In the summer of 1984, my husband and I and our one year old daughter Julie moved into an old green house that was once the office of the county fairgrounds. We had been living with in-laws, and we jumped at the opportunity to finally have our own home. The price was so cheap we couldn’t pass it up.
My first impression was not good. The house looked angry, sad, and mean. The walls and floors sagged, the front bedroom was once a porch and the floor was never boxed in so the ground was still visible through the gray slats of wood. On the wall facing the front of the house was an oddly placed old wooden door with glass panes. Apparently, the front door opened right into the master bedroom! In no position financially to object, I dismissed my negative feelings and looked forward to brightening up the place and making it our first real home together!
The week we moved in, my husband started a new job. It was a second shift position, and I worked first shift. This meant that I was going to be home each night alone until about midnight. I wasn’t happy about it, but the increase in pay was unbelievable, and we couldn’t turn it down. At this point, we had no telephone, no TV, only one car, and $25 a week to spend for food! There were also no neighbors within viewing distance. This seclusion made me uncomfortable about being home alone at night with a baby, so my husband showed me how to use his shotgun “just in case”. We decided to install a telephone for safety since we’d now have more money. I felt better, but not good about it. Off he went to work, and there I sat reading books every night, Julie asleep, with the shotgun leaning nearby.
Just a few nights into this new schedule, I sat down in the chair to read. I had just checked the baby, and she was sleeping soundly in the room just behind me. The shotgun leaned beside me for security, and the phone sat on the side table. I opened my book. Within minutes, I heard voices, like a radio playing at a distance. I folded the book down, and sat listening. I didn’t own a radio. I had no TV. I thought something must be going on outside, say a car radio or something, so I walked to the door and listened. Nothing. I opened the door, nothing.
I sat back down in the chair, and heard the voices again. I stood up and realized they were coming from inside my daughter’s room! I walked to the doorway and stood staring into the darkness. Her crib was on the other side of the room, and this being an old house, the light was in the middle of the room with a pull chain. I darted into the room and pulled the chain. The voices stopped. I looked at her sleeping, and thought I must be nuts. I went and sat back down.
In minutes, the voices began again, and this time, they grew louder and then faded, louder and then faded, as if they were moving in a circle! I suddenly became aware of footsteps, heavy and many. This sounded like a group of men marching in a circle, with the voices calling out to one another loudly but in an indiscernible language! There was some unison to it and I got the impression that this was a group of soldiers for some reason. The language was not a foreign one, but rather sounded like English garbled up.
I called my father in law and begged him to come up and check it out. It was about 10 pm and he didn’t want to come out so late, but he heard the fear in my voice and said he would. Just as my father in law arrived, the voices stopped! I was actually angry about that! I wanted him to hear it too!
He came in and pulled up a chair across from me and began to lecture me on “there’s no such things as ghosts, and blah blah blah . . .”. I was in tears by now, convinced I was crazy! From where Jimmy sat, he could see into my daughter’s room as he continued to tell me to snap out of it. I could see where my husband had gotten his skepticism from.
Suddenly, Jimmy’s eyes flew wide open, and he gasped just as I heard a soft bang! I turned and saw the curtains in my daughter’s room, rod and all, laying on the floor. Considering that just seconds ago those same curtains and rod were attached to the window on the opposite side of the room 15 feet away, it’s no exaggeration to say that it literally scared the hell out of us both! He yelled, “Get the baby and get out of here!!!”, and I ran to her, jerked her up out of the crib and we tore out of the house and down the road, leaving her bottle, blanket, and diapers behind!
On the way to his house, he told me that he looked up and saw the entire curtain rod fly across the room and slam into the wall and slide down to the floor! He was so shaken that his hands still tremble when he talks about it!
We were not able to afford any better at this point, so I tried to overcome my increasing fear of this depressing house. It wasn't easy. Everything, EVERYTHING was gray! The floors were painted gray, the trim was painted gray, even the panelling was gray woodtone! I had no money for paint, but a few dollar store pictures I thought would dress it up. So I set out hanging pictures. I was no expert at this, so I asked my husband to show me how to level them. I worked hard to get them perfect, and yet, they were constantly crooked! I would straighten them up, come home from work, and they were crooked again!
My husband moved them to a new location because he thought the floor might be vibrating and causing them to sway. He skeptically dismissed all my intuitive "feelings". The pictures continued their downhill habits. Once, he took a penny nail and actually nailed the picture right through the frame, sinking it into a wall stud just to prove that if they were hung well, they wouldn't move! He tried to move it, but it was nailed fast. He was getting pretty aggravated with my constant references to strange things in the house and had in this instance resorted to an extreme! I laughed at him, because I knew that his real point was that I had not hung them correctly and/or I was intentionally moving them, but this was one picture we both were sure would stay put.
We didn't have to wait long to see. We left for a visit with the grandparents a few minutes later, and came home to find all the pictures tipped again -- including the one he impaled to the wall! He didn't say a word, but I know it completely freaked him out! He just went to the bedroom and got the hammer, pulled the nail out and tossed the picture into the trash. Before long, they all were gone, because seeing them hang crooked was just visual proof of something out of whack here, and we really didn't want to be reminded of it continuously. Our grayness remained.
All of this activity was pretty harmless with the exception of potentially causing me to have a heart attack, and had it stayed at this somewhat harmless level, we could have dealt with it okay. But this would have been too easy. Whatever this was wanted us out of their home, and we soon found that no one in the house for any length of time was immune to it's efforts to accomplish that goal!
The Green House
Chapter II: Keys from Nowhere