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Ooh-Err... Nasty House

escargot

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The estate agent opened the door and I was overwhelmed with a stench that I can only describe as ‘death’. It wasn’t a rotting smell, or a damp smell, it was a dry, desiccated musty smell that made me want to gag. The smell was accompanied by an overwhelming feeling of oppression and being smothered.
Ahhh, the smell of death. Do we have a thread on this? We should. I've read discussions of it on here and have come across it myself, both personally and from other people's first-hand accounts.

An aunt of mine, quite ill in hospital, was asleep in her bed when she suddenly sat up and said loudly 'I SMELL DEATH!'
Staff and patients nearby were amused as nobody was poorly enough to be considering a visit from the Reaper except Auntie herself. Within hours, however, lady in the next bed suddenly took a turn for the worse and died .

When I worked in hospitals I noticed the smell that cancer has. It's well-known that some cancers have a physical smell which can be distressing for patients.
However, on a long-term cancer ward, when a patient went off for a home visit the room would be completely cleared out and everything possible washed or cleaned down, preferable with strong disinfectant, but the aroma would persist: a faint, gaggy, bitter stench. Drove the hardworking staff mad! I privately wondered if it was Death and not cancer that we could smell.
 

maximus otter

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It would be interesting to try medical detection dogs on this issue. They have been claimed to detect prostate cancer in urine samples with a 93% success rate where PSA testing is - from memory- little better than the flip of a coin.

Wasn't there a case recently where a dog in a hospice was found to be entering only the rooms of those about to die? As a dog lover, I'd hate to be put in a position where I was throwing things at a friendly pooch in order to prevent it from approaching me!

maximus otter
 

Rabbit Will Run

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The lead up to this story is actually more interesting than the 'on topic' reason I'm writing it, but it's vaguely relevant to the previous few posts so here goes! I suppose the tagline is that my boyfriend and I pulled over in the car and ended up in a care home inhabited by nuns!

We were searching for an old Victorian asylum near to where we currently live as we wanted to explore, for obvious reasons. The buildings were obscured by trees and not visible from the road but as we drove past there was a sign on the grass verge that said "tea and coffee" so my boyfriend pulled sharply into the driveway and we headed in.

We when approached the building it seemed ancient and gothic, with gargoyles and the like, but it turned out that it was relatively modern. The whole place looked closed and I really felt like we were trespassing. He went to scope the place out and I hid in the car. He beckoned to me and I reluctantly followed. As it turned out we'd got the wrong place and this was actually a residential care home for nuns, who lived on the upper floors and a meeting place for the other elderly people who lived in the grounds.

The gentleman on duty was so pleased to have us there as (relatively!) young people and ushered us into a huge, empty reception room and served us with tea. It had the feel of a stately home and we sat awkwardly in a bay window overlooking the grounds. The chap who brought our tea pretty much begged us to come back again. It was a really odd experience! My boyfriend loved it in there and wants to call in every time we drive down that road, but I absolutely hated it! To me the air felt stale and thick, like time was running more slowly (nothing unusual there, I've been to retirement complexes that feel exactly the same) and there was just this awful, awful sweet smell that I took to be death. He couldn't smell it. He tried to persuade me to go back by describing it as feeling exactly like a care home for retired Hammer Horror actors, but even that didn't do the trick! Long story short: smell of death in nun's care home!
 

Ghost In The Machine

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Not a house and certainly a place crammed full with dead bodies... (But no physical Smell Of Death) but this calls to mind the church I posted about elsewhere, that I can hardly step foot inside without this horrible, rising sense of sheer panic. I literally want to bolt. I will only go in if husband props the door wide open and I don't like to venture too far in, because it's too far from my escape route. I start to feel physically threatened if I go inside. The end with the altar is the worst.

Now the thing is, I grew up metres from a church and they have always been one of my favourite things (despite lifelong atheism) - to me churches and churchyards are fascinating, wonderful places. I really love them and endlessly visit churches for the history. The churchyard was my playground, growing up - I felt no fear there whatsoever, or inside any church. But this place, I can't do it.

My great grandfather x 5 or so was the parish clerk there for decades in the mid 18thc. I have relatives an ancestors buried in the churchyard and many many direct ancestors and relatives were married there,had their kids christened there. The churchyard doesn't bother me. But the church... it frightens me in a visceral, physical, "Got to leg it NOW!" kind of way. I actually feel a bit sick even thinking about it, now.

The first time I went inside, the feeling just slowly built. Every subsequent time, it's got worse.

Our first and only, as it turned out, venture into home ownership was with a disastrous house we both felt, pretty soon after we moved in, was somehow doomed. We found it had a sealed off cellar with no way down to it, but you could see through a crack in the floor in the cupboard under the stairs...

No-one ever had a remotely supernatural experience in that house. It just seemed sad. The other thing was, we were constantly, inexplicably ill. Which made me think it was infrasound, or something like that, ie: something actual and physical, not 'supernatural' at all. I had illness after illness - never before or since, like we had there. Awful things happened to us in that house and we ended up splitting up but a couple of years later, and over 100 miles away, got back together. We rarely talk about that place. It should have been a happy time in our lives - kids were young, and it was a nice area, and the house doubled in value over just the three or four years we lived there. But we never recovered from losing everything and somehow, at the back of my mind, it's always been the fact we moved to that house. Before that we'd had council houses both of which were absolutely fine. Some places just seem 'bad luck' somehow but am not sure I really even believe in 'luck' as such. I always regretted the day I ever clapped eyes on that house.
 

Nick Smith

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I can understand those strange feelings. We once lived in a flat in Brighton that never "felt" right, when we moved out, we were glad. It was there that I got scratches on my face [elaborate on this site somewhere], after that only once more and then never again. Could have been coincidence, could have been something else. I do believe that us humans should listen more to our gut instincts or as the germans say so nicely "ur-instinct", as it is something ancient and not governed by our conscience. Somthing deep down knows that things are not right. Now this could be due to "vibes" or [maybe] "ghosts" or "memories" kept in the place. We don't know but I do believe that feeling is real.
I used to have a girlfriend in Brighton and I never left her flat without a ton of scratches, bites and Christ knows what else.

Pretty sure it wasn't a ghost though...
 

Naughty_Felid

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The campus has been quite of late. Still I left my office building, (small place with half a dozen rooms), to do my rounds and came back into the building and noticed that a small interview room door was open.

Now I do an environmental security check on the place as we have some sensitive information and I'm 99% sure I didn't miss it. It's also impossible to walk along the corridor of my office as its immediately on your left and not notice that the door was open. Impossible. I had to pass it to leave the building.

Thing is I'm only at this office probably about two months during the year and this is about the 3rd time I've come across this door open.

Whilst I'm writing this I just heard the random crash again which I was just about to tell you about I heard it a couple of days ago.....

Hmm time to grab the torch and have a look around.
This building has been quite until last night.

Just a reminder I am the only person who has any business in this building at night.

The pm guy handovers and leaves immediately and I do the usual environmental check 23:15. I find the Domestic storeroom unlocked, it's a big storeroom filled with junk and chairs nothing old or weird. I lock it. I check to see if anyone is in the room - it's empty. I check and lock every room in the building.

The Domestic storeroom door has a very solid lock. I pull it to me and as I've done a hundred times check that it is locked. It is really easy to lock and you just need to pull it to you. Remember no one is in this building or allowed to be in this building at night apart from me.

I go back to my work-station reply to a few email and decide I need a pee So I head back down to the staff toilet which is opposite the Domestic storeroom and notice the door is unlocked and open - the door is open. This is approx 00:15. I again check the room - it's empty.

I lock it again, a tad unnerved as I know I'd checked it and locked it before. I'm very anal about locking stuff.

I go out the building and start my rounds which takes me approx 2 hours as I get tied up dealing with a colleague's stupidity. I return late go in and because of the several cups of tea I had, I needed to go to the toilet again. I head down to the toilet opposite the Domestic storeroom door and find it unlocked and the door pushed wide open.

Not just unlocked but pushed opened. A heavy door with a solid lock which I'd locked myself.

For the first time I closed and locked the middle door between my office and the corridor to the Domestic storeroom. Even though I've found the small door of the side room next to my office open a few times before at my end of the building. It's never been as strange as this.

It is impossible that door was unlocked and opened twice.

Will keep you updated.
 
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blessmycottonsocks

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This building has been quite until last night.

Just a reminder I am the only person who has any business in this building at night.

The pm guy handovers and leaves immediately and I do the usual environmental check 23:15. I find the Domestic storeroom unlocked, it's a big storeroom filled with junk and chairs nothing old or weird. I lock it. I check to see if anyone is in the room - it's empty. I check and lock every room in the building.

The Domestic storeroom door has a very solid lock. I pull it to me and as I've done a hundred times check that it is locked. It is really easy to lock and you just need to pull it to you. Remember no one is in this building or allowed to be in this building at night apart from me.

I go back to my work-station reply to a few email and decide a need a piss. So I head back down to the staff toilet which is opposite the Domestic storeroom and notice the door is unlocked and open - the door is open. This is approx 00:15. I again check the room - it's empty.

I lock it again, a tad unnerved as I know I'd checked it and locked it before. I'm very anal about locking stuff.

I go out the building and start my rounds which takes me approx 2 hours as I get tied up dealing with a colleague's stupidity. I return late go in and because of the several cups of tea I had, I needed to go to the toilet again. I head down to the toilet opposite the Domestic storeroom door and find it unlocked and the door pushed wide open.

Not just unlocked but pushed opened. A heavy door with a solid lock which I'd locked myself.

For the first time I closed and locked the middle door between my office and the corridor to the Domestic storeroom. Even though I've found the small door of the side room next to my office open a few times before at my end of the building. It's never been as strange as this.

It is impossible that door was unlocked and opened twice.

Will keep you updated.
Curse those spooks with their skeleton keys!
Great story btw!
 

onetwothree

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That is so freaky. I take it you didn't hear the door being unlocked at all?
 

INT21

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Or better still, take a chair down there and sit watching for a couple of hours.
If it unlocks and swings open then you may need a change of trousers.

If Yvonne can do it, surely you can ?

INT21
 

INT21

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Way back in the seventies I did a few stints as security guard. I went round three empty mills. A couple of them were still partly in use.
So me and my dog (a rather fearsome Alsatian) would walk through all the rooms.
This was always never a problem until 3 AM. And then when we came to a particular room the dog would not go in until I went in first.
It happened every night. Same time, same room. There was never anything in there.

INT21
 

Mythopoeika

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This building has been quite until last night.

Just a reminder I am the only person who has any business in this building at night.

The pm guy handovers and leaves immediately and I do the usual environmental check 23:15. I find the Domestic storeroom unlocked, it's a big storeroom filled with junk and chairs nothing old or weird. I lock it. I check to see if anyone is in the room - it's empty. I check and lock every room in the building.

The Domestic storeroom door has a very solid lock. I pull it to me and as I've done a hundred times check that it is locked. It is really easy to lock and you just need to pull it to you. Remember no one is in this building or allowed to be in this building at night apart from me.

I go back to my work-station reply to a few email and decide I need a pee So I head back down to the staff toilet which is opposite the Domestic storeroom and notice the door is unlocked and open - the door is open. This is approx 00:15. I again check the room - it's empty.

I lock it again, a tad unnerved as I know I'd checked it and locked it before. I'm very anal about locking stuff.

I go out the building and start my rounds which takes me approx 2 hours as I get tied up dealing with a colleague's stupidity. I return late go in and because of the several cups of tea I had, I needed to go to the toilet again. I head down to the toilet opposite the Domestic storeroom door and find it unlocked and the door pushed wide open.

Not just unlocked but pushed opened. A heavy door with a solid lock which I'd locked myself.

For the first time I closed and locked the middle door between my office and the corridor to the Domestic storeroom. Even though I've found the small door of the side room next to my office open a few times before at my end of the building. It's never been as strange as this.

It is impossible that door was unlocked and opened twice.

Will keep you updated.
What kind of building and is it next to a railway? I'm just wondering if the door frames are flexing a bit when a heavy train or vehicle goes past.

OK, OK, I'm clutching at straws. It's otherwise inexplicable.
 

INT21

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NF,

What type of lock is it ?

A Yale type or a mortise.

INT21
 

Andy X

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Way back in the seventies I did a few stints as security guard. I went round three empty mills. A couple of them were still partly in use.
So me and my dog (a rather fearsome Alsatian) would walk through all the rooms.
This was always never a problem until 3 AM. And then when we came to a particular room the dog would not go in until I went in first.
It happened every night. Same time, same room. There was never anything in there.

INT21
This BBC programme (Rhod Gilbert's Work Experience: Paranoramal Investigator)

...has been discussed elsewhere, but for what it's worth if you go to 23:45 there's a bit of fun with his dog (or the dog he's been issued with) barking at a hideous papier-mache Guy Fawkes, followed by a rather more interesting bit where she absolutely will not enter a particular room in a building where an investigation is taking place.

Of course there could be lots of reasons for this. The whole programme is well worth a look for those who haven't seen it. Or even those that have.

 

Naughty_Felid

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That is so freaky. I take it you didn't hear the door being unlocked at all?
No but it is likely I was out the building the second time and right at the other end off the building the first.


What kind of building and is it next to a railway? I'm just wondering if the door frames are flexing a bit when a heavy train or vehicle goes past.

OK, OK, I'm clutching at straws. It's otherwise inexplicable.
It's not near any roads or railway lines. Very quite and still night.

NF,

What type of lock is it ?

A Yale type or a mortise.

INT21
Mortise, very solid, once you pull it shut it stays shut.
 

INT21

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NF,

Just to be clear.

..Mortise, very solid, once you pull it shut it stays shut..

With a mortise lock you have to shut the door first then turn the key to lock it. You can't just pull the door to and it will latch itself.
Also you can't use a credit card to spring the latch open from the outside.

The reason I ask is that with a mortise lock the key has to be turned to unlock it before one can open the door.
So it would follow that something has turned the key. Or as you had the key, the lock mechanism.

Am I correct in this ?

INT21
 

Naughty_Felid

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NF,

Just to be clear.

..Mortise, very solid, once you pull it shut it stays shut..

With a mortise lock you have to shut the door first then turn the key to lock it. You can't just pull the door to and it will latch itself.
Also you can't use a credit card to spring the latch open from the outside.

The reason I ask is that with a mortise lock the key has to be turned to unlock it before one can open the door.
So it would follow that something has turned the key. Or as you had the key, the lock mechanism.

