I had only been in there once before. The length of time could not have exceeded ten minutes in duration, but it felt as though I had endured a lifetime of suffering and misery.
The house sat at the back of a park, swallowed by a forest that had encroached upon the lawn and kept the sunlight from touching the rotting shambles of the wooden structure with its moss covered roof. That night was my first time seeing the house. I had no idea what awaited us inside when we prepared to enter.
Devin had climbed through the basement window first. It was about a seven foot drop from the narrow ground level window to the damp, concrete floor. We weren’t sure if we were going to see or even experience anything there (not that those things are ever guaranteed in any way, even at the most active of spots), but the morbid aesthetics of the house itself had intrigued us. Robby decided to wait outside in the running vehicle and keep watch while Devin and I checked the place out to see if it was of any interest to us.
We were moving quickly, ignoring many details on that first visit. This was undoubtedly due to two reasons. The first was because we wanted to quickly check the house over and then leave so that Robby wasn’t left alone outside for too long. The other was because of a sheer sense of panic that we felt from the moment we entered. It wasn’t just the strange noises the house made as we moved through it (seeming as if it were breathing slowly and deeply); it was the choking, impenetrable darkness that filled the narrow hallways and rooms with low ceilings. Not a single ray of light from the moon shone into the building. Every single window and door leading to the outside was boarded up with long bolts drive through the thick wood and into the framework of the house. The only way inside was the basement window we had dropped in through and with that being seven feet above an unscalable wall, we were not going to be able to go back out the way we came in. We were panicking because we realized that we were trapped inside the house, enveloped in an unimaginable blackness.
We headed for the stairs and moved through the house with an almost frantic nature. The walls of most of the rooms on the first floor were covered in unsettling etchings and drawings of faces. They seemed to be the result of a distorted perception of the human face. Either that, or they were depicting figures I’d rather not contemplate.
Devin and I moved up another set of stairs to the second floor of the house. Here, we encountered the first bits of light to be seen since we’d climbed inside. There were three rooms that the upper landing led towards. One of them appeared to be the master bedroom and was of no particular interest to us. It was bare and the only window within was boarded up. The other two rooms, however, have been the cause of much distress and sleeplessness in my life since.
The two rooms were on the right side of the landing. We entered the leftmost room first after leaving the master bedroom. One of the light sources was coming from inside of it. A single window within was unobscured and a faint luminescent glow covered the inside. Before looking over the entire room, I walked to the open window and looked out. There was no ledge and it was about a twenty foot drop to the ground below. I turned back toward Devin in dismay and noticed that he was looking up at the ceiling, his attention fixated on something just above me. I looked up as well and realized what had caught his attention.
Against the white ceiling, the dark brown stains could be seen in the moonlight without the aid of the flashlight. The stains were a series of streaks and thick specks in a circular shape. We knew at that moment what the stains may have been, but our attentions slowly shifted towards the corner of the ceiling. There was a hole in the tile and some papers had been hastily stuffed halfway inside. I walked toward the hole and removed the paper, holding them up as Devin pointed the flashlight towards them. They were a child’s drawings. Each paper was a separate drawing, covered in stains and badly deteriorated after spending so much time collecting dust and moisture as they remained hidden in the ceiling for so long.
I lowered the papers and looked around at the décor and size of the room. It was then that I realized that this was a child’s room, its ceiling covered in streaks of dark brown stains that caused me to shudder at the thought and speculation of their origin.
We were growing more uneasy, even with the darkness temporarily broken by the moonlight. I needed to find a way out. We moved out of the child’s room and into the room beside it. I will never be able to forget the layout of that den of terror.
Similar to the adjacent room, there were two windows, one of them unobscured, the other one leading to the ledge above the front porch and boarded up. This room’s ceiling and walls were covered in the same dark brown stains. But unlike the other room, messages in crude handwriting had been left upon the walls. We stood in the darkness, shining the single flashlight around the room and reading the words scrawled and carved into the wallpaper beneath the dark brown stains.
God, bless this house.
Thou shall not kill.
God save us.
May this forever remain his prison.
We stood paralyzed for a moment reading the statements and prayers. At that moment, I knew something unspeakable had occurred in that house, a memory long since forgotten and left to fester in the darkness behind those walls.
Though I knew the attempt would be futile, I quickly moved toward the window to look for another means of escape. The window looked out over the side of the house and I noticed that two well aged trees were growing side by side in the center of the overgrown lawn as I approached the ledge. It was at that moment, standing before the window that I looked down and read a poem carved into the windowsill.
