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A Ghost Story



The following story is true, however, allow me first to give my apologia:

ap·o·lo·gi·a
noun: apologia; plural noun: apologias
1. a formal written defense of one's opinions or conduct.

I do not believe in ghosts, that is if you define ghosts as the spirits of the departed who have remained on this world.

My belief actually centers more around the logistics of the "Bad Place" and there may be a myriad number of explanations as to why some places are "haunted." My favorite theory, and let me be honest and let you know it is not a belief I am willing to die for, is that locales can pick up strong emotion and play them back to certain people. Of course, without time to offer an explanation, I confess I do believe that there are some places that are genuinely evil, but my story does not touch on that subject and I have no pleasure in discussing such a phenomenon.

In the early 1980's, I worked for a computer company that shall go unnamed near Carlisle, Pennsylvania. They had set up shop along a busy road in an old farm house that served as store, computer repair facility, and office. A beautiful piece of architecture, the huge limestone farmhouse had a grand old staircase sweeping up from the first floor to a landing that had a small window that overlooked the parking lot. Another set of stairs then continued on up to the second floor.

Being single at the time and fascinated by the Apple //c's and the new Macintosh computer, I used my privilege as the assistant to the store manager to stay late and play with computers until late in the evening. Having no life outside of the store, I would play computer games, study computer manuals, and basically indulge in this new and mystifying world.

However, I always left before midnight and as I locked up the store and headed out to the parking lot, I always had this unearthly feeling that something was watching me from the the window at the landing of the farmhouse's staircase. Without fail, the hair on the back of my neck would stand on end (literally) and in my anger at my childish fears, before I got into the car, I would force myself to look up at the window.

There was never anyone there. The window was simply dark and the little security light that we kept on during the night was clearly visible through the glass.

This went on for over a year.

One night, I had to stay and complete a major report and as the time wore on, focused as I was on my work, I did not notice that the clock had ticked past midnight.

Needing something from the upstairs office, I left my desk and strode up the stairs intent on the report in my hand.

My right foot hit the landing.

With a scream, I leapt for the second set of stairs to get off that square of wooden floor, landing two steps up from it. Trembling and terrified, I looked back at the landing, brilliantly illuminated by the electric light.

There was nothing there to see.

What I had experienced cannot be explained. I lack the words and as I attempt to describe it, rest assured, it was infinitely worse. The moment my foot touched that landing, my entire body experienced an electric shock of intense cold coupled with an overwhelming feeling of immense dread as if I was in mortal danger.

With a childhood prayer on my lips, I backed up the rest of the steps and I descended via the smaller set of stairs that connected what used to be the master bedroom to what used to be the kitchen, using them for what very little time I stayed that night.

I never told anyone about my experiences. I was too ashamed, but I never again stayed in that farmhouse after dark and though the feeling of being watched from the stair landing through the glass window never left me, I never dared again to turn around and look up.

But life had one more little kiss of horror for me ...

Two weeks later after my late night experience, one of the technicians who had fallen behind in repairing computers of customers, stayed late at night to catch up on his work load.

The next day as I delivered some paperwork to him, he looked at me quizzically and after a pause he asked, "Have you ever noticed anything odd about the stairs at night?"

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
stokerbramwell
Sep. 18th, 2013 12:40 am (UTC)
Well that gave me a nice summer chill. Did you ever look into the history of the place, see if anything bad had ever happened there?
literary_equine
Sep. 18th, 2013 02:37 am (UTC)
I could never confirm this but there was a story that the place was originally an inn that served as a stopover for coaches making the trip from Carlisle to Mechanicsburg/Harrisburg.
stokerbramwell
Sep. 18th, 2013 02:41 am (UTC)
Does make you wonder, doesn't it?
eric_hinkle
Sep. 18th, 2013 01:07 am (UTC)
I have to second Stoker's question. This reminds me of some stuff I read through Elliot O'Donnell's ghost books (he being a late Victorian-era ghost hunter with a particular bug about 'elementals' of the old 'inhuman and monstrous spirits' variety) about certain very specific spots in certain places just being able to send this shock of utterly uncontrollable panic through anyone who set foot on or in them at night.
Michael Wilson
Sep. 22nd, 2013 02:05 pm (UTC)
Holes in Space/Time
I don't believe in ghosts either, but that things from different times can sometimes bee seen from certain places. Like when fabric gets worn and see-through.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )