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Searching for a Real Haunted House

By: NLogan

Searching for a Real Haunted House or the mostly True Ghost Story

What is a ghost to you? The spirit of the dead, a living memory forever etched in time on an earthly place, the manifestation of the soul visible briefly to the living?

I have been searching for ghosts all of my life, I have haunted the supposedly haunted places in the dark, I have been at the scene of death, watched the last breath as the dying gave up the ghost, and I know people who swear they have seen an apparition, but the phantoms have proved to be as ephemeral, reclusive, and rare as stories tell. I have never seen a ghost, but my life has been touched by them just the same. Perhaps in my skepticism I have driven them away, but I want to believe. Do you?

Bombarded from a young age with ghost stories in films, cartoons, books, board games, and even my breakfast cereal, ghosts have haunted me all my life. Still I would like to meet one, even if it is not the friendly kind.

Boo Berry was one of my favorite cereals growing up, the only thing really scary about it however was the color as it left your system. Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters, or me. Actually just call me if you happen to see a ghost. I want to be the first person to know. They don't need any busting, like in the film some are just trying to enjoy a quiet read in the library, and don't like to be disturbed.

Some of my first exposures to the world of spooks and spectres was undoubtedly through Disney films and cartoons. I remember vividly watching Night on Bald Mountain from Fantasia, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and watching Mickey and company being spooked in Lonesome Ghosts.

Now I should tell you right off that I think orbs in photos are obviously dust particles reflecting light back to the camera and that electronic voice phenomenon recordings are a bunch of junk, and I will probably discount your true story that you hear from a "friend of a friend" (FOAF - folklore and urban legend term for a second hand and therefore unreliable source).

I think ghost hunters or paranormal researchers bumping around in the dark in abandoned buildings loaded with electronic gadgets with scared looks on their night vision cameras are silly. I mean who told them that cold spots or counting ions with an ion counter is an accurate way to prove the existence of ghosts? How could they possibly know that any readings they make are significant one way or the other unless someone definitively proved the existence of a ghost and was able to gather scientific unbiased data and then came up with a way to record and detect that data again?

Do I believe people are convinced they have seen a ghost? You bet, but it could have been caused by any number of things including pareidolia, sleep deprivation, or hallucinations.
The problem is that memory and perceptions are just too subjective and variable. That weird noise is probably the house settling on the foundation. I am firmly in the Harry Houdini realm of wanting to believe but not willing to abide the frauds and charlatans and using skepticism and the scientific method to debunk hoaxes.

Did you know that the term haggard meaning looking exhausted and unwell from fatigue and lack of sleep comes directly from being literally or figuratively depending on your beliefs ridden by a hag or old witch in the night not allowing you to sleep. Most legends about the succubus (female) and the incubus (male) are about demons that come in dreams to seduce the dreamer and steal their life. The word nightmare comes from a demon that terrorizes in the night not really related to the modern mare or female horse but still apropos to being ridden by a demon.

People of many cultures and time periods have told about waking and not being able to move as a terrifying intruder of some form be it ghost, hag, demon, vampire, succubus, or the more modern day alien comes near to them or actually sits astride them doing any manner of terrible things to them as they lay there paralyzed and helpless being overcome, blacking out from the sheer fright of it, only to wake in a cold sweat in a panic. Those symptoms also describe the exact phenomenon experienced by sufferers of sleep paralysis, a medical diagnosis that, for those who experience it, creates an overwhelming feeling of a stranger in their immediate proximity and their imagination fills in the blanks with what they expect to see based on their cultural influences over periods of time.

Will I scoff at your story if you have one, probably. But it is not wishful thinking, at least not on your part, it is mine. I wish to have been in your shoes if you experienced a haunting of any kind.
But I am holding out hope that these things do exist and that I will be one of the lucky ones to experience a chill tingling down my spine and goosebumps covering my arms as I come face to face with a revenant or even just to feel and know an invisible presence is there even if I can't prove it.

In my research I delved into historical cases of ghosts and things that go bump in the night. One supposed story involved the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall said to have been haunting Raynham Hall in England since 1835. The ghost was said to have been photographed coming down the stairs in 1936. 

Another is the case of the Specter Monk of Newby Church Yorkshire that may have been partially an influence on the Scream Face Ghost of the Scream movie series along with the painting by Edvard Munch, The Scream. The photo was taken in 1963.

Are they real or fake? I'll let you come to your own conclusions. My investigations have taken me to the graveyard in the dead of night to find the legend of the Weeping Woman.

