Now you have to understand that my mother’s side of the family has a history of paranormal encounters. There is the story about my Aunt Ella Mae seeing the Grim Reaper just before Uncle Sam died. There is the story about a phantom dog that used to patrol the yard at my grandmother’s house. There is the story about the lights that use to dance over my crib when I was a baby. But I can’t really validate the truth behind any of those, so we’ll leave them for another time.
But I can tell you about the haunted house we lived in on Atlantic Street in Bridgeton, NJ. I was around six at the time when we moved into a two story Victorian. Almost immediately, my mother started to notice something was off about the place. Windows and doors would swing open and close on their own. Items would move from one place to the other. At first, none of us believed her. I don’t know if my dad ever did. But then I started to notice the weird stuff going on, too. The lights would go on and off. The TV would come on by itself. Your general creepiness.
After a couple of months of this, whatever it was started to get angry I suppose because we just all sort of shrugged and went on with our lives. That is when we started to notice the cold air coming from beneath the door that led to the attic. Now we rented the house, and the landlord padlocked the attic because he said he was using it for storage. And when my parents asked about it he would just say it was probably a draft and he would take care of it. But this wasn’t a draft. This was a discernable difference in temperature between the area immediately in front of the door and the rest of the house.
But my parents didn’t press the matter. And I guess that made something angry.
One night we were all downstairs watching TV while my mom went upstairs to take a bath. After a few minutes, we heard her yelling at us to “Stop that whistling!” as if someone was upstairs messing with her. Then my mom screamed, and my dad rushed upstairs.
My mom had jumped out of the tub, and had scratches down her arm as if something with three claws raked her. I remember seeing these scratches clear as day; something like a cat would do only the claw marks were further apart.
Suffice it to say, we moved out shortly thereafter. The landlord didn’t even fuss with my parents about breaking the lease, from what I understand. When I was a teenager, we moved into a different house on the same street and I would have to walk pass that house going to school. It seemed like there was a new family moving in every few months. I always wondered if it was because of whatever was in the attic.
Julie Ann Dawson is an author, editor, publisher, RPG designer, and advocate for writers who may occasionally require the services of someone with access to Force Lightning (and in case it was not obvious, a bit of a geek). Her work has appeared in a variety of print and digital media, including such diverse publications as the New Jersey Review of Literature, Lucidity, Black Bough, Poetry Magazine, Gareth Blackmore’s Unusual Tales, Demonground, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and others. In 2002 she started her own publishing company, Bards and Sages. The company has gone from having two titles to over one hundred titles between their print and digital products. He most recent novel is the paranormal thriller A Game of Blood.