You will never find me skulking around a haunted house or investigating claims of the ghosts. I scream like a terrified little girl in fake haunted attractions… I don’t in real ones though. This is my ghost story.
When I was about 10 years old, we moved into an older house. The attic was finished and we converted it into my bedroom (talk about a bedroom!). I had bunk beds that couldn’t be stacked, but there was plenty of floor space. There were half-sized book shelves, an entertainment center, complete with TV, VCR, and Nintendo (those were high tech back then).
There were also two storage rooms that ran the length of the attic, one on either side. The doors had hook latches on the outside and were just pieces of hinged wood that shut. Sometimes, at night, I would hear noises coming from those storage areas. Being the logical child that I was (and I was), I attributed it to animals. No big deal.
We’d lived there about a year when I got a border collie (very high maintenance that the name Frisky because he would run laps in the backyard for hours). My goal was for Frisky to sleep in my room. He came up twice, against his will, I had to carry him and he instantly sprinted from it, nearly hurtling himself down the stairs to get out. I didn’t think much of it, he was a dog.
For the next couple of months, the noises started to become more intense. My father kept checking for raccoons, opossums, or stray cats living in the storage areas, but there was never any evidence of animal occupation. Then I started coming home to find one storage door open. I always latched it. We didn’t store anything in them (that’s what the basement was for) and there was really no reason for it.
Shortly before I started 7th grade, I was asleep one night when a loud bang woke me. That stupid door had swung open, despite having been locked, with enough force to bang it against the wall. I moved downstairs a few weeks later because it kept happening. Around this same time, my pregnant sister (she’s ten years older than me), moved in and took over the attic room. Surprisingly, now that I was on the ground floor, Frisky began sleeping in my room.
After my sister gave birth to my oldest nephew, she moved out and I took the room back over. My best friend practically lived at my house during this time. She began to experience things as well. I’m not sure what, we never spoke of it, I just know she didn’t like to be in the room by herself.
Then came the bearded man. The first time I saw him, he was in the backyard. He was dressed in old fashioned clothing and I mean really old fashioned, like 1800’s farmer’s clothing; britches, not jeans, suspenders, a white shirt that I would describe as wool and long sleeved. His face was old, a long beard hung from his chin, however, he kept a well groomed mustache that was very small. Over the five years that followed (I was 13 the first I saw him), I saw him repeatedly in different places. Sometimes inside, sometimes outside. I’m convinced my friends saw him one night as well. There were three girls in the basement; including myself. I had fallen asleep and their screaming woke me up. They both described the man I had seen. My father ran around the house (one of his few brave moments, normally it was me checking out the weird noises in the middle of the night), but found no one. He decided the girls had imagined it because it was late and they were watching Silence of the Lambs. I wasn’t as convinced, but said nothing.
As I grew up, I saw him less and less, but that didn’t mean I didn’t experience him. For years, I thought my father was checking on me at night. Around 1 am, every morning, my bedroom door would open and I would see the black figure of a man stick his head into the bedroom then duck out, closing the door behind him. When I finally asked him to stop, it wasn’t him. He and my mother agreed that it wasn’t him. He hadn’t checked in on me since I had turned 6.
Also, there was the strange bathroom occurrences. If I was home alone and showering, I would hear the bathroom door open and then close, even when it was locked. For the record, this and the checking on me in the middle of the night, do still happen. My SO thinks it’s the floor, but locked doors don’t open without help and our bedroom door sticks, it can’t be opened and closed without force.
Off point – When my oldest nephew was 10 and the youngest 8, they moved in with my mom and I. It wasn’t long before both boys were reporting seeing an older man with a long beard in weird clothes. Sometimes it was his reflection in a mirror, sometimes it was peeking in a window, sometimes it was just a glimpse as it walked past the area between the laundry room and kitchen. They also had problems with the bathroom door and got onto me for checking on them in the middle of the night (because it creeped them out – I didn’t check on them during the night… ever… I was asleep).
So, I decided to put it to the test. During my senior year of high school, my mom had gotten hold of a bunch of old family photos. We had been going through them when I saw the man. And after four years of listening to my nephews (for the record, my parents didn’t believe me about the haunting until my mother had her own experiences), I dug out that photo and made my mom sit down. I pointed out the man I had seen. I then asked my oldest nephew to come into the room. I handed him the picture and asked him if he recognized anyone. He picked out the same man I did. I called the youngest into the room, keeping the oldest in place so he couldn’t influence the younger one and asked the same question. The youngest picked out the exact same man.
My oldest nephew is terrified of ghosts as a result. I’m not. I don’t think ours means us any harm. I think he just sort of hangs around and does small things to remind us he once existed (and does now in a different form). He has sat on the bed while my mother slept, which freaked her out… She finally believed the three of us after that. Now, that all the boys are grown and moved and I’m grown, I haven’t seen him in a few years, but he’s still here. Sometimes, I see things move or doors open or feel him sit down on a bed or couch.
One day, I’ll tell you about the painting that we can’t part with…