Friday, May 24, 2019
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Estimated reading time — 3 minutes

I don’t know how scary you will find this, but I can tell you that I was horrified.

When I was around 12 years old, my parents rented an old shingled house in Massachusetts, about a mile from the beach. We were staying there for the summer, and we were all pumped for 3 months in historic New England.

The house was previously owned by a woman named Virginia. She was unmarried and lived there for many years with her elderly father, whom I don’t know the name of. She was a perfectly normal woman who rode horses and kept a beautiful garden across the street. My parents never met her father, and we only talked to her a few times, as the rent transaction was done mostly through a realtor.

The house was quite nice. It looked small from the outside, but once you went inside, there were countless small rooms. There were many cupboards and closets and two slender spiral staircases leading up to one of four tiny rooms upstairs. One of these rooms was mine.

Being twelve years old and having an overly active imagination, I was terrified of staying upstairs by myself at night. My parents slept downstairs in a room that was a new addition to the house, and I hated the idea that they were so far away. Finally, after a few sleepless nights and plenty of power tears, my parents agreed to let me sleep downstairs in the old living room, which had a fireplace and two doors:one leading to the kitchen and one to the new living room.

I was extremely happy with this arrangement and I felt sure I would finally be able to fall asleep that night.

That night, after saying goodnight to my parents, I lay down on the pull-out sofa, contented. But not for long. Immediately after closing my eyes, I felt the weirdest sensation. I felt I was being watched, or like someone was just over my shoulder. I opened my eyes, fearing the worst, but no one was there. The room was silent. I was completely alone. A little unnerved, I shut my eyes again, and once again felt the presence. It’s hard to explain, but you know how blind people are more able with their senses? It was like that. Even when I opened my eyes a second time and saw no one, I knew there was a man in the room. I can’t really explain, but I felt certain that there was a man watching me sleep. However, since I had no evidence, I just shut my eyes, curled in a ball, and fell into an uneasy sleep.

Fast forward a few weeks. One of my friends was sleeping over and we were, of course, staying at the house. Despite her protests that we should sleep upstairs, I insisted we stay downstairs. Even though nothing ever happened upstairs, I was still a little wary.

That night, after gossiping for a few hours the way only two 12 year old girls can, we fell asleep. I should mention that I never said anything about the man in the living room (that’s where we were staying). I didn’t want my friend to panic.

I slept soundly that night. I guess it was probably because I had someone with me.

The next morning, when I woke up, my friend was already awake and staring at me. Katie, she said, I’m like not crazy. But like last night in the middle of the night I woke up and I felt like-

Oh my God, I said. Did you feel like there was a man watching you sleep?

At first, she said, her voice quavering. But when I opened my eyes, there was an old man standing in the doorway to the kitchen. He smiled at me and then he left.

Our eyes grew wide as we stared at each other in terror, and then slowly turned to the door. We had shut it the night before. Now it was open just a crack.

I told my parents about about this after my friend left and they disregarded it, thinking I was letting my imagination get the better of me. But at the end of the summer, when I went home and had internet service again, I searched the history of the house. Virginia lived there for almost 20 years with her elderly father, a registered sex offender who was diagnosed with dementia at the age of 83. He returned to the house with his daughter and died a few months later in the house.

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