I have also eaten a lunch there at midday. I traveled regularly through the cemetery on my way to school in college. Far from frightening it is a very peaceful place. My wife on the other hand always took the long way around.

I have traveled to haunted houses in search of shades of the living.

I have searched the dilapidated ruins of a turn of the century insane asylum supposedly haunted by the tormented screams of the inmates.

I have been deep under the organ loft and stage of a haunted theatre in the prop storage area looking for ghosts of dead thespians.

I have been deeper underground still in tunnel systems and passageways.

I have been to an ossuary studying osteology.


I have even been in a cadaver lab in the dead of night to see if the spirits remain.

My search has been in vain. The only place I have found ghosts and been delighted is in literature. Some of my favorite ghost stories are The Empty House by Algernon Blackwood, The Wendigo by Algernon Blackwood, The Signalman by Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, The Body-Snatcher by Robert Louis Stevenson, and Smee by A. M. Burrage.

This is me dressed as the ghost of Jacob Marley from A Christmas Carol one Halloween.

We tell ghost stories around campfires and while hunting, we tell them on All Hallow's Eve, and during Christmas Eve in my family.

My own family has had encounters and they profess to believe or to at least have been scared or amazed at the time. My uncle told me tales of when he was a boy and people came to the house to see his grandparents filling the house with well dressed strangers and family. He told me of having a conversation with his grandpa sitting on the sofa as the folks had business in the other room. His grandfather asked him to be a good boy and told him to run outside to play. It was only the next day when he learned that same grandpa had passed away the night before his talk and that the people were coming to prepare his body as it lay in bed. It never creeped him out or struck him as odd as it was just like any other conversation with grandpa he remembered.

On the other hand he did have a terrible experience while working in the morgue under a hospital on the subbasement levels and entering a restroom was suddenly seized with terror and a panic with a suffocating feeling of not being able to escape the evil presence in the room. He stated that he was just able to make it out and felt as if he had been scratched and bitten by the unseen. I of course joked that the presence was probably a foul stench left by a previous occupant of the room. He said it was not a joke at all, and that he had never been that scared in his life. He claims to have quit the next day. Did he believe it? I think so, or at least he was a convincing story teller.

My grandpa came to live with us in the remaining years of his life. He in fact died in our house. My brother, upon waking one morning and passing directly into the bathroom to urinate, suddenly was startled by a gray man passing the open doorway. (I know, right... shut the door! But he was supposed to be the only one home). He believes this startled him fully awake as he forgot he was midstream and headed for the hall. He told me he could clearly hear the sound of a chair being pulled back and sat upon, the clink of silverware on a plate, and a distinctly familiar mumbling and grumbling. It was exactly grandpa's morning ritual of eating soft boiled eggs and spilling his milk then cursing over it. When he got to the kitchen no one was there. He has since decided it was sleep deprivation and that he was seeing things in his peripheral vision (fairly common including silhouettes of people) and experiencing a vivid memory or dream while still in a semi-conscious state.

However my dad also encountered grandpa in passing. While living, grandpa and dad had a war over the thermostat of the house with grandpa being part lizard, cranking the heat all the way up, while my dad would moan about the bill and turn it way down. It got to the point where it would be boiling hot in the house but the thermostat read mid-sixties because grandpa had taken it apart and rewound the spring so that it showed an alternate setting. Dad promptly put a locking acrylic case over it and it was a fairly common sight to see grandpa attempting to break into it with a hanger or wearing his bomber jacket in the house in defeat. Years after his passing we really didn't touch the thermostat anymore and it stayed locked. But my dad believed grandpa would turn it up now and then.

My dad is a ghost magnet according to him, well to me because he has had other encounters with the supernatural as well. His mother, my grandmother, was murdered by a serial killer who killed around eleven older women in 1988. My dad was devastated. During his grief he was asleep on the couch one night. He distinctly felt as if someone, a female, came into the room and held his hand comforting him through the night and staying by his side. He believed it was the spirit of a young woman who died of an overdose in our house during the time it was rented out during my parents divorce years before. He also told me reverently of a time he believes grandma came to him. He said she looked younger and smelled like roses. That she had a conversation about him moving on and being a father to me and my brother, his twin boys. He wouldn't tell me exactly what was said, but I can tell you this, he believes it. I don't know. A mind can cast about in terrible times for comfort, did he hallucinate it? He doesn't think so.

As for me, I have never had the opportunity to talk with a ghost. But if you see any, tell them I am dying to meet them. Do you have a tale to tell? I'd love to hear it.