Am I correct in this ?

INT21
Yes this is what I did. I pulled the door to close it and turned the key once to lock it, I then pushed and turned the handle to ensure it's locked. Lock - push and rattle. Even when it's unlocked the door stays shut if you pull it shut. The only way to open it when unlocked is turn the handle and push open.

it's one of the most solid locks in the building as I guess it's only ever used a couple of times a day.
 

Lb8535

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Yes this is what I did. I pulled the door to close it and turned the key once to lock it, I then pushed and turned the handle to ensure it's locked. Lock - push and rattle. Even when it's unlocked the door stays shut if you pull it shut. The only way to open it when unlocked is turn the handle and push open.

it's one of the most solid locks in the building as I guess it's only ever used a couple of times a day.
That's impressive. The first time I would have been at the other end if the building and that door would have stayed open until dawn. A friend of mine has this slightly beat. Alone as you were she found a door previously closed neatly propped open with the door stop, the kind that is screwed and clamped to the bottom of the door and you have to kick down to engage.
 

Mr_Hermolle

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...and I'm finally going to get around to writing about the house that haunts me. Nasty? I don't know. Sometimes. Something lonely about it maybe - or remote - or certain rooms in the house felt remote - and in it's remoteness, or loneliness, there was something malign about it all.
Rambling. Probably trying to find a way to start. Probably best at the beginning. I'll split it into parts to make it a bit easier to read. It's a bit rambling this account really, and in the grand scheme of things nothing much happens.

1. Early Years (1985 - 1990)
I was 13 when we moved to Woodstock Drive in Ickenham, nearly at the end of the Metropolitan tbe line in London. It was autumn of 1985 and we had just moved down from North-East Scotland. My Dad was in the RAF, and had been 'posted' from Kinloss in Morayshire down to Northwood. The 'married quarters' at Northwood were due to be demolished, and the nearest to be had were in Ickenham, not that far away really.
Our 'married quarter' was a medium / large four bedroom, red-bricked semi-detached house - much like all the others on the surrounding roads that were all owned by the RAF too. I think I heard someone say that it had been built in the fifties. It certainly looked it. Ordinary looking house really.
It soon became apparent to me that there was something unsettling about the house. Nothing I could really put my finger on. I don't suppose I thought much of it at the time. I had spent my childhood obsessed with ghosts so I was used to feeling spooked out in places. I was aware I had - and still have - an overactive imagination.
I didn't like being upstairs. My room - at the front of the house looking out onto the garden - seemed remote from the rest of the house - and though my room felt 'safe' - the landing certainly didn't. I remember running through that seemingly never ending darkness there (and it was only a short landing really) being convinced that one of the doors would open and something would grab me. One thing from these early days that does strike me - I changed the position of my bed around, and returning to my room, found that this new position made me feel both on edge and oddly depressed. Unsettling. Unsafe.
I'd lie in bed at night and listen to the sounds of the house settling down - though it seemed that the 'house settling down' consisted of huge boxes being thrown about in the attic. My sister complained to my parents of hearing noises in the walls too. My parents tried to reassure her by saying it was just 'spiders in the walls' which was not possibly as reassuring as she might have hoped - or to me when I got told this too.
Odd noises seemed to persist throughout the years. Unexplained bangs. The sound of someone walking in empty rooms upstairs when everyone was downstairs (and I tried to tell myself that it was just the sound of next door moving about).
Both me and my sister would have the unsettling experience of sitting alone in a room and 'hearing' someone come in behind us. We would turn around to say 'hello' to whoever it was and discover there was no-one there. When both my parents were working evenings and there was just my sister and myself in the house, it felt wrong to not have anyone in the living room, in the 'heart' of the house, and that strange lonely feeling would come down - except 'lonely' doesn't quite describe it. 'Remote' is perhaps a better word - though mix in with 'remote' a feeling of something nasty and you might be closer. The house always seemed larger than it was somehow, as if it was connected to a far larger building that we just couldn't see. Always felt there were more rooms than it should have had.
I lived there until 1993 - nearly 8 years altogether - and there were long phases where nothing seemed to happen, where that odd 'remote' atmosphere receded... (though never completely though). What I would say is that as the years passed, the place seemed to grow more unsettling.
There always seemed to be a lot of shadows in the house. I wanted as many lights on as possible if I was alone, to dispel the shadows. If I was alone in the house, I'd have every light on. I'd also check every cupboard, every room - just in case... In case of what though? The thought of being in the house without every space being checked was absolute anathema.

2. A Night In April 1990
I'll never forget this night as long as I live, and even now, 27 years later, I still get shivers thinking about it. My parents - and sister - were away for a week. I was having friends stay over on and off throughout the week. Oddly no-one was much into drinking back then. We would just have tea, hang out and watch television. Anyhow, this one night, the four of us were in the living room, me, Craig, Steve and Eddie. Craig, Steve and Eddie were having something of a heated discussion about politics and war, while I sat and listened, on my headphones, to Carcass's 'Symphonies of Sickness' album. I suddenly began shivering, and my teeth started chattering - the same kind of symptoms you get at the beginning of the flu - except I didn't feel sick, I just felt freezing - and this cold didn't seem to come from me. Accompanying this shivering was an image I couldn't get out of my mind. A vague image of a skeletal form wrapped in a cloak, approaching the house through the garden. It felt like something very dark was coming. My friends noticed I was shivering, and asked me what was wrong. I told them exactly what I was feeling. Craig then said that the other night when he had stayed over that he had a 'feeling of intense evil' from the hallway, and had to find a cross or something to help ward off the feeling (I was asleep at the time). I suppose we all began talking about the weird stuff that had happened in the house then - I can't really remember - but it was at about this point that the electricity started to fail. We would be plunged into darkness for five seconds, and then the lights would switch themselves on again. This didn't help already jangled nerves. What we should have done is to just chill out, have a bit of a laugh, a cup of tea, and go to sleep. Try to calm ourselves down. What we ended up doing was quite the worse thing we could think of, and that was to try and bless the house ourselves.
Craig wanted to become a priest (and this is in fact what he ended up becoming) and with his guidance he said some prayers over a jug of water and then what we would do is move from room to room, while he flicked the water about and more prayers were said. We started downstairs. Leaving the safety of the living room was diffcult. The kitchen felt 'okay' but the downstairs toilet was a bit unnerving. Probably because of the mirror (it wasn't until the next day that we all discussed how none of us could stand the thought of looking into mirrors). The dining room was vastly unpleasant, infect with that cold loneliness, that malign remoteness that seemed to make the house far larger than it was.
We moved upstairs.
For as long as I live I hope to never experience anything quite as 'malevolent' and 'cold' as we did up there. My parents room was fine, as far as I can remember, and then we moved along the landing, and the spare room was 'bad' - I can't remember why though. My room was pretty bad too - my sister's room was okay. And then there was the bathroom. The bathroom was tiny - just enough room for a bath and a sink, and it was hard to fit all of us in there. The bathroom felt huge. Huge and impersonal - as if we were in the bathroom / toilet of a huge hospital, something bright and labyrinthine and utterly utterly cold - in an atmospheric sense anyway. When I met up with Craig over 24 years later and we discussed that night, this was what he said, how cold that bathroom felt.
Getting back down again wasn't much of a relief. At Craig's insistence, we ended up ringing the priest (at 2:00 in the morning or something ridiculous!). The priest asked us if we had been taking drugs or messing about with ouija boards. We were keen to tell him we most certainly had not. While we were talking to the priest the electricity failed and we were plunged into darkness - again for about five seconds, and then the lights came on again. The priest said it was probably a power cut, and we should say some prayers and go to sleep. We tried saying some prayers, but the lights kept failing on us the same way.
Eddie and Steve somehow fell asleep. Craig and me stayed awake long into dawn - and still it didn't feel safe. I didn't want Craig to stop talking because I could hear a crackling outside of the window - some toxic sounding noise - and I didn't want to be left alone with it. 'Do you hear that too?' Craig asked at some point. I miserably assented.
Somehow, long after dawn, I managed to fall asleep.

3. After-Effects
There wasn't as much talk about that night the next day as you might think. There was something a bit shameful about the whole episode almost. Letting ourselves get carried away. Despite this, the house didn't feel quite safe... Craig and Steve left for work, and me and Eddie were alone in the house. Some point in the afternoon - around about the time soap opera Neighbours was on, a grey gloom descended about the house. Eddie said to look at his hand - there seemed to be an imprint of something between his finger and thumb. He said it was teeth-marks, but whatever it was it sent us into panic. We had to get out of the house. We grabbed our coats and fled. Such a relief to be out.
Craig and Eddie stayed over that night - then just Craig the next perhaps - and finally I had to stay alone in the house. I slept in the living room, tried to ignore those footsteps walking overhead.
Just next door, I kept telling myself, just next door walking about.
What happened that night? I'm firmly on the side of hysteria and self-hypnosis - after all, nothing that happened can't be explained away - like so much in the house. But those panics and hysterias seemed to happen more often in that house than other places I've lived in.

4. Last Years In The House (1990 - 1993)
I can't pin down when this happened to a particular date - but it was definitely in the last couple of years. I was going through a phase of eating dinner in my room. I went downstairs, collected dinner from my Mum and went back upstairs to my room. As I sat down on my bed I distinctly heard the sound of someone run down the landing, bound down the stairs, open and slam shut the front door, and run up the garden path. I looked out of my window and saw nothing there. I inwardly shrugged and went back to my dinner (and my reaction in itself is strange). I was interrupted by my Mum - the rest of the family had all heard the same thing in the living room, and thought it was me. My Mum was quite surprised to see me in my room - and was convinced - somehow - that it had all been my doing.
Another time I was playing guitar in my room. I happened to glance up across the room, and saw a box of paints suddenly lift itself up in the air and then fall down again. I thought 'hmm, that's interesting' and returned to playing the guitar. It was only a few hours later that the reality - kind of - struck that I had actually witnessed a 'poltergeist' phenomena that I could find no rational explanation for. Even so, it never quite seemed as monumental as I felt it should have been. Almost anti-climactic.

5. After The House
We left the house in spring 1993. My parents moved away to the midlands, and I rented a room in nearby Uxbridge. The year after that I left for Southampton to study illustration, and then to Worcester, finally to Brighton, now back to Worcester again.
And at some point the dreams began. They come regularly, if not frequently, and they're remarkably similar. I'm back in the house again. It's late afternoon - often heading to sunset (the red sun seen through the branches of the tree in the front garden). I shouldn't be in the house - other people are living there now. I know that the house is haunted and whatever is haunting the house is going to manifest fully by nightfall. I need to get out. There are variations to the dream - one time I was in the kitchen listening to a documentary about the hauntings in the house. Another time, there were mysterious rooms that were haunted by the ghosts of party goers. Sometimes the ghosts of our old dogs are.
I first went back there in 2006. I made sure I walked past the house after dark. Every light in the house was on, and I was reminded of when I would have to turn on every light in the house if my parents weren't in. Too many shadows. I usually end up going back every year in late autumn, just to walk past the old house. Sometimes every light is shining, sometimes not. There's been an extension added on now, and the place seems too different to when I lived there so I'm unsure if I'll make the annual pilgrimage again.
I still find fragments of that time living there though. As I was preparing to move out of my last house I found a piece of writing I had done in that last autumn of 1992, where I wrote about how the house 'seemed to have too many rooms I couldn't see'. I don't remember writing it at all. I was quite surprised that I had somehow taken it with me from house to house in the intervening 25 years.

Anyhow, that's it. My own nasty house, and my apologies for rambling on so long - not my intention at all when I began I assure you! If you've managed to make it to the end here, well, thank you for your patience... I hope it wasn't too uninteresting.
 

escargot

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...and I'm finally going to get around to writing about the house that haunts me...
This reads like an MR James story!

Especially this bit -

I still find fragments of that time living there though. As I was preparing to move out of my last house I found a piece of writing I had done in that last autumn of 1992, where I wrote about how the house 'seemed to have too many rooms I couldn't see'.
Not suggesting that you've made it up! but the feeling that the space is much bigger than it appears, and contains... what? comes up in James' stories. Also in HP Lovecraft's fiction.
 

Naughty_Felid

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...and I'm finally going to get around to writing about the house that haunts me. Nasty? I don't know. Sometimes. Something lonely about it maybe - or remote - or certain rooms in the house felt remote - and in it's remoteness, or loneliness, there was something malign about it all.
Rambling. Probably trying to find a way to start. Probably best at the beginning. I'll split it into parts to make it a bit easier to read. It's a bit rambling this account really, and in the grand scheme of things nothing much happens.

1. Early Years (1985 - 1990)
I was 13 when we moved to Woodstock Drive in Ickenham, nearly at the end of the Metropolitan tbe line in London. It was autumn of 1985 and we had just moved down from North-East Scotland. My Dad was in the RAF, and had been 'posted' from Kinloss in Morayshire down to Northwood. The 'married quarters' at Northwood were due to be demolished, and the nearest to be had were in Ickenham, not that far away really.
Our 'married quarter' was a medium / large four bedroom, red-bricked semi-detached house - much like all the others on the surrounding roads that were all owned by the RAF too. I think I heard someone say that it had been built in the fifties. It certainly looked it. Ordinary looking house really.
It soon became apparent to me that there was something unsettling about the house. Nothing I could really put my finger on. I don't suppose I thought much of it at the time. I had spent my childhood obsessed with ghosts so I was used to feeling spooked out in places. I was aware I had - and still have - an overactive imagination.
I didn't like being upstairs. My room - at the front of the house looking out onto the garden - seemed remote from the rest of the house - and though my room felt 'safe' - the landing certainly didn't. I remember running through that seemingly never ending darkness there (and it was only a short landing really) being convinced that one of the doors would open and something would grab me. One thing from these early days that does strike me - I changed the position of my bed around, and returning to my room, found that this new position made me feel both on edge and oddly depressed. Unsettling. Unsafe.
I'd lie in bed at night and listen to the sounds of the house settling down - though it seemed that the 'house settling down' consisted of huge boxes being thrown about in the attic. My sister complained to my parents of hearing noises in the walls too. My parents tried to reassure her by saying it was just 'spiders in the walls' which was not possibly as reassuring as she might have hoped - or to me when I got told this too.
Odd noises seemed to persist throughout the years. Unexplained bangs. The sound of someone walking in empty rooms upstairs when everyone was downstairs (and I tried to tell myself that it was just the sound of next door moving about).
Both me and my sister would have the unsettling experience of sitting alone in a room and 'hearing' someone come in behind us. We would turn around to say 'hello' to whoever it was and discover there was no-one there. When both my parents were working evenings and there was just my sister and myself in the house, it felt wrong to not have anyone in the living room, in the 'heart' of the house, and that strange lonely feeling would come down - except 'lonely' doesn't quite describe it. 'Remote' is perhaps a better word - though mix in with 'remote' a feeling of something nasty and you might be closer. The house always seemed larger than it was somehow, as if it was connected to a far larger building that we just couldn't see. Always felt there were more rooms than it should have had.
I lived there until 1993 - nearly 8 years altogether - and there were long phases where nothing seemed to happen, where that odd 'remote' atmosphere receded... (though never completely though). What I would say is that as the years passed, the place seemed to grow more unsettling.
There always seemed to be a lot of shadows in the house. I wanted as many lights on as possible if I was alone, to dispel the shadows. If I was alone in the house, I'd have every light on. I'd also check every cupboard, every room - just in case... In case of what though? The thought of being in the house without every space being checked was absolute anathema.

