A Ghost Has Been Following Me
Hi, so let me start off by saying I’m not really religious. I don’t mean that as a slight to anyone. Believe whatever you want it’s your life. I only mention this because I only believe in what science can prove. Miracles? No. Dude turning water into wine? Nope. Believe me, after what I’ve gone through I’ve tried to pray and believe that something up there is listening or watching over me but I know in my heart of hearts that I am utterly alone in this world. There’s no man in the clouds or some flying spaghetti monster. Nothing.
As hypocritical or nonsensical as this sounds, I do believe in spirits or entities. So buckle up kids, I’m about to explain exactly why I believe in a very specific “other.” The following events occurred over years. I’ll try to be as concise as possible.
It started at the house we lived in when I was about six. When my parents were looking to buy a house we happened upon this one. I don’t remember them using any sort of website or real estate agent to find a house. I only remember driving around in the backseat of my dads car looking for ‘for sale’ signs. As soon as we passed this one I announced that it was our house. So, my dad being the great dad he is, pulled over to humor me and ended up loving the house as well. I’m not sure what compelled me to say it was our house or why I liked it. It was tall, white, and didn’t have anything really special to it that would draw me in as a kid, but something compelled me as soon as I saw it. It was a large house that had a newly added addition to it. As a kid, it felt like a mansion: five bedrooms, a huge living room, dining room, and tons of hiding spots for my sister and I to play hide and seek. Most importantly, it had a big partially finished basement.
Prior to this house I was pretty damn fearless. No nightmares. I played in the basement. The dark never bothered me. That all slowly changed.
I hated the basement. The main room, which my dad converted into a little bar/man cave, was nice enough but I couldn’t stay down there for long. The unfinished part was very much unfinished. Behind the washer and dryer there was a giant knocked out hole in the cement bricks. It was dark and looked like a hole in the earth. There were no discernible walls inside the hole and I couldn’t see the bottom of it either. It seemed like an endless dirt tunnel to nowhere. I can’t remember exactly how my parents explained it to me. Something simple like “oh ya know. Old house, it probably just caved in a little. Nothing to worry about.” I’d like to note that my parents didn’t have much money and our house was cheap. There was a reason why it was cheap, but I only learned that after we moved out of the house. Obviously they didn’t have the money or time to have it fixed so when their annoying daughter pointed out issues with the house, I was dismissed. Before you ask, no I never explored the giant hole.
It was impossible to reach since the washer/dryer were set further in front of the hole leaving a big gap between the wall and the machines.
I was a kid. Scary hole? Fuck that.
I did shine a flashlight down there but saw nothing. Just utter black.
Opposite the scary dirty hole was the staircase. Under the staircase was a dirty cage that was big enough for a kid my size to fit into. Again, my dad explained the cage as something like “oh it’s for rabbits or animals” but who in the hell keeps their pets in the laundry room, far away from any of the living spaces? It was also elevated off the ground so if it were for a dog, that dog had to be pretty limber to jump up and into the cage. I’m not sure what scared me more, the cage or the hole. Again, we did not explore the cage. I was too scared and my sister was a bit of a prissy pants and hated getting dirty.
The other half of the basement was just a big cement brick room. The previous owners left behind a lot of their things. It filled up a good third of the storage room. I even found an old MAD magazine board game in the pile. It was weird. It was like they just up and left. I assume whoever the sales agent was had thrown everything down there to keep it out of sight from prospective buyers. Yes, this I did want to explore but my mom is a clean freak and I was a messy kid. She told me very sternly that if I made a mess down there that I would have to clean it up. Since I hated the basement I did not want to spend the time cleaning up after myself so I never really dug through their stuff.
The other room I hated was my bedroom. When we first moved in I claimed the room immediately. It was big and had these wide windows that lined the back wall. It was actually the old master bedroom prior to the renovation. My parents obviously got the renovated master bedroom and my sister got the one right beside their room. I was further down the hall from them and the new bathroom separate the three rooms from each other. I think the light switches were on the bottom of the stairs going up to the second floor where our bedrooms were and the second switch was by my parents bedroom. So to get to their rooms I would have to walk down a long dark hallway. I should mention that beside my bedroom was an old cedar closet. The light didn’t work so it was pitch black and smelled like moth balls. My mom just used it to throw unused comforters in it so it was pretty full and not much room to move. The back wall of the closet shared the wall with my bedroom closet, which we will get to in a moment.
