Thursday, June 10, 2010

My First Haunted House...

I've lived in two haunted houses in my life. The one I'm in now, of course, and then there's the one I grew up in. This picture shows what it looked like when my great uncles and great aunt lived there about 70 years ago. They were an odd bunch. Of the seven, only one ever married (my grandfather). My great uncle Alfred sculpted animals and liked to live in a tent and wear no shoes. My great aunt Inga was known to drown puppies...

Anyway, the house was built in 1885 but not on an ancient Indian burial ground. At some point, one of my great uncles died in there. On the couch. In the living room. In the same spot my dad used to sit in his recliner.

So growing up there. I can't say objects flew around the place or that we saw full-bodied apparitions. I can't even say I experienced sensations of dread. What we did experience, my family at least, were footsteps. You would think someone was upstairs walking around when you knew no one was there. Over the years, we began to refer to the "ghost" as George. I have no idea why.

Life went on, I moved out to go to college, and that was pretty much that, right? Not so much.

Over the years, I've learned many things that if known when I was still living there would have made sleep much, much more difficult to come by. There's the story of my brother's friend, David. He was staying over and woke up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. At the foot of his bed stood a man with a beard, wearing overalls, staring at him. Now, my other brother used to wear overalls and did have a beard...but his beard wasn't white and he didn't, you know, glow. Properly terrified, my brother's friend pulled the covers over his head and didn't move until the sun came up. I can't remember whether or not his bladder held.

Once when visiting from Washington, my uncle spent the night at the house. He awoke in the middle of the night only to find a white-bearded man wearing overalls staring at him. My uncle was not terrified but after a blink of an eye or a turn of the head, the man was no longer there.

This is the one that bugs me. My partner and I were spending the night there with my mom (she still lives there alone, by the way) and he awoke in the middle of the night. The thing is, he said he woke up because he felt someone's eyes on him. He was right. The same man. White beard, overalls, staring. Not being my uncle, my partner was sufficiently freaked out enough to roll over pull up the covers.

As creepy as these stories are, it's not the strange part. So what's the strange part, you ask? The strange part is that the only people who have ever seen this apparition have been named David. I have no idea what this means but I am not a great believer in coincidences. I'm open to ideas.

One last little thing about my first haunted house. One of my best friends from the time of elementary school on is the toughest and bravest man I know. He's a Master Sergeant and was wounded in Afghanistan a few years ago by a suicide bomber. When we were kids, he spent a lot of time out at our farm and frequently spent the night. You can imagine my surprise when not too long ago he confided that going upstairs in the house always gave him the creeps. Where do you suppose all of the Davids were sleeping when they saw the bearded man? Yes. Upstairs. My friend never saw the man in overalls, but then again, my friend's name is not David.

While not exactly the Amityville Horror, I think there is definitely something going on in the house I grew up in. Is the bearded man my great uncle who died there? We don't know. Who knows who else may have died there since 1885. At least none of my nieces have become trapped inside the TV set...


  1. What does your Mother have to say about her experiences in the house? William

  2. As a cousin of yours who grew up not too far away, I remember thinking when I first read your blog if you were talking about this place being haunted. Turns out it was your house in Sioux Falls that the blog was about...but now I learn of this! I'm sure it doesn't mean much but I remember being told to "go play upstairs" and never wanting to go up there. My name is not David so I can't say I saw this man. It would be fun to find pictures and see if this man is in them.

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