Estimated reading time — 9 minutes
In the summer of 1985, my mother, sister, father, and myself moved into a rural farm house in Central Kentucky. The house was not in the greatest of shape but it did the job. Even though my father had served his country for 22 years, he never took the time to attend college or even a vocational course, so when he left the service, his options were few when it came to employment. He found a job fixing copy machines in the small city of Elizabethtown, KY and my mother found work at a clothing store. Needless to say, both my sister and I, who is 5 years older than me, were latch key kids.. .not out of the norm in the 80’s.
We were renting that house at the time and our landlord was an old crotchety man. He did little to nothing to help keep the house up but, given the low rent and the fact that we were just below the poverty line, it was acceptable. There was nothing extraordinary about this home. A basement, the middle floor, and the attic that had been converted to a master bedroom. As any 11 year old, the basement was not my favorite… always dark, always spooky. The washer and dryer were there, along with our large freezer. It was segmented by partial cement block walls, as if someone wanted to do something with it but never really got around to it.
The house had no air conditioning and a furnace that worked some of the time. We couldn’t afford anything more than fans in the summertime and space heaters in the winter. The house had been rented and left over and over again prior to us moving in and after that first year, it became clear why.
My experiences started on a Friday afternoon. Both my mother and father were working, my sister was at school. As for me, I was at home trying to recover from a flu that no one else in my school seemed to have. At the time, I got sick… a lot. Many nights, I would have chills and a fever but by the next day, I would be alright. My mother took me to the doctor repeatedly but they could never really pin point what the problem was.
The windows were open and the two box fans were going that hot July day. I was lying on the couch, watching one of our 3 channels that we could pick up with our roof mounted Radio Shack antenna. As I lay watching some old show, static began to overtake the television screen. Not bad at first, but then basically made it impossible to watch whatever horrible show was on at the time. I raised up, irked that I had to move. As the static became unbearable, both visually and to my hears, I made my way over to the large oak cabinet that contained the behemoth set. That was the day, the moment when I realized that this house would change me and I would never be the same.
I began messing with the wires on the back of the set. Checking connections and becoming worried that this snafu would prevent me from watching my afternoon cartoons and in 1985, G.I. JOE was not just entertainment, but a way of life for me. The t.v. was a kit set, by that I mean it came in pieces and my father literally put it together and installed it into the oak cabinet that took up way to much floor space. As I proceeded with my examination, I moved to the front of the t.v. pulling out the control panel and tried to make any adjustment that might bring it back to life. I leaned over and turned the set off. I was now just starring at it, pondering my next move.
As I looked at the blank, dark screen, all I could see was the reflection of the living room behind me. The light from the curtainless window made my surroundings in the tube all that much more clearer. Everything appeared normal behind me at first as my main focus was on my need to watch my upcoming cartoons but right at that moment, I noticed something out of place in that reflection. A man was sitting on the very couch that I had just left. The fear shot through me like a bolt of electricity. I spun my head around as fast as humanly possible to see… nothing. I stood up just as fast and scanned the room, my heart was racing. How did someone get in here without me hearing or seeing them. I cautiously made my way through the house, checking first, my sisters room, then mine… I slowly walked through the kitchen as it was the gateway to the rest of the home, including that basement.
I skipped that door, going instead to the one that led up to my parents room. I quietly moved up the stairs, trying to take in as much as I could. Still, I found nothing and no evidence that anyone was there. I finally made my way back to the kitchen and the basement door. I opened it with just enough space to flick on the light. Once they came on, I pushed the door open and peered down the stairs. That was enough for me. As I came back into the living room, I looked around and saw no more than the couch, chairs, and that overgrown t.v.
Sitting back on the couch, I started, to the best of my 11 year old brain could reason, to think about what exactly I had just seen. He looked to be in his late 40’s, in a black suit, black hair, long face ,and he was not looking at me, just looking forward with a blank stare. I tried to compose and reason with myself. I was a giant horror movie geek and I had just watched Poltergeist for 50th time that past weekend. It was a trick of light and shadow, and my imagination, I figured. It did not make sense that anyone could come in the house for one but also, why would they just sit down, get up, and leave. A ghost was out of the question as nothing had happened in the few months that we had lived there and besides, that was fiction. My final thought was, I am simply not seeing what I thought I saw. Once I had come to that conclusion, I was able to steady myself and refocus my attention to what really mattered, MY CARTOONS!
I walked over and pushed the power button back on. Low and behold, we have picture and sound! Just then, the phone rang. I hate to admit it, but I jumped just a little. It was my sister telling me that she was going to a friends house after school and to let mom know. I said o.k. and hung up the phone, not willing or wanting to know if my sister had anything else to say. After all, she was my sister and sibling rivalry was in full effect.
Leaning back on the couch, feeling that I just accomplished something great by returning to my programs, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. It was my bedroom door and it was slowly opening. Was it the wind? Did I check that room for the non existent intruder? Getting up, I made my way over, only to jump back when the door suddenly jutted open as if someone on the other side had grabbed the handle and decided to make a quick and forceful entrance into the living room.