I loved the house at first but I started to get steadily paranoid for seemingly no reason. It started with the usual creepy spine tingling feelings and like something was watching me. I saw things in the corners of my eyes, but when I looked there was nothing there. Sure, I was an imaginative kid, but this was all new to me. I started fearing the dark. It felt like something was always looming in my room. The silhouettes of furniture and usual bedroom fair seemed more ominous when I couldn’t put a face to exactly what was once my chair or dresser. I could hear talking at night. I assumed it was my parents, since they were adult voices, but they sounded like whispering in my room, just beside my bed.
Shit really started to hit the fan when I received an American Girl doll for Christmas. I felt like a brat but I hated that doll more than anything. It had those eyelids that closed and a very slight but unsettling smile. It was the little pioneer era doll named Kirsten. My aunt got it for me since her name was close in spelling to my own. Even though she was a brand new doll she looked like an antique since she was wearing the old timey blue pioneer dress with a little red apron. Since my aunt is one of the nicest people ever, I thanked her for the gift and kept it in my room.
Before this I loved dolls. Barbies were my jam and I had a shit ton of them. There was something about this doll in particular that was just wrong. I felt like she was watching me and waiting. My sister, in typical older sister fashion, decided to take advantage of my fears and torment me. She pushed me into the closet with the doll and locked the door. Yes, this hellish closet had a lock for who knows why. There were so many blankets in there it was hard to actually find ground to stand on. I was wobbling on top of blankets, trying desperately to get as far away from the doll as possible. I pounded on the door crying and yelling for her to let me out. It felt like an hour of terror. Eventually I grew tired and stopped yelling. I let the tears fall silently as I tried over and over again to unlock the door. In the silence I heard scratching. I turned and stared at the back wall. More scratching. Then I heard a deep voice.
I screamed. My sister laughed maniacally from behind the wall. She came around and opened the door, still laughing at me while I ran and hid under my blankets. While this was only a prank and nothing demonic, it definitely scarred me for life and only cemented my fears in dolls. It turned from being afraid of one doll, to all dolls. Even mannequins freak me out.
My parents never knew I hated that doll. I never had the heart to tell them I hated the special gift my aunt gave me. God forbid my blabbermouth mom tell her I was afraid of the doll. So, under the assumption that I loved dolls, my mom started to buy even more dolls. My mom came from the Philippines and her family didn’t have the money for dolls, so she jumped at the opportunity to spoil me with them. Not barbies. Antique dolls of all kinds. My shelves were full of ornate dolls I couldn’t even play with. Some were fixed to special velvet stands, some were porcelain, and figurines that didn’t even have movable limbs.
I know I’m going on about dolls but the whole time I had all those dolls, I felt them watching me. It was no longer a mysterious feeling of being watched. It felt like whatever had been watching me was now watching me through those dolls. I never felt this way before. I was terrified every time bedtime rolled around.
I developed a routine after some time. I would stand in my doorway by the light switch and just stare at them for a moment as they all stared back at me. After a few deep breaths I would flip the switch and run across my room to my bed. My bed was now always pushed against a wall so I could lay with my back to the wall just in case one of them moved. I would tuck my blanket under my feet so nothing could crawl up from the foot of the bed. I had a body pillow barricade on the side that was not against the wall. I would then pull the covers over my head and try to sleep. It never came easily. I always heard shuffling in my room. Small noises on the creaky wooden floorboards.
Let my clarify a few points here. My dad worked nights so he would come home in the early morning well after I was asleep. My mom worked days so she was in bed early. My sister has always been a pretty sound sleeper and once she was in bed, she was done for the night. The creaking of floorboards? My room was the only one on the second floor that still had the original floorboards. The rest was newly carpeted. I also shut my door at night and the old knob made a specific creaking noise that I would recognize.
Yet, there was shuffling in my room. Something was moving around at night. Something was talking. It was muffled and hushed. I couldn’t make out words, but sometimes I would hear hints of laughter. When I would wake up in the morning the dolls would sometimes be in new places on the shelf or just turned slightly. My mom, being overjoyed by the fact that her daughter had dolls she always wanted, would arrange them in a very specific way. I tried to ignore this. I tried to convince myself that I was just remembering things incorrectly and that they had always been like that.
It escalated from there. I would feel small taps on my blanket like rain on the roof of a tent. A thousand little taps all at once and out of rhythm. Terror kept me up during those nights. I was too afraid to pull back the covers to discover what was doing the tapping. Then I made the logical jump to my sister. It had to be her messing with me.