“Standing by the window,
the glass beneath your feet.
Can you see it,
the bodies beneath the trees?”
It was short and comprised of only a few simple words, but it invoked something in me that I, to this day, still do not quite understand. Whatever the intention of those words may have been, I stared out the window and into the dark woods surrounding the house and I was afraid. As simply as one can describe their weaknesses or vulnerabilities, I was trapped inside that decrepit building with a darkness unbearable, and I was afraid.
I suddenly panicked. I ran for the boarded window leading to the ledge above the porch and I began attempting to kick it out. After failing to do so, I turned to Devin and simply said “we need to get out of this house.”
This was the first time either of us had acknowledged our fear or uneasiness and at that moment, we not only knew that something was horribly wrong with the house, but we knew that the other felt it as well.
We ran back for the stairs, not wishing to spend another minute inside that place. When we returned to the first floor, we double checked all the windows and doors again, finding that there indeed was no way out of the building on that floor. While we were searching, I had become overwhelmed with a sudden anxiety of the upper floor of the house. I could feel that there was not only something up there, but that it was angry and that it would soon descend the stairs and follow after us.
Frantically, I hurried Devin into the basement and shut the door behind us. We ran down the steps and continued to search for a way out. Again, we found that the only opening was the window we’d climbed in through and that it was going to be impossible to climb back out through it.
There was one boarded up door down there on a side of the house where the land dipped and the basement was above ground. We’d noticed it when we first entered the house and it then became the fixation of our desperation. In our state of fear, we began to kick and shove our bodies violently at it, hoping that the wood was old and weak enough to tear away from the bolts and come off. We began to use objects we found lying around the basement to pry the door loose.
However it may be, I could feel an energy in the house and I knew it was now on the floor right above us. We needed to get out of that house at that moment because I knew that at any second, it would be moving toward the door that lead to the basement.
Whatever luck we had brought into that foul place with us that night, the impossible happened and the door gave on one side, giving us a way out. We scrambled through the narrow hole and ran as fast as we could for the car. Climbing inside with Robby, I started the vehicle and we drove off down the road running beside the house and out of the park.
Explaining everything to Robby much later that night after the catching of our breath allowed us to speak, he told us that we had not been inside the house for more than ten minutes. In my mind, I still remember it as an eternity.
It was about two weeks later that we had returned to the house. There were too many unanswered questions in my mind. I wanted to know why someone had gone to the trouble of making sure no one could enter this house that was sitting alone in the woods and rotting in obscurity. I wanted to know what inside that house was so evil that someone didn’t want it to even exist, that someone couldn’t stomach the idea of it even being there alone behind boarded windows in the dark and attempted to bless the house (the room) and cleanse it of whatever blasphemy it held.
We parked in the same spot as last time and walked up toward the house, each of us carrying a flashlight (as opposed to just one of us). This time, a more sizeable group would be entering the building as well. It was Robby, Garrett, Devin, Kyle, and me.
We immediately went to the basement door entrance that we had frantically exited through on our previous visit and as we expected, it had not been touched and still remained partially open. We climbed inside and I used the opportunity to use my light and look around the basement and take better note of the house’s details that time. As soon as he stepped inside, Robby noticed that a row of pillows were neatly lined up against the base of a nearby wall. In the center of all these pillows was the same sickly brown stain that covered the ceilings and walls of the upper rooms.
I also noticed that several pieces of paper were littering the basement floor. I picked one up and shined my light on it. Robby and I read the paper simultaneously. At the top of the page was the Department of Health’s name. All the papers said the same thing. They described how the house had been sealed up by the Department of Health, yet it gave no mention of why.
Being further intrigued by all the new unanswered questions we had, we preceded to move upstairs and examine the first floor of the house. We stepped over the rubble filling the hallways and entered what must have been the living room. Kyle, Robby and Garrett were just as unsettled by the faces upon the walls as I had been when first seeing them.
Again, we examined all the windows and doors and noted that not only had bolts been driven through the thick sheets of wood and into the framework of the house, but they had also been bent so that they could not be pulled back out. Whatever happened there, someone had tried to ensure that no one would ever be able to get back inside.
“Come on guys, let’s check the upstairs,” Devin suddenly said in a hushed voice. He moved towards the steps and as he did so, the silence was broken. The floorboards at the top of the stairs creaked as something up there stepped away from them. Devin jumped away from the steps and we all tensed up. Whatever energy we had previously encountered, it was wasting no time in making its presence be known to us on that second visit.
