Haunted House Experience Part 1 of 4
My experience in a haunted house in the late 1990s. 100% true. The home is located in Monongahela (pronounced: mah non gah hale ah) Pennsylvania, perhaps 20 miles South of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania U.S.A. The picture shown above, it’s the house with the image center cross hairs on it. The home to the left, very close, was occupied by a woman in her 80’s that lived alone.
We rented the home for about 5 years, a two story dwelling. The first floor (U.S., the ground floor in England) had two bedrooms, full bathroom, living room with a sun room extension, dining room, kitchen. The kitchen had a door and steps that lead to a cavernous basement and another door to an insanely high rear deck with no stairs to the ground.
The second floor (first in England) had two bedrooms that the roof angle impinged on, so that in order to give the rooms reasonable space without the ceiling dropping too far, walls were built many years ago creating crawl spaces of sorts on one side of each bedroom, these spaces offered storage and were accessible by two access doors, one in each room, as small as a window, you hinged open the door and stooped over to walk in.
Google Map Street View for the address to this day still isn’t available, but I clearly see the house from the Satellite View, and it’s extraordinarily large in square footage profile and is very close to a neighboring house though that closeness is not real common on most other homes in the immediate area.
The house was built in 1910. Though the yard deeply sloped away from the street, the house was built to street level and in order to accommodate same, used cinder block basement walls of unusual heights. This produced a basement with two levels. The side nearest the front of house that received the stairs coming down from the kitchen was about 3′ higher than the side nearest the basement door farthest away from the street. The basement was split across the width of the house, with the higher and lower sections being approximately level in their own planes. To transition from one level to another, two sets of movable wooden stairs were available, one on either side of the basement. The back section of the basement was literally so high that we had a movable basketball hoop in the basement for the kids to use, and it was no inexpensive type but one on wheels and anchored by weight. These very high walls are also why the rear deck off the kitchen was built with stilts for supports and had no steps leading down.
Haunted House Experience Part 2 of 4
Me, my wife, and two of my sons lived there (a 3rd lived on his own). Their ages at the time would be 11 thru 16 for one, and 6 thru 11 for the other, giving a mean age of 14 and 9 respectively (this considers the 5 years we were there).
Two bedroom doors on the first floor had personalized door knockers on them, the third knocker was on the door that led to the 2nd floor. We were told the house, at one time, was occupied by three old sisters (relatives, not nuns). The initials on the knockers closely matched my son’s names, so we switched them to accommodate the rooms they were using. The noises we heard began after we switched the knockers, but we were new in the house and the switch occurred early, so they may not be related.
Neither my wife or our black cat (deeply loved by us), heard or seemed influenced by the haunting which largely consisted of noises. My sons and I did hear the noises.
My first encounter was a day that I had worked the night shift on (11 PM to 7 AM) and I was sleeping alone in the house, my wife at work, and sons in school. There were foot steps and banging upstairs. I remember was agitated, thinking that one of my sons returned home from school. So, to be sure, I located the cat, he was resting in the living room, clearly he wasn’t upstairs. So I went up, astonished not to find anyone. But of course, they’re in hiding, in the crawl spaces, probably went there when they heard me moving around downstairs. So, two crawl spaces, they were lit, were inspected and they were empty too. Hmmmm?
Much more of the same occurred. Noises, investigations, rule-out physical causes, etc. Then one day, my youngest son and his friend were together in the sun room using the computer, the other son was out, my wife at work, and my son, his friend, and I, heard a phenomenal crash in the basement, the sounds of pots, cans, etc. going flying, what could have caused that? My thinking is that an animal had gained entrance and was wildly flailing about trying to get out. Armed with a high powered Air Rifle, my plan was to open the basement door to the outside and let the critter escape. If it happened to be rabid, I’d have the Air Rifle for at least one shot. Problem is, upon gaining access to the basement, not only was nothing out of place, but there was nothing stored there that could cause such noise. My theory is that, historically, someone fell due to the unusual basement configuration I described above. The wooden stairs were without handrails.
I never felt the creeps, but my sons did. The older of the two that lived with us described once waking to his bed shaking, and he was alone in the upstairs bedrooms. The younger one would, even with the older one at home, leave the house and sit on the porch when my wife and I would run to the store, he said he felt the creeps.
Haunted House Experience Part 3 of 4
Another very strange thing was a bill we received from the phone company for literally several hundreds of dollars for a company that provided Adult phone services. My sons said they had nothing to do with it, which I already figured, and we investigated closely. Turns out, the phone company doesn’t monitor the financials of the call, they just forward the information from the adult phone services as if it was part of the phone bill. We got statements from my wife and my employer proving we were at work and on the clock at the time the calls were made, and statements from my son’s schools saying they were at school. Since they were bused, they couldn’t have just walked home. So we were worried that perhaps one of my son’s friends was somehow at the house and made these calls, but that was belied by the even stranger part, namely the calls were made sequentially, as if someone dialed in, the system answered, charged the initial fee, and hung-up, before any human agent could have derived any benefit from calling such a service. This went on and on perhaps hundreds of times. The phone company wasn’t any help in dismissing the charges, apparently thinking it’s normal to phone an adult phone service hundreds of time sequentially and not listen long enough to get any satisfaction (i.e. if the intent is to listen to adult conversation, one would hardly hang-up before the conversation occurred). We contacted the Public Utility Commission and they must have notified the adult phone service company because we received a letter from the them (the adult phone service) saying we were such good customers that they were willing to drop the fees. In fact, other than this one extraordinary incident, we had not made a single call to them or similar services. I also considered a defect in the phone that may have caused it to redial sequentially, but that could not have been since the initial call was placed when no one was at home, followed by perhaps hundreds of additional calls. It could be a scam by the adult phone service provider, but the profile of the calls, instant hang-ups did not support that angle. It could have been a virus on the computer which was connected via dial-up, but the computer “should” have been off, and it was a one time occurrence and no viruses were flagged subsequently by the anti-viral programs. It could be that a hateful neighbor (we had none that I was aware of) affixed a device to the wires external to the house that just sat there and made sequential calls until removed. But it was the late 1990s and the technology just didn’t seem to be there, let alone the motivation. Or it could be related to the house.
Haunted House Experience Part 4 of 4
My sons are tight-lipped and not prone to talking. I found out more about their experiences “after” we moved out. It seems that while we were living there, in fact just after moving in, they received a call from one of their friends that used to live in the house, and the friend asked “if they had started to hear the noises yet?” They also had a female friend that lived there, and though she confirmed that her and her family “experienced” unusual events in the house, she adamantly refused to discuss it, and they seemed to think her refusal to discuss was motivated by fear.
I had, at the time, discussed my “haunting” with coworkers, and after I had lived in the house for perhaps a year or so, my landlord became employed as a supervisor at a facility related to mine, and one of my coworkers (a union representative, hourly, as am I) had the occasion to interface with this supervisor. My family and I had moved out by this time; not from fear, I rather liked the house, but for other reasons. The supervisor was called away from a meeting that my coworker was attending, and the supervisor told him that he had to attend to property that he rented, the new tenants were complaining about hearing noises. This caused my coworker to subsequently mention my experience to him and eventually I dialogued further with my former landlord.
I’m not sure how long before we rented that he bought the house. As he was young, I would imagine it was no more than 5 years before we moved in. His experience in the house was remodeling it for rental, not conducive to hearing the more subtle noises that comprised most of the “haunting”. He filled us in on the 3 older sisters owning the house before him, supplied no information as to their demise. He did mention finding empty “whiskey” bottles and other things in hidden spaces, but did not elaborate on the other things.