I have dealt with "things that go bump in the night" most my life, making we always wonder if I was a bit of a strange child, but never did I dream I would live day to day with an entity. It can be just as spooky and un-nerving as all the movies you have seen, but it can also be very stressful. You just have to keep laughing and get through it. Easy to say now, years later.
|We moved into a huge house on Twenty Third Street in a small
farming town not far from San Jose just before Christmas, 1998. I lived there
alone with three children while their father commuted to San Jose, coming
home on the weekends. Michael was twelve, John was six years, Jena was but
6 months old.
The only remaining pictures of the outside of the house, when it was covered in ivy and it snowed in February of 1989, an extremely rare event. There is actually a large window behind that ivy, looking into the expansive living room. Since then, it has been stripped of the ivy, painted white, surrounded with black wrought iron gating. The front office windows can be seen on the far right of the first picture, above John in red, where Andy lived most the time.
The First Night
The first night was filled with the new house exploration, the usual moving and settling in activities, keeping me heavily occupied both day and night. I knew there was a hidden cubbyhole in the kitchen cupboards, only two feet tall, two feet deep, one foot wide and about six feet off the ground. What puzzled us so greatly was the latch to prevent access to the hidden area was INSIDE the cupboard door, meaning you had to be INSIDE the cupboard in order to latch it. Talk about adding thoughts to your imagination!
I was going back and forth through the house, three thousand square feet of house built in a lovely 1920 French door style with large, wandering rooms and hallways, walk in closets, surprise turns and windows that led to nowhere. I absolutely love the Winchester Mystery House, so this suited me perfectly. The children were asleep and I was sorting, room to room. Each time I passed the cupboard, the door was open. I would close it, continue on my way, only to pass by later and again, to find it open. Again. I tried ever so hard to ignore the creepy feeling crawling up both arms to my neck. It kept occurring to me that I knew absolutely no one within a hundred miles. I was alone, with my three small children.
Since Christmas was rapidly approaching, I took the time when the children were asleep to wrap presents. I kept the wrapping papers in a very heavy, large, old trunk, opening at the top. When the trunk was opened, the top rested backwards heavily against the metal retaining straps. The balance of the lid was so that if the trunk had been empty, it would almost be in danger of tipping over backwards. I was in the process of removing rolls of paper from the trunk and had just withdrawn my hand when the lid came crashing closed and the animals ran from the room. It took my breath away and all remaining logical thoughts from my brain. I must have sat for several minutes, stunned, yearning for a logical explanation. The animals didn't return for quite some time.
Further into the night, I was setting up the dining room table for meals, placing quilted placemats down for the family. One of the dog's two inch toy balls came rolling towards me, ever so slowly, ever so steadily, making the softest whispering sound as it gently rolled on the highly polished wooden floor. Not a sound could be heard except for the ball's whisper. When the ball stopped, the house was filled with silence. Eerie uncomfortable silence. The parrot was silent, watching the ball. The dogs were motionless, looking at me and the ball with puzzled expressions. I tried to convince myself this was normal. There was some explanation. I picked it up, placing it on the placemat in front of me. I stood there for the longest time and watched it. Nothing. Not sound, no movement. It HAD to have been moved by an animal I did not notice. Okay, heart beat back to normal. Things to do. Just as I started to turn away, the ball actually leaped into the air about a half inch, rolled off the table and back unto the floor. I watched it, in shocked silence as it made its way to the dining room wall where it stopped and rested, silent, finished. No words can describe what I felt.
I must add another event of that evening, as while it is funny (now, it's funny) it added to the atmosphere of the first night in the house, etched in my memory forever.
While standing at the washer in the laundry room, you cannot see the detached garage at the back of the yard, only fifty feet away due to the windows being covered with ivy. Once you return to the kitchen area window, the garage is within full view. I was doing catch up laundry the entire evening, and well into the night. I would turn on the laundry room light and turn the laundry over, head back for another cup of coffee, only to see the garage light on. There were no working exterior lights to guide my way to the garage to turn off the light, a rather spooky trip in the complete darkness, in a new, strange, ever so small town, miles and miles away from anyone I knew. I quickly run out to the garage, turn off the light, and return, ever so glad to have made it back to the safety of the house. I would continue with my sorting and nesting.
Once again, I would turn over the laundry, go back for more coffee and see the garage light was on, again! I put Felz (our pursuit trained German Shepherd) on lead and took him with me to turn off the garage light. I still shivered with fright which Felz picked up immediately. He remained by my side the remainder of the night.