2. A Night In April 1990
I'll never forget this night as long as I live, and even now, 27 years later, I still get shivers thinking about it. My parents - and sister - were away for a week. I was having friends stay over on and off throughout the week. Oddly no-one was much into drinking back then. We would just have tea, hang out and watch television. Anyhow, this one night, the four of us were in the living room, me, Craig, Steve and Eddie. Craig, Steve and Eddie were having something of a heated discussion about politics and war, while I sat and listened, on my headphones, to Carcass's 'Symphonies of Sickness' album. I suddenly began shivering, and my teeth started chattering - the same kind of symptoms you get at the beginning of the flu - except I didn't feel sick, I just felt freezing - and this cold didn't seem to come from me. Accompanying this shivering was an image I couldn't get out of my mind. A vague image of a skeletal form wrapped in a cloak, approaching the house through the garden. It felt like something very dark was coming. My friends noticed I was shivering, and asked me what was wrong. I told them exactly what I was feeling. Craig then said that the other night when he had stayed over that he had a 'feeling of intense evil' from the hallway, and had to find a cross or something to help ward off the feeling (I was asleep at the time). I suppose we all began talking about the weird stuff that had happened in the house then - I can't really remember - but it was at about this point that the electricity started to fail. We would be plunged into darkness for five seconds, and then the lights would switch themselves on again. This didn't help already jangled nerves. What we should have done is to just chill out, have a bit of a laugh, a cup of tea, and go to sleep. Try to calm ourselves down. What we ended up doing was quite the worse thing we could think of, and that was to try and bless the house ourselves.
Craig wanted to become a priest (and this is in fact what he ended up becoming) and with his guidance he said some prayers over a jug of water and then what we would do is move from room to room, while he flicked the water about and more prayers were said. We started downstairs. Leaving the safety of the living room was diffcult. The kitchen felt 'okay' but the downstairs toilet was a bit unnerving. Probably because of the mirror (it wasn't until the next day that we all discussed how none of us could stand the thought of looking into mirrors). The dining room was vastly unpleasant, infect with that cold loneliness, that malign remoteness that seemed to make the house far larger than it was.
We moved upstairs.
For as long as I live I hope to never experience anything quite as 'malevolent' and 'cold' as we did up there. My parents room was fine, as far as I can remember, and then we moved along the landing, and the spare room was 'bad' - I can't remember why though. My room was pretty bad too - my sister's room was okay. And then there was the bathroom. The bathroom was tiny - just enough room for a bath and a sink, and it was hard to fit all of us in there. The bathroom felt huge. Huge and impersonal - as if we were in the bathroom / toilet of a huge hospital, something bright and labyrinthine and utterly utterly cold - in an atmospheric sense anyway. When I met up with Craig over 24 years later and we discussed that night, this was what he said, how cold that bathroom felt.
Getting back down again wasn't much of a relief. At Craig's insistence, we ended up ringing the priest (at 2:00 in the morning or something ridiculous!). The priest asked us if we had been taking drugs or messing about with ouija boards. We were keen to tell him we most certainly had not. While we were talking to the priest the electricity failed and we were plunged into darkness - again for about five seconds, and then the lights came on again. The priest said it was probably a power cut, and we should say some prayers and go to sleep. We tried saying some prayers, but the lights kept failing on us the same way.
Eddie and Steve somehow fell asleep. Craig and me stayed awake long into dawn - and still it didn't feel safe. I didn't want Craig to stop talking because I could hear a crackling outside of the window - some toxic sounding noise - and I didn't want to be left alone with it. 'Do you hear that too?' Craig asked at some point. I miserably assented.
Somehow, long after dawn, I managed to fall asleep.

