Welcome back to Ghostwriting, Audiences Everywhere’s first community-driven collection of spookiness and assorted scares. Each piece was contributed by an AE writer or reader. Do you have story? DM us at @WeTalkMovies if you’d like to share it.
I have had three distinct experiences. Each took place at my parents’ house while I was in high school. These three moments happened over time in 1992 and 1993 when I was 16.
First: Guy at the doorway, fall of 1992.
Late afternoon on a school day, before dinner. Guessing it was around 4:00. I was taking a nap in my bedroom. My parents were home, and I could hear my dad out in the front of the house talking to one of his friends who had stopped by. I was aware of them out there; I had known the guy my dad was talking to since I was young. I was just dozing. One of our cats was on the bed with me, asleep near my feet.
I wasn’t in a deep sleep because I was consistently aware of the sound of the conversation down the hall. The cat woke me up all the way when he snapped awake. I was lying on my side, feet facing the door. I woke up noticing the cat at sharp attention looking toward the door. My first thought was that Randy (my dad’s friend) had looked in my room to say hi, so I looked at the door.
It wasn’t Randy, but a man was there. No one I recognized so I was confused. I could still hear the conversation down the hall. The man stood in the doorway looking at me. I thought he looked like he might be in his 20s. He was wearing jeans and a plain white t-shirt. He had short blonde hair. He was average height and slender. He looked at me, I looked at him. The cat continued looking at him. After a brief moment he turned around and walked away from my room, down the hall.
Nothing about this was scary, just odd. I was thinking someone else must have come to the house with Randy and it was him, but why that guy would go down the hall of someone’s house to watch the teenage boy take a nap was a weird thought. I just stayed on my bed, deciding if I was dreaming in my half-sleep nap state or not. I heard Randy leaving, my dad saying bye to him, and the front door closing.
I got up and went out to the kitchen where my dad was and asked if someone had been there with Randy and he said no (wouldn’t have told you this story if he’d said yes!). I told him why I asked, said a guy was looking at me from the door of my room. He asked when, I said just now while you were taking to Randy. He said that’s real weird, no one else was here and that they were talking in the foyer which the hallway to the bedrooms connected to—no one could have been up and down the hall without walking past them (the house was a ranch).
No slick ending. That’s that for that one. Once at some point later, maybe a few months, I thought I saw him again in one of the bedrooms as I walked past. I stopped and looked back in, but he wasn’t there. I said “hello again” out loud, but nothing happened.
Second: Someone’s watching TV with me, winter of 1993
Same house, on a weeknight. I was at home alone, parents were out of town. (They traveled regularly for work and I would stay at home by myself when they were away, usually two or three nights a week.)
I could look up what time Roseanne came on back then and pinpoint the day and time (if I could remember the episode I could get the exact date, but I can’t). Anyway I was watching Roseanne. Shortly after it started, I felt what everyone forever has described as a “presence.” I was sitting on the couch which put my back to the kitchen. I felt then like I hadn’t been in the house by myself all night and that someone was in the kitchen. But it didn’t scare me. The feeling made me feel friendly in a specific way—like almost kind of funny. As if when I turned around and it was one of my friends saying ‘Ha, I’ve been here all along and you didn’t notice!’
I did turn around but saw nothing. So I kept watching Roseanne. I acutely felt this feeling of a person move into the family room with me, I could feel it move from the kitchen as clearly as you would if a person was walking in and you could see them. But I saw nothing. I tracked the spot where I felt like this energy was, pivoting my head from left to right. It absolutely felt like a person walked in from the kitchen, passed in front of me, and settled on the couch to my right. I spoke out loud and said, “Well, hi there.” Nothing happened, just Roseanne on TV.
Can’t stress enough how this was not spooky. I was smiling, said my hello, stayed aware of the feeling and kept watching TV. At the end of the show I gradually felt the feeling of companionship go away. I felt like a ghost had watched Roseanne with me.
I thought about the figure I had seen in my room months before but felt no connection to it.
I watched some more TV and went to bed. I thought about that feeling all night, but nothing else happened. I experienced this feeling of a non-threatening presence two other times in the house but much more briefly than this first one.
Third: Actually terrifying, invisible and threatening evil in my room in the middle of the night. Or a failed breaking and entering. Winter 1993.
I love the first two stories. I don’t tell them because they are boring. Nothing at all happens. But they make me feel good when I remember them. THIS one absolutely does not make me happy, and I try hard not to ever think about it.
Similar to story two, I was home alone on a weeknight. It was late and after I had been in bed for a while. I believe I had already been asleep when sounds woke me up but it’s possible I was still awake, not sure.
I mentioned the house was a ranch. My bedroom had windows to the front of the house and the front porch ran to one of them. I heard noises outside that window and I registered them as coming from the porch.
I have told this story before by describing great detail of what I heard, but now, I am honestly not sure I heard this. But I thought I heard an unzipping, like of a duffle bag or backpack, and then shuffling and clinking around. Whatever I was hearing registered to me as someone on the front porch trying to get in the front door.
Our house had an alarm system and it was armed. I turned it on every night when I went to bed. It also had a panic button that would set it off and call the police and they would arrive with no need for communication. The keypad was in my parents’ bedroom across the hall. I decided to get out of bed and walk to the keypad to think about pressing the panic button.
I stood at the keypad, listening. I could still hear the sounds—jingling, sort of. But now I was very scared. In my room, I heard the sounds outside my window. Now in my parents’ room, I heard the sounds distinctly coming from the basement door inside the house. More house description: the hallway for the bedrooms, as mentioned in the first story, went out to the entryway/foyer of the house. So from where I was standing, that was to my right. That’s where the front door was of course. The hallway opened to the foyer which opened to the family room and the steps to the basement. The basement door was at the bottom of the steps. That is where I was certain I now heard the sounds.
I didn’t hit the alarm! I don’t know why. I wish I had and just had cops show up, look around, and say no one had been there. What happened instead was I froze and became very heavy. It was exactly like the classic dream where you’re being chased and you can’t move faster than slow motion.
I was frozen and immediately terrified. I was probably in a legitimate panic attack state. The sounds now were LOUD—amplified inside my ears. I started to move though, and went back to my room. I got in bed and laid flat on my stomach on top of the covers. The sounds stopped but in a way that I only gradually noticed. I just became aware that there was no noise anymore.
I laid there very still. I was still scared but calmer. I thought about getting up to call the police, still thinking I had heard someone outside but I was regaining focus and deciding that there was no way I heard anything inside the house.
Then it got weird. My eyes were closed as I was I thinking. I was more relaxed. My room was and had been completely dark (I think this was all around 1am). But I started to be aware of it becoming darker, through my closed eyes. I started to feel enveloped. I opened my eyes and couldn’t see—complete blackout darkness. It felt like physical darkness, like it was possible to actively remove all ambient light.
As I became aware of this darkness I got scared again; I felt bad. Started to feel terror again. But didn’t move. My awareness of darkness became an awareness of a presence above me. Gradually, the feeling of something above me became a feeling of physical pressure on me. I felt I was being pressed into the bed slowly. All of my body felt like it was evenly and heavily being pressed straight down into the mattress. There was complete darkness, complete bodily pressure and complete fear. I felt the idea of evil as clearly as I had felt the lack of threat from the previous TV-watching experience.
And all that happened here was nothing. Gradually all of this subsided. Pressure released, I was aware of ambient light again, and I relaxed. Weirdest of all, I just went to sleep.
I woke up where I had started, flat on my stomach on top of the covers. I remembered all of it immediately and clearly, and got ready for school.
So those are my big stories. It’s funny to me how none of them have any outcome whatsoever. They simply happened. A few other small things happened at other times, maybe only two. Once my clock radio turned on as I got ready for bed (while home alone again) and another time I heard my name spoken out loud directly in my right ear (while home alone). I don’t remember if this happened in between, before or after the three main experiences.
I lived in that house until the fall of 1994. My parents still live there, and I’ve been there a million times since. I have never had any feeling of connection to these events when I’m there. It feels like they happened somewhere else. – T.M.
The summer between the end of high school and the vague outline of whatever college would be, my then-best friend, Sarah, and I decided to pool our money and take a trip to Europe. It was 1995 and we were living in a post-OJ/pre-internet world where you could—using the services of a travel agent—be a 17-year-old underachiever yet somehow use the money you made working at Pizza Hut to finance a trip to the Continent. Our itinerary was a few nights in London, a train ride to Wales, and then a jaunt across the Irish Sea to Dublin. We must have taken a boat for that part, but I can’t recall a moment of it; I wasn’t myself, but I’ll get to that shortly.
At 17, my only feeling with regard to alcohol was that it was so disgusting no one could be drinking it for pleasure. Therefore, the only rational thing to do was to drink as quickly as possible and stop just short of getting sick. On the flight from Cincinnati to Gatwick, we were mysteriously served without question, but the only thing I knew to ask for was a “gin and juice” (I think I mentioned this was 1995). By the time we landed, I’d made myself miserable and all I could think about was getting to our hotel and checking in, but we were still hours early. My first memory of London was sitting in an awful pub that could have been in Ohio and listening to the speakers bump Gangster’s Paradise while my head throbbed and I stared at my watch.
When we finally checked into the hotel (which was uncannily like the one the Griswolds stayed in after winning their European vacation on Pig in a Poke), we carried our sad starter luggage up five flights to a quaint-if boxy-room. Even though the time difference should have worked in our favor, I was exhausted. I remember that we went to bed early that night, each in a single bed, hers closer to the door, mine closer to the window. At some point, I fell into a deep sleep and stayed content for a few hours.
Sometime in the middle of the night, something awakened me. It was a noise. Or maybe noises? People. There were a lot of 20-somethings in the hotel generally being obnoxious (didn’t they have the courtesy to contain their drunkenness to the coach section of a Delta flight?), so maybe it was them. I can remember getting up, bleary-eyed, to look out the window, which overlooked a sort of enclosed patio. Somewhere on the first floor, the lobby or maybe a pub had access to the interior of that outdoor space. I can remember people milling around. I went back to bed and tried to fall back asleep. I can’t recall if I did, though the next thing I remember is that the noise came back. It was a sort of a guttural sound, human-like but not saying anything discernible, halfway between mumbling and growling. I lay there completely still, trying to adjust to this new, weird reality and align it with anything I had experienced before. There was a charge to the room and whether it was a sub-conscious awareness of Sarah’s breathing patterns or something else, I somehow knew she was awake, too.
