the former owner.
When they picked him up, the guy tried to play the ignorance card, pretending as if he didn’t know what house they were referring to. This of course made it even more suspicious.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything concrete enough to tie him to her death...until they searched his home. Blueprints of the home showed that the crawlspace was supposed to end ten feet where the concrete wall was. No contractors were hired to do any work on the home, so someone had personally busted it up and created the door going further in. The last part of it was the padlock on the door.
When the police searched the man’s home, they found a shoebox full of seemingly innocent keepsakes. Among the keepsakes were some heirlooms, pictures of close family members, and a key. As suspected, the key matched the padlock to the crawlspace door. It was apparently enough to make him crack. It wasn’t long before he confessed to the kidnapping and murder, albeit without a hint of remorse. Turns out the bastard kept the key like some sick trophy.
They even questioned him about other possible victims since this was a trait commonly shared by serial killers. He denied it, and while the police were unsure how true this was, they at least knew that they solved one case and put a family at peace. Justice was served and he was locked away for the rest of his miserable life. Poetic justice, if you ask me. The poor girl’s parents buried her remains on a family plot.
After all this, we had serious doubts about staying in the home. Knowing something this egregious happened in our home was almost unbearable. I can’t tell you how much we cried when we heard the story of what happened to that poor girl. We were on the brink of selling the house for about a week, but one night changed all that.
I woke up from a dream, one so vivid yet escaped my thoughts like a fistful of sand as soon as I awoke. I had this strange feeling in my gut as if something was going to happen. It was neither good nor bad, just....strange.
After having a small glass of milk, I meandered down the hall and stopped in my tracks. A woman stood in front of me, half-transparent with a bluish luminescence. I felt as if I knew her, although I didn’t recognize her appearance at all. She smiled, and I instantly knew who she was. She was completely unrecognizable from her previous, horrific manifestation.
Never speaking, she motioned to her legs and I saw that they were in perfect condition. In a mild state of shock, I managed to form a smile. She beamed even wider and ran her fingers across her lips, pointing out her lack of stitches. A blanket of warmth wrapped around me, and I couldn’t resist the salty tears that streamed down my face.
Right before she waved goodbye, a voice that was not my own spoke within my head.
It’s over now. Thank you...
She faded away, and for the first time since we moved into that house, all hints of the oppressive energy dissipated. That was the last time I ever saw her.
It’s been 30 years now, and we’re still in that house to this day...
May she continue to rest in peace...ns18.104.22.168da2