3. After-Effects
There wasn't as much talk about that night the next day as you might think. There was something a bit shameful about the whole episode almost. Letting ourselves get carried away. Despite this, the house didn't feel quite safe... Craig and Steve left for work, and me and Eddie were alone in the house. Some point in the afternoon - around about the time soap opera Neighbours was on, a grey gloom descended about the house. Eddie said to look at his hand - there seemed to be an imprint of something between his finger and thumb. He said it was teeth-marks, but whatever it was it sent us into panic. We had to get out of the house. We grabbed our coats and fled. Such a relief to be out.
Craig and Eddie stayed over that night - then just Craig the next perhaps - and finally I had to stay alone in the house. I slept in the living room, tried to ignore those footsteps walking overhead.
Just next door, I kept telling myself, just next door walking about.
What happened that night? I'm firmly on the side of hysteria and self-hypnosis - after all, nothing that happened can't be explained away - like so much in the house. But those panics and hysterias seemed to happen more often in that house than other places I've lived in.

4. Last Years In The House (1990 - 1993)
I can't pin down when this happened to a particular date - but it was definitely in the last couple of years. I was going through a phase of eating dinner in my room. I went downstairs, collected dinner from my Mum and went back upstairs to my room. As I sat down on my bed I distinctly heard the sound of someone run down the landing, bound down the stairs, open and slam shut the front door, and run up the garden path. I looked out of my window and saw nothing there. I inwardly shrugged and went back to my dinner (and my reaction in itself is strange). I was interrupted by my Mum - the rest of the family had all heard the same thing in the living room, and thought it was me. My Mum was quite surprised to see me in my room - and was convinced - somehow - that it had all been my doing.
Another time I was playing guitar in my room. I happened to glance up across the room, and saw a box of paints suddenly lift itself up in the air and then fall down again. I thought 'hmm, that's interesting' and returned to playing the guitar. It was only a few hours later that the reality - kind of - struck that I had actually witnessed a 'poltergeist' phenomena that I could find no rational explanation for. Even so, it never quite seemed as monumental as I felt it should have been. Almost anti-climactic.

5. After The House
We left the house in spring 1993. My parents moved away to the midlands, and I rented a room in nearby Uxbridge. The year after that I left for Southampton to study illustration, and then to Worcester, finally to Brighton, now back to Worcester again.
And at some point the dreams began. They come regularly, if not frequently, and they're remarkably similar. I'm back in the house again. It's late afternoon - often heading to sunset (the red sun seen through the branches of the tree in the front garden). I shouldn't be in the house - other people are living there now. I know that the house is haunted and whatever is haunting the house is going to manifest fully by nightfall. I need to get out. There are variations to the dream - one time I was in the kitchen listening to a documentary about the hauntings in the house. Another time, there were mysterious rooms that were haunted by the ghosts of party goers. Sometimes the ghosts of our old dogs are.
I first went back there in 2006. I made sure I walked past the house after dark. Every light in the house was on, and I was reminded of when I would have to turn on every light in the house if my parents weren't in. Too many shadows. I usually end up going back every year in late autumn, just to walk past the old house. Sometimes every light is shining, sometimes not. There's been an extension added on now, and the place seems too different to when I lived there so I'm unsure if I'll make the annual pilgrimage again.
I still find fragments of that time living there though. As I was preparing to move out of my last house I found a piece of writing I had done in that last autumn of 1992, where I wrote about how the house 'seemed to have too many rooms I couldn't see'. I don't remember writing it at all. I was quite surprised that I had somehow taken it with me from house to house in the intervening 25 years.

Anyhow, that's it. My own nasty house, and my apologies for rambling on so long - not my intention at all when I began I assure you! If you've managed to make it to the end here, well, thank you for your patience... I hope it wasn't too uninteresting.
Got a bit going on at the mo but as Scargy it's a very good post,
 

Naughty_Felid

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This reads like an MR James story!

Especially this bit -



Not suggesting that you've made it up! but the feeling that the space is much bigger than it appears, and contains... what? comes up in James' stories. Also in HP Lovecraft's fiction.
I've got no time for this at the mo but a house that has too much space or too many rooms is brilliant!
 

escargot

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I've got no time for this at the mo but a house that has too much space or too many rooms is brilliant!
My favourite recurring dream is of a house where I'm living which turns out to have lots of rooms that I didn't know about. They are sometimes reached through oddly-shaped doors or round corners and up steps. Everywhere is wood-panelled and there are windows with small panes of glass, sometimes coloured. Some ceilings are high, some low. It's a beautiful, quirky house.

My subconscious must be telling me something!
 

Mythopoeika

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My favourite recurring dream is of a house where I'm living which turns out to have lots of rooms that I didn't know about. They are sometimes reached through oddly-shaped doors or round corners and up steps. Everywhere is wood-panelled and there are windows with small panes of glass, sometimes coloured. Some ceilings are high, some low. It's a beautiful, quirky house.

My subconscious must be telling me something!
Sounds like the Winchester mansion.
 
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