I took two or three quick steps back. I could see directly into my bedroom. Once again, nothing. The calmness that I had obtained from my prior investigation had suddenly vanished. My heart rate was up, and although I knew I was sick, my sinuses had become fairly clear from the rush of adrenaline. ‘Hello’ I half heartedly spouted. No noise, nothing came from anywhere. Of course it didn’t, nothing was there. Stepping further back, I was amazed at myself and the level of fear that had taken control of me. I took a deep breath, attempting to readjust my brain to find a rational explanation to the non robber/ghost and to a door that up to a few seconds prior, had never done that before.
I decided that stepping outside was a good idea. I spent about 10 minutes playing with my dog and just looking around. The inside of the living room could be seen through the screen door but I decided that I would take one good look around. Laughing to myself, it dawned on me that there couldn’t be anyone in that house because my dog would have barked. She barked at everything from cars to a leaf that might have moved past her in an odd way. Needless to say, she was alert to the point of being irritating.
After walking around the outside of the place and coming to my senses, I made my way back in. I went directly to the kitchen, grabbed a Coke and a small bag of chips and sat myself down back in front of the idiot box. Then came the moment where I could no longer explain anything. Above me, from my parents room, I heard distinct footsteps, loud footsteps moving from one end of the room to the other. Back and forth they went. I stared at the ceiling, hoping it would stop but it didn’t. Instead they moved closer to the stairs. I moved to the doorway of the kitchen and listened as they proceeded to stomp down the steps. I was frozen, waiting and watching and then… nothing. Screaming as the attic door flew open was my next plan of attack. Not a great way of defending oneself, mind you, but that was the best I could come up with at the moment.
I began to ponder whether or not I should call my mom at her place of work. However, I couldn’t imagine what would take place if I told her to please drive 20 miles back to the house because her son had basically lost his mind. Also, if she had, she would have told my dad and that for me, was a non starter. He was not one who liked to be bothered with… well… just about anything. So, my options were shrinking as my level of fear was rising.
Moving quickly back to the living room but with my eyes still focused on the attic door, I did not know what to do. Making my way back to the couch but this time, paying no mind to whatever was playing on the t.v., I asked out loud ‘who are you’? When I received no response, I realized that I was basically whispering.. I tried again, this time with more force in my voice, ‘WHO ARE YOU;!?! When I got nothing back, the thought that my 11 year old mind had come up with was simple. I was crazy and there was no stopping it now.
Staring at the screen door directly in front of me, I began to wonder if this was real. Perhaps I am not going crazy, perhaps there is something here and if that is the case, I don’t want to be around. I grabbed the phone and called my best friend. He had gotten home, having completed his day at school. It was a Friday and I told him that I was feeling better and I should stay the night at his house …hell, the entire weekend sounded pretty good. He asked his mom and she said yes. He then told me that he and his dad would pick me up in about an hour. Unfortunately, that hour would be too long of a wait.
I went to my room, packed some things, grabbed some Nintendo games and wrote my mom a note telling her that I was at my friend Jimmy’s house for the weekend. The explanation sounded pretty mature for the time. I even told her to have a good weekend and to contact me if she needed anything. There was no doubt in my mind that I was not waiting around for another two hours before she got off work, not to mention to 30 minutes it took for her to drive home. NO THANKS.
Rocking myself back and forth looking for my friends fathers car to pull up our overly long driveway, I was growing more and more anxious, but I knew my trauma, real or imagined was coming to an end. Sitting there, even with the t.v. on, I noticed that everything had become eerily quiet. Box fans were on full blast and the commercial on the t.v. was very loud but nothing seemed right. The air felt still, everything outside of the main noises of the electrical equipment was oddly quiet..it was almost bizarre. I turned both fans off and then the television. Suddenly, I was overcome with all the hairs on my body rising as if a low electrical current was going through me then it happened. I heard the one thing, the one thing that I absolutely, positively did not want to hear.. My name.
Jonathan… it was a slow whisper but loud enough to clearly make out whatever ‘it’ was saying. My breathing became so heavy and my heart was beating so fast that it was almost impossible for me to hear anything other than those two things..and yet, there it was again…Jonathaaann…, louder than before.. I was in shock, I grabbed my belongings that I was planning on taking with me and I ran. I ran all the way down the drive way, leaving the doors wide open. I stayed there for 35 minutes before my friend showed up with his dad.. When they got there, I requested that they go down the drive way so I might ‘check the doors’ to make sure I locked them. His father did so without one complaint.
After the weekend passed and I returned home after school on the following Monday, instead of having a peaceful existence, whatever the thing was, it systematically began to haunt every member of my immediate family. My mother kept having things moved around or go missing, my sister would hear whispers in her pillow and began to spend more and more time with her friends, basically moving in with one of her friends, and my father, well he would often see someone out of the corner of his eye. He would say he saw someone in the property, and one night, in the basement while he was working on something… That incident was the start of our move away from that house and Kentucky. Although he would never specifically say what happened, when it did, he began to plan our move. As for me, it called to me, I had horrible and disturbing nightmares, always taking place in the basement, and shadows would appear on the wall from time to time.
Many years have past since we lived there. The house has been remodeled from what I understand, and many people have came and went. No matter where I have lived, I will never forget what happened there and that incident is why I became a Paranormal Researcher…
Even after all of this time, when it’s a hot summer day, and I am alone.. I often put earbuds in and listen to music if for no other reason to make sure I never hear my name being called from the shadows again.