Add this to the bouncing ball, the violent trunk and the opening cupboard. I didn't sleep a wink and was still awake when my husband returned in the morning. Dan just laughed. He walks into the laundry, turns on the light, wha -la! The garage light goes on. A two way switch!! Duh!! How stupid can one feel?
The cupboard was also explained eventually upon closer inspection. We discovered the entire stack of cupboard from the ground up had shelves consisting of wire screen, creating an air flow from the basement to the attic, the 1920 way to keep foods cool. The air flow up the stack of cupboards caused the door at the top to open. But the latch?
|We did actually come up with a reasonable explanation after many years. The house had been owned by one of the county's first circuit court judges during prohibition years. There was a false back to the top cupboard with a hidden, spring loaded hinge. If you stood on a ladder, leaned way into the deep 28" cupboard, you could push on the door and peer a bit into the space that led to the left, behind all the kitchen cupboards. Go around the corner from the kitchen to the hallway and you see, which you would have never noticed before, the built in linen cupboard doesn't go to the ceiling the way the others do. There was about fifteen inches of wall space above the linen cupboard. The secret space!! Now, put your hand under the top shelf, push up, the shelf is loose, sitting on supports all the way around. Reach up farther and you can actually reach the hook and eye latch, locking that top door in place. What a wonderous safe. Even if someone were to work out the latch, they would never suspect the false door behind all of it. And, it was just the right size for a rifle, let alone bottles of booze.....|
The cupboard is the one at the top right of the picture. Click the picture for a closer look.
I felt like an idiot, but I knew, beyond doubt, the ball and the trunk had not been my imagination, and the years to follow would prove it.
Blood in the Bathroom
Blood started appearing in the master bathroom, covering a large portion of the counter top to the right of the my sink. It would always stop exactly at the wall as if you had placed something on the wall to prevent the blood from hitting anything but the counter. I would wipe it away, and it would appear again the next day. Before I left for work I sprinkled baby powder over the entire floor and closed the door. At day's end, the blood would reappear and the powder was not disturbed. Window access was out of the question, two windows being far too small for access unless you were the size of a midget. The cupboard comes to mind, again.
I called the college science department and it took some doing to convince the woman I spoke to that this was indeed, very real. She finally told me how to determine if this was worth pursuing. I took hydrogen peroxide and dabbed it on a spot of blood. It bubbled. Meaning this was a living product. The college asked if I could come by. I was to procure some blood on a strip they had given me, dip it in a mixture and see what colour developed. Dark green indicated blood, and my strip could not have gotten any darker green. Next, the college (Heidi, bless her heart, our vet's wife) asked me to try and bring in a sample. I laid a large piece of glass on the counter where the blood normally appeared. The activity came to a dead stop. I gave up and removed the glass.
A week or so later, the blood appeared again, but this time I noticed it was also in the tray that held perfume bottles. I ran the tray down to the college and they tested it to see if it was human, cat, or dog as we had both kinds of animals in the house. The college very carefully called back to tell me that the blood samples were absent of any kind of cell, and that this was strictly impossible unless it was blood spun at a lab. We were all at a total loss.
|You know the kind of loving pat a husband gives a wife on the behind
as he passes her while she is at the kitchen sink doing dishes? A loving,
gentle, quick pat.I am in the master bathroom shower (taking a shower) and
my husband is lifting baby Jena to peek over the glass doors to play peekaboo
with me. He finally announces he is going to feed Jena and off they go, closing
the bathroom door while I continue to shampoo my hair. Facing the water,
I feel that familiar pat on my behind. I am thinking, "How did he get the
shower door open that quietly?" I turn around to see absolutely no one in
I RAN out of the shower, shampoo and all, and found my husband feeding Jena in her high chair completely across the entire house, five rooms away. John was outside playing with friends. That was the first touch.
There is John, sitting on the counter, you can see the counter behind the door where the blood appeared, and the shower stall in the morror. The picture was taken from the hallway leading from the bedroom to the office. Sorry about such terrible quality.
I made a doll for my Jena for Christmas of 1999 and presented it to her on Christmas Day. When asked what she would name the doll, she promptly smiled and said, "Amy! She comes to play with me." I didn't know what to say, but finally probed her, and she confirmed what she had said earlier. Amy came at night to play with Jena in her crib. Okay......I remembered my sister's childhood friends, Cadawaddy and Jerse, and tried to relax.
