It started small. A light switch turned on I thought I had turned off. Doors left open I knew had been locked. Papers moved from the desk to a shelf in my closet. I brushed it off. After all, I was a senior in college, a busy woman. Maybe I didn’t unplug the curling iron or shut the window like I had originally thought. Maybe I was just too busy and in need of a break.
But that was before the night. I knew, then, everything that had been going on was caused by something else. After all, legend said the house was haunted. That no one had seen these spirits did nothing to lessen the macabre appeal of living amongst spirits.
Constructed of solid oak beams, the Tudor home I lived in my senior year of college was erected in the mid-19th century. Though the house had received extensive renovations over the years–including the construction of an additional wing to house more students–the structure of the original house remained unchanged. It is in that part of the house where I took up residence in a single room.
Up the grand staircase and down a creaky hallway, my room sat nestled in the front corner of the house underneath the original attic. It was a quiet wing of the house, as the attic was only used for storage. Below me was the seldom used living area. Save for the occasional boisterous drunken partying from my across the street neighbors, I had found the peace I needed in which to complete my final year of studies.
Thus imagine my surprise when one blustery night in October I heard a dragging sort of scraping coming from the attic above. Knowing as I did that the resident assistant was in sole possession of the key to the attic door (and he was at an evening class), I knew no one could be up there. I was a little nervous hearing this irregular dragging, almost as if someone were pulling a large object back and forth across the floor, but it was cold outside, and the air had just started to crackle with the electric potential of an incoming storm. I decided to stay put and turned my TV up a bit to compensate for the noise. The scraping sound increased. Only after turning the volume up once more and hearing a corresponding increase in the racket above, did I grab my coat and run for my friend’s room across campus, heedless of the rumbling thunder and crackle of lightning ripping through the air.
I stayed with a friend for a week before venturing back to my room,and only then to change and grab my class materials. Every time I returned, my room was ice cold. Another unusual occurrence since a large furnace duct supplied direct heat to my room. Normally, my room was uncomfortable, and I needed the windows open to sleep well at night; but now my room possessed cold pockets of air, their icy fingers caused my flesh to pimple and the hairs on the back of my neck to stand on end. My once peaceful room was now the cause of untold anxiety and fear.
Needless to say it was with some reluctance I left the safety of my friend’s room to return to the chilly walls of my century and a half old home.
I should have stayed away another night.
I don’t know what woke me. Maybe it was the temperature drop or maybe it was a whiff of ozone in the room, but I awoke. Peeking over the covers, I was blinded by a white light emanating from the corner of my room closest to the door. Once I was able to see, the figure of a small girl emerged from the pulsing light.
I will never forget how she looked at me with such sad, solemn eyes. She couldn’t have been more than nine or ten. Her brown hair, still long like a child’s, was pulled away from her face and secured with a bow. She wore a white sailor’s dress with navy blue piping. Her knees were tucked up and away under the fabric of her dress; only the black tips of her patent shoes peeked out from beneath. How long we stared at each other, I do not know. Eventually, my natural fear replaced curiosity and I ducked under the covers, praying she would disappear, When next I looked, she was gone.
The following morning I called a priest to come and bless my room. He came and sprinkled holy water on the walls, praying for the spirits of the deceased to leave this room and rest in peace. There were no more incidents with cold spots, unexplained open doors or turned on appliances, and I never saw the little girl after that night. It is my hope she was able to finally move on to the next life and find peace.
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