The house on Ellis Street in Brunswick, Georgia, was like any other in that neighborhood. It was older, built in the 1940’s, with a huge front porch and pull-chain ceiling lights. Not fancy but not bad. The neighborhood was still middle class at the time (early ‘80’s) with a low crime rate. Kids could ride their bikes on the streets after dark without worry. You knew your neighbors.
We lived in a wood plank-sided house that was painted a nice clean white. The eight rooms of the house all opened into each other, no hallway required. The two front rooms were the living room and my bedroom, the next two were my mom and stepdad’s room and the dining room, then my brothers’ room and the kitchen, and at the back were the bathroom and back porch. It was unremarkable to the eyes. There was nothing about it to suggest anything but a comfortable home.
I moved in with my mom and stepfather when I was eleven, having lived with my father and his wife for four years. My mom celebrated by buying me beautiful French Provincial bedroom furniture. My room was cozy and perfect for a temperamental pre-teen who liked her privacy. I had a television, stereo, and a phone with my own number. What more could a girl want?
The first indication that I’d landed in Spook Central for the third time was the intermittent sound of those pull-chain light fixtures. I’m sure you know that distinctive sound they make when you turn the lights on and off. I heard it in my bedroom often when I was alone though I was nowhere near the light. That metallic sliding of the chain being pulled, followed by the click that announced it had been turned on or off would sound and I would whip around to see … nothing. And the light’s status of either on or off wouldn’t change.
There were also numerous cold spots that I would run into throughout the house. These spots occurred year-round, whether it was the deep of winter or the nastiest humid summer day you could imagine. They popped up all over the place, but mostly in my mother’s room.
None of these things were really a big deal. I shrugged them off and continued to be a self-absorbed adolescent, more interested in music and my friends than a few strange noises and temperature changes.
But then the truly weird things began to happen. About a year after moving in, I had my best friend visit for a sleepover. We were having a fine time when my mom poked her head in the bedroom to say she needed to make a run to the corner store and to keep an eye on my two-year old brother who was asleep in her bed.
Beth and I were cool with that (we were either cool with a situation or SO not cool with it … life is amazingly simple when you’re twelve), and Mom left to run her errand. Shortly afterward, I heard my brother make a noise.
“I’d better check on him,” I told Beth, and she went with me to my mom’s bedroom.
The instant we walked through the doorway, the air turned freezing. This wasn’t a cold spot; the entire room was frigid. Though the rest of the house was toasty warm, I could actually see my breath in there. My skin crawled, and Beth’s eyes were big round saucers. The room felt not just cold, but bad. I covered up my little brother to the chin. My mom’s bedspread was a heavy red velvet piece, so I was reasonably sure the tyke would be warm enough. Then we got the heck out of there.
“It was so cold in there,” Beth whispered the instant we got back to my room, as if afraid she would be heard. “Tamara, that room didn’t feel right.”
I wholeheartedly agreed. I was still shivering and suddenly couldn’t wait for my SO not cool mother to return home. And I thought I’d check on my brother in five minutes, just to be sure he was okay. I’d recently seen The Exorcist, and I had scary thoughts running in my head.
We didn’t get to check on my brother. A vertical beam of light, like a shaft of gold, appeared in my room near the door. I thought I had to be seeing things, but Beth gasped and was suddenly pressed to my side like we’d been superglued together. The light moved slowly across the room towards us where we huddled on my bed. It was between us and the door. There was nowhere to run to.
It was probably three feet away when it stopped moving and slowly faded from sight. An instant later the sound of my mother’s car door closing let us know the parental protection was back on site. I rushed to her bedroom, Beth hot on my heels, to make sure my little brother was okay. Not only was he okay, he’d kicked that heavy spread off because the room was now warm.
Pretty creepy, but the next occurrence was downright freaky. You remember that shower scene in Psycho? Yeah, there’s nothing like being vulnerable when you’re naked and emerging from the bath. I know this from experience because that’s where I was when I was confronted by the grinning boy who couldn’t possibly exist.
To Be Continued…