There is blonde Amy with her pal, Sarah. Boy, does the name Sarah come up alot in my life.
I was leaning over the bathroom sink, brushing my teeth one morning and saw out of the corner of my eye, in the large mirror that covered the wall in front of me, someone quite tall and thin passing in the tee hallway behind me, which takes you from the master bedroom, past the bathroom to the front office. I ran out of the bathroom to find myself quite alone, but the animals had gathered in both rooms, growling. I have absolutely no idea why, but from that moment on, we called our guest "Andy." Over the years, the animals were often a clue we were about to have a visit.
|A rather psychic friend of ours, Richard, called one night to tell me
of a very disturbing dream he had. I was off in the distance and he was walking
towards me. Suddenly a tall, thin man with long, straight white hair stepped
inbetweenst us, holding his entire arm with an uplifted hand towards Richard,
as if stopping traffic at a school crossing. Richard said the man was dressed
in a light coloured jacket, like leather, with fringe on the arms and bottom
of the jacket, and was surrounded in a fog. While no words were spoken, it
was clear to Richard that the man intended no contact betweenst us.
During the conversation, my skeptic husband listened (only to what I had said) and abruptly took the phone away from me. He and Richard talked for quite some time. Evidently, my husband had experienced a dream of someone in a fog looming large in his vision, giving the description of the man to Richard. The characters matched, right down to the fringe. Have you ever seen the movie "Phantasm?" The mortician. Angus Scrimm? That's Andy, down to the nose.
Karen, a dear neighbor and I were talking at the door as I was leaving. Karen jumped, startled, yelping, as someone had pinched the soft skin under her arm. We were standing at the dining room door that exits to the carport, the bird cage containing my parrot was over five feet away. A half hour later, a bruise could easily be seen on her arm.
My step son, Michael, called me at work, telling me, "Mom....food is flying out of the cupboards, cereal boxes and stuff!" I told him to leave the house and wait for me, I would be right there. When I drove up, a very frightened Michael was sitting on the front porch, wide eyed and concerned. In the kitchen were several boxes of cereal, rice and other food spilled over the floor from the same cupboard wall where the hidden compartment is, but the two large doors above the microwave.
It must have been for Thanksgiving, or something of the sort, large quantities of company expected. I was up extremely late cleaning the master bathroom. I did not want my sleeping husband to be disturbed, so I closed the door. The door opened. I closed the door, the door opened. The doors of this house are extremely heavy and all very well hung, balanced so that they do not move from any position. The entire house is a craftsman's work of art. I closed the door again and pleaded with Andy to stop playing games right now. I told him I would really like to talk to him, but not right now. I remember thinking this has to be a game, a game in my own mind, yet, I was shaking. My voice was shaking. He quit.
The next day I bring Deb from work, have her try the door to see how it simply won't swing on its own, and then I repeat the closed door scenario, begging with Andy, for once, would you please, please do this in someone else's presence? The door opened and Deb's face was worth a million words. I couldn't have been happier. Freaked out, but happy.
We are all sitting at the dining room table having dinner, within sight of the front door across the living room. The door opens. Everyone at the table says, "Hi, Andy!" We joke about how Andy simply will not close the doors. We are all gathered around the television, cuddled on the couches, a fire going. The tv clicker is on the coffee table in plains sight and the channel changes. It changes again. We moan at the choice of station, holler at Andy that is is not what we wanted to watch, get up to get the clicker and put the station back where we had had it. The station changes again. John comes out of his bedroom and complains that his floor is wet. A puddle of water about two feet wide is sitting there in the middle of the room, no open windows, no leaks in the roof, no overturned glass or bottle. This is how we lived.
The Crystal Store
Somehow, we ended up at a crystal shop downtown, not the usual store I would visit with my husband along. We were invited to attend the next evening session of mediation, focused on bringing your guardian spirits to light and other spiritual activities. We had a chance to speak to the owner of the shop, Helen, who became one of the most wonderful friends of my lifetime. We described "Andy" to her and she was amazed. She immediately told us how she had been dreaming of Andy as well, and that she knew who it was. Robert T. C. was one of the prominent ranchers who had helped to formed the town back in the twenties, and still lived in the penthouse of the town's oldest hotels. He fit our descriptions to the most minute detail, tall, thin, and well over ninety years old. I will remember the sensations I received standing at the door of the elevator to his penthouse the rest of my life. I was forbidden, absolutely forbidden to pass through that door. I returned home, looked up his phone number and called him. The conversation is another story, but it ended with his saying, "I can't help you now, gal." indicating that it was too late to help. He died the day after I spoke to him, 99 years old.
This is when I started to dig into not only the history of the house, as well as the history of the town.
Something happened in this town during the twenties, and whatever it was still echoes in the midnight air in front of the court yard steps. Occasionally sacrificed animals and altars are still discovered, rumour is that the lake is not a place you want to be on any sabbath night. Ditto with the steps of the old orginal court house. The local animal shelter will not permit the adoption of solid white or black cats during the months of October or November. Old rumors of sacrifical spots, including the bloody, dismembered bodies of cats can be found.
There are two sorts of older people here: those who will vigorously deny the existence of any occult group and those who will firmly insist that it is still alive and prospering.
Our town was small hamlet until four prominent business men were invited to spend the millions they had recently received for water rights by moving to and investing in the town, invited by none other than Robert T. C. One of the men, Mr. George, bought an unfinished house from the widow of the builder and proceeded to make it the largest showcase home in the area. Per the local newspaper, when he opened his bank (a now nationally known bank) downtown ten o'clock on Feb 12, 1917, he received floral congratulations from another bank's board member, Robert. T. C. (Another now nationally known bank) The other men included the father of George's wife, Daisy, and the father of actor Glenn Ford.
Rumor has it, that these men, the founding fathers of our town, were all occult members. In the dining room of the house is an alcove, positioned in the middle of the wall, easily seen from the entire large, 14 X 26 dining room and equally expansive living room. The alcove is far too short to stand in, too short for the traditional dining room sideboards, but absolutely perfect for a table, candles and an altar. Just thinking.....
Click on the picture to see that nook in the dining room. The equally large ktichen is right behind that.
|George's daughters have spoken to me of all the parties and gala events that took place in the house, belonging to Eastern Star and other prominent society memberships. George's wife was a confined invalid in my bedroom for many years, explaining the quiet sorrow that permeates the room, but died at the local hospital. George died outside the home during a walk. The original builder died midstream of its construction, but I was not able to locate where his actual death took place. The death certificate states he was pronounced dead at the hospital. His widow sold the unfinished home to George.The house was sold after George's death, and passed to several other families before our happening upon it. I spoke to past owners of the house regarding any strange events. One individual basically hung up on me, others flatly deny any strange occurrences and still look at me oddly in town.|
Finally I located the previous tenants of the house next door, the original owners. The wife was terribly understanding and open to the idea that there was something strange going on. Although she had experienced nothing of the sort, she had always had the feeling something just wans't right. She informed me that the property was originally a dump and was owned by Southern Pacific, as part of the area on either side of the railroad. Tramps and nomads often found shelter at the dump in shacks and makeshift homes before the houses were built. We lived two streets from the railroad.
The local newspaper includes a phenomenally high rate of murder and mayhem during the mid to late twenties, incredible stories about a father of nine children coming home and killing the entire family. On and on....all within a five block radius of the house, naturally as our area was the only developed "housing area" of that time.
Rumours abound in the town of the local haunted homes, and I can name off half a dozen without blinking. There used to be a "Victorian Home" tour every year and I teased the organizer about doing a "Haunted House" tour as well until I caught the deadly glares from my husband. The organizer did not seem to surprise by the idea, as it seems to be a well known fact we have several seriously haunted homes.
What is known as the Dallas house, a few blocks down, is famous for flying jewelry and the students from the college who board there take it all in stride. There is a blue house on Twenty First that has a large mirror on the wall immediately in the entry. This mirror has caused a great deal of trouble over the years, but I have never found anyone who can tell me a story first hand. One of the witches that visited my home confirmed the existence of the mirror, quite startling when you first entered the home.
The house across the street, when we first moved in was occupied by a much loved mother and nurse who died, undiscovered until several days after her death, which was quite soon after we had moved in. A young couple and their two young children bought the house and moved in, unaware of the woman's death. The mother came to talk to me after she distinctly heard an older woman's gentle voice saying, "Honey, don't play with matches. Give those to your mother." She literally flew into the hallway where she found her son, completely alone, looking up towards the level of an adult face, holding up the matches.
There was a house further down on Fifteenth, long neglected and said to be the house of ill repute in the twenties. Plywood just added to the windows told the town the house had recently been condemned and emptied. I wandered over to the house with my camera one Saturday to find a few others there already investigating the house. What I found there was another story for another day. Our kitchen table came from that house, and the story now appears here.
A phenominal quantities of disturbances in this town!
What struck me, so loud and clear, during the research of my home, was that every single family who had purchased and lived in my house, without exception, left the home because of death, financial ruin or divorce. I have spoken to every owner save one, a priest who left the United States after the death of this daughter while they lived in the house. I vowed to break this chain. How naive I was.
Helen, from the crystal store recommended a name to me, assuring me that she would not contact the woman at all or give her any information regarding my house or the activity within. We were desperate. Living with Andy had become a daily struggle, nerves were raw, and I needed answers. I made an appointment with a woman who would bring several of her friends. On the phone during the first conversation, she specifically requested I tell her nothing at all except the fact that I had a problem I needed help with.
On the appointed day, my husband took the younger children out for ice cream, leaving Michael, who wished to remain. We met the ladies outside the house, and as they filed past us into the house, one woman turned to Michael, looking oddly at him, asking, "When did that start? Let's talk about it when this is over." Michael suffers from rheumatoid arthritis since childhood but it is not visible in any way. The hair on my neck was constantly in movement.
I won't detail the visit, but the end result was some surprise and some expected news. The rooms that were affected were as I suspected with one exception. I knew Andy visited the office, my bathroom and the hallway, but I was totally unaware he also preferred the storage room in the basement, right next to John' bedroom. And all this time I thought it was simply spooky! No wonder John didn't care for him room.
They said his actual name was John and that he was in some way connected to the railroad, and strongly connected to the house. His wife and his daughter, Amy (lol and behold!! Chills!!!) were also in the house, but that both of them were moving along where Andy/John refused to go, or even speak. That was the mark of the last time Jena ever mentioned her night time companion.
Jena was in a walker and I was on the phone. I turned around just in time to see her walker leave the top step and head down the thirteen cement steps to the bottom of the basement. Every mother in the world knows the horror of those few nanoseconds that stretch out forever, full of fear and hope to reverse time. When I reached the top of the stairs, the nanoseconds still booming in my brain, I saw Jena tumbled at the bottom and a distinct, vivid cloud that extended from halfway down the stairwell to surrounding Jena and the walker. Only later could I describe it to include the words, it looked like a cushion, a glove, padding.
Jena should have broken her neck. She had three separate embedded markings from the stairstep skid pads on her forehead, meaning she went ass over tea kettle three times. Jena was fine, thank God and all powers that be, confirmed by an immediate trip to the hospital. Up to this point, I wondered just what the nature and personality of our visitor was. Now I knew that while Andy performed silly little irritating tricks, he had a kind, protective heart and I truly still believe he was responsible for Jena's total lack of injury.
|It was in this house that I first started the Halloween
haunted porch, spider webs and the silent witch. Andy would appear and disappear
with no predictability except for Halloween. One Halloween, after the festivities
were over, we held a seance in the office, and Andy simply refused to show.
Andy would fade away from time to time, year to year, but I was always amused about how he would faithfully appear most Halloween nights, my favorite holiday. He never bothered us that night while we would hand out candy and do the witch thing, but would start his pranks up in the house for a month or two, then quietly subside.
Questions, never to be answered
Who is Andy? Was he always at the house? Was he really my beloved father named John who I miss more than life itself, with a sense of humour, who never quite got it across to me who he was? Did Daddy have a love for the railroad I never knew about? Was he the original builder of the house? Was he some guy who adored the railroad and lived at the dump with his wife and daughter?
Did he simply not present himself to previous owners or hid purposely? Or did he reveal himself and no one is going to admit it? Why did he expose himself when I moved in? I have dealt with "Andys" all my life, so perhaps it should not be surprising as other occupants were without mind frames that would accept this concept.
The previous owner came by the house about a month after we had moved in. She wanted to know if everything was alright, if the carpets had been clean enough. She hung around as if she wanted to ask me something else, but never said anything. I always wondered what was actually on her mind.
There are many, many more small stories and events, most I have forgotten over the years. It is not the most pleasant way to live, even knowing that Andy's intentions were not harmful. After several years living in a mischevious visitor free home, I realize how stressful it can be to have an uninvited guest popping in unannounced.
Andy did not appear for the last few years I lived in that house. I left, ever so quickly in 1998, due to a divorce and a husband turning violent. I loved that house beyond words, yet I left without hesitation, and never looked back, once.
I didn't break the chain after all.
I drive by the house every so often and wonder.
This article aslo appears at http://www.yourghoststories.com/real-ghost-story.php?story=1748
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