“Do you hear that?”
“What is it?”
“People outside maybe?
The noise would start and stop but always just slightly louder than audible. I don’t know for certain how long it went on. Maybe a few minutes. But despite the fact that nearly everything scares me, even I can’t exist in suspended fear indefinitely. I walked to the window to look at the courtyard. By this time of night, no one was still out. It was empty. I stood at the window ledge, more confused than anything when I began to hear the faint rumblings again of the noise. It was closer this time. I looked down into the semi-darkness. Below our room, between our fifth floor and the fourth, I could see a chunk of the brickwork of the building’s façade missing. It looked like the equivalent of two or three bricks had just been removed, Jenga-style, from the others. Whatever the sound was, it was coming from inside that dark space. I knew Sarah had fallen back asleep and all I could think of was getting back to the bed, covering my head, and trying to blot out the fear I was feeling. And so I did. Throughout the night, I would drift off, only to awaken again to the growling, demonic mewling outside. It was happening to Sarah, too. The first few times, it scared me, but then I grew angry. I was hungover, so far England was stupid, and I couldn’t sleep because this shit demon or whatever was messing with me. So I yelled.
“Shut the FUCK UP!”
The room was quiet. For a moment. The next thing I heard was the rasp again. But this time, it was an audible answer to my outburst.
I can remember piling the scratchy hotel pillows on top of my head. Sarah and I didn’t say a word to one another. At some point, exhausted, I fell back asleep. Not a thing happened the rest of the night. It had said its peace. It was only later I can remember thinking that it was strange the demon had an American accent and not a British one. Was it….my demon? Was I dragging his thing around with me or what?
I don’t know. I haven’t experienced anything like that since then, or at the very least, I haven’t experienced anything supernatural that felt scary. But the next morning, the day after my spat with the whatever-that-was, something was off. I woke up thinking about the night before and immediately felt a sense of panic. Sunlight was streaming through the windows and Sarah was off using the tres-Euro shared bathroom. I gripped my throat. It seemed to be closing up. I got up and walked over to the nearest mirror. My tongue was swollen, my throat red and painful and I was covered in hives. It was the first and last time I would ever have hives. We slept in that room peacefully for the remaining nights we were in London. I know I saw things on that trip, but to be honest, none have stayed with me like that first night in the hotel room. By the time we crossed the water to Ireland a few days later, I was fully recovered. No more hives, no more sore throat, no more sleepless nights. – Anonymous
She Followed You
One evening, Bryan (my husband), Noah, (my stepson), and I were watching a movie. I felt a strange presence. I was careful not to move, since this was not the first time I had noticed this. It was between the frame of my glasses and the wall, from my point of view. But it wasn’t anything solid. I could just tell that it wasn’t the wall that I was seeing (as I should have been able to see). I should tell you at this point that my husband has a gift—he can sense spirits and ghosts, and usually tell what their intention is.
I brought what I was seeing and feeling to his attention. He said that yes, there was a spirit there—it was curious about the baby.
Over the next few weeks, occasionally I would notice the feeling of being watched.
I am generally not sensitive to these things. Bryan taught me a few tricks ages ago because I love all things supernatural—they fascinate me—but they are boring and mundane to him. Nevertheless, as I said I am not sensitive to these types of things and usually to pick up on different energies, I have to meditate first. But this shit was all spontaneous.
Bryan said that is was the ghost or spirit of a little girl. She would hang out in Noah’s room most of the time. Sometimes she would turn on the light at the top of the steps. Bryan said it was because she was afraid of the dark.
Anyway, occasionally, I would feel her presence.
There is no way to describe it except… have you ever been alone in a room and yet felt that someone was there, only to find that someone was indeed there? Like,”Hey, it’s time for dinner” or whatever. It’s not like you hear someone. Or see someone. But there is a feeling.
Anyway, one night I was alone in the living room watching TV. That feeling came over me. Bryan’s computer room (haven/man-cave) is upstairs. I went upstairs, wanting to tell him that I could feel the girl following me, but after I said, “hi,” he turned and said to me that she had followed me upstairs.
(I felt it. I knew that she had followed me.)
I said, “I know.”
I turned to where I felt that she was, and I said, “I’m sorry, honey, but you can’t follow me around anymore. Go and find your own mommy and daddy.”
And with that, she was gone. I never felt her presence after that.
I felt kind of bad sending her away, but it was becoming unnerving that someone was watching me.
Bryan mostly disregards his gift anymore unless something really stands out. If I burn sage in the basement (my space), he will know about it before the scent reaches two floors above; He once told me, “Warn me before you burn that shit.” Indeed, it can sometimes stir things up. – Leann Vogelpohl
That’s it for this edition. Stop back Friday, October 27 for a final thrill!