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DirtyD79 Posted on Oct 16, 2015 at 03:21 AM

@NLogan When I first looked at the picture in your comment I first noticed what I thought was Jesus' face. I remember hearing a theory similar to what you mentioned. Someone was mentioning on this one site how kids usually notice the arrow in between the "E" and the "X" in the FEDEX logo before adults do.

NLogan Posted on Oct 16, 2015 at 12:12 AM

@DirtyD79 the Winchester Mystery House has been on my bucket list for a while being interested both in the western history aspect of the firearm as well as ghosts, one day I'll make it. Cool you have a picture with Sarah Winchester! or old lady tourist or ruffled curtains. I think the pareidolia aspect is pretty cool how our genetics make us recognize shapes that appear like faces as both a nurturing thing as babies as well as a self preservation thing against predators or competitors hidden in the background or lurking in the bushes since the earliest times. The best example I can give is little kids looking at clouds and imagining shapes. In these cases those shapes are recognized by our visual cortex as faces and because they shouldn't be there obviously that means they have to be ghosts or divine figures on toast or trees, right?

What do you see in this late 19th century photo? A couple with a child in the middle wearing a cloche hat or bonnet, or the face of a divine figure in the middle?

Vaporman87 Posted on Oct 15, 2015 at 05:38 PM

That's a neat story DirtyD. That had to be a great tour to take. To see all those strange and seemingly senseless features in the house, that has to be very cool.

DirtyD79 Posted on Oct 15, 2015 at 07:25 AM

Personally I don't really believe in ghosts but I like hearing the stories around them and seeing supposedly haunted places. Last year my girlfriend and I visited the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, CA and I really enjoyed it. For those who don't know the story goes that while Sarah Winchester was alive she was regularly haunted by the ghosts of everyone who was killed by the rifles her late husband's company made. She constantly did renovations on the house everyday for years. Some say it was to appease the spirits others say it was to confuse them. You'll see stuff like doors and stair cases that lead to nowhere and the whole house just has countless rooms that were added on over the course of time.

Strangely, I remember in a picture we had one of the tour guides take of us I saw what looked like an old woman looking through a window at us. I'm thinking it's mostly likely just ruffled curtains but still it seemed pretty freaky.

echidna64 Posted on Oct 15, 2015 at 01:21 AM

Nice! Gaslamp is in downtown San Diego. Old Town is on the outskirts and is home to another famous haunted location- the Whaley House.

NLogan Posted on Oct 14, 2015 at 09:14 PM

@echidna64 Did a trip to San Diego not too long ago. Is the Gaslamp district in Old Town? We stayed there if so or near enough to eat at the restaurants there anyways.

The creep factor of something in your bed is pretty cool. What do you believe it could have been now looking back?

@Vapor don't knock snorers I myself am a professional and hold several titles having fine tuned my art to a near perfect chainsaw on concrete melody with a wet dry vac sucking wet leaves. I knew my wife was the one when we found out she could sleep right through my cacophonous nocturnal noises.

I know what you mean about the history and imagination taking over in dilapidated places. I have had the creepy feeling lots of times just haven't ever been lucky/delusional enough yet with the supernatural.

Vaporman87 Posted on Oct 14, 2015 at 06:54 PM

@echidna: That was just vkimo coming to lay with you because his wife kicked him out of the bed for snoring.

echidna64 Posted on Oct 14, 2015 at 05:42 PM

Great job NLogan!

I'm the first to admit that I'm a skeptic and that "I ain't afraid of no ghosts," but I did have an experience with the paranormal.

In the historic Gaslamp district of San Diego, I used to live in a building that was once a brothel in which several people reported paranormal experiences. One night I was awakened by bright lights from an unknown source. Another night I felt my bed weigh down as if someone was sleeping next to me. As I laid there, too afraid to move, I could hear heavy breathing. I laid there now fully awake for about 5 minutes as the breathing continued. I was too scared to face the apparition of what I believed to be a once-dead prostitute.

I exclaimed "leave me alone!" At which point my bed returned to normal and the noises stopped.

Vaporman87 Posted on Oct 14, 2015 at 02:18 PM

What a delightfully dark article. It's certainly a rush to believe you're in the right time and place to experience the supernatural if it exists. Even when you don't, the feeling is highly memorable.

I've never been in a place that I felt was "haunted". I have been in places where you felt the "ghosts" of what used to be. Dilapidated houses that left much to your imagination as to what things must have been like when it was actually someone's dwelling. Your imagination takes over, and you envision what might have been. That in itself feels a bit supernatural, if not overly fanciful.

Thank you for this great read, Nlogan.

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