I collected some empty coke cans during the day from the recycling bin and that night I made a pyramid in front of my door. If it was her, she would knock them over upon entry. Feeling smug, but still terrified, I did my nightly ritual and waited.
I heard nothing.
No knob turn.
Yet, the shuffling and murmuring continued.
Then the tap-tap-tapping on my blanket.
I cried silently. Hoping that maybe whatever it was would assume I was asleep and stop. Eventually it did, but I didn’t sleep that night. I stayed up frozen in fear while the shuffling subsided and the murmuring stopped. Morning came but I was still frozen. Eventually my mom came, knocked over all the candy that were still stacked and woke me up with the usual “why are you sleeping in?! Why is there garbage by the door?! Get out of bed!” Thank god she did so. Otherwise I would have just stayed there.
It continued like this for a while, and I tried to ignore it. I would let exhaustion take me to sleep eventually. Until one night after a few minutes of shuffling, my mind and body finally giving way to frustration, I pulled the covers back. As soon as I pulled them back the noises stopped. There on the floor, halfway between my bed and the shelf of dolls was the Kristen doll. Sitting and staring at me. I didn’t move. I couldn’t move. We sat staring at each other for a long time. I was too frightened to get out of bed. What would she do if I tried to leave? To get to the door I would have to walk right past her.
I slowly slid the covers back over my head and started to cry. I wet the bed. I didn’t care. The shuffling started again. The murmurs.
Scared shitless that she was moving closer to me, I pulled the covers back again. She was closer. Only this time she had scissors in her lap.
I screamed. I screamed and screamed until I felt light headed. The lights flicked on in the room and my mom rushed in asking me why I was screaming and trying to calm me down. The doll was still sitting there.
My mom noticed my wet bed and sent me to the bathroom to get cleaned up. I did so, thankful that I was leaving my room and that my mom had stopped whatever was about to happen next. While I was in the shower she threw my sheets in the wash and waited for me to finish up showering. I spent the night in my parents bed. I refused to go back to my room.
My mom never found the scissors. She did ask me why I was up playing with my doll all night. The next day I put Kristen in the basement.
Things calmed down for a while. Sometimes the nightly noises would occur but not as frequent or as loudly as before. Other toys, like my Furby and Poo-Chi would go off in the middle of the night on their own. I was able to rationalize this as just the toys acting up or something like that.
Then I started to hear the clawing noises. They would scrap the wooden floor and come closer and closer to my bed. For a while I assumed it was our pomeranian, since it sounded like a dog. This continued on for a while. I was doing my best at ignoring the noises at night but then our dog passed away. The clawing and scratching continued.
We moved shortly after. The addition to the house was beginning to separate from the original house. As soon as my dad saw the cracks in the walls growing he moved us as soon as possible.
It wasn’t until I was older did my parents tell me that the house was built over a pond that was filled in, which is why the addition was sinking and shifting. They also told me that one of the previous owners, an elderly woman who owned it before the renovation, had died in the house.
I think that’s why my parents and sister never seemed to have anything happen in their rooms. I also believe that whatever was tormenting me figured out that I was afraid of the dolls and used them to their advantage. I now understand why the previous owners left in a hurry and why the house was a hard sell for the realtor.
After moving out of that house and into a series of rentals that didn’t work out my parents finally found a house that we could settle into. It happens to be just a block away from our old house. They still live there but at the time the following happened I was in highschool.
At the new house we have three bedrooms. Two on the first floor and the master bedroom on the second floor. The master bedroom has a ton of those wooden panel sliding crawl spaces for storage so my sister didn’t want the it since she was afraid of The Grudge. My parents just didnt want to climb the stairs every time they went to the bathroom at night and since the only bathroom is on the first floor, they choose the other bedroom on the first floor. Which is how I, yet again, ended up in the master bedroom. I’m not complaining. In our rental before this house my room was basically a closet. I could fit my twin bed, a tall dresser and a side table. So it was a welcome change.
My new room was doll free. The dolls were packed up with the rest of my toys from when we left the creepy house. I never unpacked them. Even when we first moved and I was still a kid, I left that box sealed up tight and moved on to video games. We got a new dog who quickly became my best friend and everything seemed to die down. I’ve always been a pretty shy kid and I got bullied from time to time so I spent a lot of time alone in my room.
I stayed up there without incident for a while but slowly the creeping feeling of being watched set back in. It was like someone was standing right behind me at all times, breathing onto my shoulder and tickling my ear. I started to hear the voices again. Then the shadows happened.