Gathering our courage and going against our better judgment, we all ascended the stairs. After quickly searching the master bedroom and child’s bedroom, we moved into the room with the writing upon its walls. Even seeing the room a second time did not cause the effect of horror I felt to lesson for me. With all our lights illuminating the walls of the room, I managed to notice more writing and prayers I hadn’t noticed the first time. After everyone read everything (including that damnable poem on the windowsill) and agreed that they too could discern some form of negative energy, we all returned to the living room on the first floor and prepared to make contact.
We chose the corner of the living room that was near the staircase and because of that, we were directly below the room with the writing. We turned off all our lights but one and slowly formed a circle, the corner we stood nearest being at my back. We all joined hands and then we turned out our last light.
And there we were, hands joined as we stood in that darkness immeasurable. I suddenly felt the same terror I had felt the first time I entered the house. My heart began to race as all though I was surrounded by others and holding their hands, I felt entirely alone in a sea of blackness. I attempted to remain calm and I lowered my head. We all remained still as I began to speak loud enough for not just the others to hear, but for the entire house to hear as well.
“Is there something else here with us,” I asked as the words clumsily fell from my mouth. The house remained eerily silent and all we could hear was our breathing.
“If there is something else here with us, please let your presence be known.” Again, I heard nothing else save for the quickened beating of my own heart. The air felt strangely colder as I raised my voice and spoke again.
“I repeat; if there is something else that is here with us, please let your presence be known.” And there it was. As discernible as our breathing, as real as the beating of my own heart, something in the room above us moved against the floor and we could all hear it. The others holding my hands suddenly tightened their grip as we heard whatever it was walk across the floorboards. I raised my head (as the others must have done) and listened.
It had stopped moving. One of us turned on one of the flashlights and we all looked at one another. Our eyes were all widened and we had all moved in closer together. Demanding the light to be turned off, we were all immersed in shadow again and I continued to speak.
“Did something happen here? Did something bad happen in this house?” The footsteps returned and this time, they were louder. We could clearly hear what sounded like someone walking around in the room above us. Knowing that I now had the thing’s attention, I continued to speak. Stupidly, I asked too specific of a question as if I expected a clear answer in return.
“What happened here?” The thing upstairs continued to move.
“Was someone hurt here?” This time, the movement upstairs intensified. Whatever it was above us, it sounded as though it were pacing around the room.
“Was someone raped here?” The movement continued to get louder and louder. We all were clenching each other’s hands tightly as I raised my voice.
“Was someone murdered here?” As soon as I finished the last word, the thing stomped on the floor loudly. At that point, I can’t remember what I said next, but I began to pray to myself quietly. Whatever was upstairs, it was now sprinting around the room. My voice got louder and my prayer became audible.
In the darkness, the steps could be heard leaving the room and suddenly something stomped down the old steps and into the living room. Before I could even react, the air pressure around me seemed to change and in that moment, I felt a single leathery finger run down the back of my right ear. I screamed in sudden fear and broke the circle, letting go of my friends’ hands and falling into the corner of the room.
Someone immediately turned on their flashlight and pointed it at me. I must have looked like a terrified wreck, my arms wrapped around me as I attempted to protect myself from anymore physical contact.
“Nick, what happened?”
“Something fucking touched me, man. It touched my fucking ear.” Everyone now feeling as fearful as I, we took the moment to notice that the house was now silent again. Whatever I had called upon, it was now completely silent.
Knowing that whatever we heard was not truly gone, we quickly rejoined hands (this time leaving the lights on) and attempted to protect ourselves by properly ending contact and closing the circle. I said the few words there were and then after I finished, we all let go of each others’ hands and we hastily moved towards the basement. Without another word, we quickly climbed through the broken basement door and moved toward the car. Just as before, we left in a hurry that night.
Kyle, Devin, and Garrett all swore they would never return to that house. Years later, I attempted to enter the house again with Robby and our friend Courtney. We stepped inside the basement and when we realized it was only going to be the three of us alone in that house, we quickly stepped back outside and left the property. I have never again attempted to enter that place. And even if I were again given the opportunity, I still wouldn’t go back inside.
Something corrupt touched me that night, something evil that I should have left well enough alone behind boarded up windows to rot in the darkness of that house. I shudder to think what will happen should the house ever be demolished.