I’ve accidentally found myself involved with a group of psychics, accidentally taken part in a séance, and accidentally spent the night in a haunted house. Yes, I do realize that I’m about the most inept sounding para-experienced human around. The haunted house came about after being invited to a sleepover. Except it wasn’t a normal house nor a normal night. It was a well-known haunted house in my community and also it was Halloween night.
According to town legend this house became haunted some time in the recent past. I learned about it’s hauntedness from several family members who as children would throw rocks at the windows and take turns seeing who among them could get the closest to the front door. Pretty much just like in the movies when you see a creepy house and children playing around it.
I won’t go into too much detail other than the family that took it on did a lot of really nice work to the inside and put a lot of love into making it livable again. There was no “story” attached to the history of the house. Nobody died in there, nobody was tortured. It was just one of those things that people believed to be haunted and so it became the town’s haunted house. Every town needs one right?
A friend and I were invited over to a sleepover and my parents were a bit nervous about the idea. Not so much because of the house, but also because the family had connections to a well known serial killer. Oh…forgot to mention that part. Anyway, the connection didn’t weigh too much, since the family was nice. The parents were going to be there, except they’d arrive around dinnertime because they would be coming in from a day trip. All things added up to a fun, safe evening of a teenage romp.
I picked up my friend at her house and we headed over to the sleepover together. We discussed all the cool things we were going to do, it being Halloween and all. Since we were super nerdy, most of those discussions revolved around recreating a science experiment from Chemistry that involved plastic bags and fire.
Probably should leave it at that. Don’t try it at home kids!
But mostly we ended up cooking gourmet food and brownies and staying up all night talking about life, the universe, and which people from high school were the most unlikely to ever leave high school.
Around midnight our host’s parents still hadn’t arrived and we began to drift in an out of sleep. Every so often we’d hear a creak or stutter in the wood. At one point I woke to a door slamming. I tried to be perfectly still, pretend I was sleeping, but something gave me away, because Meghan (my friend who came with me to the sleepover) called out.
“Hey, you awake?” she asked.
“Do you hear it?”
I stopped and listened, noticing the sound of angry voices. It was faint. Our door was closed and the voices seemed to be coming from another room across the hall where the door the door was also closed.
“Her parents must be home.” I wanted to be diplomatic, not say too much about the fighting in case our hostess woke and then had to face embarrassment of her parent’s not getting along.
We both lay on our backs, struggling to ignore the now growing argument. At some point we both fell back asleep, only to be jerked awake again by another door slamming and then the hall light came on, casting a glow from the gap under our door. The floorboards of the hallway creaked. The light flickered as if someone were walking the halls. Then after a few minutes the person went back into the room, the door shutting with a hard note of finality.
I heard a sigh from the bed of our host.
“You okay?” we both asked her.
“Yes. It’s fine,” she said.
Meghan and I exchanged glances. It didn’t sound fine, but we also knew people fought and we could have very likely just caught them at a bad time. The argument had seemed distant and cold. Although we couldn’t make out the hushed words of what was spoken, most of the tension happened in the long drawn out silences.
We slept fitfully for the rest of the night, even though there were no more quiet confrontations, only the occasional ticks and cracks and groans from an old house settling in for the night.
In the morning, we made breakfast—or rather our host did since she was really talented with the stove and oven, noting her parent’s were not yet awake. After a while we realized that we were actually alone in the house again. Our host thought about this for a moment, and realized that her parent’s must have gone to church and we all cheered that we had somehow escaped. Meghan and I figured it was our Catholic-ness that maybe earned us our freedom from attending a different church.
We packed our things and put them out into the car, but decided to stick around for a while and chat some more. That was until her parents pulled in, their car covered in snow. Except it didn’t snow in the valley where we were and it would have melted by now if it was from their trip the day before.
The parents rolled in the drive and they waved from their window. “We are so sorry!” they called out. “We got stuck after they closed the freeway last night and had to stay in a hotel. I hope you girls had a fun sleepover. Please let your parents know we’re terribly disappointed we weren’t here to supervise.”
Meghan and I looked at each other confused. Our host appeared a little pale as well. After some questioning and making sure we weren’t punked, Meghan and I decided it was time to leave. The whole trip home we dissected the night’s events. Was it a set up? Did we really experience a visit from the ghosts of the house? Who were they, if not the parents?
We never really settled that one.
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